Certificates in Accessible and Universal Design

barrier-free drivewayOn 6/30/13 our Principal Daniel Silvernail successfully completed and obtained certificates in four areas of specialization within accessible design and universal design.

Accessible design is the branch of professional architectural practice in which the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered. Universal design is a broader concept that is defined by The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”

The four areas of specialization for which certificates were obtained cover accessibility for Existing Buildings, accessibility in Multi-Family Buildings, the Path of Travel, and Accessibility in Public Buildings.

The Accessibility in Existing Buildings seminar was presented by Karen Braitmayer, FAIA. Items covered included the applicable accessibility codes and regulations pertaining to existing buildings, barrier removal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a comprehensive comparison of the ADA, California Building Code, and the International Building Code requirements for additions and alterations to existing buildings, and understanding the items required of accessible alterations to historic structures.

In the second seminar, Accessibility in Multi-Family Buildings, she described applicable multi-family accessibility codes and standards, and identified which units are covered in multi-family buildings relative to accessibility requirements. A comparison was made between the Fair Housing Act (FHA), California Building Code (CBC), and International Building Code (IBC) accessible requirements for multi-family dwelling units. Finally, we obtained an understanding of common errors in the design of multi-unit dwellings.

Presented by Michael Chambers, FAIA, FCSI, CCS, the Path of Travel seminar reviewed Universal Design as it pertains to Path of Travel accessibility requirements, ADA 2010 Standards and CBC Chapter 11B requirements and differences for Path of Travel accessibility requirements, explored critical drawing and specification elements pertaining to accessibility, and explored how Path of Travel impacts other accessible building elements.

In the Accessibility in Public Buildings seminar Greg Izor, AIA, NCARB, CASp reviewed accessibility requirements of public spaces, including theaters, auditoriums and stadiums. Topics covered included understanding assistive listening systems and how they help meet accessibility requirements, when and where accessible seating is required, and the accessibility approval process of California’s Division of the State Architect.

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