Planning Accessibility Buildout

This is a thread for discussing the whole buildout of ADA compliant accessibility features at the new Noisebridge and goes hand in hand with the Drafting a Noisebridge Accessbility Policy thread.

1 Like

We had our second meeting and we still need to evaluate some products to install for immediate front door and bathroom usability. Help is welcome and you can add to the suggested electronic door opener and bathroom feature product recs in this thread.

To establish minimal viable accessibility of front doors and bathroom during the buildout, we should immediately start by buyng 3 door opener kits and we can metal bend the pullarms ourselves for 0 cost and get 3 $5-600 electronic door arms for approximately $1600 total. We will research more options between now and next NB Tuesday / NB Accessibility Friday meetings to make specific suitable model recommendations. For bathroom we need a new toilet and a ADA bar next to toilet. As well as get a touchless faucet. Researching those options still.

1 Like

I talked to David Keenan on 29 July 2020. He recommended Kim Blackseth as CASp inspector, and had a lot of useful information and suggestions for how to move forward. It was a fairly long and free-form conversation, so I’ve tried to organize my notes into sections for clarity.

Regarding CASp inspection (when, what, how, etc.), he started by laying out a number of things to consider:

  • David confirms what @Zach said, namely that not all inspectors are created equal, and that making the right choice is important. He repeated the recommendation of Kim Blackseth. Any CASp inspector has to issue a final report, which is a semi-public document and permanent record. Any non-compliance issues and corrective measures will be noted in that report, and if the prescribed corrections are not implemented, that will potentially open us up to liability.
  • Timing matters; considering item 1, an inspection done before we move in would obviously be focused on existing and / or planned features of the space, and would make prescriptions on that basis, whereas an inspection done once we’re fully moved in and operational will also address things like whether there are power cords on the floor, whether the tables are tall enough and spaced far enough apart, etc. In other words, when we call in an inspector really depends on what we want feedback on.
  • Having architectural plan drawings of the current space and of any planned changes to the space will greatly facilitate getting good feedback from a CASp inspector.

Regarding basic ADA compliance for ground floor access, David noted the following points (not an exhaustive list) as things we should be looking at:

  • Grade to the front door no greater than 2%
  • Clear and permanently marked access to the front door from the street
  • Accessible parking
  • Doors at least 32" clearance when open, open at no more than 5lbs of force
  • Floors level, no big bumps or dips
  • Accessible downstairs bathroom
  • Rear fire escape; corridor / hallway is wide enough, unobstructed

Regarding physical upgrades to the space, David suggested getting quotes and drawings for the various solutions we’ve discussed (stair lift, free-standing / vertical wheelchair lift). He did mention that he does not believe there are any such solutions available that meet the standards for compliance for a commercial operation (which we would fall under, since we’re definitely not a residential space). Kim Blackseth’s Omni report includes a recommendation for a company that does lifts, so it might be worth reaching out to them for starters? David also re-iterated what he has previously stated, namely that from a legal / compliance perspective, we are not obligated to provide access to the second floor, as long as we provide equivalent infrastructure to host the same types of activities downstairs as we do upstairs. In other words, if we generally use the upstairs for meetings or classes, then we would need to provide equivalent setups (e.g. furniture, whiteboards, projectors, etc.) in an area downstairs.

Last, but not least, he noted a fire safety issue that will need to be addressed: he says that if we are going to use the area under the front stairs for storage (and you know we will), then that has to be sheet rocked.

I think that’s pretty much all of it. I figure we can discuss at the meeting tomorrow night what to do with this information. I’ll also be happy to elaborate as needed to the best of my ability Touchless version $628 instead of $585 for touch

ADA Accessibility Guidelines, as published by the United States Access Board - contains specs for all the things we’re looking to address, including access routes, floors, curbs, doors, parking, etc., etc.

Trying to extract the relevant information re: bathrooms (pulling from sections 4.2, 4.16, 4.22 and 4.24 in the doc linked above):

  • door must be at least 32" wide when open at 90 degrees (4.2.1, fig. 1)
  • turning space is 60" diameter circle or equivalent T-shaped area (4.2.3, fig. 3)
  • clear area in front of toilet must be at least 48"x66" for front approach, 48"x56" for left-side approach, or 56"x60" for right-side approach (4.16.2, fig. 28)
  • center line of toilet must be at least 18 inches from wall or fixture on either side (fig. 28)
  • top of toilet seat should be 17-19" off the floor
  • grab bar behind toilet should be min. 32", side grab bar min. 48"; mounted 33-36" off the floor (4.16.4, fig. 29 - further specs for grab bars in section 4.26)
  • sinks mounted with rim max. 34" off the floor; min. 27" vertical, 30" width, 17" depth clearance underneath for leg room (4.24.2 and 4.24.3)
  • pipes / hot surface under sink must be insulated (4.24.6)
  • min. 30"x48" clear floor space in front of sink (4.24.5) -
  • clear floor space for toilet, sink, and turning space may overlap (4.22.3)

This is so awesome!! Great work @lxpk and @Rikke

Will you be meeting this Friday? My usual appointment is cancelled so I should be able to join

I’m actually going to be out of town on Friday, so I won’t be able to participate. I’ll keep posting here in the meantime. Plan on calling the CASp inspector David Keenan recommended to discuss the situation with them ahead of the general meeting on Tuesday.


On Sat, Aug 15, 2020, 19:16 Zach via Noisebridge <> wrote:

Zach Hardware Hacker
August 16

This is so awesome!! Great work @lxpk and @Rikke

Will you be meeting this Friday? My usual appointment is cancelled so I should be able to join

Visit Topic or reply to this email to respond.

To unsubscribe from these emails, click here.

I’ve gathered more detailed dimensions for most of the space, along with an initial survey of elements specific to ADA as referenced above. This is in no way complete, and has yet to account for any modifications beyond the existing as built state.

I’ve begun posting some of the progress as I develop some working documents on the wiki

This is mostly an initial cut at of a design style and template for illustrating the rest of the space. My aim of this first round is to develop a full set of current as built floor plans. I am doing everything to scale at either 1":1’ or 1/2":1’ and drafting as SVG format compatible with Inkscape.

The two rooms drafted thus far are the far front and back rooms on the ground floor. I’ve also run the ground floor bathroom by @Rikke and it looks like we are in pretty good shape for compliance with minimum modifications discussed, such as hand rails.

Along with adding the ground floor bathroom, I’m including an additional layer with 5’ turning circles.

@lxpk per facilitating your access for an on-site survey, the current restroom cannot yet be made accessible as the unit currently does not have running water.

1 Like

It would also be nice to add:

  • hands-free sinks
  • hands-free soap dispensers
  • hands-free air dryers

in all bathrooms. Didn’t see mention of these in our notes, but hope we can add these for health and convenience!

Good call @james.

I have tried calling Kim Blackseth (the CASp inspector David Keenan recommended), but have not managed to get through yet. I have left a voicemail and am hoping for a call back.

1 Like

Probably a low priority but have we made considerations for safe egress from the second floor in the event of an emergency? I heard about something called an escape chair-could be worth looking into getting one and planing space for it. On that note is there any progress on the lift to the 2nd floor?

Lots of great work here from everyone. Any follow-up for calling back? Hopefully we can get some inspector advice. I think that would help a lot.

Also, I think Noisebridge can and should go above and beyond California access codes.
Don’t forget, building codes are developed by politicians, bureaucrats, and the State Architect. Powerful construction lobbyists have been chipping away at ADA building codes for decades.

Activists have prevented some codes from being chipped away in Sacramento, but it’s a constant battle. Moneyed interests care very little about our access. Disabled people cost money, and many would rather see us dead or institutionalized.

Fortunately, Noisebridge is not lobbied by powerful construction corporations. Hopefully we can set a new bar for access that goes beyond California minimum legal requirements and sets a positive standard for makerspaces all around the world :slight_smile: