‘Existing Buildings and Alterations’ Category
Explore the nuances of ADA and access codes with Janis Kent, Architect. Gain clarity on differences, implementations, and how federal and state regulations interact.
The question comes up quite often of what minimally is required to be done for alterations on parking. And for that matter, what about barrier removal when no alterations are happening. Are the requirements the same across the board for addressing non-compliant accessible parking spaces? And this does get confused since it requires looking closely at the wording of the implementing regulations.
The question has come up several times of why and where one would use a wheelchair lift versus an elevator and what would be the advantage of one over the other, presuming there is a choice.
The question has come up as to whether manual doors need to be maintained to be accessible. And the answer is – yes, absolutely.
One of the items that did not seem entirely clear to me was reflective or reflectorized signs for parking, and how do you recognize them, vs glossy or matt signs. At one point I looked for small dots in the signs but many of them seem to be faded with no added benefit that I could discern. And recently I have been seeing the signs with vertical type prism bands. So what is required, what is the difference, and what are we looking for?
Earlier this year a law was passed in California stating that all single user toilet rooms are to be unisex — in other words we will no longer have a men’s restroom or a women’s restroom for one user. Since the rooms are required to have privacy locks they can now be used by either sex.
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.
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.
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.
Janis Kent, FAIA, Architect, CASp © 2013, Updated March, 2021 So the question that often comes up is, what do we do for employee only spaces? And the answer is, it depends on whether it is an existing employee only space or a new/altered employee only space, whether it is an employee only work area […]