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.
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 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 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.
Guest rooms in hotels, motels, and other short stay facilities can be quite complex with all of the requirements. There are one set of requirements for mobility rooms, another set of requirements for communication feature rooms, and even requirements for all of the rest of the guest rooms in terms of Access.
A question comes up – just how far reaching is the ADA? Most of us understand it affects buildings. A number of us understand it affects our operating policies, such as allowing a service animal into all buildings including restaurants. A more enlightened group understands it even affects access to our websites. But what about the lowly appliance we all use – the refrigerator? Does that need to be accessible and if so just what is accessible for a refrigerator?
Many owners, developers, architects, and other design professionals have the common belief that if they have a building permit or a certificate of occupancy then all requirements for accessibility have been met, both for the local jurisdiction as well as ADA. Not.
Everyone complains about the increase in litigation and threat to sue that has been going on, but in reality are we as accessible as we should be? Many items are relatively easy to fix…that is if we know there is a problem. For many not planning or doing construction, they might not even realize there is an ongoing requirement on older buildings to do any fixes – Barrier Removal. And once we realize we might have a problem…well what do we do about it and which items first?
Pedestrian doors and gates come in many varieties whether – sliding, swinging, or folding and whether manual at one side of the spectrum to fully Power Operated at the other side. In between, we have Power Assist and Low Energy doors. It is these latter two types which have generated confusion and which we will look at including the signage requirements.
Janis Kent, Architect, CASp © December, 2013 No matter what the holidays are, decorations are part of the celebration. So, since the decorations are temporary, I do not need to worry about access, correct? The answer to that question is no. One needs to be very careful not to block off access whether it is […]