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2019 California Standards for Accessible Design Guide (effective January 1, 2020 with July 1, 2021 amendments)

CHAPTER 2 DEFINITIONS

ETA Editor's Note

Sections from California Building Code Chapter 2 that are not adopted by Division of the State Architect - Access Compliance (DSA-AC) have been omitted. To see the entire Chapter, consult California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 2 - 2019 California Building Code (2019 CBC), available for purchase from International Code Council (http://www.iccsafe.org).

201.1 Scope.

Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following words and terms shall, for the purposes of this code, have the meanings shown in this chapter.

201.2 Interchangeability.

Words used in the present tense include the future; words stated in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural and the plural, the singular.

SECTION 202 DEFINITIONS

ETA Editor's Note

Where ADA definitions for specific terms differ notably from CBC, the ADA definition is inserted below the CBC definition and identified by green text and headed by [2010 ADA Standards], [ADA Title II…], or [ADA Title III…]. Where ADA defines terms that are either not used or not defined by CBC, those terms and definitions are inserted alphabetically in this Section. Where no ADA definition is provided, either the ADA definition coincides with the CBC definition, or ADA does not define the term.

Both CBC and ADA recognize terms defined in referenced standards as having the meaning specified in those standards unless otherwise stated. No hyperlinks are provided in this Guide for those terms. See 11B-106.2.

Both CBC and ADA rely upon definitions in collegiate dictionaries (unspecified) for the meaning of undefined terms, in the sense that the context implies. See 11B-106.3.

[ADA Title II §35.104] 1991 Standards means the requirements set forth in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, originally published on July 26, 1991, and republished as Appendix D to 28 CFR part 36.

[ADA Title III §36.104] 1991 Standards means requirements set forth in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, originally published on July 26, 1991, and republished as Appendix D to this part.

[ADA Title II §35.104] 2004 ADAAG means the requirements set forth in appendices B and D to 36 CFR part 1191 (2009).

[ADA Title III §36.104] 2004 ADAAG means the requirements set forth in appendices B and D to 36 CFR part 1191 (2009).

[ADA Title II §35.104] 2010 Standards means the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which consist of the 2004 ADAAG and the requirements contained in §35.151.

[ADA Title III §36.104] 2010 Standards means the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which consist of the 2004 ADAAG and the requirements contained in subpart D of this part.

ACCESS AISLE.

[DSA-AC] An accessible pedestrian space adjacent to or between parking spaces that provides clearances in compliance with this code.

ACCESSIBILITY.

[DSA-AC & HCD 1-AC] Accessibility is the combination of various elements in a building, facility, site, or area, or portion thereof which allows access, circulation and the full use of the building and facilities by persons with disabilities in compliance with this code.

ACCESSIBILITY FUNCTION BUTTON.

[DSA-AC] A button on an elevator hall call console in a destination-oriented elevator system that when pressed will activate a series of visual and verbal prompts and announcements providing instruction regarding hall call console operation and direction to an assigned elevator.

ACCESSIBLE.

[DSA-AC & HCD 1-AC] A site, building, facility, or portion thereof that is approachable and usable by persons with disabilities in compliance with this code.

ACCESSIBLE ELEMENT.

[DSA-AC] An element specified by the regulations adopted by the Division of the State Architect-Access Compliance.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of ACCESSIBLE ELEMENT.  An ACCESSIBLE ELEMENT can include a room, area, route, feature or device which provides accessibility for persons with disabilities. ◼

ACCESSIBLE MEANS OF EGRESS.

A continuous and unobstructed way of egress travel from any accessible point in a building or facility to a public way.

[2010 ADA Standards 106.5] Accessible Means of Egress. A continuous and unobstructed way of egress travel from any point in a building or facility that provides an accessible route to an area of refuge, a horizontal exit, or a public way.

ACCESSIBLE ROUTE.

[DSA-AC & HCD 1-AC] A continuous unobstructed path connecting accessible elements and spaces of an accessible site, building or facility that can be negotiated by a person with a disability using a wheelchair, and that is also safe for and usable by persons with other disabilities. Interior accessible routes may include corridors, hallways, floors, ramps, elevators and lifts. Exterior accessible routes may include parking access aisles, curb ramps, crosswalks at vehicular ways, walks, ramps and lifts.

ACCESSIBLE SPACE.

[DSA-AC & HCD 1-AC] A space that complies with the accessibility provisions of this code.

ADAPTABLE.

[DSA-AC] Capable of being readily modified and made accessible.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of ADAPTABLE. This term means that elements can be modified or adjusted to accommodate the needs of a specific user. As part of the initial design and construction, for example, structural backing would be provided for the later installation of grab bars, base cabinets under kitchen sinks would be removable without the use of specialized tools or specialized knowledge, or countertops would be repositionable. ◼

ADDITION.

[DSA-AC] An expansion, extension or increase in the gross floor area or height of a building or facility.

ADJUSTED CONSTRUCTION COST.

[DSA-AC] All costs directly related to the construction of a project, including labor, material, equipment, services, utilities, contractor financing, contractor overhead and profit, and construction management costs. The costs shall not be reduced by the value of components, assemblies, building equipment or construction not directly associated with accessibility or usability. The adjusted construction cost shall not include: project management fees and expenses, architectural and engineering fees, testing and inspection fees, and utility connection or service district fees.

ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY.

[DSA-AC] A governmental agency that adopts or enforces regulations and guidelines for the design, construction or alteration of buildings and facilities.

ADULT CHANGING FACILITY.

A facility that is for use by persons with disabilities who need assistance with personal hygiene.

AISLE.

[DSA-AC] A circulation path between objects such as seats, tables, merchandise, equipment, displays, shelves, desks, etc., that provides clearances in compliance with this code.

ALTERATION.

[DSA-AC] A change, addition or modification in construction, change in occupancy or use, or structural repair to an existing building or facility. Alterations include, but are not limited to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, resurfacing of circulation paths or vehicular ways, changes or rearrangement of the structural parts or elements, and changes or rearrangement in the plan configuration of walls and full-height partitions. Normal maintenance, reroofing, painting or wallpapering, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the building or facility.

ETA Editor's Note

ADA Title III §36.402(b)(1) also excludes asbestos removal from the definition of Alteration, unless it affects the usability of the building or facility:

§36.402(b)(1) Alterations include, but are not limited to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, changes or rearrangement in structural parts or elements, and changes or rearrangement in the plan configuration of walls and full-height partitions. Normal maintenance, reroofing, painting or wallpapering, asbestos removal, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the building or facility.

ETA Editor's Note

[ADA Title III §36.403(c)] Alterations to an Area Containing a Primary Function. (See “Primary Function.”)

AMUSEMENT ATTRACTION.

[DSA-AC] Any facility, or portion of a facility, located within an amusement park or theme park which provides amusement without the use of an amusement device. Amusement attractions include, but are not limited to, fun houses, barrels and other attractions without seats.

AMUSEMENT RIDE.

[DSA-AC] A system that moves persons through a fixed course within a defined area for the purpose of amusement.

AMUSEMENT RIDE SEAT.

[DSA-AC] A seat that is built-in or mechanically fastened to an amusement ride intended to be occupied by one or more passengers.

ANSI.

[DSA-AC] The American National Standards Institute.

APPROVED.

[HCD 1, HCD 2 & DSA-AC] “Approved” means meeting the approval of the enforcing agency, except as otherwise provided by law, when used in connection with any system, material, type of construction, fixture or appliance as the result of investigations and tests conducted by the agency, or by reason of accepted principles or tests by national authorities or technical, health, or scientific organizations or agencies.

APPROVED TESTING AGENCY.

[HCD 1, HCD 2, DSA-AC & OSHPD 1, 1R, 2, 4 & 5]  Any agency, which is determined by the enforcing agency, except as otherwise provided by law, to have adequate personnel and expertise to carry out the testing of systems, materials, types of construction, fixtures or appliances.

AREA OF REFUGE.

An area where persons unable to use stairways can remain temporarily to await instructions or assistance during emergency evacuation.

AREA OF SPORT ACTIVITY.

That portion of an indoor or outdoor space where the play or practice of a sport occurs.

ASSEMBLY AREA.

[DSA-AC] A building or facility, or portion thereof, used for the purpose of entertainment, educational or civic gatherings, or similar purposes. For the purposes of these requirements, assembly areas include, but are not limited to, classrooms, lecture halls, courtrooms, public meeting rooms, public hearing rooms, legislative chambers, motion picture houses, auditoria, theaters, playhouses, dinner theaters, concert halls, centers for the performing arts, amphitheaters, arenas, stadiums, grandstands, or convention centers.

DSA Icon
Advisory Definition of ASSEMBLY AREA. The application of the accessibility provisions of this code is based upon the use of the space rather than the occupancy classification. For example, an assembly area may or may not be a Group A Occupancy. A large conference room in a Group B Occupancy or a multi-purpose area in a Group E Occupancy may be an assembly area. ◼

ASSISTIVE LISTENING SYSTEM (ALS).

[DSA-AC] An amplification system utilizing transmitters, receivers, and coupling devices to bypass the acoustical space between a sound source and a listener by means of induction loop, radio frequency, infrared, or direct-wired equipment.

AUTOMATIC DOOR.

A door equipped with a power operated mechanism and controls that open and close the door automatically upon receipt of a momentary actuating signal. The switch that begins the automatic cycle may be a photoelectric device, floor mat or manual switch.

AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINE (ATM).

[DSA-AC] Any electronic information processing device that accepts or dispenses cash in connection with a credit, deposit or convenience account. The term does not include devices used solely to facilitate check guarantees or check authorizations, or which are used in connection with the acceptance or dispensing of cash on a person-to-person basis, such as by a store cashier.

BATHROOM.

For the purposes of Chapters 11A and 11B, a room which includes a water closet (toilet), a lavatory, and a bathtub and/or a shower. It does not include single-fixture facilities or those with only a water closet and lavatory. It does include a compartmented bathroom. A compartmented bathroom is one in which the fixtures are distributed among interconnected rooms. A compartmented bathroom is considered a single unit and is subject to the requirements of Chapters 11A and 11B.

BLENDED TRANSITION.

[DSA-AC] A raised pedestrian crossing, depressed corner or similar connection that has a grade of 5 percent or less a circulation path at the level of the sidewalk or walk and the level of a vehicular way.

BOARDING PIER.

[DSA-AC] A portion of a pier where a boat is temporarily secured for the purpose of embarking or disembarking.

BOAT LAUNCH RAMP.

[DSA-AC] A sloped surface designed for launching and retrieving trailered boats and other water craft to and from a body of water.

BOAT SLIP.

[DSA-AC] That portion of a pier, main pier, finger pier or float where a boat is moored for the purpose of berthing, embarking or disembarking.

BOTTLE FILLING STATION.

A fixture that is designed and intended for filling personal use drinking water bottles or containers. Such fixtures can be separate from or integral to a drinking fountain.

BUILDING.

Any structure utilized or intended for supporting or sheltering any occupancy.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of BUILDING. The accessibility standards generally apply to buildings and facilities. Parking lots, play areas, patios, constructed trails, man-made outdoor areas are often not considered to be buildings. Rather, these elements are generally considered to be facilities. See the definition of FACILITY. ◼

BUILDING OFFICIAL.

The officer or other designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code, or a duly authorized representative.

CATCH POOL.

[DSA-AC] A pool or designated section of a pool used as a terminus for water slide flumes.

CCR.

[DSA-AC] The California Code of Regulations.

CHARACTERS.

Letters, numbers, punctuation marks and typographic symbols.

CHILDREN’S USE.

[DSA-AC] Describes spaces and elements specifically designed for use primarily by people 12 years old and younger.

CIRCULATION PATH.

[DSA-AC] An exterior or interior way of passage provided for pedestrian travel, including but not limited to, walks, sidewalks, hallways, courtyards, elevators, platform lifts, ramps, stairways and landings.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of CIRCULATION PATH. A CIRCULATION PATH is a pedestrian route provided within a building, facility or site and may or may not (in the case of stairs) include an accessible route of travel. Whenever the accessible route diverges from the regular circulation path signage may be required to identify the departure from the regular route if not obvious. ◼

CLEAR.

[DSA-AC] Unobstructed.

CLEAR FLOOR SPACE.

[DSA-AC & HCD 1-AC] The minimum unobstructed floor or ground space required to accommodate a single, stationary wheelchair and occupant.

CLOSED-CIRCUIT TELEPHONE.

[DSA-AC] A telephone with a dedicated line such as a house phone, courtesy phone or phone that must be used to gain entry to a facility.

[ADA Title III §36.104] Commerce means travel, trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication

(1) Among the several States;

(2) Between any foreign country or any territory or possession and any State; or

(3) Between points in the same State but through another State or foreign country.

COMMERCIAL FACILITIES.

[DSA-AC] Facilities whose operations will affect commerce and are intended for non-residential use by a private entity. Commercial facilities shall not include (1) facilities that are covered or expressly exempted from coverage under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 3601 - 3631); (2) aircraft; or (3) railroad locomotives, railroad freight cars, railroad cabooses, commuter or intercity passenger rail cars (including coaches, dining cars, sleeping cars, lounge cars and food service cars), any other railroad cars described in Section 242 of the Americans With Disabilities Act or covered under Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, or railroad rights-of-way. For purposes of this definition, "rail" and "railroad" have the meaning given the term "railroad" in Section 202(e) of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 (45 U.S.C. 431(e)).

[ADA Title III §36.104] Commercial facilities means facilities –

(1) Whose operations will affect commerce;

(2) That are intended for nonresidential use by a private entity; and

(3) That are not –

(i) Facilities that are covered or expressly exempted from coverage under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 3601 - 3631);

(ii) Aircraft; or

(iii) Railroad locomotives, railroad freight cars, railroad cabooses, commuter or intercity passenger rail cars (including coaches, dining cars, sleeping cars, lounge cars, and food service cars), any other railroad cars described in section 242 of the Act or covered under title II of the Act, or railroad rights-of-way. For purposes of this definition, "rail" and "railroad" have the meaning given the term "railroad" in section 202(e) of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 (45 U.S.C. 431(e)).

COMMERCIAL PLACE OF PUBLIC AMUSEMENT.

[DSA-AC] An auditorium, convention center, cultural complex, exhibition hall, permanent amusement park, sports arena, theater or movie house for which the maximum occupancy is 2,500 or more for the facility. Cultural complexes include but are not limited to art galleries, symphony, concert halls, and museums. A commercial place of public amusement does not include any public or private higher education facility or district agricultural associations.

COMMON USE.

Interior or exterior circulation paths, rooms, spaces or elements that are not for public use and are made available for the shared use of two or more people.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of COMMON USE. Employees, tenants or staff and their guests may jointly utilize common use areas where the public is not permitted general access. An example of a common use area would be a laundry room or community room within a homeless shelter. Examples of common use areas within an office building may include a break room, employee lounge, employee exercise facility or employee locker room. ◼

COMPLY WITH.

[DSA-AC] Comply with means to meet one or more provisions of this code.

CROSS SLOPE.

The slope that is perpendicular to the direction of travel.

CURB CUT.

An interruption of a curb at a pedestrian way, which separates surfaces that are substantially at the same elevation.

CURB RAMP.

A sloping prepared surface, intended for pedestrian traffic, which provides access between a walk or sidewalk and a surface located above or below an adjacent curb face.

[2010 ADA Standards 106.5] Curb Ramp. A short ramp cutting through a curb or built up to it.

DESIGNATED PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

[DSA-AC] Transportation provided by a public entity (other than public school transportation) by bus, rail, or other conveyance (other than transportation by aircraft or intercity or commuter rail transportation) that provides the general public with general or special service, including charter service, on a regular and continuing basis.

DESTINATION-ORIENTED ELEVATOR.

[DSA-AC] Destination-oriented elevators are operated by the user selecting a destination floor at a hall call console located at or near an elevator landing. The destination-oriented elevator system then assigns an elevator car which transports the user to the selected destination floor. Destination-oriented elevators do not provide floor selection within elevator cars.

DETECTABLE WARNING.

A standardized surface feature built in or applied to walking surfaces or other elements to warn persons with visual impairments of hazards on a circulation path.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of DETECTABLE WARNING. Curbs can be used by pedestrians with vision impairments to detect the boundary between a sidewalk and a vehicular way. Curb ramps remove the needed cues for persons with visual impairments; detectable warnings have been developed as a replacement cue and warning to indicate the presence of a vehicular way. ◼

DIRECTIONAL SIGN.

[DSA-AC, HCD 1 & HCD 2]. A publicly displayed notice which indicates by use of words or symbols a recommended direction or route of travel.

DISABILITY.

[DSA-AC] Disability is (1) a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual, (2) a record of such an impairment, or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of DISABILITY. This is the definition of disability used and defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. ◼

ETA Editor's Note

28 CFR Parts 35 and 36 Amendment of ADA Title II and Title III Regulations to Implement ADA Amendments Act of 2008 - Final Rule, published August 11, 2016, updated the definition of disability for both Title II and Title III, which is included below.

[ADA Title II §35.108] Definition of "disability.

(a)

(1) Disability means, with respect to an individual:

i. A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;

ii. A record of such an impairment; or

iii. Being regarded as having such an impairment as described in paragraph (f) of this section.

(2) Rules of construction.

i. The definition of “disability” shall be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA.

ii. An individual may establish coverage under any one or more of the three prongs of the definition of “disability” in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the “actual disability” prong in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, the “record of” prong in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, or the “regarded as” prong in paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section.

iii. Where an individual is not challenging a public entity's failure to provide reasonable modifications under §35.130(b)(7), it is generally unnecessary to proceed under the “actual disability” or “record of” prongs, which require a showing of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity or a record of such an impairment. In these cases, the evaluation of coverage can be made solely under the “regarded as” prong of the definition of “disability,” which does not require a showing of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity or a record of such an impairment. An individual may choose, however, to proceed under the “actual disability” or “record of” prong regardless of whether the individual is challenging a public entity's failure to provide reasonable modifications.

(b)

(1) Physical or mental impairment means:

i. Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems, such as: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or

ii. Any mental or psychological disorder such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disability.

(2) Physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, contagious and noncontagious diseases and conditions such as the following: orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments, and cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, intellectual disability, emotional illness, dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism.

(3) Physical or mental impairment does not include homosexuality or bisexuality.

(c)

(1) Major life activities include, but are not limited to:

i. Caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, writing, communicating, interacting with others, and working; and

ii. The operation of a major bodily function, such as the functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, and digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive systems. The operation of a major bodily function includes the operation of an individual organ within a body system.

(2) Rules of construction.

i. In determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity, the term major shall not be interpreted strictly to create a demanding standard.

ii. Whether an activity is a major life activity is not determined by reference to whether it is of central importance to daily life.

(d) Substantially limits—

(1) Rules of construction. The following rules of construction apply when determining whether an impairment substantially limits an individual in a major life activity.

i. The term “substantially limits” shall be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA. “Substantially limits” is not meant to be a demanding standard.

ii. The primary object of attention in cases brought under title II of the ADA should be whether public entities have complied with their obligations and whether discrimination has occurred, not the extent to which an individual's impairment substantially limits a major life activity. Accordingly, the threshold issue of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity should not demand extensive analysis.

iii. An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity does not need to limit other major life activities in order to be considered a substantially limiting impairment.

iv. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.

v. An impairment is a disability within the meaning of this part if it substantially limits the ability of an individual to perform a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population. An impairment does not need to prevent, or significantly or severely restrict, the individual from performing a major life activity in order to be considered substantially limiting. Nonetheless, not every impairment will constitute a disability within the meaning of this section.

vi. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individualized assessment. However, in making this assessment, the term “substantially limits” shall be interpreted and applied to require a degree of functional limitation that is lower than the standard for substantially limits applied prior to the ADA Amendments Act.

vii. The comparison of an individual's performance of a major life activity to the performance of the same major life activity by most people in the general population usually will not require scientific, medical, or statistical evidence. Nothing in this paragraph (d)(1) is intended, however, to prohibit or limit the presentation of scientific, medical, or statistical evidence in making such a comparison where appropriate.

viii. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures. However, the ameliorative effects of ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses shall be considered in determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity. Ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses are lenses that are intended to fully correct visual acuity or to eliminate refractive error.

ix. The six-month “transitory” part of the “transitory and minor” exception in paragraph (f)(2) of this section does not apply to the “actual disability” or “record of” prongs of the definition of “disability.” The effects of an impairment lasting or expected to last less than six months can be substantially limiting within the meaning of this section for establishing an actual disability or a record of a disability.

(2) Predictable assessments.

i. The principles set forth in the rules of construction in this section are intended to provide for more generous coverage and application of the ADA's prohibition on discrimination through a framework that is predictable, consistent, and workable for all individuals and entities with rights and responsibilities under the ADA.

ii. Applying these principles, the individualized assessment of some types of impairments will, in virtually all cases, result in a determination of coverage under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section (the “actual disability” prong) or paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section (the “record of” prong). Given their inherent nature, these types of impairments will, as a factual matter, virtually always be found to impose a substantial limitation on a major life activity. Therefore, with respect to these types of impairments, the necessary individualized assessment should be particularly simple and straightforward.

iii. For example, applying these principles it should easily be concluded that the types of impairments set forth in paragraphs (d)(2)(iii)(A) through (K) of this section will, at a minimum, substantially limit the major life activities indicated. The types of impairments described in this paragraph may substantially limit additional major life activities (including major bodily functions) not explicitly listed in paragraphs (d)(2)(iii)(A) through (K).

(A) Deafness substantially limits hearing;

(B) Blindness substantially limits seeing;

(C) Intellectual disability substantially limits brain function;

(D) Partially or completely missing limbs or mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair substantially limit musculoskeletal function;

(E) Autism substantially limits brain function;

(F) Cancer substantially limits normal cell growth;

(G) Cerebral palsy substantially limits brain function;

(H) Diabetes substantially limits endocrine function;

(I) Epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis each substantially limits neurological function;

(J) Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection substantially limits immune function; and

(K) Major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia each substantially limits brain function.

(3) Condition, manner, or duration.

i. At all times taking into account the principles set forth in the rules of construction, in determining whether an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity, it may be useful in appropriate cases to consider, as compared to most people in the general population, the conditions under which the individual performs the major life activity; the manner in which the individual performs the major life activity; or the duration of time it takes the individual to perform the major life activity, or for which the individual can perform the major life activity.

ii. Consideration of facts such as condition, manner, or duration may include, among other things, consideration of the difficulty, effort or time required to perform a major life activity; pain experienced when performing a major life activity; the length of time a major life activity can be performed; or the way an impairment affects the operation of a major bodily function. In addition, the non-ameliorative effects of mitigating measures, such as negative side effects of medication or burdens associated with following a particular treatment regimen, may be considered when determining whether an individual's impairment substantially limits a major life activity.

iii. In determining whether an individual has a disability under the “actual disability” or “record of” prongs of the definition of “disability,” the focus is on how a major life activity is substantially limited, and not on what outcomes an individual can achieve. For example, someone with a learning disability may achieve a high level of academic success, but may nevertheless be substantially limited in one or more major life activities, including, but not limited to, reading, writing, speaking, or learning because of the additional time or effort he or she must spend to read, write, speak, or learn compared to most people in the general population.

iv. Given the rules of construction set forth in this section, it may often be unnecessary to conduct an analysis involving most or all of the facts related to condition, manner, or duration. This is particularly true with respect to impairments such as those described in paragraph (d)(2)(iii) of this section, which by their inherent nature should be easily found to impose a substantial limitation on a major life activity, and for which the individualized assessment should be particularly simple and straightforward.

(4) Mitigating measures include, but are not limited to:

i. Medication, medical supplies, equipment, appliances, low-vision devices (defined as devices that magnify, enhance, or otherwise augment a visual image, but not including ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing aid(s) and cochlear implant(s) or other implantable hearing devices, mobility devices, and oxygen therapy equipment and supplies;

ii. Use of assistive technology;

iii. Reasonable modifications or auxiliary aids or services as defined in this regulation;

iv. Learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications; or

v. Psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, or physical therapy.

(e) Has a record of such an impairment.

(1) An individual has a record of such an impairment if the individual has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(2) Broad construction. Whether an individual has a record of an impairment that substantially limited a major life activity shall be construed broadly to the maximum extent permitted by the ADA and should not demand extensive analysis. An individual will be considered to fall within this prong of the definition of “disability” if the individual has a history of an impairment that substantially limited one or more major life activities when compared to most people in the general population, or was misclassified as having had such an impairment. In determining whether an impairment substantially limited a major life activity, the principles articulated in paragraph (d)(1) of this section apply.

(3) Reasonable modification. An individual with a record of a substantially limiting impairment may be entitled to a reasonable modification if needed and related to the past disability.

(f) Is regarded as having such an impairment. The following principles apply under the “regarded” as prong of the definition of “disability” (paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section):

(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (f)(2) of this section, an individual is “regarded as having such an impairment” if the individual is subjected to a prohibited action because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment, whether or not that impairment substantially limits, or is perceived to substantially limit, a major life activity, even if the public entity asserts, or may or does ultimately establish, a defense to the action prohibited by the ADA.

(2) An individual is not “regarded as having such an impairment” if the public entity demonstrates that the impairment is, objectively, both “transitory” and “minor.” A public entity may not defeat “regarded as” coverage of an individual simply by demonstrating that it subjectively believed the impairment was transitory and minor; rather, the public entity must demonstrate that the impairment is (in the case of an actual impairment) or would be (in the case of a perceived impairment), objectively, both “transitory” and “minor.” For purposes of this section, “transitory” is defined as lasting or expected to last six months or less.

(3) Establishing that an individual is “regarded as having such an impairment” does not, by itself, establish liability. Liability is established under title II of the ADA only when an individual proves that a public entity discriminated on the basis of disability within the meaning of title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12131-12134.

(g) Exclusions. The term “disability” does not include—

(1) Transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders;

(2) Compulsive gambling, kleptomania, or pyromania; or

(3) Psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from current illegal use of drugs.

[ADA Title III §36.105] § 36.105 Definition of “disability.”

(a)

(1) Disability means, with respect to an individual:

i. A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;

ii. A record of such an impairment; or

ii. Being regarded as having such an impairment as described in paragraph (f) of this section.

(2) Rules of construction.

i. The definition of “disability” shall be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA.

ii. An individual may establish coverage under any one or more of the three prongs of the definition of “disability” in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the “actual disability” prong in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, the “record of” prong in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, or the “regarded as” prong in paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section.

iii. Where an individual is not challenging a public accommodation's failure to provide reasonable modifications under §36.302, it is generally unnecessary to proceed under the “actual disability” or “record of” prongs, which require a showing of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity or a record of such an impairment. In these cases, the evaluation of coverage can be made solely under the “regarded as” prong of the definition of “disability,” which does not require a showing of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity or a record of such an impairment. An individual may choose, however, to proceed under the “actual disability” or “record of” prong regardless of whether the individual is challenging a public accommodation's failure to provide reasonable modifications.

(b)

(1) Physical or mental impairment means:

i. Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems, such as: Neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or

ii. Any mental or psychological disorder such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disability.

(2) Physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, contagious and noncontagious diseases and conditions such as the following: Orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, and cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, intellectual disability, emotional illness, dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism.

(3) Physical or mental impairment does not include homosexuality or bisexuality.

(c)

(1) Major life activities include, but are not limited to:

i. Caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, writing, communicating, interacting with others, and working; and

ii. The operation of a major bodily function, such as the functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, and digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive systems. The operation of a major bodily function includes the operation of an individual organ within a body system.

(2) Rules of construction.

i. In determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity, the term major shall not be interpreted strictly to create a demanding standard.

ii. Whether an activity is a major life activity is not determined by reference to whether it is of central importance to daily life.

(d) Substantially limits—

(1) Rules of construction. The following rules of construction apply when determining whether an impairment substantially limits an individual in a major life activity.

i. The term “substantially limits” shall be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA. “Substantially limits” is not meant to be a demanding standard.

ii. The primary object of attention in cases brought under title III of the ADA should be whether public accommodations have complied with their obligations and whether discrimination has occurred, not the extent to which an individual's impairment substantially limits a major life activity. Accordingly, the threshold issue of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity should not demand extensive analysis.

iii. An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity does not need to limit other major life activities in order to be considered a substantially limiting impairment.

iv. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.

v. An impairment is a disability within the meaning of this part if it substantially limits the ability of an individual to perform a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population. An impairment does not need to prevent, or significantly or severely restrict, the individual from performing a major life activity in order to be considered substantially limiting. Nonetheless, not every impairment will constitute a disability within the meaning of this section.

vi. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individualized assessment. However, in making this assessment, the term “substantially limits” shall be interpreted and applied to require a degree of functional limitation that is lower than the standard for substantially limits applied prior to the ADA Amendments Act.

vii. The comparison of an individual's performance of a major life activity to the performance of the same major life activity by most people in the general population usually will not require scientific, medical, or statistical evidence. Nothing in this paragraph (d)(1) is intended, however, to prohibit or limit the presentation of scientific, medical, or statistical evidence in making such a comparison where appropriate.

viii. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures. However, the ameliorative effects of ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses shall be considered in determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity. Ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses are lenses that are intended to fully correct visual acuity or to eliminate refractive error.

ix. The six-month “transitory” part of the “transitory and minor” exception in paragraph (f)(2) of this section does not apply to the “actual disability” or “record of” prongs of the definition of “disability.” The effects of an impairment lasting or expected to last less than six months can be substantially limiting within the meaning of this section for establishing an actual disability or a record of a disability.

(2) Predictable assessments.

i. The principles set forth in the rules of construction in this section are intended to provide for more generous coverage and application of the ADA's prohibition on discrimination through a framework that is predictable, consistent, and workable for all individuals and entities with rights and responsibilities under the ADA.

ii. Applying these principles, the individualized assessment of some types of impairments will, in virtually all cases, result in a determination of coverage under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section (the “actual disability” prong) or paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section (the “record of” prong). Given their inherent nature, these types of impairments will, as a factual matter, virtually always be found to impose a substantial limitation on a major life activity. Therefore, with respect to these types of impairments, the necessary individualized assessment should be particularly simple and straightforward.

iii. For example, applying these principles it should easily be concluded that the types of impairments set forth in paragraphs (d)(2)(iii)(A) through (K) of this section will, at a minimum, substantially limit the major life activities indicated. The types of impairments described in this paragraph may substantially limit additional major life activities (including major bodily functions) not explicitly listed in paragraphs (d)(2)(iii)(A) through (K).

(A) Deafness substantially limits hearing;

(B) Blindness substantially limits seeing;

(C) Intellectual disability substantially limits brain function;

(D) Partially or completely missing limbs or mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair substantially limit musculoskeletal function;

(E) Autism substantially limits brain function;

(F) Cancer substantially limits normal cell growth;

(G) Cerebral palsy substantially limits brain function;

(H) Diabetes substantially limits endocrine function;

(I) Epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis each substantially limits neurological function;

(J) Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection substantially limits immune function; and

(K) Major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia each substantially limits brain function.

(3) Condition, manner, or duration.

i. At all times taking into account the principles set forth in the rules of construction, in determining whether an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity, it may be useful in appropriate cases to consider, as compared to most people in the general population, the conditions under which the individual performs the major life activity; the manner in which the individual performs the major life activity; or the duration of time it takes the individual to perform the major life activity, or for which the individual can perform the major life activity.

ii. Consideration of facts such as condition, manner, or duration may include, among other things, consideration of the difficulty, effort or time required to perform a major life activity; pain experienced when performing a major life activity; the length of time a major life activity can be performed; or the way an impairment affects the operation of a major bodily function. In addition, the non-ameliorative effects of mitigating measures, such as negative side effects of medication or burdens associated with following a particular treatment regimen, may be considered when determining whether an individual's impairment substantially limits a major life activity.

iii. In determining whether an individual has a disability under the “actual disability” or “record of” prongs of the definition of “disability,” the focus is on how a major life activity is substantially limited, and not on what outcomes an individual can achieve. For example, someone with a learning disability may achieve a high level of academic success, but may nevertheless be substantially limited in one or more major life activities, including, but not limited to, reading, writing, speaking, or learning because of the additional time or effort he or she must spend to read, write, speak, or learn compared to most people in the general population.

iv. Given the rules of construction set forth in this section, it may often be unnecessary to conduct an analysis involving most or all of the facts related to condition, manner, or duration. This is particularly true with respect to impairments such as those described in paragraph (d)(2)(iii) of this section, which by their inherent nature should be easily found to impose a substantial limitation on a major life activity, and for which the individualized assessment should be particularly simple and straightforward.

(4) Mitigating measures include, but are not limited to:

i. Medication, medical supplies, equipment, appliances, low-vision devices (defined as devices that magnify, enhance, or otherwise augment a visual image, but not including ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing aid(s) and cochlear implant(s) or other implantable hearing devices, mobility devices, and oxygen therapy equipment and supplies;

ii. Use of assistive technology;

iii. Reasonable modifications or auxiliary aids or services as defined in this regulation;

iv. Learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications; or

v. Psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, or physical therapy.

(e) Has a record of such an impairment.

(1) An individual has a record of such an impairment if the individual has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(2) Broad construction. Whether an individual has a record of an impairment that substantially limited a major life activity shall be construed broadly to the maximum extent permitted by the ADA and should not demand extensive analysis. An individual will be considered to fall within this prong of the definition of “disability” if the individual has a history of an impairment that substantially limited one or more major life activities when compared to most people in the general population, or was misclassified as having had such an impairment. In determining whether an impairment substantially limited a major life activity, the principles articulated in paragraph (d)(1) of this section apply.

(3) Reasonable modification. An individual with a record of a substantially limiting impairment may be entitled to a reasonable modification if needed and related to the past disability.

(f) Is regarded as having such an impairment. The following principles apply under the “regarded as” prong of the definition of “disability” (paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section):

(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (f)(2) of this section, an individual is “regarded as having such an impairment” if the individual is subjected to a prohibited action because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment, whether or not that impairment substantially limits, or is perceived to substantially limit, a major life activity, even if the public accommodation asserts, or may or does ultimately establish, a defense to the action prohibited by the ADA.

(2) An individual is not “regarded as having such an impairment” if the public accommodation demonstrates that the impairment is, objectively, both “transitory” and “minor.” A public accommodation may not defeat “regarded as” coverage of an individual simply by demonstrating that it subjectively believed the impairment was transitory and minor; rather, the public accommodation must demonstrate that the impairment is (in the case of an actual impairment) or would be (in the case of a perceived impairment), objectively, both “transitory” and “minor.” For purposes of this section, “transitory” is defined as lasting or expected to last six months or less.

(3) Establishing that an individual is “regarded as having such an impairment” does not, by itself, establish liability. Liability is established under title III of the ADA only when an individual proves that a public accommodation discriminated on the basis of disability within the meaning of title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12181-12189.

(g) Exclusions. The term “disability” does not include—

(1) Transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders;

(2) Compulsive gambling, kleptomania, or pyromania; or

(3) Psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from current illegal use of drugs.

DISTRICT AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATIONS.

Those associations regulated by the California Food and Agricultural Code, Division 3, Part 3.

DORMITORY.

A space in a building where group sleeping accommodations are provided in one room, or in a series of closely associated rooms, for persons not members of the same family group, under joint occupancy and single management, as in college dormitories or fraternity houses.

DRIVE AISLE.

A vehicular way provided within a parking facility that connects vehicular entrances, parking stalls, electric vehicle charging stations, passenger loading zones, and vehicular exits.

DRIVE-UP ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATION.

An electric vehicle charging station in which use is limited to 30 minutes maximum and is provided at a location where the electric vehicle approaches in the forward direction, stops in the vehicle space, charges the vehicle, and proceeds forward to depart the vehicle space. The arrangement of a drive-up electric vehicle charger and its associated vehicle space is similar to a gasoline filling station island.

DRIVEWAY.

A vehicular way providing access between a public way and a building, parking facility, or other off-street area. A driveway may provide access to drive aisles in a parking facility.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV).

[DSA-AC & SFM] An automotive-type vehicle for on-road use, such as passenger automobiles, buses. trucks vans, neighborhood electric vehicles, electric motorcycles, and the like, primarily powered by an electric motor that draws current from a rechargeable storage battery, fuel cell, photovoltaic array, or other source of electric current. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are considered electric vehicles. For the purpose of this code, off-road, self-propelled electric vehicles, such as industrial trucks, hoists, lifts, transports, golf carts, airline ground support equipment, tractors, boats, and the like, are not included.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV) CHARGER.

Off-board charging equipment used to charge an electric vehicle.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATION (EVCS).

One or more electric vehicle charging spaces served by an electric vehicle charger or other charging equipment. Where a multiport electric vehicle charger can simultaneously charge more than one vehicle, the number of electric vehicle charging stations shall be considered equivalent to the number of electric vehicles that can be simultaneously charged.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV) CONNECTOR.

A device that, when electrically coupled (conductive or inductive) to an electric vehicle inlet, establishes an electrical connection to the electric vehicle for the purpose of power transfer and information exchange. This device is part of the electric vehicle coupler.

ELEMENT.

[DSA-AC] An architectural or mechanical component of a building, facility, space or site.

ELEVATED PLAY COMPONENT.

[DSA-AC] A play component that is approached above or below grade and that is part of a composite play structure consisting of two or more play components attached or functionally linked to create an integrated unit providing more than one play activity.

ELEVATOR, PASSENGER.

[DSA-AC] An elevator used primarily to carry passengers.

EMPLOYEE WORK AREA.

All or any portion of a space used only by employees and only for work. Corridors, toilet rooms, kitchenettes and break rooms are not employee work areas.

ENFORCING AGENCY.

[DSA-AC, HCD 1 & HCD 2] The designated department or agency as specified by statute or regulation.

ENTRANCE.

Any access point to a building or portion of a building or facility used for the purpose of entering. An entrance includes the approach walk, the vertical access leading to the entrance platform, the entrance platform itself, vestibule if provided, the entry door or gate, and the hardware of the entry door or gate.

EQUIVALENT FACILITATION.

The use of designs, products, or technologies as alternatives to those prescribed, resulting in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability.

Note: In determining equivalent facilitation, consideration shall be given to means that provide for the maximum independence of persons with disabilities while presenting the least risk of harm, injury or other hazard to such persons or others.

[2010 ADA Standards] 103 Equivalent Facilitation. Nothing in these requirements prevents the use of designs, products, or technologies as alternatives to those prescribed, provided they result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability.

[2010 ADA Standards] Advisory 103 Equivalent Facilitation. The responsibility for demonstrating equivalent facilitation in the event of a challenge rests with the covered entity. With the exception of transit facilities, which are covered by regulations issued by the Department of Transportation, there is no process for certifying that an alternative design provides equivalent facilitation.

ETA Editor's Note

The acceptance of an Equivalent Facilitation argument by a Local Building Official or other Authority Having Jurisdiction does not warrant that the standards for Equivalent Facilitation expected for ADA compliance are met, since those entities have no authority to certify ADA compliance, and consistently state that they do not review for it. Due diligence is advised whenever Equivalent Facilitation is proposed in lieu of strict compliance with stated scoping and/or technical requirements.

When designs rely on Equivalent Facilitation for compliance, the designer, and any other responsible parties, must verify that the designs, products or technologies actually result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability for people with all disability types who would have been accommodated by a design meeting the stated requirements.

EXISTING BUILDING OR FACILITY.

[DSA-AC] A facility in existence on any given date, without regard to whether the facility may also be considered newly constructed or altered under this code.

EXIT.

That portion of a means of egress system between the exit access and the exit discharge or public way. Exit components include exterior exit doors at the level of exit discharge, interior exit stairways and ramps, exit passageways, exterior exit stairways and ramps and horizontal exits.

FACILITY.

[DSA-AC] All or any portion of buildings, structures, site improvements, elements, and pedestrian routes or vehicular ways located on a site.

FUNCTIONAL AREA.

[DSA-AC] A room, space or area intended or designated for a group of related activities or processes.

GANGWAY.

[DSA-AC] A variable-sloped pedestrian walkway that links a fixed structure or land with a floating structure. Gangways that connect to vessels are not addressed by this code.

GOLF CAR PASSAGE.

[DSA-AC] A continuous passage on which a motorized golf car can operate.

GRAB BAR.

[DSA-AC & HCD 1-AC] A bar for the purpose of being grasped by the hand for support.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of GRAB BAR. A grab bar may also provide support for a user transferring from a wheelchair onto a bench, seat or plumbing fixture. ◼

GRADE (Adjacent Ground Elevation).

[DSA-AC & HCD 1-AC] The lowest point of elevation of the finished surface of the ground, paving or sidewalk within the area between the building and the property line or, when the property line is more than 5 feet (1524 mm) from the building, between the building and a line 5 feet (1524 mm) from the building. See Health and Safety Code Section 19955.3(d).

GRADE BREAK.

[DSA-AC] The line where two surface planes with different slopes meet.

GROUND FLOOR.

The floor of a building with a building entrance on an accessible route. A building may have one or more ground floors.

GROUND LEVEL PLAY COMPONENT.

[DSA-AC] A play component that is approached and exited at the ground level.

GUARD [DSA-AC, HCD 1, HCD 2 & HCD 1-AC] OR GUARDRAIL.

A building component or a system of building components located at or near the open sides of elevated walking surfaces that minimizes the possibility of a fall from the walking surface to a lower level.

HALL CALL CONSOLE.

[DSA-AC] An elevator call user interface exclusive to a destination-oriented elevator system that requires the user to select a destination floor prior to entering the elevator car.

HANDRAIL.

A horizontal or sloping rail intended for grasping by the hand for guidance or support.

HISTORIC BUILDINGS.

[DSA-AC] See “Qualified historical building or property,” C.C.R., Title 24, Part 8.

HOUSING AT A PLACE OF EDUCATION.

Housing operated by or on behalf of an elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate school, or other place of education, including dormitories, suites, apartments, or other places of residence.

IF, IF . . . THEN.

[DSA-AC] The terms “if” and “if … then denote a specification that applies only when the conditions described are present.

INTERNATIONAL SYMBOL OF ACCESSIBILITY.

The symbol adopted by Rehabilitation International’s 11th World Congress for the purpose of indicating that buildings and facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of INTERNATIONAL SYMBOL OF ACCESSIBILITY. This is also known as the “ISA.” It is a graphic representation of the profile view of a wheelchair with occupant. See Chapter 11B, Figure 11B-703.7.2.1. ◼

KEY STATION.

[DSA-AC] Certain rapid and light rail stations, and commuter rail stations, as defined under criteria established by the Department of Transportation in 49 CFR 37.47 and 49 CFR 37.51, respectively.

KICK PLATE.

An abrasion-resistant plate affixed to the bottom portion of a door to prevent a trap condition and protect its surface.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of KICK PLATE. Although kick plates are not necessarily required by the code, they are often applied to areas of doors required to have a smooth surface and be free of abrupt surface changes. This provides a person in a wheelchair the option of opening a door by pushing with their feet or allows the front foot plates of a wheelchair to glide smoothly along the lower face of the door as a wheelchair user proceeds through a door. ◼

KITCHEN OR KITCHENETTE.

[DSA-AC] A room, space or area with equipment for the preparation and cooking of food.

LAVATORY.

A fixed bowl or basin with running water and drainpipe, as in a toilet or bathing facility, for washing or bathing purposes. (As differentiated from the definition of “Sink”.)

MAIL BOXES.

[DSA-AC] Receptacles for the receipt of documents, packages or other deliverable matter. Mail boxes include, but are not limited to, post office boxes and receptacles provided by commercial mail-receiving agencies, apartment facilities or schools.

MARKED CROSSING.

A crosswalk or other identified path intended for pedestrian use in crossing a vehicular way.

MAY.

[DSA-AC] May denotes an option or alternative.

[ADA Title III §36.402(c)] To the maximum extent feasible. The phrase "to the maximum extent feasible," as used in this section, applies to the occasional case where the nature of an existing facility makes it virtually impossible to comply fully with applicable accessibility standards through a planned alteration. In these circumstances, the alteration shall provide the maximum physical accessibility feasible. Any altered features of the facility that can be made accessible shall be made accessible. If providing accessibility in conformance with this section to individuals with certain disabilities (e.g., those who use wheelchairs) would not be feasible, the facility shall be made accessible to persons with other types of disabilities (e.g., those who use crutches, those who have impaired vision or hearing, or those who have other impairments).

MEANS OF EGRESS.

A continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from any occupied portion of a building or structure to a public way. A means of egress consists of three separate and distinct parts: the exit access, the exit and the exit discharge.

MEZZANINE.

[DSA-AC] An intermediate level or levels between the floor and ceiling of any story with an aggregate floor area of not more than one-third of the area of the room or space in which the level or levels are located. Mezzanines have sufficient elevation that space for human occupancy can be provided on the floor below.

MULTI-BEDROOM HOUSING UNIT.

[DSA-AC] A housing unit, intended for use by students at a place of education, with a kitchen and/or toilet and bathing rooms within the unit, such as an apartment, or dormitory. Multi-bedroom housing units are separate from one another and from common use spaces within a building.

NFPA.

[DSA-AC] The National Fire Protection Association.

NOSING.

The leading edge of treads of stairs and of landings at the top of stairway flights.

OCCUPANT LOAD.

The number of persons for which the means of egress of a building or portion thereof is designed.

OCCUPIABLE SPACE.

A room or enclosed space designed for human occupancy in which individuals congregate for amusement, educational or similar purposes or in which occupants are engaged at labor, and which is equipped with means of egress and light and ventilation facilities meeting the requirements of this code.

OPEN RISER.

The space between two adjacent stair treads not closed by a riser.

OPERABLE PART.

A component of an element used to insert or withdraw objects, or to activate, deactivate, or adjust the element.

PATH OF TRAVEL.

[DSA-AC] An identifiable accessible route within an existing site, building or facility by means of which a particular area may be approached, entered and exited, and which connects a particular area with an exterior approach (including sidewalks, streets, and parking areas), an entrance to the facility, and other parts of the facility. When alterations, structural repairs or additions are made to existing buildings or facilities, the term “path of travel” also includes the toilet and bathing facilities, telephones, drinking fountains and signs serving the area of work.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of PATH OF TRAVEL. The term PATH OF TRAVEL applies only to alterations, structural repairs or additions to existing buildings or facilities. Path of travel elements may be subject to upgrade as part of the alteration to an existing building if they do not conform to current accessibility requirements. ◼

[ADA Title II §35.151(b)(4)(ii)] A “path of travel” includes a continuous, unobstructed way of pedestrian passage by means of which the altered area may be approached, entered, and exited, and which connects the altered area with an exterior approach (including sidewalks, streets, and parking areas), an entrance to the facility, and other parts of the facility.

(A) An accessible path of travel may consist of walks and sidewalks, curb ramps and other interior or exterior pedestrian ramps; clear floor paths through lobbies, corridors, rooms, and other improved areas; parking access aisles; elevators and lifts; or a combination of these elements.

(B) For the purposes of this section, the term “path of travel” also includes the restrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving the altered area.

[ADA Title III §36.403(e)] Path of travel.

1) A "path of travel" includes a continuous, unobstructed way of pedestrian passage by means of which the altered area may be approached, entered, and exited, and which connects the altered area with an exterior approach (including sidewalks, streets, and parking areas), an entrance to the facility, and other parts of the facility.

2) An accessible path of travel may consist of walks and sidewalks, curb ramps and other interior or exterior pedestrian ramps; clear floor paths through lobbies, corridors, rooms, and other improved areas; parking access aisles; elevators and lifts; or a combination of these elements.

3) For the purposes of this part, the term "path of travel" also includes the restrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving the altered area.

ETA Editor's Note

CBC Chapter 11B does not apply the same qualification as ADA for imposing the responsibility to make the path of travel to an addition or alteration accessible, implying that existing barriers to accessibility must be mitigated, subject to codified hardship and/or safe harbor limitations. ADA imposes the responsibility when an alteration or addition to a public accommodation or commercial facility includes or affects an area containing a primary function. Lacking this qualification, the CBC Chapter 11B scoping is more inclusive. However, the CBC scoping is interpreted and enforced by Local Building Officials and other Authorities Having Jurisdiction, whereas the ADA scoping is not. Therefore, in cases where the CBC scoping for mitigation of existing path of travel barriers as part of a building alteration or addition is not enforced, or is enforced to a lesser degree than the ADA obligation would require, the ADA obligation remains in effect, if the alteration or addition meets the ADA primary function qualification.

It is also important to note that ADA Title III imposes a perpetual obligation for public accommodations to mitigate existing barriers to the extent readily achievable, not merely limited to those on an accessible path of travel, and not tied to other alterations or additions.

In order to mitigate existing barriers, it is first necessary to identify them. The subject of who is responsible for doing this is not addressed directly by CBC or ADA, and it is perhaps the most common failing for public accommodations. Design professionals frequently note "Existing Accessible Parking," "Existing Accessible Toilets," and similar, which Authorities Having Jurisdiction take to imply that they are compliant.  The failure to mitigate existing barriers that are overlooked by this practice can be, and frequently is, an ADA violation. It is also inconsistent with the intent of CBC Chapter 11B.

The ADA path of travel requirements are included in this Guide following those of CBC Section 11B-202.4.

PEDESTRIAN.

An individual who moves in walking areas with or without the use of walking assistive devices such as crutches, leg braces, wheelchairs, white cane, service animal, etc.

PEDESTRIAN WAY. A route by which a pedestrian may pass.

Notation:

Authority: Government Code Section 4450.

Reference(s): Government Code Sections 4450 through 4461 and Health and Safety Code Section 18949.1.

PEER REVIEW.

[OSHPD 1, 1R, 2, 4 & 5] Peer review refers to the procedure contained in California Building Code Section 1617A.l.41.

PERMANENT.

[DSA-AC] Facilities which, are intended to be used for periods longer than those designated in this code under the definition of “Temporary.”

PERMIT.

An official document or certificate issued by the building official that authorizes performance of a specified activity.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of PERMIT. In State-funded construction, a letter following plan review which approves the plans and allows the release of funds is equivalent to a "permit.” ◼

PICTOGRAM.

A pictorial symbol that represents activities, facilities, or concepts.

PLACE OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION.

A facility operated by a private entity whose operations affect commerce and fall within at least one of the following categories:

(1) Place of lodging, except for an establishment located within a facility that contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and that actually is occupied by the proprietor of the establishment as the residence of the proprietor. For purposes of this code, a facility is a "place of lodging" if it is

(i) An inn, hotel, or motel; or

(ii) A facility that

(A) Provides guest rooms for sleeping for stays that primarily are short-term in nature (generally 30 days or less) where the occupant does not have the right to return to a specific room or unit after the conclusion of his or her stay; and

(B) Provides guest rooms under conditions and with amenities similar to a hotel, motel, or inn, including the following:

     (1) On- or off-site management and reservations service;

     (2) Rooms available on a walk-up or call-in basis;

     (3) Availability of housekeeping or linen service; and

     (4) Acceptance of reservations for a guest room type without guaranteeing a particular unit or room until check-in, and without a prior lease or security deposit.

(2) A restaurant, bar, or other establishment serving food or drink;

(3) A motion picture house, theater, concert hall, stadium, or other place of exhibition or entertainment;

(4) An auditorium, convention center, lecture hall, or other place of public gathering;

(5) A bakery, grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping center, or other sales or rental establishment;

(6) A laundromat, dry-cleaner, bank, barber shop, beauty shop, travel service, shoe repair service, funeral parlor, gas station, office of an accountant or lawyer, pharmacy, insurance office, professional office of a health care provider, hospital, or other service establishment;

(7) A terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation;

(8) A museum, library, gallery, or other place of public display or collection;

(9) A park, zoo, amusement park, or other place of recreation;

(10) A nursery, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate private school, or other place of education;

(11) A day-care center, senior citizen center, homeless shelter, food bank, adoption agency, or other social service center establishment;

(12) A gymnasium, health spa, bowling alley, golf course, or other place of exercise or recreation;

(13) A religious facility;

(14) An office building; and

(15) A public curb or sidewalk.

[ADA Title III §36.104] Place of public accommodation means a facility operated by a private entity whose operations affect commerce and fall within at least one of the following categories—

(1) Place of lodging, except for an establishment located within a facility that contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and that actually is occupied by the proprietor of the establishment as the residence of the proprietor. For purposes of this part, a facility is a “place of lodging” if it is—

(i) An inn, hotel, or motel; or

(ii) A facility that—

(A) Provides guest rooms for sleeping for stays that primarily are short-term in nature (generally 30 days or less) where the occupant does not have the right to return to a specific room or unit after the conclusion of his or her stay; and

(B) Provides guest rooms under conditions and with amenities similar to a hotel, motel, or inn, including the following—

     (1) On- or off-site management and reservations service;

     (2) Rooms available on a walk-up or call-in basis;

     (3) Availability of housekeeping or linen service; and

     (4) Acceptance of reservations for a guest room type without guaranteeing a particular unit or room until check-in, and without a prior lease or security deposit.

(2) A restaurant, bar, or other establishment serving food or drink;

(3) A motion picture house, theater, concert hall, stadium, or other place of exhibition or entertainment;

(4) An auditorium, convention center, lecture hall, or other place of public gathering;

(5) A bakery, grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping center, or other sales or rental establishment;

(6) A laundromat, dry-cleaner, bank, barber shop, beauty shop, travel service, shoe repair service, funeral parlor, gas station, office of an accountant or lawyer, pharmacy, insurance office, professional office of a health care provider, hospital, or other service establishment;

(7) A terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation;

(8) A museum, library, gallery, or other place of public display or collection;

(9) A park, zoo, amusement park, or other place of recreation;

(10) A nursery, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate private school, or other place of education;

(11) A day care center, senior citizen center, homeless shelter, food bank, adoption agency, or other social service center establishment; and

(12) A gymnasium, health spa, bowling alley, golf course, or other place of exercise or recreation.

PLATFORM.

A raised area within a building used for worship, the presentation of music, plays or other entertainment; the head table for special guests; the raised area for lecturers and speakers; boxing and wrestling rings; theater-in-the-round stages; and similar purposes wherein, other than horizontal sliding curtains, there are no overhead hanging curtains, drops, scenery or stage effects other than lighting and sound. A temporary platform is one installed for not more than 30 days.

PLATFORM (WHEELCHAIR) LIFT.

A hoisting and lowering mechanism equipped with a car or platform or support that serves two landings of a building or structure and is designed to carry a passenger or passengers and/or luggage or other material a vertical distance as may be allowed.

PLAY AREA.

[DSA-AC] A portion of a site containing play components designed and constructed for children.

PLAY COMPONENT.

[DSA-AC] An element intended to generate specific opportunities for play, socialization, or learning. Play components are manufactured or natural, and are stand-alone or part of a composite play structure.

POINT-OF-SALE DEVICE.

[DSA-AC] A device used for the purchase of a good or service where a personal identification number (PIN), zip code or signature is required.

POWDER ROOM.

A room containing a water closet (toilet) and a lavatory, and which is not defined as a bathroom.

POWER-ASSISTED DOOR.

[DSA-AC] A door used for human passage with a mechanism that helps to open the door, or relieves the opening resistance of a door, upon the activation of a switch or a continued force applied to the door itself.

[ADA Title II §35.151(b)(4)(i)] Primary function. A “primary function” is a major activity for which the facility is intended. Areas that contain a primary function include, but are not limited to, the dining area of a cafeteria, the meeting rooms in a conference center, as well as offices and other work areas in which the activities of the public entity using the facility are carried out.

(A) Mechanical rooms, boiler rooms, supply storage rooms, employee lounges or locker rooms, janitorial closets, entrances, and corridors are not areas containing a primary function. Restrooms are not areas containing a primary function unless the provision of restrooms is a primary purpose of the area, e.g., in highway rest stops.

(B) For the purposes of this section, alterations to windows, hardware, controls, electrical outlets, and signage shall not be deemed to be alterations that affect the usability of or access to an area containing a primary function.

[ADA Title III §36.403(b)] Primary function. A "primary function" is a major activity for which the facility is intended. Areas that contain a primary function include, but are not limited to, the customer services lobby of a bank, the dining area of a cafeteria, the meeting rooms in a conference center, as well as offices and other work areas in which the activities of the public accommodation or other private entity using the facility are carried out. Mechanical rooms, boiler rooms, supply storage rooms, employee lounges or locker rooms, janitorial closets, entrances, corridors, and restrooms are not areas containing a primary function.

PRIVATE BUILDING OR FACILITY.

[DSA-AC] A place of public accommodation or a commercial building or facility subject to Chapter 1, Section 1.9.1.2.

[2010 ADA Standards 106.5] Private Building or Facility. A place of public accommodation or a commercial building or facility subject to title III of the ADA and 28 CFR part 36 or a transportation building or facility subject to title III of the ADA and 49 CFR 37.45.

[ADA Title III §36.104] Private entity means a person or entity other than a public entity.

PROFESSIONAL OFFICE OF A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.

[DSA-AC] A location where a person or entity, regulated by the State to provide professional services related to the physical or mental health of an individual, makes such services available to the public. The facility housing the professional office of a health care provider only includes floor levels housing at least one health care provider, or any floor level designed or intended for use by at least one health care provider.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of PROFESSIONAL OFFICE OF A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER. The term PROFESSIONAL OFFICE OF A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER applies to the offices of doctors, psychologists, dentists, radiologists, and others certified or licensed by the State to provide physical or mental health care. ◼

PUBLIC BUILDING OR FACILITY.

[DSA-AC] A building or facility or portion of a building or facility designed, constructed, or altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity subject to Chapter 1, Section 1.9.1.1.

[2010 ADA Standards 106.5] Public Building or Facility. A building or facility or portion of a building or facility designed, constructed, or altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity subject to title II of the ADA and 28 CFR part 35 or to title II of the ADA and 49 CFR 37.41 or 37.43.

PUBLIC ENTITY.

Any state or local government; any department, agency, special-purpose district, or other instrumentality of a state or local government.

[ADA Title III §36.104] Public entity means—

(1) Any State or local government;

(2) Any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government; and

(3) The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and any commuter authority (as defined in section 103(8) of the Rail Passenger Service Act). (45 U.S.C. 541)

PUBLIC HOUSING.

[DSA-AC] Housing facilities constructed or altered by, for, or on behalf of a public entity, or constructed or altered as part of a public entity’s program to provide housing pursuant to United States Code of Federal Regulations, 28 CFR Part 35, Section 35.102(a), including but not limited to the following:

  1. One-or two-family dwelling units, or congregate residences;

  2. Buildings or complexes with three or more residential dwellings units;

  3. Homeless shelters, group homes, halfway houses and similar social service establishments;

  4. Transient lodging, such as hotels, motels, hostels and other facilities providing accommodations of a short term nature of not more than 30 days duration;

  5. Housing at a place of education, such as housing on or serving a public school, public college or public university.

Note: A public entity’s program to provide housing may include but is not limited to: the allocation of local, state, or federal financial assistance, Community Development Block Grants, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the California Multifamily Housing Program, loan agreements and housing bonds. Examples that are not considered a public entity’s program to provide housing may include but are not limited to: density bonuses, the receipt of public funds for the installation of energy efficiency features, seismic strengthening, water conservation and fire safety features. For additional information see “Guide to Public Housing Regulated in Chapter 11B of the California Building Code” and the “California Access Compliance Advisory Reference Manual” available on the Division of the State Architect’s website.

PUBLIC USE.

[DSA-AC] Interior or exterior rooms, spaces or elements that are made available to the public. Public use may be provided at a building or facility that is privately or publicly owned. Private interior or exterior rooms, spaces or elements associated with a residential dwelling unit provided by a public housing program or in a public housing facility are not public use areas and shall not be required to be made available to the public.

PUBLIC-USE AREAS.

Interior or exterior rooms or spaces of a building or facility that are made available to the general public and do not include common use areas. Public use areas may be provided at a building or facility that is privately or publicly owned.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of PUBLIC-USE AREAS. Examples of public use areas may include a hotel lobby, movie theater, concert hall, public restroom, sales floor of a retail store, or dining room within a restaurant. ◼

PUBLIC WAY.

A street, alley or other parcel of land open to the outside air leading to a street, that has been deeded, dedicated or otherwise permanently appropriated to the public for public use and which has a clear width and height of not less than 10 feet (3048 mm).

QUALIFIED HISTORIC BUILDING OR FACILITY.

[DSA-AC] A building or facility that is listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or designated as historic under an appropriate State or local law. See C.C.R. Title 24, Part 8.

RAMP.

A walking surface that has a running slope steeper than one unit vertical in 20 units horizontal (5-percent slope).

[ADA Title III §36.104] Readily achievable means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. In determining whether an action is readily achievable factors to be considered include --

1) The nature and cost of the action needed under this part;

2) The overall financial resources of the site or sites involved in the action; the number of persons employed at the site; the effect on expenses and resources; legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation, including crime prevention measures; or the impact otherwise of the action upon the operation of the site;

3) The geographic separateness, and the administrative or fiscal relationship of the site or sites in question to any parent corporation or entity;

4) If applicable, the overall financial resources of any parent corporation or entity; the overall size of the parent corporation or entity with respect to the number of its employees; the number, type, and location of its facilities; and

5) If applicable, the type of operation or operations of any parent corporation or entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of the parent corporation or entity.

REASONABLE PORTION.

[DSA-AC] That segment of a building, facility, area, space or condition, which would normally be necessary if the activity therein is to be accessible by persons with disabilities.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of REASONABLE PORTION. The term is intended to mean that the building or facility provides equitable opportunities, advantages, and ease of use for people with disabilities as is otherwise being made available to the general public. It is not intended to mean reasonable from a cost point of view. ◼

RECOMMEND.

[DSA-AC, HCD 1 & HCD 2] Does not require mandatory acceptance, but identifies a suggested action that shall be considered for the purpose of providing a greater degree of accessibility to persons with disabilities.

REMODELING.

[DSA-AC] See “Alteration.”

REPAIR.

The reconstruction or renewal of any part of an existing building for the purpose of its maintenance or to correct damage.

RESIDENTIAL DWELLING UNIT.

[DSA-AC] A unit intended to be used as a residence that is primarily long-term in nature. Residential dwelling units do not include transient lodging, inpatient medical care, licensed long-term care, and detention or correctional facilities.

RESTRICTED ENTRANCE.

An entrance that is made available for common use on a controlled basis, but not public use, and that is not a service entrance.

RISER.

The upright part between two adjacent stair treads, between either an upper or lower landing and an adjacent stair tread, or between two adjacent landings.

RUNNING SLOPE.

The slope that is parallel to the direction of travel. (As differentiated from the definition of “Cross Slope”.)

SELF-SERVICE STORAGE.

[DSA-AC] Building or facility designed and used for the purpose of renting or leasing individual storage spaces to customers for the purpose of storing and removing personal property on a self-service basis.

SERVICE ENTRANCE.

An entrance intended primarily for delivery of goods or services.

SHALL.

[DSA-AC] Denotes a mandatory specification or requirement.

SHOPPING CENTER (OR SHOPPING MALL).

[DSA-AC] One or more sales or rental establishments or stores. A shopping center may include a series of buildings on a common site, connected by a common pedestrian access route on, above or below the ground floor, that is either under common ownership or common control or developed either as one project or as a series of related projects. For the purposes of this section, “shopping center” or “shopping mall” includes a covered mall building.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of SHOPPING CENTER (or SHOPPING MALL)The California definition for SHOPPING CENTER is quite different from the federal definition. Federal ADA Regulations defines a shopping center or shopping mall as a building housing five or more sales or rental establishments. However, California accessibility provisions define a shopping center as only one or more sales or rental establishments or stores. ◼

ETA Editor's Note

CBC defines a single, stand alone retail store as a shopping center and, therefore, requires storage mezzanines to be served by an accessible route.

[ADA Title III §36.401(d)(1)(ii)] Shopping center or shopping mall means –

(A) A building housing five or more sales or rental establishments; or

(B) A series of buildings on a common site, either under common ownership or common control or developed either as one project or as a series of related projects, housing five or more sales or rental establishments. For purposes of this section, places of public accommodation of the types listed in paragraph (5) of the definition of "place of public accommodation" in section 36.104 are considered sales or rental establishments. The facility housing a "shopping center or shopping mall" only includes floor levels housing at least one sales or rental establishment, or any floor level designed or intended for use by at least one sales or rental establishment.

SHOULD.

[HCD 1 & HCD 2] See "Recommend."

SIDEWALK.

A surfaced pedestrian way contiguous to a street used by the public. (As differentiated from the definition of “Walk”.)

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of SIDEWALK. There is an important distinction between SIDEWALK and WALK and they are treated differently under the CBC. As noted in this definition, a sidewalk is contiguous to a street while a walk is not. ◼

SIGN.

[HCD 1-AC, DSA-AC] An element composed of displayed textual, verbal, symbolic, tactile, and/or pictorial information.

SINK.

A fixed bowl or basin with running water and drainpipe, as in a kitchen or laundry, for washing dishes, clothing, etc. (As differentiated from the definition of “Lavatory”.)

SITE.

A parcel of land bounded by a lot line or a designated portion of a public right-of-way.

SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS.

Rooms intended and designed for sleeping.

SOFT CONTAINED PLAY STRUCTURE.

[DSA-AC] A play structure made up of one or more play components where the user enters a fully enclosed play environment that utilizes pliable materials, such as plastic, netting, or fabric.

SPACE.

A definable area, such as a room, toilet room, hall, assembly area, entrance, storage room, alcove, courtyard, or lobby.

SPECIFIED PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

[DSA-AC] Transportation by bus, rail, or any other conveyance (other than by aircraft) provided by a private entity to the general public, with general or special service (including charter service) on a regular and continuing basis.

STAGE.

A space within a building utilized for entertainment or presentations, which includes overhead hanging curtains, drops, scenery or stage effects other than lighting and sound.

STAIR.

A change in elevation, consisting of one or more risers.

STAIRWAY.

One or more flights of stairs, either exterior or interior, with the necessary landings and platforms connecting them, to form a continuous and uninterrupted passage from one level to another.

[ADA Title II §35.104] State means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

[ADA Title III §36.104] State means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

STORY.

[DSA-AC] That portion of a building or facility designed for human occupancy included between the upper surface of a floor and upper surface of the floor or roof next above. A story containing one or more mezzanines has more than one floor level. If the finished floor level directly above a basement or unused under-floor space is more than six feet (1829 mm) above grade for more than 50 percent of the total perimeter or is more than 12 feet (3658 mm) above grade at any point, the basement or unused under-floor space shall be considered as a story.

[2010 ADA Standards 106.5] Story. That portion of a building or facility designed for human occupancy included between the upper surface of a floor and upper surface of the floor or roof next above. A story containing one or more mezzanines has more than one floor level.

STRUCTURAL FRAME.

[DSA-AC] The columns and the girders, beams and trusses having direct connections to the columns and all other members that are essential to the stability of the building or facility as a whole.

STRUCTURE.

That which is built or constructed.

TACTILE.

An object that can be perceived using the sense of touch.

TACTILE SIGN.

A sign containing raised characters and/or symbols and accompanying Braille.

TECHNICALLY INFEASIBLE.

[DSA-AC] An alteration of a building or a facility, that has little likelihood of being accomplished because the existing structural conditions require the removal or alteration of a load-bearing member that is an essential part of the structural frame, or because other existing physical or site constraints prohibit modification or addition of elements, spaces or features that are in full and strict compliance with the minimum requirements for new construction and which are necessary to provide accessibility.

TEEING GROUND.

[DSA-AC] In golf, the starting place for the hole to be played.

TEMPORARY.

[DSA-AC] Buildings and facilities intended for use at one location for not more than one year and seats intended for use at one location for not more than 90 days.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of TEMPORARY.  Temporary buildings and facilities must be accessible to the same degree as permanent facilities per CA Gov. Code §4451(e). ◼

TEXT TELEPHONE.

Machinery or equipment that employs interactive text-based communications through the transmission of coded signals across the standard telephone network. Text telephones can include, for example, devices known as TTYs (teletypewriters) or computers.

TRANSFER DEVICE.

[DSA-AC] Equipment designed to facilitate the transfer of a person from a wheelchair or other mobility aid to and from an amusement ride seat.

TRANSIENT LODGING.

A building or facility containing one or more guest room(s) for sleeping that provides accommodations that are primarily short-term in nature (generally 30 days or less). Transient lodging does not include residential dwelling units intended to be used as a residence, inpatient medical care facilities, licensed long-term care facilities, detention or correctional facilities, or private buildings or facilities that contain no more than five rooms for rent or hire and that are actually occupied by the proprietor as the residence of such proprietor.

[DSA-AC] See also the definition of Place of Public Accommodation.

TRANSIT BOARDING PLATFORM.

[DSA-AC] A horizontal, generally level surface, whether raised above, recessed below or level with a transit rail, from which persons embark/disembark a fixed rail vehicle.

TRANSITION PLATE.

[DSA-AC] A sloping pedestrian walking surface located at the end(s) of a gangway.

TTY.

An abbreviation for teletypewriter. Machinery that employs interactive text-based communication through the transmission of coded signals across the telephone network. TTYs may include, for example, devices known as TDDs (telecommunication display devices or telecommunication devices for deaf persons) or computers with special modems. TTYs are also called text telephones.

UNREASONABLE HARDSHIP.

When the enforcing agency finds that compliance with the building standard would make the specific work of the project affected by the building standard infeasible, based on an overall evaluation of the following factors:

  1. The cost of providing access.
  2. The cost of all construction contemplated.
  3. The impact of proposed improvements on financial feasibility of the project.
  4. The nature of the accessibility which would be gained or lost.
  5. The nature of the use of the facility under construction and its availability to persons with disabilities.

The details of any finding of unreasonable hardship shall be recorded and entered in the files of the enforcing agency.

USE ZONE.

[DSA-AC] The ground level area beneath and immediately adjacent to a play structure or play equipment that is designated by ASTM F 1487 for unrestricted circulation around the play equipment and where it is predicted that a user would land when falling from or exiting the play equipment.

VALUATION THRESHOLD.

[DSA-AC] An annually adjusted, dollar-amount figure used in part to determine the extent of required path of travel upgrades. The baseline valuation threshold of $50,000 is based on the January 1981, “ENR US20 Cities” Average Construction Cost Index (CCI) of 3372.02 as published in Engineering News Record, McGraw Hill Publishing Company. The current valuation threshold is determined by multiplying the baseline valuation threshold by a ratio of the current year’s January CCI to the baseline January 1981 CCI.

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of VALUATION THRESHOLD. The valuation threshold is adjusted each year in January using the Engineering News Record 20 Cities Construction Cost Index. Valuation thresholds for the current year and recent years dating back to 2000 are available on the Division of the State Architect web site at: https://www.dgs.ca.gov/DSA/Resources/Page-Content/Resources-List-Folder/Access-Compliance-Reference-Materials#@ViewBag.JumpTo ◼

ETA Editor's Note

From DSA:

The valuation threshold is the annually-updated figure used when determining path of travel accessibility requirements in alterations, additions and structural repair construction projects regulated by California Building Code Chapter 11B.

In accordance with the 2019 California Building Code Chapter 2 definition of VALUATION THRESHOLD, the 2021 valuation threshold is $172,418.00 and will be updated again in January, 2022.

The annual valuation threshold is based on the January 1981 threshold of $50,000 as adjusted using the ENR (Engineering News-Record) 20 Cities Construction Cost Index, as published by Engineering News-Record, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, for January of each year.

 

Year ENR Construction Cost Index (Jan.) Valuation Threshold
 2021  11627.94  $172,418.00

2020

11496.31

$170,466.00

2019

11205.74

$166,157.00

2018

10878.01

$161,298.00

2017

10531.68

$156,162.00

2016

10132.55

$150,244.00

2015

9971.96

$147,863.00

2014

9664.45

$143,303.00

2013

9437.27

$139,934.00

2012

9175.94

$136,060.00

2011

8938.30

$132,536.28

2010

8660.08

$128,410.86

2009

8549.06

$126,764.66

2008

8090.06

$119,958.65

2007

7879.58

$116,837.68

2006

7660.29

$113,586.07

2005

7297.24

$108,202.79

2004

6824.90

$101,198.98

2003

6580.54

$97,575.63

2002

6461.81

$95,815.11

2001

6280.85

$93,131.86

2000

6130.36

$90,900.40

VARIABLE MESSAGE SIGNS (VMS).

[DSA-AC] Electronic signs that have a message with the capacity to change by means of scrolling, streaming, or paging across a background.

VARIABLE MESSAGE SIGN (VMS) CHARACTERS.

[DSA-AC] Characters of an electronic sign are composed of pixels in an array. High resolution VMS characters have vertical pixel counts of 16 rows or greater. Low resolution VMS characters have vertical pixel counts of 7 to 15 rows.

VEHICULAR WAY.

A route provided for vehicular traffic, such as in a street, driveway, or parking facility.

WALK.

[DSA-AC] An exterior prepared surface for pedestrian use, including pedestrian areas such as plazas and courts. (As differentiated from the definition of “Sidewalk”.)

DSA icon
Advisory Definition of WALK. There is an important distinction between SIDEWALK and WALK and they are treated differently under the CBC. A sidewalk is contiguous to a street while a walk is not. ◼

WET BAR.

[DSA-AC] An area or space with a counter equipped with a sink and running water but without cooking facilities.

WHEELCHAIR.

A chair mounted on wheels to be propelled by its occupant manually or with the aid of electric power, of a size and configuration conforming to the recognized standard models of the trade.

[ADA Title II §35.104] Wheelchair means a manually-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability for the main purpose of indoor or of both indoor and outdoor locomotion. This definition does not apply to Federal wilderness areas; wheelchairs in such areas are defined in section 508(c)(2) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12207(c)(2).

[ADA Title III §36.104] Wheelchair means a manually-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability for the main purpose of indoor or of both indoor and outdoor locomotion. This definition does not apply to Federal wilderness areas; wheelchairs in such areas are defined in section 508(c)(2) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12207(c)(2).

WHEELCHAIR SPACE.

A space for a single wheelchair and its occupant.

ETA Editor's Note

In 2019 CBC, DSA-AC has not indicated adoption of the definition for Winder, but the wording of the Exception at Section 11B-504.2 appears to make its adoption necessary:

WINDER. A tread with nonparallel edges.

WORK AREA EQUIPMENT.

[DSA-AC] Any machine, instrument, engine, motor, pump, conveyor, or other apparatus used to perform work. As used in this document, this term shall apply only to equipment that is permanently installed or built-in in employee work areas. Work area equipment does not include passenger elevators and other accessible means of vertical transportation.

[F] WORKSTATION.

[DSA-AC] An area defined by equipment and/or work surfaces intended for use by employees only, and generally for one or a small number of employees at a time. Examples include ticket booths; the employee side of grocery store check stands; the bartender area behind a bar; the employee side of snack bars, sales counters and public counters; guardhouses; toll booths; kiosk vending stands; lifeguard stations; maintenance equipment closets; counter and equipment areas in restaurant kitchens; file rooms; storage areas; etc.

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