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R-2 or R-3 and are they "Covered Multi-Family Dwellings"?

Joe.B

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Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
554
Location
Myrtletown Ca
Situation: (In California) Plans submitted to construct four separate, two-story duplexes (8 units total) on one lot, proposed as R-3 with no accessible units.

First question I think I'm comfortable with, are they four separate R-3 buildings? They're designed like townhouses with kitchen and living room downstairs, two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, "party-wall" separation. Based on 2019 CBC chapter 3, section 310.4 Group R-3 defined as "Buildings that do not contain more than two dwelling units" so for construction purposes I am comfortable with R-3, but I would love to hear feedback if I should re-think that part.

The real tricky one is whether they need to meet accessibility requirements as outlined in Ch. 11A. Scope says chapter 11A applies to "All newly-constructed covered multifamily dwellings." The definition from chapter 2 is:

COVERED MULTIFAMILY DWELLINGS. [HCD 1-AC] "Covered multifamily dwellings" means either of the following:

Buildings that consist of at least four condominium dwelling units or at least three apartment dwelling units if the buildings have at least one elevator.

The ground floor dwelling units in buildings that consist of at least four condominium dwelling units or at least three apartment dwelling units if the building does not have an elevator.

Covered multifamily dwellings include dwellings listed in Section 1102A.1. For purposes of this definition, dwelling units within a single structure separated by firewalls do not constitute separate buildings.


So before I go any further I need to determine if these four separate buildings are considered Covered Multifamily Dwellings, right? Because if they don't then nothing in Ch. 11A applies, right?

Any interpretations and thoughts would be much appreciated!
 

mtlogcabin

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Oct 17, 2009
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8,695
Location
Big Sky Country
I am not clear in your post but FYI don't forget to look at Fair Housing and what they consider a single building. I remember something about all the dwellings being on one lot would require Fair Housing designed units but I can't find it now.

I am so old and been in this game way to long under way to many codes to trust my memory.

Buildings Separated by Firewalls or Covered Walkways Dwellings built within a single structure but separated by a firewall are treated under the Fair Housing Act as a single building. For example, a structure containing two units on each side of a firewall would not be regarded as four two-unit buildings (and thus not covered by the Guidelines) but as a single eight-unit building. In other situations where the dwelling units are connected, such as by stairs or a walkway that is structurally tied to the main body of the building, for purposes of the Guidelines, they are considered a single building and ground floor units in such buildings without elevators are covered.

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Joe.B

Registered User
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
554
Location
Myrtletown Ca
Yup, I am researching FHA right now, I'll post what I find.

This situation is four separate and independent buildings with an eight foot gap between them. Each of the four buildings is a duplex.
 

Joe.B

Registered User
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
554
Location
Myrtletown Ca
We reached out to a representative from HCD and they said "...one- or two-family (duplex) dwellings, do not meet the definition of covered multifamily units, as such, do not need to comply with Chapter 11A. Chapter 11A applies to covered multifamily dwellings..." but then later said "...opinions issued are based on HCD’s published codes, and do not include any local or federal code policies or amendments..." so there's that. From my reading so far nothing in the FHA conflicts with this interpretation.

I would still love to hear any feedback on this. Thanks all.
 

Access Specialist

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Joined
Feb 2, 2022
Messages
25
Location
Denver
These units are not covered by the FHA. In order for FHA to apply, a building must have 4 or more dwelling units. Since these are 4 separate duplex buildings, non of them meet this requirement. It always has to do with how many units are in a building and not how many units are on site. There are other requirements in order for FHA to apply like what mtlogcabin brought up but since we don't meet this initial requirement, we know we're all good.

You may want to check with your local AHJ to make sure there are supplemental requirements for accessibility in townhouses.
 

Joe.B

Registered User
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
554
Location
Myrtletown Ca
Your response is much appreciated! That's what my reading and correspondence has landed on as well.

You may want to check with your local AHJ to make sure there are supplemental requirements for accessibility in townhouses.

Haha yeah, I work for the AHJ in this case and was tasked with researching this... So I reached out here as part of my exploration.
 

redeyedfly

Registered User
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
371
Location
Minneapolis, MN
It always has to do with how many units are in a building and not how many units are on site.
One caveat: If they are FHA covered buildings, they number of required Type A units counts all the units on the site. You don't need a Type A unit in every building.

That doesn't appear to apply here but a detail that can trip you up.
 
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