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FHA Guideline vs ANSI A117.1

hughdint

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2015
Messages
67
Location
United States
I was told by an attorney to forget all the requirements in the 1991 guidelines and the Design Manual. He said the guidelines lowers accessibility i could have problems later on. He said because HUD refers to ANSI A117.1 so when there are words not defined we are supposed to defer to the ANSI Standard and use that to fill in the blanks. Is this what other contractors are finding out? This would be for FHA covered dwellings and FHA tax credit funded housing.

Is there a comparison between FHA Guidelines and the ANSI A117.1 1986?
Which one allowed only one handrail down steps?

Thank you.
AMNAL but it is my understanding that if you use a safe harbor code (which could be ANSI 2003 or ANSI 2009 you are still complying with the Fair Housing ACT (the law not the guidelines). The law says:
(4) Compliance with the appropriate requirements of the American National Standard for buildings and facilities providing
accessibility and usability for physically handicapped people (commonly cited as "ANSI A117.1") suffices to satisfy the
requirements of paragraph (3)(C)(iii).
The requirements of paragraph (3)(C)(iii) are:
(C) in connection with the design and construction of covered multifamily dwellings for first occupancy after the
date that is 30 months after the date of enactment of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, a failure to
design and construct those dwelling in such a manner that--
(i) the public use and common use portions of such dwellings are readily accessible to and usable by
handicapped persons;
(ii) all the doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises within such dwellings are sufficiently
wide to allow passage by handicapped persons in wheelchairs; and
(iii) all premises within such dwellings contain the following features of adaptive design:
(I) an accessible route into and through the dwelling;
(II) light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible
locations;
(III) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and
(IV) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the
space.
Theoretically, based on the above any state accessibility law that addresses the points indicated above (surely any version of ANSI or UFAS does this) could be considered a method to comply with the Fair Housing Act. In practice it is best to use one of the ten codes that have actually been declared "safe havens"

I would check which Accessibility Code has been adopted by your state and use that, unless it is not a safe haven, then I would use a code that is.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
34
Location
Hawaii
Hi Hughdint - my state and local county have deleted all references to accessibility and amended our code to state that we are required to follow all federal codes.
 

redeyedfly

Registered User
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
227
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Can anyone let me know where to find in the Fhag the requirement of 100% USPS cbu's be accessible between 15 and 54 inches. I see that parking for covered units only needs to be at 2%. Is the accessible parking supposed to match the 100% or masybe 100% of the covered units? The only reference I could find is access to mailbox area in the FHAG 2 Table "Basic Components for Accessible and Usable public and Common Use Areas or Facilities page 9505 item 14. mailbox areas. If this is the only reference does it mean the swimming pools and playgrounds will also need lifts and ramps to be 100% accessible?
HUD provided an opinion on this issue in 2008 in a letter to the USPS. HUD still enforces this opinion. Note that if your local AHJ uses more recent versions of A117.1 you may be restricted to 15"-48". Yes, that makes your mail room much larger.
I believe HUD's interpretation is not correct and actually makes the mailboxes LESS accessible. They are assuming incorrectly that accessibility is only concerned with people in wheelchairs. The reality is that many more people suffer from mobility impairments related to their lower back which makes bending over to see what's in your mailbox, even at 48" very difficult. 2%, not less than the number of Type A or Accessible units within reach range is certainly a more appropriate interpretation. Certainly the mailbox area must be accessible FHADM, but each mailbox is part of the unit and should follow the Operable Parts requirements for that type of unit in my opinion.

 
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
34
Location
Hawaii
Redeyedfly, thank you very much for the Infanger letter. I think there is some misinterpretation by HUD. Item 14 says "mail box area" not mail boxes.
From the text of the table for Requirement 2- item 14. Common-use spaces and facilities (including swimming pools, playgrounds, entrances, rental offices, lobbies, elevators, mailbox areas, lounges, halls and corridors, and the like.)

I guess my question is why aren't swimming pools, playgrounds, all rental offices in the same location, all public restrooms in the same location, also 100% in compliance with 4.1 to 4.30 FHAG or even why aren't all the parking stalls accessible (they are scoped at 2%). I have not gotten any answers yet.

The USPS is not currently following the FHAG they are following their own standard called POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 254 USPS Standards for Facility Accessibility - STANDARDS FOR FACILITY ACCESSIBILITY Handbook RE-4 March 2005. Their standards also covered the safety of their mail carriers and provided ergonomically safe positions for the mail carrier to deliver mail to interior and exterior cluster boxes. If we don't follow USPS we don't get mail. USPS has said that the CBU's and Licensed manufactured interior USPS boxes are USPS federal property.

Definition of area =
area
[ˈerēə]

NOUN
  1. a region or part of a town, a country, or the world.
    "rural areas of New Jersey" ·
    [more]
    synonyms:
    district · region · zone · sector · quarter · locality · locale · neighborhood·
    [more]
  2. the extent or measurement of a surface or piece of land.
    "the area of a triangle" ·
    [more]
    synonyms:
    expanse · extent · size · scope · compass · measurements · dimensions · proportions · square footage · acreage
  3. a subject or range of activity or interest.
    "the key areas of science"
    synonyms:
    domain · sector · department · province · territory · compartment · line · field · sphere · discipline · realm
  4. a sunken enclosure giving access to the basement of a building.
    "a bicycle padlocked to the area railing"
 

redeyedfly

Registered User
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
227
Location
Minneapolis, MN
I think there is some misinterpretation by HUD. Item 14 says "mail box area" not mail boxes.
From the text of the table for Requirement 2- item 14. Common-use spaces and facilities (including swimming pools, playgrounds, entrances, rental offices, lobbies, elevators, mailbox areas, lounges, halls and corridors, and the like.)
I agree 100%. HUD got it wrong on both intent and practical effect.

I encourage you to add your complaints to HUD.
 

ADAguy

Sawhorse
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
6,011
Location
California
great discussion gang. it remains to be found in court which is acceptable and in which district
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
34
Location
Hawaii
FYI - the National Home Builders Association NHBA is very aware of how HUD sues small contractors. Sometimes 8 DOJ attorneys to one small contractor.
My recommendation is to use just the essential statutory regulations the FHAG 1991 with the 1994 supplement Q&A and the ANSI A117.1 1986. Write those sources as the limits of your contract. Some of you may not be able to use those sources if your AHJ has adopted a different FHA safe harbor.
 

mark handler

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 25, 2009
Messages
11,133
Location
So. CA
I was told by an attorney to forget all the requirements in the 1991 guidelines and the Design Manual. He said the guidelines lowers accessibility i could have problems later on. He said because HUD refers to ANSI A117.1 so when there are words not defined we are supposed to defer to the ANSI Standard and use that to fill in the blanks. Is this what other contractors are finding out? This would be for FHA covered dwellings and FHA tax credit funded housing.

Is there a comparison between FHA Guidelines and the ANSI A117.1 1986?
Which one allowed only one handrail down steps?

Thank you.

Building Code 2018 of Hawaii

Chapter 11 Accessibility does refer to Fair Housing Acts design and construction requirements
it does not refer to ANSI117.1

IMPO, Both are minimum accessibility requirements. The goal is not to meet the minimum code requirements, but to exceed them.
 

ADAguy

Sawhorse
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
6,011
Location
California
Can anyone let me know where to find in the Fhag the requirement of 100% USPS cbu's be accessible between 15 and 54 inches. I see that parking for covered units only needs to be at 2%. Is the accessible parking supposed to match the 100% or masybe 100% of the covered units? The only reference I could find is access to mailbox area in the FHAG 2 Table "Basic Components for Accessible and Usable public and Common Use Areas or Facilities page 9505 item 14. mailbox areas. If this is the only reference does it mean the swimming pools and playgrounds will also need lifts and ramps to be 100% accessible?
How many access suits/attorneys do you have in HI?
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
34
Location
Hawaii
My understanding it that the DOJ does not enforce the rules and regulations for the design and construction of CBU only the US Postal Service has that control. The US Access Board has enforcement of accessibility by way of the ABA over all Federal Agencies. Not the DOJ.
 
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