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LAX APM ADA Coordinator Files (LINXS)

California Building Code Excerpt

Section 11B-202 Existing Buildings and Facilities

Code excerpt regarding additions, alterations, and related requirements.

11B-202 Existing buildings and facilities

11B-202.1 General. Additions and alterations to existing buildings or facilities shall comply with Section 11B-202.

11B-202.2 Additions. Each addition to an existing building or facility shall comply with the requierments for new construction and shall comply with Section 11B-202.4.

Advisory 11B-202.2 Additions. An addition to site improvements, such as a new patio or playground, may require an accessible path of travel from the site arrival point to restrooms, drinking fountains, signs, public telephones (if available) serving the addition.

11B-202.3 Alterations. Where existing elements or spaces are altered, each altered element or space shall comply with the applicable requirements of Division 2, including Section 11B-202.4.

Exceptions:

  1. Reserved.
  2. Technically infeasible. In alterations, where the enforcing authority determines compliance with the applicable requirements is technically infeasible, the alteration shall equivalent facilitation or comply with the requirements to the maximum extent feasible. The details of the finding that full compliance with the requirements is technically infeasible shall be recorded and entered into the files of the enforcing agency.
  3. Residential dwelling units not required to be accessible in compliance with this code shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-202.3.

Advisory 11B-202.3 Alterations. Although covered entities are permitted to limit the scope of an alteration to individual elements, the alteration of multiple elements within a room or space may provide a cost-effective opportunity to make the entire room or space accessible. Any elements or spaces of the building or facility that are required to comply with these requirements must be made accessible within the scope of the alteration, to the maximum extent feasible. If providing accessibility in compliance with these requirements for people with one type of disability (e.g., people who use wheelchairs) is not feasible, accessibility must still be provided in compliance with the requirements for people with other types of disabilities (e.g., people who have hearing impairments or who have vision impairments) to the extent that such accessibility is feasible.

Advisory 11B-202.3 Alterations (seismic strengthening). In Legal Opinion No. 94-1109, dated May 10, 1995, the Attorney General for the State of California concluded that seismic strengthening work in an existing building constitutes a “building alteration, structural repair or addition” for purposes of providing access to the building for persons with disabilities.  In existing buildings or facilities, if seismic strengthening or upgrade work does not alter the primary use or function of the building or facility and/or does not alter the design of specific rooms or spaces, then the requirement for an accessible path of travel to the area of specific alteration does not apply. However, an accessible primary entrance, toilet and bathing facilities, drinking fountains, signs and public telephones, as well as an accessible route connecting these elements must be provided.  In existing buildings or facilities, when the primary use or function of the building or facility and/or design of specific rooms or spaces are altered, the seismic strengthening or upgrade work must comply with all applicable accessibility regulations for new construction. In addition, an accessible primary entrance to the building or facility and path of travel to the specific area of alteration, including toilet and bathing facilities, drinking fountains, signs, and public telephones serving the area must be provided.

Advisory 11B-202.3 Alterations (fire damage repair). US Department of Justice technical assistance letter #772, dated August 26, 1998, indicates reconstruction after a fire is considered an alteration. Chapter 2, Section 202 defines alteration as “…a change, addition or modification in construction, change in occupancy or use, or structural repair to an existing building or facility. …” Reroofing, painting or wallpapering, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems are generally not considered to be alterations.  When the damage caused by a fire is minor and can be corrected by cleaning, re-painting or re-wallpapering, accessibility provisions based on alterations are not triggered. The accessibility requirements of Section 11B-202.3 would apply where alterations are made in the fire damaged area, for example, if wall or roof structures are being reconstructed or repaired. These requirements include: (1) reconstruction work in the specific area of fire damage that complies with all applicable accessibility provisions for new construction and (2) the obligation to provide an accessible primary entrance to the building or facility and primary path of travel to the specific area of alteration, including toilet and bathing facilities, drinking fountains, signs, and public telephones that serve the area.

Advisory 11B-202.3 Alterations (pre-existing conditions). Code changes to the California Building Code do not generally “trigger” the requirement to comply with the current code in existing buildings unless the building or facility is undergoing alteration.

11B-202.3.1 Prohibited reduction in access. An alteration that decreases or has the effect of decreasing the accessibility of a building or facility below the requirements for new construction at the time of the alteration is prohibited.

Alterations may involve removing or altering existing features previously provided for accessibility purposes. This is acceptable, but only if the resulting condition still complies with the requirements for new construction in effect at the time of the alteration.

11B-202.3.2 Extent of application. An alteration of an existing element, space, or area of a building or facility shall not impose a requirement for accessibility greater than required for new construction.

11B-202.3.3 Alteration of single elements. If alterations of single elements, when considered together, amount to an alteration of a room or space in a building or facility, the entire room or space shall be made accessible.

Path-of-travel upgrade obligations cannot be avoided by engaging in incremental or piecemeal alteration work.

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 accessible path of travel shall include:

  1. A primary entrance to the building or facility,
  2. Toilet and bathing facilities serving the area,
  3. Drinking fountains serving the area,
  4. Public telephones serving the area, and
  5. Signs.

Exceptions:

  1. Residential dwelling units shall comply with Section 11B-233.3.4.2.
  2. If the following elements of a path of travel have been constructed or altered in compliance with the accessibility requirements of the immediately preceding edition of the California Building Code, it shall not be required to retrofit such elements to reflect the incremental changes in this code solely because of an alteration to an area served by those elements of the path of travel:
    1. A primary entrance to the building or facility,
    2. Toilet and bathing facilities serving the area,
    3. Drinking fountains serving the area,
    4. Public telephones serving the area, and
    5. Signs.
    Note: The language in this exception, which refers to the “immediately preceding edition of the California Building Code,” shall permit a reference back to one CBC edition only and is not accumulative to prior editions.
    Advisory 11B-202.4 Path of travel requirements in alterations, additions and structural repairs, Exception 2. This exception is applicable only to the technical provisions of required path of travel elements triggered by an alteration, addition or structural repair, and then, only when there are differences between the current technical provisions and those of the immediately preceding edition of the CBC. To qualify for this exception, the elements are not required to have been constructed under a permit issued under the immediately preceding edition of the CBC—it is only required that the existing elements are in compliance with the immediately preceding edition.  The language in this exception which refers to the “immediately preceding edition of the California Building Code,” permits a reference back to one CBC edition only and is not accumulative to prior editions. It is not appropriate to misconstrue the language of the immediately preceding edition to allow additional reference back to earlier editions.
  3. Additions or alterations to meet accessibility requirements consisting of one or more of the following items shall be limited to the actual scope of work of the project and shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-202.4:
    1. Altering one building entrance.
    2. Altering one existing toilet facility.
    3. Altering existing elevators.
    4. Altering existing steps.
    5. Altering existing handrails.
  4. Alterations solely for the purpose of barrier removal undertaken pursuant to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Public Law 101-336, 28 C.F.R., Section 36.304) or the accessibility requirements of this code as those requirements or regulations now exist or are hereafter amended including, but not limited to, one or more of the following items shall be limited to the actual scope of work of the project and shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-202.4:
    1. Installing ramps.
    2. Making curb cuts in sidewalks and entrance.
    3. Repositioning shelves.
    4. Rearranging tables, chairs, vending machines, display racks, and other furniture.
    5. Repositioning telephones.
    6. Adding raised markings on elevator control buttons.
    7. Installing flashing alarm lights.
    8. Widening doors.
    9. Installing offset hinges to widen doorways.
    10. Eliminating a turnstile or providing an alternative accessible route.
    11. Installing accessible door hardware.
    12. Installing grab bars in toilet stalls.
    13. Rearranging toilet partitions to increase maneuvering space.
    14. Insulating lavatory pipes under sinks to prevent burns.
    15. Installing a raised toilet seat.
    16. Installing a full-length bathroom mirror.
    17. Repositioning the paper towel dispenser in a bathroom.
    18. Creating designated accessible parking spaces.
    19. Removing high-pile, low-density carpeting.
  5. Alterations of existing parking lots by resurfacing and/or restriping shall be limited to the actual scope of work of the project and shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-202.4.
  6. The addition or replacement of signs and/or identification devices shall be limited to the actual scope of work of the project and shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-202.4.
  7. Projects consisting only of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, reroofing, electrical work not involving placement of switches and receptacles, cosmetic work that does not affect items regulated by this code, such as painting, equipment not considered to be a part of the architecture of the building or area, such as computer terminals and office equipment shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-202.4. unless they affect the usability of the building or facility.
  8. When the adjusted construction cost, as defined, is less than or equal to the current valuation threshold, as defined, 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.
    When the adjusted construction cost, as defined, exceeds the current valuation threshold, as defined, and the enforcing agency determines the cost of compliance with Section 11B-202.4 is an unreasonable hardship, as defined, full compliance with Section 11B-202.4 shall not be required. 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. 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 1.9.1.5, Special Conditions for Persons with Disabilities Requiring Appeals Action Ratification.
    For the purposes of this exception, the adjusted construction cost of alterations, structural repairs or additions shall not include the cost of alterations to path of travel elements required to comply with Section 11B-202.4.
    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 or one accessible unisex (single-user or family) restroom;
    4. Accessible telephones;
    5. Accessible drinking fountains; and
    6. When possible, additional accessible elements such as parking, signs, storage and alarms.
    If an area has been altered without providing an accessible path of travel to that area, and subsequent alterations of that area or a different area on the same path of travel are undertaken within three years of the original alteration, the total cost of alterations to the areas on that path of travel during the preceding three-year period shall be considered in determining whether the cost of making that path of travel accessible is disproportionate
  9. Certain types of privately funded, multistory buildings and facilities were formerly exempt from accessibility requirements above and below the first floor under this code, but as of, April 1, 1994, are no longer exempt due to more restrictive provisions in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. In alteration projects involving buildings and facilities previously approved and built without elevators, areas above and below the ground floor are subject to the 20-percent disproportionality provisions described in Exception 8, above, even if the value of the project exceeds the valuation threshold in Exception 8. The types of buildings and facilities are:
    1. Office buildings and passenger vehicle service stations of three stories or more and 3,000 or more square feet (279 m²) per floor.
    2. Offices of physicians and surgeons.
    3. Shopping centers.
    4. Other buildings and facilities three stories or more and 3,000 or more square feet (279 m2) per floor if a reasonable portion of services sought and used by the public is available on the accessible level.
    For the general privately funded multistory building exception applicable to new construction and alterations, see Section 11B-206.2.3, Exception 1.
    The elevator exception set forth in this section does not obviate or limit in any way the obligation to comply with the other accessibility requirements in this code. For example, floors above or below the accessible ground floor must meet the requirements of this section except for elevator service. If toilet or bathing facilities are provided on a level not served by an elevator, then toilet or bathing facilities must be provided on the accessible ground floor.
  10. Alterations solely for the purpose of installing electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS) at facilities where vehicle fueling, recharging, parking or storage is a primary function shall comply with Section 11B-202.4 to the maximum extent feasible without exceeding 20 percent of the cost of the work directly associated with the installation of EVCS.
    Alterations solely for the purpose of installing EVCS at facilities where vehicle fueling, recharging, parking or storage is not a primary function shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-202.4.

Advisory 11B-202.4 Path of travel requirements in alterations, additions and structural repairs. New access regulations made effective after the date of last construction may require owners to upgrade their facility to comply with the current regulations during alterations, additions or structural repair.

11B-202.5 Alterations to qualified historic buildings and facilities. Alterations to a qualified historic building or facility shall comply with the State Historical Building Code, Part 8, Title 24, of the California Code of Regulations.

Exception: Reserved.

Advisory 11B-202.5 Alterations to qualified historic buildings and facilities. The basic criteria for designating a building or property as a qualified historic building or facility are administered by the National Register program of the National Park Service. In California, those responsibilities are delegated to the Office of Historic Preservation. The Office of Historic Preservation administers the National Register and has created and administers the California Register, a similar listing. The Office of Historic Preservation delegates authority to cities and counties as “certified local governments” to apply National Register criteria for creating local lists of historic buildings and properties. There are also local governments and agencies that designate buildings and properties as historic outside of the Office of Historic Preservation program.  The State Historical Building Code provides a definition of qualified historic building or property, and can be used to determine if a building or facility is qualified. The State Historical Building Code is used in conjunction with the accessibility requirements of Chapter 11B. In general, alteration projects in qualified historic buildings and facilities must comply with the new construction requirements of Chapter 11B, however, the State Historical Building Code provides alternative accessibility provisions when an entity believes that compliance with the Chapter 11B requirements for specific elements would threaten or destroy the historical significance of the building or facility. Alternative provisions are provided for entrances, doors, power-assisted doors, toilet rooms, and exterior and interior ramps and lifts. Equivalent facilitation is permitted in specific cases when the alternative provisions themselves would threaten or destroy the historical significance or character defining features of the historic building or facility. Alternative provisions and equivalent facilitation are applied on a case-by-case basis only.