Issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Fair Housing Act Design Manual is published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist designers and builders in meeting the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Copies of this publication are available from the HUD Customer Service Center at 1-800-767-7468.
NOTE: This is a reprint of the final Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines published in the Federal Register on March 6, 1991, Vol. 56, No. 44, pages 9472-9515. This reprint incorporates corrections to the final guidelines, which were published in the Federal Register on June 24, 1991.
|Organization of Guidelines|
|3.||Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Requirements|
|4.||Application of the Guidelines|
|Requirement||1.||Accessible building entrance on an accessible route.|
|Requirement||2.||Accessible and usable public and common use areas.|
|Requirement||4.||Accessible route into and through the covered dwelling unit|
|Requirement||5.||Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations.|
|Requirement||6.||Reinforced walls for grab bars.|
|Requirement||7.||Usable kitchens and bathrooms.|
FAIR HOUSING ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES
Section 1. Introduction
Section 804(f)(5)(C) of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 directs the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide technical assistance to States, local governments, and other persons in implementing the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. These guidelines are issued under this statutory authority.
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide technical guidance on designing dwelling units as required by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (Fair Housing Act). These guidelines are not mandatory, nor do they prescribe specific requirements which must be met, and which, if not met, would constitute unlawful discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. Builders and developers may choose to depart from these guidelines and seek alternate ways to demonstrate that they have met the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. These guidelines are intended to provide a safe harbor for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
These guidelines apply only to the design and construction requirements of 24 CFR 100.205. Compliance with these guidelines do not relieve persons participating in a Federal or Federally-assisted program or activity from other requirements, such as those required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794) and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4151-4157). Accessible design requirements for Section 504 are found at CFR Part 8. Accessible design requirements for the Architectural Barriers Act are found at 24 CFR Part 40.
Organization of Guidelines
The design guidelines are incorporated in Section 5 of this document. Each guideline cites the appropriate paragraph of HUD's regulation at 24 CFR 100-205; quotes from the regulation to identify the required design features, and states recommended specifications for each design feature.
Generally, these guidelines rely on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A117.1-1986, American National Standard for Buildings and Facilities-Providing Accessibility and Useability for Physically Handicapped People (ANSI Standard). Where the guidelines rely on sections of the ANSI Standard, the ANSI sections are cited. Only those sections of the ANSI Standard cited in the guidelines are recommended for compliance with 24 CFR 100.205. For those guidelines that differ from the ANSI Standard, recommended specifications are provided. The texts of cited ANSI sections are not reproduced in the guidelines. The complete text of the 1986 version of the ANSI A117.1 Standard may be purchased from the American National Standards Institute, 1430 Broadway, New York, NY 10018.
Section 2. Definitions
As used in these Guidelines:
"Accessible", when used with respect to the public and common use areas of a building containing covered multifamily dwellings, means that the public or common use areas of the building can be approached, entered, and used by individuals with physical handicaps. The phrase "readily accessible to and usable by" is synonymous with accessible. A public or common use area that complies with the appropriate requirements of ANSIA117.1-1986, a comparable standard or these guidelines is "accessible" within the meaning of this paragraph.
"Accessible route" means a continuous unobstructed path connecting accessible elements and spaces in a building or within a site that can be negotiated by a person with a severe disability using a wheelchair, and that is also safe for and usable by people with other disabilities. Interior accessible routes may include corridors, floors, ramps, elevators and lifts. Exterior accessible routes may include parking access aisles, curb ramps, walks, ramps and lifts. A route that complies with the appropriate requirements of ANSI A117.1-1986, a comparable standard, or Section FHAG-5, Requirement 1 of these guidelines is an "accessible route". In the circumstances described in SectionFHAG-5, Requirements 1 and 2, "accessible route" may include access via a vehicular route.
"Adaptable dwelling units", when used with respect to covered multifamily dwellings, means dwelling units that include the features of adaptable design specified in 24 CFR 100.205(c)(2)-(3).
"ANSIA117/1-1086" means the 1986 edition of the American National Standard for buildings and facilities providing accessibility and usability for physically handicapped people.
"Assistive device" means an aid, tool, or instrument used by a person with disabilities to assist in activities of daily living. Examples of assistive devices include tongs, knob-turners, and oven-rack pusher/pullers.
"Bathroom", means a bathroom which includes a water closet (toilet), lavatory (sink), and bathtub or shower. It does not include single-fixture facilities or those with only a water closet and lavatory. It does include a compartmented bathroom. A compartmented bathroom is one in which the fixtures are distributed among interconnected rooms. A compartmented bathroom is considered a single unit and is subject to the Act's requirements for bathrooms.
"Building" means a structure, facility or portion thereof that contains or serves one or more dwelling units.
"Building entrance on an accessible route" means an accessible entrance to a building that is connected by an accessible route to public transportation stops, to parking or passenger loading zones, or to public streets or sidewalks, if available. A building entrance that complies with ANSIA117.1-1986 (see SectionFHAG-5, Requirement 1 of these guidelines) or a comparable standard complies with the requirements of this paragraph.
"Clear" means unobstructed.
"Common use areas" means rooms, spaces or elements inside or outside of a building that are made available for the use of residents of a building or the guests thereof. These areas include hallways, lounges, lobbies, laundry rooms, refuse rooms, mail rooms, recreational areas and passageways among and between buildings. See Section FHAG-5, Requirement 2 of these guidelines.
"Controlled substance" means any drug or other substance, or immediate precursor included in the definition in Section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802).
"Covered multifamily dwellings" or "covered multifamily dwellings subject to the Fair Housing Amendments" means buildings consisting of four or more dwelling units if such buildings have one or more elevators; and ground floor dwelling units in other buildings consisting of four or more dwelling units. Dwelling units within a single structure separated by firewalls do not constitute separate buildings.
"Dwelling unit" means a single unit of residence for a household of one or more persons. Examples of dwelling units covered by these guidelines include: condominiums; an apartment unit within an apartment building; and other types of dwellings in which sleeping accommodations are provided but toileting or cooking facilities are shared by occupants of more than one room or portion of the dwelling. Examples of the latter include dormitory rooms and sleeping accommodations in shelters intended for occupancy as a residence for homeless persons.
"Entrance" means any exterior access point to a building or portion of a building used by residents for the purpose of entering. For purposes of these guidelines, an "entrance" does not include a door to a loading dock or a door used primarily as a service entrance, even if nonhandicapped residents occasionally use that door to enter.
"Finished grade" means the ground surface of the site after all construction, levelling, grading, and development has been completed.
"Ground floor" means a floor of a building with a building entrance on an accessible route. A building may have one or more ground floors. Where the first floor containing dwelling units in a building is above grade, all units on that floor must be served by a building entrance on an accessible route. This floor will be considered to be a ground floor.
"Handicap" means, with respect to a person, a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. This term does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance. For purposes of these guidelines, an individual shall not be considered to have a handicap solely because that individual is a transvestite.
As used in this definition:
"Loft" means an intermediate level between the floor and ceiling of any story, located within a room or rooms of a dwelling.
"Multistory dwelling unit" means a dwelling unit with finished living space located on one floor and the floor or floors immediately above or below it.
"Public use areas" means interior or exterior rooms or spaces of a building that are made available to the general public. Public use may be provided at a building that is privately or publicly owned.
"Site" means a parcel of land bounded by a property line or a designated portion of a public right of way.
"Slope" means the relative steepness of the land between two points and is calculated as follows: The distance and elevation between the two points (e.,g., an entrance and a passenger loading zone) are determined from a topographical map. The difference in elevation is divided by the distance and that fraction is multiplied by 100 to obtain a percentage slope figure. For example, if a principal entrance is ten feet from a passenger loading zone, and the principal entrance is raised one foot higher than the passenger loading zone, then the slope is 1/10 × 100 = 10%.
"Story" means that portion of a dwelling unit between the upper surface of any floor and the upper surface of the floor next above, or the roof of the unit. Within the context of dwelling units, the terms "story" and "floor" are synonymous.
"Vehicular or pedestrian arrival points" means public or resident parking areas, public transportation stops, passenger loading zones, and public streets or sidewalks.
"Vehicular route" means a route intended for vehicular traffic, such as a street, driveway or parking lot.
Section 3. Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Requirements
The regulations issued by the Department at 24 CFR 100/205 state:
Section100.205 Design and construction requirements.
Section 4. Application of the Guidelines
The design specifications (guidelines) presented in SectionFHAG-5 apply to new construction of "covered multifamily dwellings", as defined in SectionFHAG-2. These guidelines are recommended for designing dwellings that comply with the requirements of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.
Section 5. Guidelines
Requirement 1. Accessible building entrance on an accessible route.
Under Section 100.205(a), covered multifamily dwellings shall be designed and constructed to 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.
Requirement 2. Accessible and usable public and common use areas.
Section 100.205(c)(1) provides that covered multifamily dwellings with a building entrance on an accessible route shall be designed in such a manner that the public and common use areas are readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons.
The following chart identifies the public and common use areas that should be made accessible, cites the appropriate section of the ANSI Standard, and describes the appropriate application of the specifications, including modifications to the referenced standard.
|Accessible element or space||ANSI A117.1 Section||Application|
|1.||Accessible route(s)...||4.3||Within the boundary of the side: |
|2.||Protruding objects.....||4.4||Accessible routes or maneuvering space including floors, walks, ramps, stairs, and curb ramps.|
|3.||Ground and floor surface |
|4.5||Accessible routes, rooms, and spaces, including floors, walks, ramps, stairs, and curb ramps.|
|4.||Parking and passenger loading |
|4.6||If provided at the site, designated accessible parking at the dwelling unit on request of residents with handicaps on the same terms and with the full range of choices (e.g., surface parking or garage) that are provided for other residents of the project with accessible parking on a route accessible to wheelchairs for at least 2% of the covered dwelling units: accessible visitor parking sufficient to provide access to grade level entrances of covered multifamily dwellings; and accessible parking at facilities (e.g., swimming pools) that serve accessible buildings.|
|5.||Curb ramps||4.7||Accessible routes crossing curbs.|
|6.||Ramps||4.8||Accessible routes with slopes greater than 1:20.|
|7.||Stairs||4.9||Stairs on accessible routes connecting levels not connected by an elevator.|
|9.||Platform lift||4.11||May be used in lieu of an elevator or ramp under certain conditions.|
|10.||Drinking fountains and water coolers||4.15||Fifty percent of fountains and coolers on each floor, or at least one, if provided in the facility or at the site.|
|11.||Drinking fountains and bathing |
facilities (including water closets,toilet rooms and stalls, urinals.
Lavatories and mirrors, bathtubs,shower stalls, and sinks.)
|4.22||Where provided in public-use and common-use facilities, at least one of each fixture provided per room.|
|12.||Seating, tables, or work surfaces||4.30||If provided in accessible spaces, at least one of each type provided.|
|13.||Places of assembly||4.31||If provided in the facility or at the site.|
|14.||Common-use spaces and facilities |
(including swimming pools,playgrounds, entrances, rental
offices, lobbies, elevators, mailboxareas, lounges, halls and corridors,
and the like.)
|4.1 through 4.30||If provided in the facility or at the site: |
|15.||Laundry rooms||4.32.6||If provided in the facility or at the site, at least one or each type of appliances provided in each laundry area, except that laundry rooms serving covered multiple-family dwellings would not be required to have front-loading washers in order to meet the requirements of 100.205(c)(1). (Where front-loading washers are not provided, management will be expected to provide assistive devices on request if necessary to permit a resident to use a top loading washer.)|
Requirement 3. Usable doors.
Section 100.205(c)(2) provides that covered multifamily dwellings with a building entrance on an accessible route shall be designed in such a manner that all the doors designed to allow passage by handicapped persons in wheelchairs.
Section 100.205(c)(2) would apply to doors that are a part of an accessible route in the public and common use areas of multifamily dwellings and to doors into and within individual dwelling units.
A 34-inch door, hung in the standard manner, provides an acceptable nominal 32-inch clear opening. This door can be adapted to provide a wider opening by using offset hinges, by removing lower portions of the door stop, or both. Pocket or sliding doors are acceptable doors in covered dwelling units and have the added advantage of not impinging on clear floor space in small rooms. The nominal 32-inch clear opening provided by a standard six-foot sliding patio door assembly is acceptable.
Requirement 4 - Accessible route into and through the covered dwelling unit.
Section 100.205(c)(3)(i) provides that covered multifamily dwellings with a building entrance on an accessible route shall be designed and constructed in such a manner that all premises within covered multifamily dwelling units contain an accessible route into and through the covered dwelling unit.
Accessible routes into and through dwelling units would meet Section 100.205(c)(3)(i) if:
Requirement 5 - Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations.
Section 100.205(c)(3)(ii) requires that all covered multifamily dwellings with a building entrance on an accessible route shall be designed and constructed in such a manner that all premises within covered multifamily dwelling unit contain light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations.
Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls would meet Section 100.205(c)(3)(ii) if operable parts of the controls are located no higher than 48 inches, and no lower than 15 inches, above the floor. If the reach is over an obstruction (for example, an overhanging shelf) between 20 and 25 inches in depth, the maximum height is reduced to 44 inches for forward approach; or 46 inches for side approach, provided the obstruction (for example, a kitchen base cabinet) is no more than 24 inches in depth. Obstructions should not extend more than 25 inches from the wall beneath a control (See Figure FHAG-2.)
Controls or outlets that do not satisfy these specifications are acceptable provided that comparable controls or outlets (i.e., that perform the same functions) are provided within the same area and are accessible, in accordance with this guideline for Requirement 5.
Requirement 6 - Reinforced walls for grab bars.
Section 100.205(c)(3)(iii)requires that covered multifamily dwellings with a building entrance on an accessible route shall be designed and constructed in such a manner that all premises within covered multifamily dwelling units 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.
Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars around the toilet, tub, shower stall and shower seat, where such facilities are provided, would meet Section 100.205(c)(3)(iii) if reinforced areas are provided at least at those points where grab bars will be mounted. (For example, see Fig. 3, 4 and 5.) Where the toilet is not placed adjacent to a side wall, the bathroom would comply if provision was made for installation of floor mounted, foldaway or similar alternative grab bars. Where the power room (a room with a toilet and sink) is the only toilet facility located on an accessible level of a multistory dwelling unit, it must comply with this requirement for reinforced walls for grab bars.
Installation of bathtubs is not limited by the illustrative figures; a tub may have shelves or benches at either end; or a tub may be installed without surrounding walls, if there is provision for alternative mounting of grab bars. For example, a sunken tub placed away from walls could have reinforced areas for installation of floor-mounted grab bars. The same principle applies to shower stalls - e.g., glass-walled stalls could be planned to allow floor-mounted grab bars to be installed later.
Reinforcement for grab bars may be provided in a variety of ways (for example, by plywood or wood blocking) so long as the necessary reinforcement is placed so as to permit later installation of appropriate grab bars.
Requirement 7 - Usable kitchens and bathrooms.
Section 100.205(c)(3)(iv) requires that covered multifamily dwellings with a building entrance on an accessible route shall be designed and constructed in such a manner that all premises within covered multifamily dwelling units contain usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.