‘Multi-Family Residential’ Category
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.
Pool lifts have very specific requirements which many times have been overlooked – from the mechanism itself to the level clear floor space adjacent to the water edge. Lifts are typically required for both pools and spas, although there are other alternative means of entry into the water that are also acceptable. This requirement first became mandatory on March 15, 2012 but an extension was provided until January 31, 2013 for existing pools. What was cause for great confusion at the time was the difference between the industry language of portable lift versus fixed and the ADA requirements. Basically the ADA states that the lift has to be fixed – whether this means a portable lift that is fixed in place or a typical fixed lift – both appear to be acceptable as long as they meet the other lift requirements.
Aside from hotels, motels, and inns there are other types of vacation rentals that people use. Some fall under the definition of bed and breakfasts while others are considered short-term private rentals where people rent out their homes, or rooms within their homes whether thru an agent or thru online companies such as Airbnb.
With the 2010 ADA Standards, college housing, if operated by or on behalf of a place of education, is considered transient lodging even though the period of stay is over 30 days. What this means is, it is required to comply with the ADA Standards, and in California, Section 11B as well.
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.
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.