ADA Compliance

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white pine's picture
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Can someone please comment about 2010 ADA law?  Apparently it does apply to B&B's.  According to what I read, you are doing ANY alterations or additions you are supposed to make your inn compliant  with widened doors, ramps, baths, etc.  Also you need to speak about your compliance in your marketing materials.    We were planning an ADA suite, but it appears, we may have some other work to do...  How many of you are compliant with ADA?

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I wouldn't worry about it. No one says YOU HAVE TO BE. There are plenty of places opening that are commercial that are not.

I don't know how many rooms you will have in your B & B.Seems like somewhere in this forum we discussed this before. And I thought 5 bedrooms and over comply...do a search.

But if you want to designate one as Handicapped Accessible. That I think would be fine but you would need wide doors, floors a wheel chair can roll around easily, enough room to maneuver around for bed, chairs, etc. Bathroom needs to be wide enough for wheel chair. Probably a roll in shower and no tub or a huge bathroom with both which I doubt most would provide. 

So basically go with your gut. I know several B & B's that say they are "accessible" but there is no way they would meet standards.

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EmptyNest wrote:

I don't know how many rooms you will have in your B & B.Seems like somewhere in this forum we discussed this before. And I thought 5 bedrooms and over comply...do a search.

Five rooms or less do not have to comply. 

Arks's picture
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copperhead wrote:

Five rooms or less do not have to comply. 

Yes, a private residence B&B has certain exeptions. A place like my vacation rentals and the river cabins enjoy no such exemption. I'm only putting in 2 vacation rental apartments, and one of them had to be accessible and have ugly grab bars and all. Cry for me.

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white pine's picture
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We will have 8 suites (bedroom, sitting room, bath) when we are done.  So we will to try to  minimally comply.  Actually you do not have to have roll in showers, a transfer bath like Arky installed is fine. Grab bars are needed too, but in an old thread about people pulling off towel bars, I don't think this is a bad idea anyway.

  Also, doors do not have to be 36" to comply.  ADA minimum clearance is actually 32", and this can be done with offset hinges which will allow a door to fully open in many older homes.   Our big gray area is there are two old public restrooms off a hall from the lobby...I say we are not mandated to have public restrooms, let along ADA ones.  As we have no plans to  renovate those, I hope we don't have to redo them....

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Your restrooms aren't open to the public. Your paying guests have their own in their room so I wouldn't worry about it. You aren't having a restaurant are you? Then you would probably have to do something. A first floor bathroom is just a convenience..not a requirement.

white pine's picture
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No restaurant.  I agree, the first floor bathrooms are convenience....That's exactly the stand I am taking...wish me luck..

Joey Camb's picture
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We are lucky in the UK - the law is basically do the best you can - we have a ton of old buildings many with steps up to the door - however when we make changes to the back (when I have some money) I am going to make it a smooth run in from the car park ie no door sills which will also be a smooth run into room 11 which is on the ground floor - we arn't required to do so but will will anyway as so many people are a bit wobbly on their legs it doesn't hurt to cultivate that market.

 

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Kay Nein's picture
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We have one room that is wheelchair accessible.  Which is pretty silly, because there is no ramp into the house.  We weren't required to make any changes when we took over.  Not sure what the rules are, no one seemed too concerned about it.

Arks's picture
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Having just renovated an old building for vacation rental apartments, I learned a few things. Basically, ADA is a huge question mark. Nobody seems to know exactly what's what. Not my architect, not our local building inspector, not the state building code, nobody.

In my town, there is no ADA pass/fail inspector. The local building inspector knows a few basics but they are just suggestions. It's a national law, and there is no national inspector who comes to pass or fail you. Some states have state laws more strict than the federal law, but my state just lets the federal law handle it. In my area, if you chose to ignore ADA, you can do it. It's just that if someone wants to take you to court for failing to meet ADA, you may not have a leg to stand on.

The thing is, the ADA code goes on for hundreds of pages in intricate detail. I don't think ANYBODY is fully compliant. The best you can do is make a good faith effort.

In my case, I made one apartment accessible with no steps to enter, all doors are 3 feet wide, there are plenty of grab bars around the tall toilet and the tub/shower. I got a plastic bench that spans the tub so someone can sit down to bathe. Both the bathroom lavatory and kitchen sink are clear underneath so someone in a wheel chair can roll their leggs under the counter to use the sink while sitting. The kitchen range has all the controls in the front so someone in a chair can reach them.

That's it, but there are so many other things I didn't do that are mentioned in the ADA law, like lights that flash so the deaf know there's someone at the door.

All I can do is wish you luck.

white pine's picture
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Thanks, that is what I am taking from the email I got from the engineer yesterday.  ADA is a different thing all together.  She said it falls under Civil Law.  So you do what you can and what is "reasonable" and hope no one decides it wasn't enough.  We will have a ramp and parking spot on a side door near the suite with the handicap bath.  I have been reading that taller toilets are now being preferred by most people, and am questioning if I should use them in the other baths as well (we will be adding 5 more and redoing 2 others).  Wish the grab bars weren't so unattractive...

gillumhouse's picture
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I suggest to anyone doing any remodeling or building to have the taller toilets. I absolutely hate it when I find those toilets that were stolen for a daycare center! Knees! Knees! and no grab bar or anything else to use as a tow rope to get vertical!

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white pine wrote:

 I have been reading that taller toilets are now being preferred by most people, and am questioning if I should use them in the other baths as well (we will be adding 5 more and redoing 2 others). 

By all means YES! 

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I don't know about 2010 law,  (we were approved in '99) but to my memory (anyone speak to correct) if you have 5 rooms or less, you are not required to meet ADA guidelines but if you have over 5 rooms you must. 

The gov. agency who will inspect and approve your building would be the one to ask as state & local officials can make the laws more strict if they wish.  Get it all in writing on official letterhead of what is required in your area.   (the Fire Dept is the official agency here)

white pine's picture
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Code kicks in when you do any alterations.  States B&B's included.  Problem is our bldg insptr does not know the code, and is sending us everywhere else to get it approved. Sent us to an engineer, who had to redraw--we already had this done, today sent us a note asking about if we had to comply with ADA code?

Frustrated here beyond belief.  May go over his head, but was trying to be nice, and go thru suggested hoops.  As I read it, there is also a "reasonable" factor for small business.   Good luck getting anything in writing....not even in an email.  Like trying to nail down jello.   Sorry for rant...VERY frustrated.

 

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Sounds like you could be my neighbor!  We had the same issues 18 yrs ago.  No one knows. 

We were at a small local restaurant for lunch.  The place was redone this past year but there bathrooms are tiny... the door is one of the narrowest I have ever seen... no way could anyone get in there with a walker much less a wheelchair.  Had they been required, they could have made a unisex bathroom and have it accessible, so it was possible.  I don't think the guidelines are followed uniformly.

Madeleine's picture
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If your building inspector does not know CODE s/he should be fired. It does you NO good at all to have to jump thru hoops for someone who does not know proper code when it bites them in the butt. How can this person inspect your building and say yeah or nay when they don't know what to look for?

Sorry, but what is the sense in HIRING people to do a job of work when they don't know what is required? YOU should not have to jump thru hoops but it is your biz that will close if you get cited.

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white pine's picture
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02/02/2010

Welcome to my world.  The funny thing is I swear it is only because we ask what is required that we have problems.  Around here it is pretty much don't ask, don't tell.  I know of a business that was rebuilt, largely did what they wanted and opened no problem.  Heard nightmares from contractors about what was done, but supposedly told the inspector it was that way already.  So no problem?    We are just too stinkin honest for our own good I think.  Just trying to do it right.  Beating head against wall.....

white pine's picture
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Just got an email from engineer, she seems to clarify, there is accessibility requirements (bldg dept enforced) and ADA which is considered civil rights...two different concerns here.  Code applies to the alterations.   We must do what we can to improve accessibility (ie a ramp at a side door) and compliance as much as we can to ADA (bath/suite).  The "reasonable" factor kicks in here.

She says this is more to cover us for law suits brought by those who say we discriminate by not having a handicap suite. She says gray area may be an ADA public restroom, for potential handicapped employee or prospective guest.  I don't think B&B's are required to have a public restroom.    So this may all work out.....keeping fingers crossed....

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