DSA IR 11B-10: SCOPING AND PATH OF TRAVEL UPGRADE REQUIREMENTS FOR FACILITY ALTERATION, ADDITION AND STRUCTURAL REPAIR PROJECTS (with revisions issued through April 2017)
1. SCOPING CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALTERATION PROJECTS: A project at an existing facility is an alteration of that facility. This applies when either 1) existing elements are altered or 2) new elements, up to and including new buildings, are added.
1.1 Maintenance and Repair Projects: Projects limited to maintenance or repair are not alterations and do not trigger accessibility requirements. Definitions related to alteration projects are included in Attachment 1 of this IR.
1.2 Compliance with New Construction Requirements: The basic work of any project, whether new construction, an addition to an existing building or facility or an alteration of an existing building or facility, must comply with the following requirements for new construction:
- "11B-201.1 Scope. All areas of newly designed and newly constructed buildings and facilities and altered portions of existing buildings and facilities shall comply with these requirements."1
1 "These requirements" means the accessibility provisions of Chapter 11B and related sections within the California Building Code, current edition.
1.3 General Exceptions: The code then provides general exceptions to the requirements in 11B-203.2 Many of these exceptions are applicable to public school, community college and higher education projects; a copy of Section 11B-203 is provided as Attachment 2 to this IR.
1.4 Accessible Route Requirements: For additions, the new construction provisions require an accessible route from the area of the addition to other accessible areas of the building, site or facility:
- "11B-206.2.2 Within a site. At least one accessible route shall connect accessible buildings, accessible facilities, accessible elements and accessible spaces that are on the same site."
1.5 Accessible Route Requirements for Campus Settings: For campus-style school facilities with multiple buildings and functional areas, the accessible route/path of travel situation can become more complex. The following factors may apply to projects on existing campus facilities:
• New construction on an existing site must be connected, as part of the basic project scope, with an accessible route to existing on-site circulation paths and accessible routes.
• When multiple paths of travel to a specific area of alteration, addition or structural repair are present but not code compliant, Section 11B-202.4 requires the upgrade of only a single primary path of travel to the project area. Upgrades of secondary paths of travel shall not be required.
• Path of travel (POT) upgrades only apply to existing construction; any new POT elements or accessible routes being provided as part of the basic project scope are not considered path of travel upgrades.
• The cost of new POT elements or a new accessible route is part of the project’s adjusted construction cost and cannot be used to satisfy the 20-percent disproportionate cost limitation for path of travel upgrades on projects with an adjusted construction cost below the valuation threshold. See Section 3.1 of this IR.
1.6 Vehicular Way Exception: Again, there are exceptions to these general requirements. For example, if the only means of access between accessible buildings, accessible facilities, accessible elements and accessible spaces on a site is a vehicular way not providing pedestrian access, an accessible route connecting them is not required.3, 4 The Section 11B-203 exceptions also apply to the extent specified.
3 11B-206.2.1 Site arrival points Exception 2. An accessible route shall not be required between site arrival points and the building or facility entrance if the only means of access between them is a vehicular way not providing pedestrian access.
4 11B-206.2.2 Within a site Exception. An accessible route shall not be required between accessible buildings, accessible facilities, accessible elements and accessible spaces on a site if the only means of access between them is a vehicular way not providing pedestrian access.
2. PATH OF TRAVEL UPGRADE REQUIREMENTS FOR ALTERATION PROJECTS
2.1 Path of Travel Elements: Under the CBC, certain alteration, addition and structural repair projects trigger requirements for upgrades to accessibility elements outside the project’s area of work. These "path of travel" upgrade requirements are found in:
- "11B-202.4 Path of travel requirements in alterations, additions and structural repairs. When alterations or additions are made to existing buildings or facilities, an accessible path of travel to the specific area of alteration or addition shall be provided."
- The primary path of travel shall include:
A primary entrance to the building or facility,
Toilet and bathing facilities serving the area,
Drinking fountains serving the area,
Public telephones serving the area, and
2.2 Path of Travel Exterior Elements: In addition to the five specific items listed above, the path of travel also includes an exterior approach to the project area. This requirement must be evaluated on a project- and site-specific basis and could include parking, site arrival points, bus loading zones and the accessible route connecting them with the primary entrance to the project’s area of work.
3. DISPROPORTINATE [sic] COST LIMITATIONS
3.1 Disproportionate Costs for Small Projects: Section 11B-202.4, Exception 8 addresses the issue of disproportionate costs for smaller projects and for projects where full compliance would be an unreasonable hardship.
• "When the adjusted construction cost is less than or equal to the current valuation threshold, as defined in Chapter 2, Section 202, the cost of compliance with Section 11B-202.4 shall be limited to 20 percent of the adjusted construction cost of alterations, structural repairs or additions. When the cost of full compliance with Section 11B-202.4 would exceed 20 percent, compliance shall be provided to the greatest extent possible without exceeding 20 percent."
• Alteration, addition and structural repair projects with adjusted construction costs below the valuation threshold shall be permitted to use the disproportionate cost threshold of 20 percent to limit the scope and cost of path of travel upgrades.
3.2 Projects with Adjusted Construction Costs Above the Valuation Threshold: The 20-percent disproportionate cost limitation does not apply to projects with adjusted construction costs above the valuation threshold. These projects must comply with the path of travel upgrade requirements, whatever the cost, to provide a single accessible path of travel to the specific area of alteration. However, Section 11B-202.4 Exception 8 provides:
• "When the adjusted construction cost exceeds the current valuation threshold, as defined in Chapter 2, Section 202, and the enforcing agency determines the cost of compliance with Section 11B-202.4 is an unreasonable hardship, as defined in Chapter 2, Section 202, full compliance with Section 11B-202.4 shall not be required."
• A finding of UNREASONABLE HARDSHIP may be made when the enforcing agency (DSA) 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.
• "Compliance shall be provided by equivalent facilitation or to the greatest extent possible without creating an unreasonable hardship; but in no case shall the cost of compliance be less than 20 percent of the adjusted construction cost of alterations, structural repairs or additions."5
• "The details of the finding of unreasonable hardship shall be recorded and entered into the files of the enforcing agency and shall be subject to Chapter 1, Section 188.8.131.52, Special Conditions for Persons with Disabilities Requiring Appeals Action Ratification."
• The adjusted construction cost shall not include the cost of alterations to path of travel elements.
5 As long as there are noncompliant elements that need to be corrected, the cost of the path of travel upgrades cannot fall below 20 percent, as that is a requirement of the both the 2013 CBC and the 2010 ADA Standards.
3.3 Finding of Unreasonable Hardship: A finding of unreasonable hardship is appropriate only when the cost of full compliance is significantly above the 20-percent disproportionate cost limitation and would make the project financially infeasible. A finding of unreasonable hardship may be made by the enforcing agency and should be based upon a detailed project-specific analysis. For projects within DSA’s jurisdiction, a finding of unreasonable hardship must be approved by the access supervisor and the regional manager.
3.4 Three Year History: For areas that have been previously altered without providing an accessible path of travel to those areas, the cost of any subsequent alterations to areas served by the same path of travel during a preceding three-year period shall be considered in determining whether the cost of making the path of travel is disproportionate.
3.5 Upgrades in Substantially Compliant Facilities: For projects where the path of travel elements serving the area of alteration, addition or structural repair are largely compliant, it shall not be required that the full 20 percent of the adjusted construction cost be spent.
4. COMPLIANCE WITH IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING EDITION:
4.1 Path of Travel Upgrades Not Required: 11B-202.4 Exception 2 does not require path of travel upgrades for certain elements that have been previously constructed or altered in compliance with the accessibility requirements of the immediately preceding edition of the California Building Code. Retrofit to reflect incremental changes in the code solely because of an alteration to an area served by the following elements shall not be required:
• A primary entrance to the building or facility,
• Toilet and bathing facilities serving the area,
• Drinking fountains serving the area,
• Public telephones serving the area, and
4.2 Immediately Preceding Edition: The immediately preceding edition of the code includes:
• The initially adopted and published code;
• Intervening Code Cycle Amendments adopted and issued as Supplements;
• Emergency Amendments, if any, adopted and issued as Supplements;
Compliance with any version of the immediately preceding code edition qualifies an element for this exception. Section 202.4 Exception 2 provisions in the immediately preceding edition of the CBC shall not be permitted to iteratively utilize provisions in earlier editions of the CBC.
5. ADJUSTED CONSTRUCTION COST
5.1 Costs Included: For the purposes of 11B-202.4, the adjusted construction cost for a project shall include:
• All direct or "hard" costs directly associated with the contractor’s construction of the project.
• All fees and reimbursable expenses paid to construction managers, if any.
The direct or "hard" costs shall not be reduced by the value of components, assemblies, building equipment or construction not directly associated with accessibility or usability.
5.2 Cost Not Included: The adjusted construction cost shall not include:
• Project management fees and expenses.
• Architectural and engineering fees.
• Testing and inspection fees.
• Utility connection or service district fees.
6. WHEN FULL COMPLIANCE CANNOT BE REQUIRED
6.1 Priority List: For projects where full compliance of the path of travel elements cannot be required, based on the disproportionate cost limitation or a determination of unreasonable hardship, Section 11B-202.4, Exception 8 establishes the following priority list:
• "In choosing which accessible elements to provide, priority should be given to those elements that will provide the greatest access in the following order:
1. An accessible entrance;
2. An accessible route to the altered area;
3. At least one accessible restroom for each sex;
4. Accessible telephones;
5. Accessible drinking fountains; and
6. When possible, additional accessible elements such as parking, storage and alarms."
6.2 Additional Accessible Elements: The obligation to upgrade the additional accessible elements in Item 6 applies only to those elements within the primary path of travel serving the project-specific area of alteration. Typically, Item 6 will come into play only when all of the elements in the preceding items either 1) are in compliance with the requirements, 2) have been included in the project’s path of travel upgrades scope of work or 3) are discretionary items, such as public telephones, and not present as existing elements.
6.3 Operational Considerations: In situations where a fully compliant path of travel cannot be required, from a civil rights perspective the public agency operating the facility still has an obligation to make its programs and services accessible. The fact that the building code did not require full compliance does not remove this program delivery obligation. However, this is an operational consideration outside of the building code and shall not be used as a condition of approval for projects under DSA’s jurisdiction.