Where can I find the accessibility standards for dwelling units required to be accessible under the Fair Housing Act's design and construction requirements?
Fair Housing Act requires seven basic requirements that must be
met to comply with the access requirements of the Act. Those
Which entrance or entrances to a covered unit must be accessible? Can the accessible entrance be a patio door or a back door?
entrance is an exterior access point used by residents for the
purpose of entering the building. Using a patio door or a
secondary door like a back door as the only accessible entrance
establishes different terms and conditions for people with
disabilities. This practice may also require a person with
disabilities to use long or circuitous routes, which violates
the Act. This principle was recently affirmed in United States
v. Edward Rose Construction Co., Civil Action No. 02-73518, (W.D.
MI, 2003) where the court said, "HUD interprets the Act
such that a primary entrance is part of the public or common use
areas, regardless of whether it opens from the interior or
exterior. If this is true, then, it must comply with the FHA
accessibility requirements, even if there is a secondary
entrance that is adequately accessible. A 'primary entrance,' it
seems, is one that is on an accessible route and is most likely
to be used as such, particularly when it is most convenient to
Under the Fair Housing Act's design and construction requirements, may an accessible entrance be through a loading dock or service door?
See Guidelines, Definition of "Entrance," which
states, "For purposes of these guidelines, an
"entrance" does not include a door to a loading dock
or a door used primarily as a service entrance, even if
non-handicapped residents occasionally use that door to
Housing Accessibility Guidelines, 56 FR 9472, 9482, March 6,
When swimming pools are provided as a public and common use amenity, what are the accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act?
2 covers recreational facilities such as swimming pools. Fair
Housing Act Design Manual, Chart, 2.4, Diagram 2.8. A
swimming pool must be located on an accessible route, but there
is no requirement that an accessible route be provided into the
pool. In addition, a door or gate accessing the pool must meet
Requirement 3 and the route must provide access to the deck
around the pool.
Are garbage dumpsters required to be accessible under the design and construction requirements?
garbage dumpster itself is not covered by the design and
construction requirements. However, a sufficient number of
garbage dumpsters must be located on an accessible route. If an
enclosure is built around the dumpster, the opening must have a
32 inch clear width and an accessible route must be provided to
the dumpster door. If parking is provided at the dumpster,
accessible parking must also be provided.
Where must the required clear opening at doors be measured?
the door open 90 degrees, the clearance is measured between the
face of the door and the opposing doorstop. The primary entrance
door to dwellings and public and common use doors must have a
32-inch minimum clear opening. Passage doors within a dwelling
must have a nominal 32-inch clear opening. Preamble
to the Guidelines, 56 FR 9472, 9487, Guidelines for Requirement
3, March 6, 1991.
If a bathroom has more than one entrance door, must all doors comply with access requirements?
all doors that are for user passage must meet access
requirements and provide a nominal 32-inch clear opening.
What is a nominal 32-inch clear opening?
nominal 32-inch clear opening measures at least 31 and 5/8
inches from the face of the door to the opposing doorstop when
the door is open 90 degrees.
What are the accessibility standards for pantries?
closet pantries that have an interior depth of 24 inches or less
may have doors of any width. Deeper walk-in pantries must have
doors that comply with Requirement 3, and an accessible route
into the pantry that complies with Requirement 4.
May an interior passage door open into and overlap a 36-inch wide accessible route?
as long as there is at least a 36-inch wide accessible route on
both sides of the door if the door is shut. The Guidelines do
not require maneuvering space at interior doors in covered
dwelling units. See the
Fair Housing Act Design Manual, page 3.3.
Maneuvering space at the door is required for doors in
public and common use areas, which includes primary entrance
doors of dwelling units on the exterior side of the door.
What is the allowable height for door opening hardware on exterior doors to a dwelling unit?
exterior of dwelling unit doors are public and common use areas
and must meet the minimum standards for door hardware set in
ANSI A117.1. The answer to how high the door hardware can be
placed depends on which edition of ANSI is being applied: ICC/ANSI-1998,
Section 404.2.7 48 inches maximum, 34 inches minimum above the
floor or ground CABO/ANSI A117.1-1992, Section 4.13.9 48 inches
maximum, 15 inches minimum above the floor or ground for a front
approach, 54 inches maximum, 15 inches minimum above the floor
or ground for a side approach ANSI A1171-1986, Section 4.13.9 48
inches maximum, 15 inches minimum above the floor or ground for
a front approach, 54 inches maximum, 15 inches minimum above the
floor or ground for a side approach