The purpose of the CHBC is to provide alternative regulations to facilitate access and use by persons with disabilities to and throughout facilities designated as qualified historical buildings or properties. These regulations require enforcing agencies to accept alternatives to regular code when dealing with qualified historical buildings or properties.
The intent of this chapter is to preserve the integrity of qualified historical buildings and properties while providing access to and use by persons with disabilities.

The CHBC shall apply to every qualified historical building or property that is required to provide access to persons with disabilities.

  1. Provisions of this chapter do not apply to new construction or reconstruction/replicas of historical buildings.
  2. Where provisions of this chapter apply to alteration of qualified historical buildings or properties, alteration is defined in California Building Code (CBC), Chapter 2, Definitions and Abbreviations. 202 – A. Alter or Alteration.
The provisions in the CHBC apply to local, state and federal governments (Title II entities); alteration of commercial facilities and places of public accommodation (Title III entities); and barrier removal in commercial facilities and places of public accommodation (Title III entities). Except as noted in this chapter.
The regular code for access for people with disabilities (Title 24, Part 2, Vol. 1, Chapter 11B) shall be applied to qualified historical buildings or properties unless strict compliance with the regular code will threaten or destroy the historical significance or character-defining features of the building or property.

If the historical significance or character-defining features are threatened, alternative provisions for access may be applied pursuant to this chapter, provided the following conditions are met:

  1. These provisions shall be applied only on an item-by-item or a case-by-case basis.
  2. Documentation is provided, including meeting minutes or letters, stating the reasons for the application of the alternative provisions. Such documentation shall be retained in the permanent file of the enforcing agency.
The alternative minimum standards for alterations of qualified historical buildings or facilities are referenced in Section 202.5 of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, as incorporated and set forth in federal regulation 28 CFR Pt. 36.

These alternatives do not allow exceptions for the requirement of level landings in front of doors, except as provided in Section 8-603.4.

  1. Access to any entrance used by the general public and no further than 200 feet (60 960 mm) from the primary entrance.
  2. Access at any entrance not used by the general public but open and unlocked with directional signs at the primary entrance and as close as possible to, but no further than 200 feet (60 960 mm) from, the primary entrance.
  3. The accessible entrance shall have a notification system. Where security is a problem, remote monitoring may be used.

Alternatives listed in order of priority are:

  1. Single-leaf door which provides a minimum 30 inches (762 mm) of clear opening.
  2. Single-leaf door which provides a minimum 291/2 inches (749 mm) clear opening
  3. Double door, one leaf of which provides a minimum 291/2 inches (749 mm) clear opening.
  4. Double doors operable with a power-assist device to provide a minimum 291/2 inches (749 mm) clear opening when both doors are in the open position.
Power-assisted door or doors may be considered an equivalent alternative to level landings, strikeside clearance and door-opening forces required by the regular code.
In lieu of separate-gender toilet facilities as required in the regular code, an accessible unisex toilet facility may be designated.

Alternatives listed in order of priority are:

  1. A lift or a ramp of greater than standard slope but no greater than 1:10, for horizontal distances not to exceed 5 feet (1525 mm). Signs shall be posted at upper and lower levels to indicate steepness of the slope.
  2. Access by ramps of 1:6 slope for horizontal distance not to exceed 13 inches (330 mm). Signs shall be posted at upper and lower levels to indicate steepness of the slope.

Use of other designs and technologies, or deviation from particular technical and scoping requirements, are permitted if the application of the alternative provisions contained in Section 8-603 would threaten or destroy the historical significance or character-defining features of the historical building or property.

  1. Such alternatives shall be applied only on an item-by-item or a case-by-case basis.
  2. Access provided by experiences, services, functions, materials and resources through methods including, but not limited to, maps, plans, videos, virtual reality and related equipment, at accessible levels. The alternative design and/or technologies used will provide substantially equivalent or greater accessibility to, and usability of, the facility.
  3. The official charged with the enforcement of the standards shall document the reasons for the application of the design and/or technologies and their effect on the historical significance or character-defining features. Such documentation shall be in accordance with Section 8-602.2, Item 2, and shall include the opinion and comments of state or local accessibility officials, and the opinion and comments of representative local groups of people with disabilities. Such documentation shall be retained in the permanent file of the enforcing agency. Copies of the required documentation should be available at the facility upon request.

    Note: For commercial facilities and places of public accommodation (Title III entities).

Equivalent facilitation for an element of a building or property when applied as a waiver of an ADA accessibility requirement will not be entitled to the Federal Department of Justice certification of this code as rebuttable evidence of compliance for that element.

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