Enforcing ADA Standards Part 2 : Hotspots

• Kevin Rowe
• Project Manager
• Rafn Company

A few months ago we wrote about enforcement of accessibility standards and how a design and construction team must work together starting from the beginning of a project to make sure the building is in compliance. We also identified several hotspots that require special attention that we will explore in more detail in this article.

2% Sloped Ramps

Ramps integrated into post tensioned (PT) decks or those that tie into existing walkways designed to the maximum slope allowed can be exacting to construct. Variances in actual existing grades and construction tolerances can put the project in a difficult spot. A design that allows some flexibility in these conditions is a must.

The team should review the viability of adding a landing or stretching the ramp to reduce the slopes. This may require relocating doors, walls, or other elements to pull off. Pre-construction meetings to review these elements in both the design phase and prior to construction should be held to verify both the standard required for the particular configuration and the field conditions prior to construction.

Egress Path Clearances & Obstructions

Egress pathways should be reviewed for common obstructions.

Typical offenders are:

  • columns
  • fire extinguisher cabinets
  • pipe
  • conduit
  • duct runs

Remember to review all pathways including, but not limited to, those found in parking garages, common and living unit spaces, courtyards and decks.

Unit Clearances

Unit entry clearances should be reviewed for the same common obstructions as pathways, as well as typical clearance requirements. Beware of the one-off unit type and unique structural elements. Common clearance issue locations include the kitchen, bathroom, and corridors. The design should be reviewed to ensure elements such as shear plywood, varying layers of GWB, appliance depth, and furred concrete walls do not result in nonconforming conditions. The contractor's quality control program should address verifying clear framing dimensions required for each unit at each location to ensure the accuracy of work in place.

Again, completing an accessibility compliant project is not an impossible task but it does take a cohesive team making it a priority.

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