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DESIGN OBJECTIVES Acce ssib le Hist o ry o f Acce ssib le B uild ing D e sig n Pro vid e Eq ual Acce ss Plan f o r Fle xib ilit y: B e Pro act ive Ae st he t ics C o st - Ef f e ct ive Funct io nal / O p e rat io nal Hist o ric Pre se rvat io n Pro d uct ive Se cure / Saf e Sust ainab le B UILD IN G T YPES





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Assessment Tools f or Accessibility

Aesthetic Challenges

by Peter A. Stratton Steven Winter Associates, Inc. Last updated: 06-08-2010





Aesthetic Opportunities Assessment Tools for Accessibility Within This Page

This Reso urce Page describes to o ls that help make it easier fo r Introduction Description designers, develo pers, and co ntracto rs to assess, survey, o r Relevant Codes and audit facilities fo r accessibility fo r peo ple with disabilities. While Standards several o f the to o ls are intended fo r new co nstructio n o r Additional Resources alteratio n pro jects, they can also be used to survey existing buildings to identify tho se features o r elements in need o f mo dificatio ns. Keep in mind that o nce a building is co nstructed and co mpliance is called into questio n, a physical survey o f the building and site will be required to identify vio latio ns to applicable federal laws, including the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) o f 19 6 8 , Sectio n 50 4 o f the Rehabilitatio n Act o f 19 73, o r the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).



Balancing Security/Safety and Sustainability Objectives Daylighting VIEW ALL RELAT ED (20 ) VIEW RESO URCE PAG E INDEX


DESCRIPT ION A. Checklist s


Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) Checklist for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG Checklist) The ADAAG Checklist can be used to "survey places o f public acco mmo datio n, co mmercial facilities, and transpo rtatio n facilities fo r co mpliance with the new co nstructio n and alteratio ns requirements o f Title II, and Title III o f the ADA." It can be used to identify barriers in existing buildings as well. No special training is needed to use the checklist. Acco rding to the ADDAG Checklist, it must be used in co njunctio n with the Department o f Justice's regulatio ns in 28 CFR Part 36 and the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG), which are reprinted in the appendices to the regulatio ns. ADAAG Checklist

Am e ricans wit h Disabilit ie s Act (ADA) Che cklist f o r Re adily Achie vable Barrie r Re m o val The ADA Checklist fo r Readily Achievable Barrier Remo val helps co ncerned pro fessio nals identify accessibility pro blems and so lutio ns in existing facilities in o rder to meet their o bligatio ns under the ADA. The go al o f the survey pro cess is to plan ho w to make an existing facility mo re usable fo r peo ple with disabilities. The checklist is based o n the fo ur prio rities reco mmended by the Title III regulatio ns fo r planning readily achievable barrier remo val pro jects:

ADA Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal

Prio rity 1: Accessible entrance into the facility Prio rity 2: Access to go o ds and services Prio rity 3: Access to rest-ro o ms Prio rity 4: Any o ther measures necessary No te that no t all o f the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG) requirements are co vered—because full co mpliance with ADAAG is required o nly fo r new co nstructio n and alteratio ns. Ho wever, whenever po ssible, ADAAG sho uld be used in making readily achievable mo dificatio ns. If co mplying with ADAAG is no t readily achievable, a mo dificatio n that do es no t fully co mply with ADAAG may be undertaken as lo ng as it po ses no health o r safety risk.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Checklist for Polling Places The ADA Checklist fo r Po lling Places is "designed to help vo ting o fficials determine whether a po lling place has basic accessible features needed by mo st vo ters with disabilities. It may be used when evaluating the accessibility o f po tential new po lling places and when identifying physical barriers in existing po lling places befo re tempo rary o r permanent mo dificatio ns are made to impro ve accessibility fo r electio ns. Individuals co mpleting the checklist do no t necessarily need to be experienced in evaluating buildings and facilities fo r accessibility. The checklist is designed to pro mpt the user to check key features by asking questio ns abo ut sizes, slo ped surfaces, and availability o f accessible features, and in so me areas suggests alternatives if a physical barrier is identified." Pocket Guide to the ADAAG The Pocket Guide to the ADAAG , develo ped by Evan Terry Asso ciates, Birmingham, AL, is a co nvenient, "po cket-sized" reso urce to o l that helps building pro fessio nals ensure co mpliance with the ADA. It can be used to review plans befo re buildings are co nstructed and to co nduct field assessments fo r ADA co mpliance in co mpleted and existing buildings. The Guide includes the mo st current revisio ns o f the Federal Register's ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). The Guide includes the key pro visio ns o f the ADA and its referenced technical criteria, which affect ho w buildings are designed. UFAS Accessibility Checklist The UFAS Accessibility Checklist enables peo ple to design and survey buildings fo r co mpliance with the Unifo rm Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). The UFAS Accessibility Checklist includes "all o f the technical requirements o f UFAS in the lo gical pro gressio n o f traveling to and thro ugh a building. The 21 survey fo rms represent elements o n the site and in the building. Many o f UFAS's general requirements repeat o n different fo rms because they apply to mo re than o ne element." All o r parts o f the survey can be used to assess UFAS co mpliance. A number o f the survey fo rms, such as Fo rm 20 : Po stal Facilities, may no t apply to the pro ject. As a result, o nly use tho se fo rms that apply. Special training is no t needed to use the checklist. It can be used o n-site o r to review architectural plans. Utilizing the UFAS Accessibility Checklist during the planning stages o f a pro ject will help to ensure co mpliance with UFAS, which applies to any facility co vered by the ABA and Sectio n 50 4. No te that current Do D po licies enco urage co mpliance with the requirements o f the ADAAG where tho se requirements are stricter than UFAS. If lo cal accessibility requirements exist, the mo st stringent will prevail between lo cal and UFAS/ADA.

B. Survey Inst rument s Smart Level (Digital Inclinometer)

In the past, a builder's level and a t ape m e asure were used to measure slo pes. To day, the mo re efficient smart level, kno wn as a digital inclino meter, can be used to perfo rm the same functio n easily. The smart level lo o ks like a builder's level, except it has a digital reado ut that indicates percent slo pe, degrees, o r pitch (inches o f rise per fo o t o f run). Measuring slo pe in percentage is all that is needed to determine whether a slo pe is co mpliant. The smart level can be used alo ne o r with a builder's level. First, calibrate it acco rding to manufacturer's instructio ns; then place it o n a flat surface—it auto matically displays the percent slo pe.

SmartTool smart level (or digital inclinometer). Courtesy of

Available: Eastlake, Derry & Asso ciates, LLC , M-D Building Pro ducts, Inc. Door Pressure Gauge The fo rce required to o pen do o rs must be minimal so that they can be easily o perated by tho se who might have limited upper bo dy strength (such as the elderly), challenges with manual dexterity, o r any o ther issue that might make o pening heavy do o rs a challenge. In the past, the fish scale was the mo st co mmo n way to measure the fo rce needed to o pen a do o r. To day, the do o r pressure gauge is a mo re efficient to o l. To assess do o r pressure, simply o pen the do o r by pressing the tip o f the gauge against the do o r. The reado ut o n the gauge will indicate the fo rce required to o pen the do o r. The do o r pressure gauge can determine if the fo rce required to o pen a do o r is greater than that permitted. Available: Eastlake, Derry & Asso ciates, LLC

C. Sof t ware Tools CodeBuddy, Version 5.0H-98

Door pressure gauge. Courtesy of

Co deBuddy, Versio n 5.0 H-9 8 , is an easy-to -use co mputer so ftware pro gram fo r finding fast and accurate answers to Disabled Access/ADA questio ns. Co deBuddy allo ws users to search acro ss co de sectio ns, o r by o ccupancy gro ups, to pics, live plan, o r figures, and retrieve needed info rmatio n. The pro gram co ntains pertinent text, graphical examples and explanatio ns, sketches, and tables. Numero us co de sectio ns are referenced fro m the 19 9 8 Califo rnia Building Co de Disabled Access regulatio ns and ADAAG. Co deBuddy runs o n a co mputer within the bro wser enviro nment (no need fo r Internet co nnectio n o r being o nline). Also , users can do wnlo ad the latest so ftware upgrades via the Internet as the co des change.

ADAAG Pro ADAAG Pro is an easy-to -use co mputer so ftware pro gram develo ped to assist in ADA surveys and audits. Based o n the ADAAG Checklist, ADAAG Pro allo ws users to create custo mized—and re-use previo usly custo mized—accessibility surveys fo r any type o f facility. The so ftware co ntains the ADA law, regulatio ns and guidelines, as well as graphic illustratio ns asso ciated with the ADAAG Checklist in a searchable fo rmat. The so ftware is updated quarterly to reflect the latest ADA. BACK TO TO P

RELEVANT CODES AND STANDARDS Codes and St andards ASME A17.1-20 0 0 Safety Co de fo r Elevato rs and Escalato rs , including ASME A17.1a-20 0 2 Addenda and ASME A17.1b-20 0 3 Addenda ASME A18 .1-20 0 3 Safety Standard fo r Platfo rm Lifts and Stairway Chairlifts ASTM F 19 51-9 9 Standard Specificatio n fo r Determinatio n o f Accessibility o f Surface Systems Under and Aro und Playgro und Equipment Internatio nal Building Co de NFPA 72 Natio nal Fire Alarm Co de, 20 0 2 Editio n Unifo rm Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS)

Laws and Regulat ions Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Rehabilitatio n Act o f 19 73, Sectio n 50 4, Sectio n 50 8

Guidelines Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) ADA BACK TO TO P

ADDIT IONAL RESOURCES The majo r reso urce fo r guidance o n accessible design is the U.S. Access Bo ard (Access Bo ard). The Access Bo ard is an independent federal agency devo ted to accessibility fo r peo ple with disabilities. Key respo nsibilities o f the Bo ard include develo ping and maintaining accessibility guidelines and standards fo r the built enviro nment, transit vehicles, teleco mmunicatio ns equipment, and electro nic and info rmatio n techno lo gy; pro viding technical assistance and training fo r these guidelines and standards; and enfo rcing accessibility standards fo r federally funded facilities. Fo r mo re reso urces, see Access Bo ard's Links Page.

WBDG Building / Space Types Applicable to mo st building types and space types, especially Co urtho uses and Co urtro o ms Design Objectives Accessible Branch, Aesthetics, Functio nal / Operatio nal , Histo ric Preservatio n—Co mply with Accessibility Requirements, Pro ductive—Design fo r the Changing Wo rkplace , Pro ductive —Pro vide Co mfo rtable Enviro nments, Secure / Safe—Ensure Occupant Safety and Health , Sustainable—Optimize Operatio nal and Maintenance Practices Products and Systems Building Envelo pe Design Guide: Exterio r Do o rs Federal Green Co nstructio n Guide fo r Specifiers: 0 1 9 1 0 0 (0 18 10 ) Co mmissio ning 0 8 14 0 0 (0 8 210 ) Wo o d Do o rs 14 20 0 0 (1420 0 ) Elevato rs 22 40 0 0 (1540 0 ) Plumbing Fixtures Project Management Building Co mmissio ning BACK TO TO P

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assessment tools for ADA