A few questions from a client regarding sinks in break rooms.

August 7, 2012

From: Brad Pitt, Architect (honorary)

Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 5:37 PM

To: Jeromy Murphy [jmurphy@acico.com]

Subject: Accessibility Question-Knee Space under Sinks

We are trying to get proper interpretation on the attached bulletin.

In summary:

  • A Break Room with a sink but without “Cooking Facilities” is not required to have Knee Space
  • Any room with at least one fixed or built-in cooking facility including microwave ovens is considered a kitchen and therefore the sink needs knee space
  • A portable countertop Microwave Oven is not considered a Cooking Facility since it is not fixed or built-in
  • Sinks in Break Rooms with no other cooking facility except a portable countertop microwave oven does not require knee space

Are these statements correct?

Your best buddy,

Brad

————————————————————————-

From: Jeromy Murphy [jmurphy@acico.com]

Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 5:37 PM

To: Brad Pitt, Architect (honorary)

Subject: re: Accessibility Question-Knee Space under Sinks

Brad,

So good to hear from you. See my answers in red below. Note that these are NOT my interpretations, they are directly from TDLR.

      • A Break Room with a sink but without “Cooking Facilities” is not required to have Knee Space. False. 606.2(Exception 1) only applies to sinks located in “Kitchens” or “Wet Bars”. Because a break room is neither a kitchen nor a wet bar, the knee clearance is required (ridiculous, I know).
      • Any room with at least one fixed or built-in cooking facility including microwave ovens is considered a kitchen and therefore the sink needs knee space. True, but…If there is only a microwave, you can apply 606.2(Exception 1) and not provide the knee clearance. If it’s a non-fixed microwave, you can still call it a kitchen, but then you must meet the 50% storage and other kitchen requirements.
      • A portable countertop Microwave Oven is not considered a Cooking Facility since it is not fixed or built-in. Truish. These Standards only address fixed or built-in elements. If dedicated circuits or shelves are provided for a microwave, it could still be considered a kitchen.
      • Sinks in Break Rooms with no other cooking facility except a portable countertop microwave oven does not require knee space. False. As described, this is not a kitchen nor a wetbar, therefore 606.2(Exception 1) cannot be applied.

See you this Thanksgiving,

Jeromy

For reference:

606.2 Clear Floor Space. A clear floor space complying with 305, positioned for a forward approach, and knee and toe clearance complying with 306 shall be provided.

EXCEPTIONS: 
1. A parallel approach complying with 305 shall be permitted to a kitchen sink in a space where a cook top or conventional range is not provided and to wet bars.


Barrier-free Continuing Education

May 3, 2012

By request, here is the slideshow that I use for continuing education. Distribution is encouraged (see CC license info below).

TASPresentation2012

Upcoming seminars:

 June 14: AIA Austin 2012 Annual Summer Conference & Product Expo, Commons Learning Center.

October 18: Texas Society of Architects Annual Conference, Austin Convention Center

Creative Commons License
2012 TAS Presentation by Jeromy G. Murphy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Effective date of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards

December 14, 2011

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) recently announced adoption of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards. These new Standards are modeled on the 2010 ADA Standards and are mostly identical except for some minor changes.

Unlike the 2010 ADA Standards, TDLR did not allow for a grace period in which compliance is optional. Prior to March 15, 2012 compliance with the 1994 Texas Standards is required. After March 15, 2012 compliance with the 2012 Texas Standards is required.

As we approach the deadline, many architects have been inquiring about specific permit and construction start dates. Here are the specifics from the ADA Standards:

Compliance Date for Title II

If the start date for construction is on or after March 15, 2012, all newly constructed or altered State and local government facilities must comply with the 2010 Standards.  Before that date, the 1991 Standards (without the elevator exemption), the UFAS, or the 2010 Standards may be used for such projects when the start of construction commences on or after September 15, 2010.

Compliance Date for Title III

The compliance date for the 2010 Standards for new construction and alterations is determined by:

  • the date the last application for a building permit or permit extension is certified to be complete by a State, county, or local government;
  • the date the last application for a building permit or permit extension is received by a State, county, or local government, where the government does not certify the completion of applications; or 
  • the start of physical construction or alteration, if no permit is required. 

If that date is on or after March 15, 2012, then new construction and alterations must comply with the 2010 Standards.  If that date is on or after September 15, 2010, and before March 15, 2012, then new construction and alterations must comply with either the 1991 or the 2010 Standards.

The specifics for the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards are bit different. First, they do not differentiate between Title II and Title III facilities. Secondly, they left off the bit about “if no permit is required”. From the TDLR website:

Compliance with the 2012 TAS will be required on all buildings and facilities subject to Chapter 469.003 when:

  • the construction project is registered with the Department on or after March 15, 2012 ; or
  • the application for a building permit is issued by a state, county, or local government on or after March 15, 2012; or
  • the commencement of construction begins on or after March 15, 2012.

This would mean that even if a project was permitted prior to March 15, 2012, compliance with the new Standards would be required if construction began after March 15, 2012.  BUT DON”T STOP READING.

I submitted a request to Tech Info for clarification. This was their response:

TDLR RESPONSE TO RAS:  The third bullet point addresses projects that are not required to be registered (such as those that have a construction cost of less than $50,000) or those located in municipalities or cities that do not issue building permits.

Therefore, the 3rd bullet point is only applicable when the project is not being permitted.


Draft 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards

May 31, 2011

A draft of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards, based on the 2010 ADA Standards, is now available for viewing here: http://www.license.state.tx.us/ab/TAS%202012%20Draft.pdf


Update from the Texas Architectural Barriers Advisory Committee Meeting

November 9, 2010

I am guest blogging for the Texas Society of Architects.

Check it out here: New Accessibility Standards, Part I

 


Update on revising the Texas Accessibility Standards

September 30, 2010

If you are not subscribed to the TDLR List Server, do so now to keep up to date with the latest on revising the Texas Accessibility Standards.  Here is the link: http://www.license.state.tx.us/newsletters/TDLRnotificationLists.asp

Here is the latest from the Architectural Barrier List Server:

New Federal Accessibility Standards – The U. S. Department of Justice published the final rule which revises the regulations that implement the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with an enforcement date of March 15, 2012. The new federal accessibility standards will be known as the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (SAD). For more information about the new ADA final rule, visit the U.S. Department of Justice website or the U. S. Access Board’s website.
Plans to Update State Accessibility Standards – TDLR plans to hold an Architectural Barriers Advisory Board meeting on November 5, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss adopting new state standards based on the federal 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (SAD). The meeting will be broadcast and available to view live with RealPlayer. If you are interested in keeping apprized of these matters, you may wish to monitor TDLR’s Architectural Barriers web page or subscribe to TDLR’s E-mail Notification List for future updates.
Applicable State Accessibility Standards – In accordance with the Texas Architectural Barriers Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 469, the applicable state standards are still the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS) which became effective April 1, 1994. TAS will remain effective until new state standards are adopted.

Accessible Work Surfaces and Countertops: When and Where

September 22, 2009

As is the case with many technical requirements, the confusion is not how to make something accessible but when is it required to be accessible.

Counter-tops are a great example since not all work surfaces are treated equally.

5% of common-use work surfaces are required to have knee clearance and shall not be higher than 34″.

4.1.3(18) If fixed or built-in seating or tables (including, but not limited to, study carrels and student laboratory stations), are provided in an accessible public or common use area, at least five percent (5%), but not less than one, of the fixed or built-in seating areas or tables shall comply with 4.32. An accessible route shall lead to and through such fixed or built-in seating areas, or tables

But sales and service counters can be 36″ high since the person with a disability is not expected to spend much time at a service counter.

Sales and Service Counters, Teller Windows, Information Counters.

(1) In department stores and miscellaneous retail stores where counters have cash registers and are provided for sales or distribution of goods or services to the public, at least one of each type shall have a portion of the counter which is at least 36 in (915 mm) in length with a maximum height of 36 in (915 mm) above the finish floor. It shall be on an accessible route complying with 4.3. The accessible counters must be dispersed throughout the building or facility. In alterations where it is technically infeasible to provide an accessible counter, an auxiliary counter meeting these requirements may be provided.

In a dining area, if fixed counters are provided, then 5% of the fixed counters are required to be accessible, even if accessible tables are provided. There are no technical requirements for loose furniture, the Texas Accessibility Standards and the ADAAG only regulate the fixed seating and tables. This is a common violation in employee break rooms and delis where a bar height counter may be provided for dining and the need for accessible fixed counters is overlooked.

5.1* General.

(1) Except as specified or modified in this section, restaurants and cafeterias, including snack bars and other areas for obtaining or consuming food or drink, shall comply with the requirements of 4.1 to 4.35. Where fixed tables (or dining counters where food is consumed but there is no service) are provided, at least 5 percent, but not less than one, of the fixed tables (or a portion of the dining counter) shall be accessible and shall comply with 4.32 as required in 4.1.3(18).

And as previously discussed, work surfaces that are provided for employees to perform their job are not required to be accessible. There are a few places where this can get confusing. For instance, a working laboratory is not required to have accessible work surfaces, but an almost identical student laboratory is required to have accessible work surfaces since it is not an “employee work area”.  The issue gets fuzzy when you may have a research laboratory at a university where students are receiving credit for working in the lab.  Let the university lawyers figure that one out, it’s what they are paid for.


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