‘Building Elements & Interiors’ Category
Discussion has come up of what is allowed or required for a bar or dining surface and how does this differ from a sales or service counter. Many times these two requirements are confused with each other. Some of the main questions are, what is required if there is a split-height counter and what about the required clear floor space.
Closet space, whether common shared storage for employees, or within mobility feature guest rooms in hotels, student housing, or public dwelling units, needs to be accessible under the ADA.
Recently, it has come to my attention that there is some confusion on passenger loading zones and what are the requirements. It is also difficult to determine if the requirements are misunderstood based on drawing review, since on-grade markings are shown. It is just that they are incorrectly placed in the pull-up space.
When remodeling a kitchen, what are some issues you might consider? We generally think of the appliances and locations, and then the countertop material and color. But there are additional items to consider if this is your forever home or if this is the one and only kitchen remodel you are thinking to do. So what are some issues to consider so the kitchen is useful as you age along with your house?
This is a relatively simple topic, but I have seen a number of new facilities where these are not specified or installed in a compliant fashion. The ADA standards does not require all of the machines to be accessible. In each accessible space, one minimum is required to be accessible for a dryer and one for a washing machine. And if there are more than 3 washers or 3 dryers, then two are required to be accessible of each. This is applicable whether it is in a laundromat, or a common space laundry room for public residential dwelling units, or student housing at a place of education, or social service center establishment sleeping rooms, or a mobility feature dwelling unit.
Sinks have many differing requirements depending upon how they are being used including types of approach, cabinetry below or not, and even the number required to be accessible. Following is a summary of different sink types and their uses that will hopefully shed some light on the issue and requirements for each.
One of the things that we may not pay too much attention to is counters – whether kitchens, kitchenettes, service, or work surfaces. Depending on the set up, we have either a side/parallel approach, or if we have knee/toe clearance below we can have a front approach. And certain portions actually require a front approach.
Doorbells have a variety of requirements with the implementation of the 2010 ADA Standards. This would be within communication feature units both for transient lodging guest rooms as well as for dwelling units. These features are for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and blind or partially sighted.
For some reason, storage requirements appear to be confusing for most people – either accessible storage is forgotten completely or adequate accessible storage is not provided. And there also are some ambiguous portions in the ADA which really do need to be better defined. Like most other things in Access, the requirements for storage depends on its use. In order for storage to be considered accessible, it needs to be within reach range, whether side or forward reach, and from a level clear floor space that is along an accessible route. If it has any operable parts then they are required to have 5 lbs maximum operating force and are operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The issue though, is the scoping – how much do we need? Below is a summary of different types of storage and their respective requirements.
There are certain things in Access that at first and even second glance, appear to be clear. But many of the simple things are not as intuitive as you might imagine, particularly if you are not a wheelchair user. Clear floor spaces, for instance.
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.
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?
You are working on seating arrangements and the question is – how much space is necessary at a table or desk for the accessible space. The answer, of course is, it depends. Basically there is one spatial requirement if a wheelchair space is backing up to an accessible route or open aisle verses if the wheelchair space is backed up to a wall or some other object or obstruction.
Different regulations have varying requirements for installation of mailboxes. The US Postal Services also has a maximum height requirement but this is not in reference to Accessibility features. In order to determine installation requirements you will need to know which regulations need to be adhered to. In Residential projects there may actually be several regulations having jurisdiction over a project, so you would pick the one that is most restrictive and providing greatest access.
A good percentage of all doors and gates have some form of locking device other than a latch. Americans with Disabilities Act Standards (ADAS) basically includes locks within the hardware section stating it should be located between 34” and 48 “ above the finished floor or ground. California on the other hand allows a maximum […]
We have heard so much about sun light not being good for us that we have missed the impact of natural light, in particular narrow spectrum blue light, and what it can do for our health and even well-being. We have also become energy efficient with lower artificial lighting levels inside that could adversely affect […]
In a previous article I provided an overview of the component pieces that go into signs. So the next question is, what components go into what kinds of signs? There are many sign types, each with their own requirements and exceptions. In order to understand some of the requirements the Components article should also be […]
One of the most forgotten elements is signage. Basically it can be divided into three groups – permanent room signs, way-finding, and informational signs, but there are other types as well. Permanent room signs also have requirements for installation location with criteria for clear floor space in front. Height requirements have now been changed with […]
You have an older two-story commercial building and the question is whether you are required to install an elevator. The answer to this, of course, is it depends. If your building has less than 3,000 SF per floor or is a 2-story building, generally an elevator is not required. But this is based upon what […]
Whether you have a reception counter in an office, a reservation counter at a restaurant, or a sales counter in a store, it does need to be accessible. Since many of these items do not require a building permit, the business owner is responsible and often times relies upon the cabinetry fabricator to make it […]