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LINXS ADA Coordinator

LAX APM ADA Coordinator Files (LINXS)

California Building Code Excerpt

Section 11B-205 Operable Parts

Code excerpt regarding scoping requirements for operable parts.

11B-205 Operable parts

11B-205.1 General. Operable parts on accessible elements, accessible routes, and in accessible rooms and spaces shall comply with Section 11B-309.


  1. Operable parts that are intended for use only by service or maintenance personnel shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-309.
  2. Electrical or communication receptacles serving a dedicated use shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-309.
  3. Reserved.
  4. Floor electrical receptacles shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-309.
  5. HVAC diffusers shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-309.
  6. Except for light switches, where redundant controls are provided for a single element, one control in each space shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-309.
  7. Cleats and other boat securement devices shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-309.3.
  8. Exercise machines and exercise equipment shall not be required to comply with Section 11B-309.
  9. In residential dwelling units with mobility features where receptacles are provided in a kitchen at a corner work surface, one receptacle shall be located 36 inches (915 mm) from either wall at the insdie corner.

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Advisory 11B-205.1 General. Controls covered by Section 11B-205.1 include, but are not limited to, light switches, circuit breakers, duplexes and other convenience receptacles, environmental and appliance controls, plumbing fixture controls, and security and intercom systems.

Exception 1 exempts operable parts for service or maintenance equipment such as mop racks, plumbing shut-off valves, etc.  Exception 2 is often over-applied to general-use receptacles that happen to have something plugged into them. If a receptacle remains generally accessible to end-users, then this exception should not be applied.  Exception 3 from the ADA Standards is not adopted within California; it would allow one outlet above an uninterrupted run of kitchen countertop to not be accessible, but in California all such receptacles are required to be accessible.  Exception 4 exempts floor electrical receptacles, presumably becuase by definition they cannot ever be within the accessible reach range. However, note two important things. First, this exception is for operable parts, not the floor electrical receptacle itself; therefore, the floor receptacle device must still comply with other applicable requirements such as changes in level. Second, this exception is for electrical receptacles, not communication receptacles; it is unknown how this nuanced difference would be enforced.  Exception 5 exempts mechanical air diffusers, which are often mounted well outside the accessible reach range (above or below), and often require more than 5 pounds of force to adjust due to the need to resist mechanical air pressure.  Exception 6 allows one control within a space to be non-accessible if there are multiple controls provided for the same device or action and all of the other controls are accessible. However, this exception does not apply to light switches, all of which must be accessible (with a few specific exceptions in other parts of the code).  Exception 7 exempts boat securement devices from mounting height requirements, but otherwise requires such devices to comply with other requirements for operable parts (including but not limited to maximum 5-pound force).  Exception 8 generally exempts all exercise machines and exercise equipment, the majority of which involve the use of weights well in excess of 5 pounds. However, this general exemption should not be taken as “persons with disabilities don’t use exercise equipment”; indeed, basic accessibility considerations for operable parts should be provided anyway where it is feasible and does not create a hazardous condition. Exception 9 was added in the 2019 CBC and is only applicable to residential dwelling units with mobility features.