In This Issue
Work Areas vs. Employee Spaces
Common Use Areas
A few more exemptions
What's next?

Volume VII Number 2                                        February 2012

One of the confusing parts of the Standards is work areas.  Areas designated for work are partially exempted in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  They are not exempted in the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).  But what parts are truly exempted?  What parts can be adaptable?  Which parts have to fully comply?  This newsletter will attempt at clearing things up


 Work Areas vs. Employee Spaces

In the ADA, a work area is exempted from having to be fully accessible.  The only requirement for work areas is an approach to the primary entrance, the ability to enter and the ability to exit.  The rest of the area does not have to comply. 
Notice the figure above: only maneuvering clearances on the exterior of the work area door is required to be provided.  No maneuvering clearances at the door on the interior is required.
Anything inside the work area will not have to be made accessible.  This requirement is for Title III entities (public accommodations and commercial facilities) and for building access only.  Title I on the other hand states that a person cannot be fired or not hired based on their disability and if they are hired, they must have accessible accommodations.  So in essence, the building owner can defer the accessible work areas until they are needed. 
But what is a "work area"?  It is defined as a space or area where a task is performed that is part of the job description and requirement.  What about an employee restroom or employee break room?  Those are not considered "work areas".  They are considered Common Use areas and must be accessible.

Common use areas


Common use areas are defined as a space used by two or more people.  In the 2010 ADA Standards, a common use circulation path is now required within the work space.  So a 36" wide, unobstructed common path of travel to workstations, break rooms, restrooms must be provided.


common path





Another part of the guidelines where common use spaces are defined is an office space that is not private.  Where two or more people share an office, the space is a "common use" space.  Private offices are also exempted from having to be accessible including private restrooms that are entered directly from that private office.  Once the office has more than one person working inside, it is not longer private, and all elements that are not work related must be accessible within. 


A few more exemptions

 Per Section 203.3 Work areas that are required to be raised for the purposes of security, life safety or fire safety are exempted from having to comply with the Standards.




Per Section 203.Single occupant structures accessed only by passageways below grade, or elevated above standard curb height are also excepted from having to comply




Per Section 203.9 Employee work areas that are raised 7" or more and have a square footage of less than 300 s.f. are also exempted from having to comply.



 What's next....

Need CEUs?


Feb. 16th- Understanding the 2010 ADA Standards.  hosted by SSTL Codes 5 hr CEU for those in States that require 5 hrs of accessibility credit


March 6th- TAID Seminar at 11:00 a.m. in the Design Center


March 8th- CSI Chapter Meeting from 7-8 p.m.


March 21st- Class at AIA Dallas


March 30th- "Are you ready for the 2012 TAS" presented at the CREST Annual Expo in Irving Texas


If you want to learn more about the new Standards, The ADA Companion Guide has the 2004 Guidelines with commentary and explanations throughout.



Online CEU course by the AIA National : The ADA and Urban Regeneration (as presented in the 2011 AIA National convention)


 If you have any questions about these or any other topics, please feel free to contact me anytime.  


Marcela Abadi Rhoads, RAS #240
Abadi Accessibility
214. 403.8714





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