Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, Ed Roberts Campus, photo by Tim Griffith
The AIACC has the timely but limited chance to shape the accessibility provisions of the 2013 California Building Code
. As you are aware, accessibility compliance is one of the thorniest problems we face as practitioners. The Division of the State Architect
(DSA) is seeking input on the format of these provisions, which will shape architectural practice in California for years to come, affecting how we make and defend our design decisions. It will, as well, have a significant effect on California’s national standing in current and future access code development.
To assist in the preparation of our response to the DSA, the Council has sought the guidance of three recognized subject matter experts (SME’s) in the area of state and federal access code development: Steve Winkel, FAIA, Jay Whisenant, AIA, and Kerwin Lee, AIA. Their recommendation will be presented to the AIACC Executive Committee for its final decision as the official position of the AIACC.
Your input is crucial, as well. We encourage you to reach out to the DSA directly with your thoughts, using the Stakeholder Input Form they have provided and copying your response to Kurt Cooknick, Assoc. AIA, Director of Regulation and Practice for the AIACC; and to share those thoughts with your colleagues in the Comment thread below.
This is the opportunity for us to engage in—and improve—an area of the practice that has bedeviled us for years, but time is short: responses are due at DSA by 15 February 2012.
The DSA has identified three options, which are summarized and discussed below. The DSA Discussion Paper is available in full here.
- Option 1 – Current California Provisions – Continuation of current California provisions replacing the IBC Chapter 11 in its entirety, amended to implement State statutory mandates and to be consistent with the 2010 ADA Standards.
- Option 2 – IBC Chapter 11 Provisions: Replacement of the current California provisions with the IBC Chapter 11 language and reference standard (ICC A117.1 – 2009), amended to implement State statutory mandates and for consistency with the 2010 ADA Standards.
- Option 3 – 2010 ADA Standards: Replacement of the current California provisions with the federal 2010 ADA Standards amended to implement State statutory mandates.
A discussion of each option is presented below.
Option 1 – Current California Provisions
The CBC uses the IBC as its model code, which is tailored to California’s unique requirements with State Agency Amendments and adopted by the Building Standards Commission (BSC). However, in the area of accessibility the IBC’s provisions have typically been completely replaced with unique California language proposed by various State agencies and approved by the BSC. In essence California has historically developed its own “model” accessibility code with most provisions carried forward to subsequent editions as State amendments during the triennial code adoption process.
This would involve carrying forward the existing CBC Chapter 11B with revisions to the current language to ensure that the accessibility requirements are no less stringent than the revised federal requirements and to implement State statutory mandates. The 2013 CBC accessibility provisions would continue to be California amendments in their entirety.
Option 2 – IBC Chapter 11 Provisions
The IBC utilizes its Chapter 11 for accessibility scoping requirements, and a separately published reference standard, ICC/ANSI A117.1 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, for its technical guidelines. Scoping requirements indicate when, where or how many of something is required, and the technical guidelines indicate how compliance is achieved. The scoping provisions of IBC Chapter 11 are developed and approved through an open hearing and consensus process by the International Code Council (ICC) utilizing ICC voting members comprised of code enforcement and fire officials. The technical standards and guidelines within ICC/ANSI A117.1 are developed through an open hearing and consensus process supervised utilizing an accredited committee for approval.
Option 2 would require deletion of the current Chapter 11 B language, adoption of the IBC Chapter 11 model code language with California amendments to comply with the new federal design standards, implement State legislative mandates and retain unique California provisions that remain relevant and beneficial.
Option 3 – 2010 ADA Standards
The United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) published revised regulations for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010. These regulations adopted revised enforceable accessibility standards called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Beginning March 15, 2012, compliance with the 2010 Standards will be required for applicable new construction and alterations nationwide.
A goal in revising the federal regulations was to make the design guidelines more consistent with model building codes and industry standards in order to facilitate compliance. The revisions were coordinated extensively with model code groups and standard-setting bodies so that differences could be reconciled. In particular, the Access Board sought to harmonize the guidelines with the International Building Code (IBC) and access standards issued through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). While the ADA is federal law focused on the civil rights of people with disabilities for equal access, a number of States have used it as a model code upon which their state level building code provisions for accessibility are based.
Option 3 would require deletion of the current Chapter 11 B language, adoption of the federal 2010 ADA Standards as model code language with California amendments to implement State statutory mandates and retain unique California provisions that remain relevant and beneficial.