LWT 031: Building Barrier-Free

Barrier-Free with Michael Donnelly

Barrier-Free homes are not the norm in home construction. Most people do not understand what the term barrier-free means. People with mobility disabilities, or those who are aging and become less limber, often discover what barrier-free is and is not the hard way.

Individuals who become injured due to accidents or perhaps due to a health situation like a stroke, can suddenly find their comfortable home is filled with hazards, or worse, not accessible at all.

Can you enter your home without climbing stairs or a big step?


The three most common barrier-free features in homes are its entry, door widths, and bathroom accessibility. Of course, there are many other features such as floor surfaces, doorknobs, counter heights, support railings, well the list is long. When and if you do need to retrofit your home finding a professional who can do the job is not always easy to locate.

It’s important to consider people have individual needs and differences related to their physical abilities. However, if the universal design is planned from the start, most ability ranges will benefit.

Cost is another factor when it comes to barrier-free homes. It’s worth knowing that building an accessible home from the start doesn’t cost much more than a non-accessible home. However, when it comes to retrofitting after the fact, then that’s another story. I can certainly confirm this first-hand. I have done 2 roll-in-shower retrofits in two different home purchases.


Working with a contractor that you feel good with is really helpful. Let’s face it, someone with building expertise will have a lot more knowledge of possible fixtures that can blend in need adaptions. This is where good listening and communication are necessary.

Michael Donnelly, a longtime successful home building contractor, is a good example of how quickly someone can make a significant shift in consciousness. He was intrigued after working and talking with someone who spoke about retrofitting home adaptions. Overnight he changed the mission and focus of his business to highlight barrier-free construction. Since doing so, his sense of satisfaction with his work has been renewed.

His contracting skills now help people with disabilities, or those aging, to live comfortably and safely within their own homes. Seeing the difference he can make to another person’s life, and the appreciation his clients express mean the world to Michael.


As a businessman, he also sees the potential of bringing together like-minded people with different skills. This he believes, will expand the range of support that can be provided to those in need of greater accessibility. Michael’s working to form a partnership program to market accessibility product creators as well home construction experts.

Located in Florida, where many older snowbirds migrate for the winter, Michael is sure to find a steady stream of people needing accommodating retrofitting for physical needs.

Connect with Michael:

Website – https://www.barrierfreecontractors.com/

For outside of the home, you might like to know about the QRamp – learn about it HERE

Music credit –
Living Well Today intro and outro music, More Love and Happiness
is provided courtesy of Canadian singer/songwriter, Clela A Errington.

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When it comes to living with health challenges, much learning is accomplished through experience, and sharing that experience is of great value to others. Join Living Well coach, Susan Wheeler-Hall and listen to interviews and insights aimed to inspire and ignite living well no matter what is going on in your life.

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Music Credit

Living Well Today intro and outro music, More Love and Happiness,
is provided courtesy of Canadian singer/songwriter, Clela A Errington.

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