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February 2016: Fair Housing Guidelines
This issue will cover a few design guidelines from the Federal Fair Housing Act
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Which projects have to comply?

The Federal Fair Housing Act covers newly constructed multi-family housing projects that are first time occupancy residential.  The projects must also have more than four dwelling units.  In an a building with elevators, ALL dwelling units must comply with the guidelines.  In a building without an elevator, only the first floor units must comply.  If the building is only two story units, then none of them must comply.  

In addition to the Fair Housing Act, some municipalities have also adopted the ANSI A117.1 for their residential dwelling units.  These dictate that a certain percentage must be built as with mobility features (for the mobility impaired) and a percentage with communication features (for the hearing and visually impaired)

Seven Requirements

The Fair Housing Act Guidelines have seven requirements for the covered residential dwelling units.  Here is the definitions.  This newsletter will just give an overview and will not describe all the details for each requirement.  We will plan to explain in more detail in future newsletters:

Accessible Building Entrance on an Accessible Route: 

Covered multifamily dwellings must have at least one building entrance on an accessible route, unless it is impractical to do so because of terrain or unusual characteristics of the site. For all such dwellings with a building entrance on an accessible route the following six requirements apply.

Accessible and Usable Public and Common Use Areas: 

Public and common use areas must be readily accessible to and usable by people with

Usable Doors

All doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises must be sufficiently
wide to allow passage by persons in wheelchairs. 

Accessible Route Into and Through the Covered Dwelling Unit: 

There must be an accessible route into and through the dwelling units, providing access for people with disabilities throughout the unit. 

Light Switches, Electrical Outlets, Thermostats and Other Environmental
Controls in Accessible Locations:

All premises within the dwelling units must contain light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations.

Reinforced Walls for Grab Bars: 

All premises within dwelling units must contain reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars around toilet, tub, shower stall and shower seat, where such facilities are provided. 

Usable Kitchens and Bathrooms: 
Dwelling units must contain usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual who uses a wheelchair can maneuver about the space. 

Inspector's Corner

Requirement 1 of the Fair Housing Act states that an accessible entrance is required to the dwelling units.  This photo shows three steps up to the stoop which leads to the entrance, and no ramp or lift to get them to the stoop.  This unit does not meet the requirement.

Need CEUs

February 24th: "How Accessible is Your Work Space" at Herman Miller Showroom in Dallas, Texas

If you are interested in Building Code seminars check out my colleague Shahla Layendecker with SSTL Codes

If you want to learn more about these standards, be sure to check out my books:
book cover

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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