Vertical Access

Thursday, February 4, 2021
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Time Zone


A key component of accessibility is vertical access between changes in level along accessible routes. This session will explain where vertical access is required (or exempted) in the ADA and the ABA Accessibility Standards and how it can be achieved. Presenters will review requirements in the standards for ramps, curb ramps, elevators, and platform lifts, as well as clarify common sources of confusion when providing vertical access.

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours
California Architects Board 1.5
Certificate of Attendance 1.5
ICC 1.5


Randall Duchesneau, Accessibility Specialist, U.S. Access Board

Josh Schorr, Accessibility Specialist, U.S. Access Board

Questions for presenters:

1 Please touch on EXISTING occupancies and uses such as OFFICE or STORAGE that have mezzanines or lofts exceeding 500sf for OFFICE or 1500sf for STORAGE. When an Alteration - Level 2 takes place, does this automatically trigger requirement or does space have to be touched? Where does 20% rule apply? What advice for tenants that wish to occupy these types of spaces?
2 If a tenant decides to lease a 2nd story existing space and does TI renovations on the space (no mezzanines or storage--title III office) and the elevator does not comply with the ADA (1990 or 2010), what is the requirement for bringing elevator up to 2010 and who pays for that; tenant or Landlord? Does the answer change if it's an old building but not on a historic register?
3 If there is a 20% Path of Travel amount, is it better to spend the monies on upgrading 3 elevators vs. providing accessible parking, accessible restrooms, accessible doors?
4 Will the new rail vehicle accessibility guidelines address vertical access in new intercity rail lounge or sightseer railcars?
5 If there are existing curb ramps on a corner with no pedestrian access route nearby, can the curb ramp be removed?
6 What are vertical access requirements for overpasses and underpasses over or under highways, railroads, transit, to cross bridges, where the alternatives are very long ramps that might not fit within existing constraints? What are vertical access requirements where there is steep terrain? Under what conditions can public agencies provide stairways for public right-of-way access?
7 Please touch on "reasonable accomodations," particularly as it relates to apartments built prior to the ADA. Specifically, I just sent out a letter to correct a grievance of one resident living in apartments built in 1968, where practically nothing is compliant. We're focused on the parking.
8 Accessible Routes states that all dining areas, raised or sunken, are to have on an accessible route leading to the area. If restaurant booths to be at a raised level, making it necessary to step up to those booths and they provide the required number of accessible booth at floor level will that be acceptable or all booths to be on the same level and accessible.
9 Please touch on outdoor dining, restaurants proposing adding a patio mezzanine / rooftop dining over an enclosed area accessed by stairs only.
10 As seniors population grow and home installed elevator becomes a need yet the cost of home elevator is prohibitive. What alternatives other than living in a single story residence can be proposed?
11 We see many projects where parking lots are not being reconfigured, but are merely being surface coated and restriped. The Illinois Capital Development Board has indicated that this triggers the need to reconfigure pavement slopes, curb ramps and entry into the building to be compliant with the Illinois Accessibility Code. How does the ADA approach this condition?
12 What features are required for elevators to be approved for use as an accessible means of egress?
13 Can you discuss requirements of emergency two-way communication for wheelchair lifts, especially enclosed lifts, that complies with the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) 3001.2 requirement to provide a communication system that serves both people with hearing impairments and people with vision impairments with video, text based and video-based 24/7 live interactive system?
14 What is the difference between ADA and ABA? Are existing historic government buildings (GSA) required to update to current ABA standards if no other changes or renovations are made? If there is no practical way to achieve an accessible front door to a Historic Building is it better to provide an accessible back door entry to no accessible entrance and rely on assistance.
15 We are building emergency housing in form of a tiny home village for homeless youth. The tiny homes are small trailers on wheels containing a bedroom and closet only. We are providing accessible ramps and stairs to the homes, the communal bathrooms and the communal yurts. Will we need to provide accessible tiny homes as well?
16 At a T-intersection is there a requirement that 2 curb ramps be constructed at each corner with an accompanying ramp across the uncontrolled street for a total of 6 ramps? Or are they only required on the part of the intersection that has traffic control with a stop or yield sign?
17 How do we market our improvements, though they often may not be required? For example, for a private home rental, we added a wheelchair ramp for $5,000, but it seems as if it never mattered (after a few years). Thank you.
18 Are Handrails only required on ramps? When would they be needed on pedestrian routes (i.e. sidewalks) - is there criteria to meet before handrails are required on sidewalks? For example, say a sidewalk is being installed and the land is being graded to a 2:1 slope downwards away from the sidewalk. Is this slope considered a danger to pedestrians, and, therefore, a handrail is needed? Thank you.

Session Questions

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