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Old 01-09-2020, 02:25 AM
Iggy is offline
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Do building inspectors check for ADA compliance?


I thought this might be GQ material but moved it over here since perhaps standard practice varies from place to place.

Management moved my department into a newly erected temporary building back in July. Since then I have had to raise a couple problems with non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act standard.

1. Insufficient handicapped parking. They set up the new building on top of the former twelve handicapped parking spaces. Didn't designate any new handicapped parking spaces. Left us with three handicapped parking spaces out of about 300 total spaces.

2. Inadequate access ramp. There is no ground level entrance. The only ramp had a top landing that was so small you couldn't fit a wheelchair or walker on a level surface and still open the door. They modified the ramp landing but for some reason removed the handrails from the entire ramp.

3. No second accessible fire exit. The building is the size of 13 mobile homes joined side to side... about 40ft by 150ft or so.

I would think that building inspectors would not issue a Certificate of Occupancy but maybe they don't check for ADA compliance?

Any insight from those in construction or building inspection would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by Iggy; 01-09-2020 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:28 AM
Bijou Drains is offline
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Parking requires 2% handicapped spaces. Maybe the rules are different for a temp building

Local Mormon temple which is around 12 years old recently closed to upgrade to ADA standards and other upgrades. They reopened last month. Maybe churches are exempt from some rules.

Last edited by Bijou Drains; 01-09-2020 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:01 AM
Oredigger77 is offline
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It will depend on the inspector. Most of them do a terrible job and don't really know code. The rest typically know the code really well from what their background is and have studied the highlights of the rest of it. I've had building inspectors try to tell me that code requires things it clearly doesn't and I've had to call their supervisor with a code book in had during inspections. I've also had inspectors walk through a job site that had things I knew were wrong for various reasons and sign off without noticing. Overall, after 7 years of working with them across the country, I've got a really low opinion of inspectors and your expectations that they would catch something is crazy.

Now the arch or civil in charge of the project should have had that all covered in their plans but without good site supervision one of the first things used for TP are the drawings.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:41 PM
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Most Building Inspectors are going to be responsible for enforcing the building codes adopted by their state, along with any local ordinances.

For example, if a state has adopted the International Building Code (with state-specific amendments), they will normally be responsible for enforcing Chapter 11, "Accessibility." If you refer to Table 1106.1 in the IBC, you will see exactly how many accessible parking spaces are required. (It is basically 2%, rounded up, as previously mentioned.) There are also requirements for an accessible path and access to the building.

However, you have to remember that many Code Officials pay little attention to issues like this in real life. Theoretically, the issue of accessibility was addressed when the building plans were submitted for review by the jurisdiction. A new certificate of occupancy, or a change in Use Group, could trigger a review, but that doesn't happen very often.

However (again), you can always file a complaint based on ADA. This would go to the Justice Department. You can also file a complaint with the jurisdiction, as they will usually at least investigate the situation. Exceptions from the general requirements for accessibility are only infrequently grandfathered.
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:14 PM
gotpasswords is offline
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Are you or anyone else there in need of ADA compliance? Do you get clients or visitors who need the parking spots? If not, is it worth raising a ruckus?

The part about only one exit is more problematic and may be worth a call to your local building inspection department depending on your tolerance for potentially being burned alive if there was a fire at the front door. As a temporary / "mobile modular" facility, there might not even have been a COO issued, depending on jurisdiction.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:41 PM
Bijou Drains is offline
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I finished a room in my house. The local inspectors took about 30 seconds at the most looking at the work. One time I think they never even entered the room, just looked through the door
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:59 PM
Iggy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
Are you or anyone else there in need of ADA compliance? Do you get clients or visitors who need the parking spots? If not, is it worth raising a ruckus?

The part about only one exit is more problematic and may be worth a call to your local building inspection department depending on your tolerance for potentially being burned alive if there was a fire at the front door. As a temporary / "mobile modular" facility, there might not even have been a COO issued, depending on jurisdiction.
Yes, I need ADA compliance. On a good day I can use a roller walker to get around. On a bad day I need to use a mobility scooter. I cannot walk 50 feet unsupported, much less the 300 feet or so it would take to exit the building and get clear of the area.

We have several employees with handicapped parking placards though no others seem to require a walker/wheelchair/scooter.

There was a fire out in the parking lot here a couple months ago, possibly a short circuit in a vehicle's wiring. There have been a few such incidents in the area recently at similar facilities, thus making me think about what I could do in an emergency.
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Old 01-10-2020, 12:46 AM
flatlined is offline
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About 8 years ago, Yavapai County AZ needed more room for their workers and built a new, pretty, energy and efficient building for their IT, Zoning and Planning and Development Services Departments. While they did include nice ramps, opening the heavy "airlock" doors with push bar openers wasn't easy.
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:40 PM
Bad News Baboon is offline
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Building inspectors do not check for ADA compliance because ADA is a civil rights law and not a building code. It is the owner’s responsibility to conform to ADA. One would hope that they hired a competent architect to ensure compliance.
It’s gets a complicated though, because almost all (if not all) states have codes that mirror ADA. The Texas Accessibility Standards, for example, are almost word-for-word the ADA (and in a few places more stringent).
So in Texas you’d file to have a TAS inspector come out, they go through and give you the list of failures. It is up to the owner to comply. Do they come out to check if the changes were made? To the best of my knowledge, no. If there is a complaint, whether at the state level or federal (ADA is under the Justice Department and Department of Transportation), then they can be fined.
File an ADA complaint
The ADA code is available free online to site specific issues.
This said, you might have better success at your state/city level.

There have been several trade articles about people that file complaints “professionally” because getting a building to be 100% is difficult: force required to open doors, changes in floor levels, correct placement of fixtures, handrails heights, etc.
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:44 PM
Bad News Baboon is offline
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Also wanted to add that your local fire marshal can be contacted regarding fire code violations.

It’s my experience that a building failing to comply with accessibility often has fire code violations, too.
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Old 01-11-2020, 02:30 PM
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I've always wondered about those construction trailer offices. From what I've seen, they're definitely not ADA compliant, stairs only and minimal sized doors. I assume those with ADA needs work out of home or the home office building.

OP. Have you brought up your needs to management? Rather than rip out doorways and build ramps, they'll probably put make arrangements for you to work somewhere, where your needs are meet.

Edit: Re-reading the first post, I see you've already brought up the issue. I'm sure there's a timeframe in which compliance or alternate arrangements must be made.

Last edited by lingyi; 01-11-2020 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:01 PM
lingyi is offline
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This section of Title III seems to cover your situation.

"III-7.3120 Temporary structures (ADAAG §4.1.1(4)). Temporary buildings that are extensively used or are essential for public use are covered. However, structures, sites, and equipment directly associated with major construction are not covered."

Source: https://www.ada.gov/taman3.html

The way I read "...directly associated with major construction are not covered.", it covers your situation since the new building is under construction.

Also, despite what many people think, a disability permit doesn't mean the person has to have a visible walking disability. I worked for a while at our local (Honolulu) disability office giving out permits and while it wasn't a requirement, my boss instructed us that anyone with proof of AIDs, cancer or heart disease was eligible for a permit even if it didn't affect their walking ability at the time of issue. So having three spaces may be enough for those currently having difficulty walking the extra distance right now.

As for the fire exit.

"1910.36(b)(3)

A single exit route. A single exit route is permitted where the number of employees, the size of the building, its occupancy, or the arrangement of the workplace is such that all employees would be able to evacuate safely during an emergency.

Note to paragraph (b) of this section: For assistance in determining the number of exit routes necessary for your workplace, consult NFPA 101-2009, Life Safety Code, or IFC- 2009, International Fire Code (incorporated by reference, see § 1910.6)."

Source: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?
p_id=9724&p_table=STANDARDS


Again, I wonder about those office trailers that only have one door. Guessing they're covered by max occupation laws.

No matter the laws require, kudos to the OP for bringing up his/her concerns. Hopefully you'll receive an official explanation and/or resolution.

Last edited by lingyi; 01-11-2020 at 03:02 PM.
  #13  
Old 01-11-2020, 03:32 PM
needscoffee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
This section of Title III seems to cover your situation.

"III-7.3120 Temporary structures (ADAAG §4.1.1(4)). Temporary buildings that are extensively used or are essential for public use are covered. However, structures, sites, and equipment directly associated with major construction are not covered."

Source: https://www.ada.gov/taman3.html
The way I read "...directly associated with major construction are not covered.", it covers your situation since the new building is under construction.
I disagree. One can also interpret "structures, sites, and equipment directly associated with major construction" to mean the the sites structures and equipment which are a part of the constructing process itself, not the "Temporary buildings that are extensively used or are essential for public use" which is where Iggy is situated.

We'd need someone with more legal knowledge to interpret those clauses accurately.

Last edited by needscoffee; 01-11-2020 at 03:35 PM.
  #14  
Old 01-11-2020, 04:36 PM
Iggy is offline
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FWIW, the "temporary" building my office has been moved into is planned to be in use for at least three years.

There is a plan to build a new building on an adjacent lot to provide the needed additional office space, but no ground has been broken. The temporary building is not an office to manage that construction project.

I managed to speak with a county building inspector. He agreed that the new temporary building my office is in now should be ADA compliant and did require a Certificate of Occupancy. But he declined to say whether the issues I raised had been considered during the inspection, or even confirm that an inspection was actually physically done.
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