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Accessible Routes and Other Pedestrian Ways

Posted on July 20th, 2015

Over the years people use various terminology referring to areas where pedestrian move – circulation path, accessible route, path of travel, and accessible means of egress. But the question is, are all of these terms inter-changeable or do they have some nuance of difference in their meaning? The answer is, they do overlap each other, but there is indeed differences between each of the terms. It would be good to understand the differences since the ADA Standards has further requirements for each of these categories and limits some of what we can do within each.

Which Code or Regulation Applies During the Course of a Project?

Posted on June 8th, 2015

Generally when we design a project, we know what codes and regulations apply. But what happens if the project was shelved for a while and suddenly comes alive? Or for that matter what happens if the project is under construction during the transition from the 1991 ADA to the 2010 ADA and it is an ADA requirement that was not previously regulated.

Restaurant, Bar, Banquet, Desk, and Cafeteria Seating – How much space do we need?

Posted on May 19th, 2015

When we do layouts of tables and seating, the question comes up – how much space between the tables and aisles are we going to need? We know we are required to have 5% of the seating accessible and dispersed within the area, but there is nothing specific on spacing other than that the tables are accessible and require a specific amount of clear floor space and the aisles require a specific width. So, we need to put this information together.

ADA Requirements for Kitchen Storage

Posted on April 13th, 2015

So what do we need to know about access for kitchen storage? Since we are talking about ADA it would pertain to kitchens that are new or altered in employee lounges/break rooms, and new or altered kitchenettes or kitchens in transient lodging whether in the guest room or in a common space. It would also apply to kitchens in multi-family residences that are owned, built, or operated on behalf of a public agency both in the common space and in the mobility feature dwelling units.

Truncated Domes — To Use or Not To Use?

Posted on March 9th, 2015

Truncated domes, a form of detectable warnings, have been around for a while. It is one of those items which is not a great solution but there does not appear to be anything comparable. It is meant for people with a visual impairment to determine the boundary between a sidewalk and a street. It has been used to warn of hazards along a circulation path where there is no curb, although it can cause a problem for people with other types of disabilities and can even create a trip hazard for those who are able-bodied. Also, in new construction, there has been a trend to eliminate curbs so we have even a less of a separation between vehicles and pedestrians.

Accessibility Expert Janis Kent elected to AIA’s Prestigious College of Fellows

Posted on February 4th, 2015

Long Beach, California – February 2, 2015 – The 2015 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has elected Janis Kent to its esteemed College of Fellows. Ms Kent will be elevated at the Investiture Ceremony at the Ebenezer Baptist Church this May during the 2015 National AIA Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. […]

Multi-Family Housing — Which regulations pertain?

Posted on January 21st, 2015

In the last few years I have noticed more and more projects for both new and altered multi-family dwellings some of which are multi-use as well. These projects are both privately funded and publicly funded leading to the question – which regulations are applicable. There is no simple answer since, as usual, it depends. It depends on whether it is totally privately funded or whether it has some public funding or involvement. It also depends on whether it is new construction, a conversion from lofts or something similar, or whether it is an older building.

Existing Buildings – What needs to be done?

Posted on December 17th, 2014

One of the more common questions posed to me, is in regards to existing buildings. Many times it is a very simple question of what do I need to do? But in order to answer this question, other than ‘it depends’, there is a whole list of information that has impact and needs to be known.

Trash Enclosures — Accessible or not?

Posted on November 6th, 2014

Trash enclosures are one of the items we tend not to talk about or even think about much – out of sight, out of mind, and for years it was thought no access was required. But a trash enclosure should have some measure of access – the question is how much?

Proportional Spending — Exactly what is it?

Posted on September 4th, 2014

Proportional spending translates basically into how much additional money will be required to be spent over and above construction costs of a project to provide access for path of travel items. It only comes into play when performing alterations to primary function areas per ADA or all altered spaces per CBC, or altering the usability of a space, or additions to existing buildings or facilities. Some of these items may not even fall within the altered area but support the area itself. So if you are only doing new construction this does not pertain, although new construction and an altered area itself are required to totally comply.

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“I have always enjoyed and been highly interested in your publications and seminars over the years. Your publications are required reading by all my staff and are a given contribution to the success of our designs.”

– Craig R. Smith AIA, CRSA Architecture


“Janis is our go-to person whenever issues requiring interpretation of CBC/ADA arise. She is knowledgable, thorough and being an architect herself helps her better understand the challenges we face implementing the ever more detailed accessibility requirements.”

–Ron Bernhardt, AIA Retail Design Collaborative


I’ve found that the seminars and webinars that Stepping Thru Accessibility offers are the most comprehensive and of the highest quality available. I have always gained very useful and practical information on a wide range of accessibility topics with Janis’s seminars/webinars; highly recommended for anyone with an interest in accessibility.

–Matthew O’Brien, Architect, CASp