Building Design Codes and Standards for Elevators, Chair Lifts, Stair Lifts
The number of people with disabilities is on the rise. Improving physical access for such individuals is important from the point of view of education, employment and social freedom. Building design plays an important role in enhancing accessibility for people with disabilities. Elevators, chair lifts and stair lifts are accessibility solutions that have improved the lives of millions of people with physical impairments. Architects, contractors and construction companies need to be aware of the rules and regulations which govern building design to accommodate elevators, chair lifts and stair lifts.
Building Design for Accessibility – Compliance with Federal Guidelines
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that became law in 1991 is designed to eliminate any discrimination because of disabilities. The American with Disabilities Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) went into effect in January of 1992. This document contains scoping and technical requirements for accessibility of persons with disabilities to sites, facilities, buildings, and elements. These requirements have to be adhered to in the design, construction, additions to, and alteration of sites, facilities, buildings, and elements to the extent required by regulations issued by Federal agencies under ADA.
ADAAG Rules for Elevators
- Elevators are required in "multi-story" facilities and elevators must serve mezzanines where one is required or provided. A floor has to contain occupiable space in order to be considered a "story." If a building has two floors and only one provides any occupiable space, there is no requirement for an elevator. An exception is also allowed for buildings that have less than three stories or less than 3,000 square feet per floor. Existing buildings require only what is readily achievable and will not be costly for the building owner.
- Vertical access by ramp or lift to upper stories is necessary for:
- Shopping centers or malls
- Professional offices of health care providers
- Public transit stations and airport passenger terminals
- State or local government facilities
- The ground floor must be accessible, and if an elevator is installed it must meet the ADAAG requirements
- A minimum clear floor or ground space of 30" x 48" is required for vertical and inclined platform lifts. The new ADAAG also requires platform lifts in areas where the lift does not allow a user to pass through the lift to have power openers on the gates or doors
- Ground and floor surfaces along accessible routes and in accessible rooms and spaces including floors, walks, ramps, stairs, and curb ramps, should be stable, firm and slip-resistant
- Changes in level up to 1/4 in (6 mm) can be vertical and without edge treatment. Changes in level between 1/4 in and 1/2 in (6 mm and 13 mm) shall be beveled with a slope not more than 1:2. Changes in level greater than 1/2 in (13 mm) should be achieved with a ramp that complies with 4.7 or 4.8
- A carpet or carpet tile used on a ground or floor surface should be securely attached, have a firm cushion, pad, or backing, or no cushion or pad; and have a level loop, textured loop, level cut pile, or level cut/uncut pile texture. The maximum pile thickness should be 1/2 in (13 mm). Exposed edges of carpet should be fastened to floor surfaces with trim along the entire length of the exposed edge
- If gratings are located in walking surfaces, they must have spaces of maximum width 1/2 in (13 mm) in one direction. Gratings with elongated openings should be placed so that the long dimension is perpendicular to the principal direction of travel.
The ADA requires companies providing goods and services to the public to take certain limited steps to improve access to existing places of business. This mandate includes the obligation to remove barriers from existing buildings when it is possible to do so without much expense.
The US Access Board bulletin, BULLETIN 35: USING ADAAG offers specific guidance to architects and other design professionals who must apply the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) to new construction and alterations projects covered by titles II (state and local government services) and III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) of the ADA. It is also intended to clarify accessibility regulations generally, including those that apply to existing facilities covered by the ADA.
DAY Elevator and Lift
50 Hempstead Gardens Drive
West Hempstead, NY 11552
Toll Free: 800-758-5438
54 Thompson Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
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