View Full Version : Commercial contruction question...

08-14-2006, 03:11 PM
I didn't know where else to post this, Please move it if there's a better spot.

I am doing the planning for a commercial building design. The GC and architect will finalize everything. But, I wondered, in a commercial building: if there are two floors, and the second floor is not for patron access, do you need an elevator? It affects my early planning stage greatly (one floor building versus two floor).


08-14-2006, 03:22 PM
If patrons aren't expected to use the second floor, the ADA rules probably don't apply. If it is storage, and depending on the size of the employment, you might have to accomodate those with disabilities, so you MIGHT need one. From a practical viewpoint, if there is going to be storage up there, unless there are conveyors to move materials between floors, the people using it will love an elevator.

None of these is an answer...I don't know, but are things to think about.

08-14-2006, 07:39 PM
There are laywers hovering around, waiting for you to violate some law you never heard of. If this area is for use of employees, you need to think about it.

08-15-2006, 04:56 AM
1) Read http://www.access-board.gov/Adaag/html/adaag.htm#4.1.
2) Either put in an elevator based on that, or spend the $200 for a 5-minute conversation with an ADA lawyer, do what he says, and sleep well tonight.

08-15-2006, 05:15 AM
Definitely find a lawyer that is knowledgable in this area and get his answer to that. If this affects your design greatly now, imagine how much an impact it will have if you build the thing then end up having to add one after the fact or have to redesign to accomodate it later on.

08-15-2006, 06:37 AM
It is a murky area, since the ADA requirements have been enforced even if there was little chance that a handicapped person, patron or employee, would ever need access to an area.

Spaceman Spiff
08-15-2006, 11:23 AM
Under the IBC if the floor is under 3000 sf it can be called a mezzanine and won't need an elevator access to it. All of the other elements need to be ADA compliant for ambulitory disabled. If you don't have an elevator to the mezz you need to have all of the elements upstairs repeated downstairs so you don't discriminate.
I would plan on an elevator.
There are some exceptions in the IBC for employee areas, but they are for even smaller square footages and mostly deal with ramps to raised platforms.

08-15-2006, 11:33 AM
If you want to see why you need to consult a lawyer, read:


master plumber mark
08-15-2006, 01:18 PM
its best to simply ask the local big wig inspectors

what they want , and get it notarized , and signed in blood...

dont be shy about it...... just march right in there and ASK THEM

here is a true story for you about mis-handling and mis-intreperting
code complinat issues...

in 1988 in Indianapolis , a 48 story AUL tower went up.......

they decided to just put in handicapped bathrooms on the first floor ONLY...

and they planned getting a variance NOT to have to install hda

bathrooms for the whole rest of the building ....... later on.....

after work was completed.....

they felt that it was no problemn because they had big political connections

well ......when they went to get their variance on their newly completed

48 story building about 300 handicapped people showed up at the meeting..

.complaining on how they had to ride the elevator down 48 floors to use the bathrooms.....

so ---believe it or not..... they had to re-do all 47 floors --- the whole building...........to make them

handicapped compliant

this must have cost the contractor a fortune....

I think the guy that made this dumb ass mistake is in a land fill somewhere today..........

dont make that mistake too

08-16-2006, 04:53 AM
GC and architect

Any architect worth his seal will know the answer to your question.

Spaceman Spiff
08-16-2006, 08:01 AM
Mikey, you are right. I am in year 6 of 8 toward getting my seal as an architect to practice in Utah, Nevada and Arizona. I would be glad to cite code sections for you, but all of it will be found in IBC Chapter 11. This assumes you are under IBC and not UBC, and doesn't take into account any state or local ammendments.
The AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) will have the final say on the building (and probably is given that authority by state law). Your architect should be able to answer this question in a quick phone call. If your architect has any questions, remember you are paying them to get the answer from the AHJ.
Above all, rulings in court and subsequent guidelines published by ANSI (ANSI 117.1) and the Department of Justice should be followed. A lawyer would be the first to break out the DOJ book on accessibility...