Exceptions to our rules           September  2008
Our built environment is not a black and white place.  All rules don't apply to every situations.  Therefore TAS has created avenues for flexibility in our designs in order to accommodate unforeseen situations.
Section 4.15 Drinking Fountains


What if the plumbing code only requires one drinking fountain, but TAS requires that you have one for the wheelchair bound and one for those who can't bend or stoop?  Does that mean we need to provide two?  What if you only have one pipe in an existing condition? 

Water fountain manufacturers have designed one unit that is called a bi-level unit.  It is one unit with one pipe but it has essentially two bubblers at different heights.  The unit is narrow as if you had one bubbler, and it will satisfy the requirement for the differing heights.

 bi level ewc

In This Issue
Drinking Fountains
Portable Notification Kits
Inspector's corner: Cool Restroom
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Equivalent Facilitation in Transient Lodgings
Table 9 of TAS/ADA requires that certain rooms be equipped with special elements which assist the hearing impaired to know when there is a knock at the door or a telephone call by means of a blinking light.  This should be hard wired into the room. 
But TDLR will allow for a portable unit to be used as needed by means of an Equivalent Facilitation.  This is like a variance but it does not require a fee.  Your RAS must do this for you.  If the owner does not want to have any hard wired devices, then the  owner must request to be allowed to provide as many "kits" as would be equivalent to the required number of elements from by the table.notification
Inspector's corner
 I didn't inspect this one, but I just saw this accessible restroom in this month's Texas Architect designed by Miro Rivera Architects  for the Lady Bird Hike and Bike trail in Austin, Texas.  It won a TSA Design Award.  I thought it was a very cool restroom. 
Of course if you want to get picky, the exposed pipe needs insulation.  But the whole idea was for all the metal to be exposed.  I wonder if TDLR will have an exception for cool design?
If you have any questions on these or any other topics relating to accessibilty, feel free to contact me anytime.
Marcela Abadi Rhoads, RAS #240
Abadi Accessibility
214. 403.8714