Consensus Recommendations

The following table represents the formal committee recommendations. Each member of the Committee was given the opportunity to vote on each issue. Members also were asked to vote on the report as a whole. A record of the final vote is included in Attachment B. Those opposing any of the items were asked to provide a minority report explaining their opposition.

Item 1: Define the term “emergency transportable housing unit”

PROPOSAL: Add a new definition so that the committee recommendations are appropriately applied to units within the committee’s scope.

106.5 Defined Terms. Emergency Transportable Housing Unit. A single or multiple section prefabricated structure that is transportable by a single transport vehicle and that can be set-up and installed on a temporary site in response to an emergency. Such structures include, but are not limited to, travel trailers, park models, manufactured housing, and other factory-built housing.

UNIQUE: Yes. It is important to establish a term to describe the types of structures within the scope of the advisory committee’s recommendations.

COMMENTS: During the course of the discussion on this item, certain limitations on the use of smaller units, such as park models and travel trailers were discussed as they relate to the intended use period of such units. According to Section 3282.8 Applicability of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (24 CFR 3290) (HUD Code) these units (recreation vehicles and park models), which are exempt from the HUD Code, are to be used as “temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use”, not as permanent housing. Consequently, some members of the committee objected to an earlier proposed definition: “Housing designed as a residence or that can be occupied on an emergency basis that is transportable in one section without structural modification to and from a disaster area designated by the authority having jurisdiction for the duration of said designation” on the basis that the terms “housing” and “residence” would place units exempt from the HUD Code in direct violation of that code. For example, units between 320 and 400 square feet are installed in recreation vehicle parks but not in facilities containing manufactured housing. To address these concerns, the committee developed a substitute proposal: “A structure that can be occupied as a dwelling on an emergency basis that is transportable in one section without structural modification to and from a disaster area designated by the authority having jurisdiction for at least the duration of said designation”. The substitute definition resolved manufacturer’s concerns by using the terms “structure” and “dwelling” which they believed would not imply that their units are to be used as “housing”. Given this limitation and the fact that emergency transportable housing units often are used by an occupant for extended periods of time, members of the committee questioned whether such units were appropriate to accommodate individuals affected by disasters. Ultimately, the committee did not make a determination in this matter.

Additional concerns were raised by committee members regarding the phrase “designated by the authority having jurisdiction for at least the duration of said designation”. Their concerns were twofold (1) the term “authority having jurisdiction” was somewhat vague because it could be interpreted to mean one or more governing bodies, e.g. federal, state or local; and (2) there was a question as to whether the proposed definition implies that units deployed during an emergency are not to be considered “emergency transportable housing units” when the emergency or disaster proclamation is no longer in effect. In other words, the disaster declaration could be over, but displaced occupants would have no permanent housing to return to while their home or apartment was being rebuilt. These concerns were discussed at the subsequent meetings and eventually were resolved with the proposal definition.

The committee considered establishing a minimum unit size but declined to recommend such a limit because of a concern that the requirement would unnecessarily restrict creativity and potentially could result in the relocation of occupants to alternative living arrangements such as hotels and group sites.

Item 2: Operable parts (general)

PROPOSAL: Add two new exceptions permitting certain controls to be inaccessible and requiring an accessible master water shut-off when not all shut-offs are accessible.

205.1 General. Operable parts on accessible elements, accessible routes, and in accessible rooms and spaces shall comply with 309.
EXCEPTIONS:
* * * * *

7. Controls located beneath an emergency transportable housing unit body.
8. In emergency transportable housing units, water shut-off valves are not required to comply with 309 where a single shut-off valve for the entire dwelling unit exists and complies with 309.2 and 309.3.

UNIQUE: Yes. The committee determined that their concern regarding controls located beneath the unit body are unique while those regarding interior water shut-off valves are not unique to emergency transportable housing units.

COMMENTS: Section 205 requires operable parts to be within reach, to have a clear floor space, to be operable with not more than five pounds force and they must be operable with one hand without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The committee questioned whether certain controls within emergency transportable housing units could meet these requirements and proposed one exception for controls located beneath an emergency transportable housing unit body. The second exception is for individual water shut-off valves where a single accessible water shut-off valve for the entire unit is provided.

Some members of the committee questioned the cost of providing a single water shut-off valve within the unit. During the deliberations on this item, manufacturers noted that compliance with new Exception 8 would not be costly and agreed to provide cost data, if possible. Committee members representing the industry estimated a cost of approximately $30.

Item 3: Operable parts (kitchen outlets)

PROPOSAL: Revise the exception permitting certain kitchen outlets in emergency transportable housing units to be inaccessible (outside the reach ranges specified in the guidelines).

205.1 General. Operable parts on accessible elements, accessible routes, and in accessible rooms and spaces shall comply with 309.
EXCEPTIONS:
* * * * *

3. Except in emergency transportable housing units, where two or more outlets are provided in a kitchen above a length of counter top that is uninterrupted by a sink or appliance, one outlet shall not be required to comply with 309.

UNIQUE: Yes. Kitchens in these units typically contain very few outlets and there is a potential that none of the outlets provided will be within reach.

COMMENTS: Exception 3 to Section 205.1 requires only one convenience outlet provided above a kitchen countertop uninterrupted by a sink or appliance to be accessible where two or more outlets are provided. The committee questioned the necessity of this exception to the general rule that all outlets in a kitchen must be accessible, particularly given that emergency transportable housing units do not generally provide numerous convenience outlets.

The original exception in the guidelines was put in place to respond to a requirement in an edition of the National Electrical Code® (NEC) that requires outlets to be installed every four feet and 24 inches from a corner. This requirement resulted in at least one kitchen outlet in a location that cannot meet the requirements in Section 308 of the guidelines specifying maximum obstructed reach ranges. However, the committee noted that the current edition of the NEC Art. 210.52(C)(5) addressed this challenge to accessibility by permitting face-mounted outlets in accessible kitchens when they are located not more than 12 inches below a countertop which does not extend more than six inches beyond the base.

Item 4: Platform Lifts

PROPOSAL: Add a new provision prohibiting the use of platform lifts at a unit primary entry.

206.7 Platform Lifts. Platform lifts shall comply with 410. Platform lifts shall be permitted as a component of an accessible route in new construction in accordance with 206.7. Platform lifts shall be permitted as a component of an accessible route in an existing building or facility. In emergency transportable housing units, platform lifts shall not be used at a residential dwelling unit primary entrance required to comply with 404 in accordance with 206.4.6.

UNIQUE: Yes. The unit primary entrance is the only accessible means of escape. A site constraint may necessitate the use of a lift. The proposed changes would limit use of such devices to other than the primary entrance. Escape windows and other means of escape provided within the unit are not accessible.

COMMENTS: The committee questioned whether platform lifts used to provide an accessible route to the primary entrance would pose any concerns for occupant evacuation. They noted that the time needed to use or recall a platform lift could unnecessarily delay evacuation. The problem of providing accessible means of escape from bedroom windows and other inaccessible openings is not unique to emergency transportable housing units. However the committee consensus was to focus on criteria that will ensure an accessible route within the unit and through the primary unit entrance to the outside without undue delay. The committee agreed that platform lifts should not be used at the primary entrance to the unit which provides the only required accessible route into and from the unit.

Section 207.1 of the guidelines requires all buildings to provide an accessible means of egress complying with the International Building Code (IBC). Park models and travel trailers are only required to have one means of ingress that also serves as a means of escape. Manufactured housing has one primary and one secondary means of escape and imposes travel limitations on both. The guidelines currently require the primary entrance to all types of units to be accessible. There currently are no existing federal or private-sector standards for an accessible means of escape such as from a window, hatch, break away panel or some similar feature in a bedroom of an emergency transportable housing unit.

Members questioned whether the National Fire Protection Association might assist them in the future to develop criteria for accessible means of escape from emergency transportable housing units.

Item 5: Scoping

PROPOSAL: Add new requirements to specify a number of emergency transportable housing units that an entity should make available after a disaster.

233.1 General. Facilities with residential dwelling units, including emergency transportable housing units, shall comply with 233.
* * * * *

233.3 Residential Dwelling Units Provided by Entities Not Subject to HUD Section 504 Regulations. Facilities with residential dwelling units provided by entities not subject to regulations issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, shall comply with 233.3.

EXCEPTION: Where an emergency transportable housing unit is installed (1) on a site containing a private home for the use of the occupant of the private home; or, (2) on a privately-owned residential site which is designed for the later installation of a dwelling unit and which is for the use of the owner of the site, accessible emergency transportable housing units complying with Section 809 shall be provided to ensure non-discrimination on the basis of disability as prescribed by applicable federal agency regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988, as amended; and, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
* * * * *

233.3.1.1 Residential Dwelling Units with Mobility Features. Facilities with residential dwelling units and group sites containing emergency transportable housing units shall comply with 233.3.3.1.1.

233.3.1.1.1 Facilities Containing Residential Dwelling Units. In facilities with residential dwelling units, at least 5 percent, but no fewer than one unit, of the total number of residential dwelling units shall provide mobility features complying with 809.2 through 809.4 and shall be on an accessible route as required by 206.

233.3.1.1.2 Facilities Containing Emergency Transportable Housing. Group sites dedicated to accommodation of emergency transportable housing units shall provide for ten percent, but not less than one unit, of the total number of units on that site, with mobility features complying with Section 809.2 through 809.4 and shall be on an accessible route as required by Section 206.

ADVISORY 233.3 Exception. Although a percentage is not provided, government and non-government agencies that provide emergency transportable housing units must acquire and provide a unit that includes the mobility features complying with 809.2 through 809.4 and shall be accessible as required by Section 206.

UNIQUE: Yes. A government entity that is obligated to provide temporary housing units on a group site must have a plan to provide a reasonable number of emergency housing units that can accommodate occupants with a range of disabilities.

COMMENTS: This recommendation was derived from the approach that FEMA has been taking based on their experiences in the last three years. Traditionally, FEMA has utilized a10 percent value to maintain an inventory in the accessible category. Specifically, FEMA has been using 10 percent UFAS compliant homes for the group sites (in excess of the minimum 5 percent from ADA/ABA-AG). With regard to private sites, FEMA uses no set percentage or minimum, but they make sure an accessible home is acquired should the private site resident(s) require an accessible home.

At the time of this report, FEMA has approximately 4000emergency housing units available and fully 10 percent of these are accessible. The 10 percent value is in excess of the national stats that say 8.2 percent of the population has a physical disability thus FEMA would exceed that number. When looking at FEMAs experience in disaster areas, the numbers indicate that number is more like 12 percent to 14 percent while the Katrina numbers looked like 18 to 20 percent.

The committee was in agreement with the 10 percent value for group sites. Although certain events may trigger the need for a larger percentage, FEMA now has a new option available to move displaced residents into hotels, motels and apartments. PKERMA – the Post Katrina Emergency Reform Act-formalizes prearrangements between private owners of various types of multifamily occupancies (hotels, motels and apartments) and gives FEMA more housing options beyond emergency housing. Based on the other housing options that are now available, the committee is comfortable with the 10 percent recommendation for group sites and in essence, a non-requirement for the private sites with the knowledge that any entity providing housing has an obligation under the DOJ or HUD provisions to provide accessible housing.

Item 6: Door pulls on sliding doors

PROPOSAL: Possibly provide an advisory note or figure recommending optimal hardware placement so that pulls are accessible from both sides of a 36 inch wide door. The guidance should clarify that the door cannot encroach on the required 32 inch wide clear opening.

UNIQUE: No, sliding doors are used in all types of accessible buildings and facilities. However, sliding doors or pocket doors may be more conducive for use in emergency housing units since they can potentially take up less space (door swing) and may provide for a more straight forward access for the occupant.

COMMENTS: Section 404.2.7 of the guidelines requires that sliding doors must have hardware that is fully exposed and useable from both sides when the door is in the open position. Also, this hardware must be operable with one hand without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The committee notes that sliding or pocket doors are commonly used in emergency transportable housing units to conserve space and provide useable accessible routes. However, the committee notes that the existing guidelines lack technical requirements for the minimum appropriate distances from the edge of the door panel to the door pull which would facilitate use with one hand. In a broader sense, the committee would like to see more guidance regarding the optimal design of hardware which would minimize or eliminate grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The information provided is based on the FEMA guidance that was developed with the assistance of HUD.

Item 7: Unit thresholds at entrances

PROPOSAL: Provide an advisory note for Section 404.2.5 reinforcing the current requirement for accessible thresholds at the primary entrance door.

ADVISORY 404.2.5 Door Thresholds. Entry door configurations on all units need to be designed to satisfy the maximum ½ inch elevation difference. Some manufacturers of emergency transportable housing units, include a lip on the bottom edge of the face of the door. This practice will likely result in a ramp landing positioned more than the allowable ½ inch maximum below the threshold.

UNIQUE: No. While the types of doors typically used in recreation vehicles can be problematic because they contain a lip which extends below the threshold, manufacturers can use more typical residential doors and thereby provide a compliant unit entrance. In one of the meetings, manufacturers agreed to provide cost data, if possible.

COMMENTS: The committee felt the need to address the elevation differences which, in some cases, may be as great as 1-1/2 inches. The manufactures of RV’s have the option of using doors that are more indicative of a residential style door thus eliminating the need to have an excessive elevation difference between the landing and the rear of the door threshold. Such configurations can use weather stripping in lieu of the lip/threshold configurations and stay within the ½ inch limit.

Item 8: Special exceptions for ramps

PROPOSAL: Add new exceptions for ramp run and rise where site constraints prohibit the installation of a complying ramp.

405.2 Slope. Ramp runs shall have a running slope not steeper than 1:12.

EXCEPTIONS: 1. In existing sites, buildings, and facilities, ramps shall be permitted to have running slopes steeper than 1:12 complying with Table 405.2 where such slopes are necessary due to space limitations.

EXCEPTIONS: 2. Where emergency transportable housing units are located on sites containing one and two family residential structures and where existing physical or site constraints prohibit the installation of an entry ramp complying with 405.2, one single ramp run with a slope no steeper than 1:10 shall be permitted provided that the maximum rise of all ramp runs serving the unit entrance is not greater than 36 inches.

405.6 Rise. The rise for any ramp run shall be 30 inches (760 mm) maximum.

EXCEPTION: Where emergency transportable housing units are located on sites containing one or two family residential structures and where existing physical or site constraints prohibit the installation of an entry ramp complying with 405.6, one single ramp run shall be permitted to have a rise 36 inches maximum.

UNIQUE: Yes. People prefer living on their own property so that they can maintain community relationships and oversee rebuilding. Sometimes the physical or legal (property lines) constraints limit the amount of space available for an emergency transportable housing unit. FEMA noted that most of their unit installations are on residential sites, not group sites. For the current units in the Gulf Coast, only 5% are placed on group sites. 95% of units are placed on private or commercial sites. Although some members of the committee would have preferred an option involving the removal of the tires on the unit to reduce the rise, they understood that there are regulatory constraints prohibiting their removal.

COMMENTS: Several factors affect the finished floor height of units, including tire size, distance to the sanitary hook-up, and the base flood elevation. FEMA informed the committee that certain requirements prohibit the removal of the tires on transportable units. Therefore, the lowest possible elevation is 32 inches for smaller units and, according to FEMA; the average height of units is about 36 inches. Without exceptions to the requirement at Sections 405.2 Slope and 405.6 Rise, a compliant ramp and landing will require 168 to 190 square feet to rise 32 inches. Therefore, where site constraints could negate the opportunity to live on one’s own property, the committee recommended increasing the maximum ramp slope for one single ramp run from 1:12 to 1:10 and permitting a the run to rise of 36 inches, as opposed to 30 inches, before an intermediate landing is required. These changes, taken together, would permit a single ramp run at 1:10 without an intermediate landing to rise up to 36 inches maximum. The exceptions can reduce the area consumed by a ramp 16.67%. The committee is of the opinion that an owner is likely to compromise somewhat on the slope of the ramp if it means they can stay on their own property.

Item 9: Adaptable features

PROPOSAL: Modify existing text in the Sections below so that exceptions for adaptable features do not apply to emergency transportable housing units.

604.5 Grab Bars. Grab bars for water closets shall comply with 609. Grab bars shall be provided on the side wall closest to the water closet and on the rear wall.

EXCEPTIONS:* * * * *

2. In residential dwelling units other than emergency transportable housing units, grab bars shall not be required to be installed in toilet or bathrooms provided that reinforcement has been installed in walls and located so as to permit the installation of grab bars complying with 604.5.

* * * * *

606.2 Clear Floor Space. A clear floor space complying with 305, positioned for a forward approach, and knee and toe clearance complying with 306 shall be provided.

EXCEPTIONS:* * * * *

3. In residential dwelling units other than emergency transportable housing units, cabinetry shall be permitted under lavatories and kitchen sinks provided that all of the following conditions are met:(a) the cabinetry can be removed without removal or replacement of the fixture;(b) the finish floor extends under the cabinetry; and(c) the walls behind and surrounding the cabinetry are finished.

* * * * *

607.4 Grab Bars. Grab bars for bathtubs shall comply with 609 and shall be provided in accordance with 607.4.1 or 607.4.2.

EXCEPTIONS:* * * * *

2. In residential dwelling units other than emergency transportable housing units, grab bars shall not be required to be installed in bathtubs located in bathing facilities provided that reinforcement has been installed in walls and located so as to permit the installation of grab bars complying with 607.4.

* * * * *

608.3 Grab Bars. Grab bars shall comply with 609 and shall be provided in accordance with 608.3. Where multiple grab bars are used, required horizontal grab bars shall be installed at the same height above the finish floor.

EXCEPTIONS:* * * * *

2. In residential dwelling units other than emergency transportable housing units, grab bars shall not be required to be installed in showers located in bathing facilities provided that reinforcement has been installed in walls and located so as to permit the installation of grab bars complying with 608.3.

UNIQUE: Yes. Resources to modify the unit by adding new elements may not be readily available in times of emergency. If accessible features are in place, deployment of the units will be more rapid and occupants will not have to wait for needed and appropriate accommodations.

COMMENTS: The committee determined that in order to provide maximum flexibility that the normal compliment of exceptions for residential units should not be extended to emergency housing units. By eliminating the exceptions, emergency housing units can be readily adapted to accommodate a variety of configurations. If the provision to install grab bars is present and if an under sink cabinet can be readily removed to make the appropriate accommodation, that alternative is better than trying locate, acquire and relocate a unit that had some precise configuration. This recommendation increases the chance that once is a unit is on site, that field changes can be completed to make the unit accessible.

Item 10: Kitchen sinks and water spray units

PROPOSAL: Add a new requirement for a water spray unit at the kitchen sink. Performing tasks such as dish washing is difficult for individuals with limited reach.

606.4 Faucets and Water Spray Units. Controls for faucets and water spray units shall comply with 309. Hand-operated metering faucets shall remain open for 10 seconds minimum. A water spray unit shall be provided at kitchen sinks in emergency transportable housing units.

UNIQUE: Yes. Emergency transportable housing units are rarely provided with dishwashers.

COMMENTS: A member of the committee raised concerns regarding the usability of faucets in kitchen sinks and lavatories. He recommended that faucets be required to be of the gooseneck design and that they provide a water flow closer to the front of the basin. He noted that this type of installation could make it easier for individuals with disabilities to wash dishes in emergency transportable housing units which typically do not have dishwashers. Committee members concurred that the concerns raised are not unique to emergency transportable housing units and could potentially makes sense for all forms of residential housing. However, there was general consensus that requiring a water sprayer at the kitchen sink would facilitate pot washing where dishwashers are not part of the unit.

Item 11: Bathing Options – seats in roll-in showers

PROPOSAL: Modify the existing text to require a seat in all roll-in showers provided in emergency transportable housing units.

Revised text: 608.4 Seats. A folding or non-folding seat shall be provided in transfer type shower compartments. A folding seat shall be provided in roll-in type showers required in transient lodging guest rooms with mobility features complying with 806.2 and in roll-in type showers provided in emergency transportable housing units. Seats shall comply with 610.

UNIQUE: Yes. Same reason as stated for adaptable features above in Item 4.

COMMENTS: Section 809.4 of the guidelines requires that one accessible bathing fixture be provided within a residential dwelling unit. The guidelines do not prescribe whether the accessible fixture must be an accessible bath tub, roll-in shower or transfer stall. FEMA noted that in their recent experience over 80% of occupants with mobility-related disabilities requested roll-in showers and that their current practice is to provide roll-in showers with folding seats in accessible units. Noting that fewer design options promote faster deployment of units in emergency situations while more design options facilitate usability and independence by people with disabilities, the committee was concerned that uniformity among units might be at the expense of individuals who cannot use a particular type of bathing fixture. They noted that other Federal requirements exist requiring state and local government programs and programs receiving Federal financial assistance to accommodate individual’s unique disability-related needs. To ensure that people with disabilities are alerted to their disability-related civil rights, the subcommittee recommended that FEMA and the Department of Justice draft advisory notes informing individuals with disabilities of specific laws under their purview which require program operators to provide reasonable accommodations in the event that units do not meet their needs.

Committee members discussed the possibility of providing scoping for a variety of bathing options. However, they concluded that requiring a particular percentage of units to contain specific types of bathing fixtures would be unworkable. Unlike the facility-based scoping for transient lodging, emergency transportable housing units are provided on multiple sites within a geographic location and they are usually deployed as needed. Therefore, the total number of units to be deployed would not be known until the need for such units is satisfied. See the recommendation of the committee concerning scoping matters in general for emergency housing units.

Item 12: Smoke alarm systems

PROPOSAL: Develop a new requirement for a reliable power source for smoke alarms with an integral visible notification device.

702.2 Emergency Transportable Housing Units. Emergency transportable housing units shall be equipped with smoke alarms with an integral visual notification appliance that are supplied with power from one or more power sources as follows:

a. Commercial light and power source along with a secondary power source.
b. Non commercial ac power source along with a secondary power source.

Advisory 702.2. The visible notification alarm component is only designed to operate with the ac power source. The audible alarm provision will still function even when the ac power source is not available.

UNIQUE: Yes. Note: Section 233 requires that two percent of units comply with Section 809.5 Residential Dwelling Units with Communication Features. The committee’s action above would apply to all emergency transportable housing units unless there is a change to Section 233. FEMA noted that all units purchased by the Department have visible smoke alarms.

COMMENTS: The committee had originally wanted to specify use of a non-rechargeable, non-replaceable battery powered smoke alarm for use in for all emergency transportable housing units. This is a desired technology so as to minimize the need for individuals with disabilities to have to gain access to the smoke alarm to replace batteries. However, as a result of research into this draft recommendation, it was discovered that no manufacturer produces a device that can meet the 10 year battery design with a visual alarm component. The voltage and current draws are simply too high to make that option viable at this point in time. The recommendation that has been put fourth specifies the type of smoke alarm and the power supply requirements. The committee notes that during the first few days or weeks of a widespread disaster, commercial power to a given site or area may be intermittent at best-and that the secondary source of power is crucial.

Item 13: Carpet

PROPOSAL: Add new language that would prohibit the use of carpet in emergency transportable housing units.

809.2.3 Carpet. Carpeting shall be prohibited within emergency transportable housing units.

UNIQUE: Yes. Carpet is more difficult to maintain than other floor finishes.

COMMENTS: Vacuum cleaners, which may not be readily available in times of emergency, are needed to clean carpet. The limited amount of storage space to store a vacuum cleaner coupled with the need to handle the vacuum cleaner makes it a less desirable option inemergency housing units. Other types of floor finishes can be cleaned using mops, cloths or other readily available items. The committee also discussed the additional effort needed to move a wheelchair on carpeted surfaces as well. A third discussion item concerned the use of synthetic materials in carpet systems that may have an impact on indoor air quality issues. While these two items were not the driving force that resulted in the recommendation, they were none-the-less additional potential factors that were discussed.

Item 14: Kitchen work surface

PROPOSAL: Allow the supplied kitchen table to substitute for the required kitchen work surface.

804.3 Kitchen Work Surface. In residential dwelling units required to comply with 809, at least one 30 inch (760 mm) wide minimum section of counter shall provide a kitchen work surface that complies with 804.3.

EXCEPTION: In emergency transportable housing units, a work surface shall not be required provided that the following criteria are met:

(a) a kitchen table complying with 902 is provided within the kitchen;
(b) all kitchen countertops are 34 inches high maximum; and
(c) an electrical outlet is provided at a location within reach of the table

UNIQUE: Yes. Kitchens in emergency transportable housing units are very small and contain very little storage. Providing a dedicated accessible work surface would necessitate omitting storage beneath the counter top. In the worst case, this could result in the loss of all usable kitchen storage space.

COMMENTS: Section 804.3 requires dwelling unit kitchens to provide at least one 30 inch long section of countertop at an accessible height with knee and toe space beneath to be used as a work surface for food preparation. Noting that space is limited in emergency transportable housing units, the committee questioned whether requiring such a dedicated work surface with knee space beneath it in a kitchen which already has very little kitchen storage would further limit options for accessible storage. The committee noted that, unlike most other housing, emergency transportable housing units often are provided with furnishings in place. In particular, a kitchen table generally is provided as a part of the unit and is located within the kitchen area. When not used for dining, the kitchen table can be used for food preparation if it meets accessibility criteria. The committee recommended an exception to Section 804.3 where a kitchen table complying with 902 is provided within the kitchen.

Committee members were also concerned that the work surface in the kitchen is the only countertop at 34 inches maximum. Countertops at this height permit a reach over an obstruction where accessible elements are located on the wall behind the counter and they facilitate use of the counter surface. Committee members agreed that where all countertops are at the same height occupants with mobility impairments find it easier to move items along the countertops, including those that may be too hot to handle. While the committee agreed with the concept of exempting the work surface when an accessible kitchen table is provided, they agreed to make the exception contingent on providing all countertops at 34 inches high maximum.

NOTE: The National Electrical Code requires any outlets that serve kitchen counters to contain a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (GFCI) which addresses a scenario where an electrical appliance being used on the countertop accidentally falls into a sink. This would not likely be a concern for someone using an appliance at the kitchen table in lieu of a countertop.

Item 15: Bathing options

PROPOSAL: Add an Advisory Note to Section 809.4 to reinforce the need to provide options for the recipients of an emergency transportable housing unit.

ADVISORY 809.4 Bathing Options. Public entities must comply with title II of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12115. Title II provides that individuals with disabilities shall not be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any public entity. 42 U.S.C. § 12132. Public entities have an additional obligation to achieve program accessibility under the Department of Justice’s ADA regulation implementing title II. See 35 C.F.R. § 35.149. The Department of Justice’s regulation also requires public entities to provide services to people with disabilities in integrated settings, 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(d). In addition, public entities must make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity. 35 C.F.R. § 130(b)(7). If a requested modification would result in a fundamental alteration, a public entity must provide any reasonable modification that would not result in a fundamental alteration. In the context of an emergency where actions must be taken quickly, the timing of a reasonable modification may be critical.

To function independently or with assistance in housing people with disabilities may need different types of bathing accommodations. For this reason, to comply with its program accessibility and reasonable modification obligations, a public entity may need to provide a choice of Emergency Transportable Housing units with different types of bathing configurations (that is, transfer type shower compartments, roll-in shower, or accessible bathtub) in order to comply with the title II obligations detailed above. Conversely, offering only one type of bathing configuration in Emergency Transportable Housing may have the effect of excluding the participation of some individuals with disabilities from living in Emergency Transportable Housing as part of a public entity’s emergency management program, or may alternatively limit the program options for some individuals with disabilities to temporary housing which is separate, different, and/or segregated. Planning to meet the needs of people with a variety of disabilities is a critical part of emergency management.

UNIQUE: Yes. A variety of bathing options are required for transient lodging facilities because the occupant cannot modify fixtures for short-term stays. However, in residential dwelling units, bathing options are not assured because reasonable modifications can be made to the unit and, in some cases, individuals with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations.

COMMENTS: To accommodate the unique needs of individuals with disabilities, committee members considered proposing a scoping requirement similar to the requirement in Section 224.2 for transient lodging facilities which provides that facilities have units with roll-in showers and also units with either transfer stalls or bathtubs. The intent of such a requirement would be to ensure that individuals with disabilities be provided choices that best suit their disability-related needs. Instead, the committee opted to include advisory material developed by the Department of Justice to alert individuals with disabilities regarding their rights to a reasonable accommodation under civil rights laws within their purview if the bathing option offered fails to accommodate their disability specific needs.

Item 16: Bedroom lighting controls

PROPOSAL: Add a new requirement so that lighting controls are reachable from a bed.

809.5 Bedrooms in Emergency Transportable Housing Units. Bedrooms in emergency transportable housing units shall comply with 809.5.

809.5.1 Clear Floor Space. A clear floor space complying with 305 shall be provided on one side of a bed. The clear floor space shall be positioned for parallel approach to the side of the bed and shall be on an accessible route.

809.5.2 Overlap. In emergency transportable housing units where bedrooms are less than 70 square feet, the accessible route, maneuvering clearances, and turning space shall not overlap space occupied by a bed and a dresser.

809.5.3 Lighting Controls. A means to control lighting from the bed shall be provided.

UNIQUE: Yes. Space within bedrooms in emergency transportable housing units is very confined. Therefore, the occupant may not be able to reconfigure furniture to provide a lamp or a nightstand with a lamp adjacent to the bed. This change will improve the safety of individuals when transferring to or from a mobility device onto a bed.

COMMENTS: Emergency transportable housing unit bedrooms usually have ceiling lights operated by wall switches placed near the door. An individual with a disability is likely to require the light on when transferring into and out of bed. While making the transfer, the light switch located at the door (most typical location) is out of reach. The committee noted that bedrooms in emergency transportable housing units generally do not provide excess space for nightstands where a bed lamp could be located. To resolve this issue, the committee recommended a requirement for a secondary means to control the overhead light after transferring to the bed.

Item 17: Clearance alongside beds

PROPOSAL: Add a new requirement (renumber as necessary) to provide clearance along one side of a bed in emergency transportable housing unit bedrooms similar to the requirement for bed clearances in transient lodging Section 806.2.3.

809.5 Bedrooms in Emergency Transportable Housing Units. Bedrooms in emergency transportable housing units shall comply with 809.5.

809.5.1 Clear floor space. A clear floor space complying with 305 shall be provided on one side of a bed. The clear floor space shall be positioned for parallel approach to the side of the bed and shall be on an accessible route.

[Renumber remaining sections as necessary.]

UNIQUE: Yes. Bedrooms in emergency transportable housing units can be so small that furniture layout needs to be considered in order for the room to be usable by individuals using mobility devices. Also, similar to transient lodging facilities, furniture is provided with the unit and not purchased by the occupant to meet his or her unique needs.

COMMENTS: Section 809.2.2 requires all rooms served by an accessible route to have a turning space (T-Turn or 60 inch circle) and Section 404.2.4 requires doors on accessible routes to provide maneuvering clearances. Although room shape, door arrangement, and furniture layout all can have significant impact on accessibility within a bedroom, in rooms complying with the various regulations, the furniture, accessible route, maneuvering clearances, and required turning space can be arranged so that all are usable if the designer thoughtfully lays out the bedroom and closet doors. Unfortunately, there is no requirement specifying the minimum bedroom size for emergency transportable housing units. Therefore, ensuring that required maneuvering space at doors and turning space is usable becomes much more difficult in such units where bedrooms often are smaller than 70 square feet. Therefore, the committee has addressed this concern by adding a new requirement prohibiting the accessible route, maneuvering clearances, and turning space from overlapping space provided for a bed and a dresser.

The committee notes that such a requirement could cause designers to be more cognizant of the needs of individuals with disabilities as they lay out rooms and furniture.

Section 806.2.5 of the guidelines requires a clearance of 30 by 48 inches on both sides of a bed in transient lodging guest rooms to enable individuals with mobility impairments to transfer to and from the bed. Where two beds are provided, a single clearance between them is permitted to be substituted for clearances alongside both sides of one bed. Clearances on the left and right –hand sides of a bed allow individuals to select the optimal side of the body for transfer depending on their abilities. Currently, there is no corresponding requirement for residential dwelling units because, unlike guest rooms, furniture typically is not provided in such units. However, as noted above in Item #7, furniture generally is provided in emergency transportable housing units and smaller bedrooms provide very little flexibility in furniture layout. The committee recommended adding a new requirement for a 30 inch by 48 inch clear floor space to be positioned for a parallel approach alongside at least one side of a bed provided in emergency transportable housing units.

There was general consensus among committee members that the proposal is warranted and, because it would require a clearance only on one side of a bed, it would not have a disproportional impact on the unit design. This issue is unique to residential facilities which come furnished.

Item 18: Overlap of required clearances and furnishings in bedrooms

PROPOSAL: Add a new requirement prohibiting accessible routes, maneuvering clearances and turning space from overlapping space required for a bed and related furnishings in bedrooms smaller than those permitted in model codes.

809.5.2 (Formerly 809.2.3) Overlap. In emergency transportable housing units where bedrooms are less than 70 square feet gross, the accessible route, maneuvering clearances, and turning space shall not overlap space occupied by a bed and a dresser.

UNIQUE: Yes. See reasons for Items 16 and 17 above.

COMMENTS: Section 809.2.2 requires all rooms served by an accessible route to have a turning space (T-Turn or 60 inch circle) and Section 404.2.4 requires doors on accessible routes to provide maneuvering clearances. Although room shape, door arrangement, and furniture layout all can have significant impact on accessibility within a bedroom, in rooms complying with the various regulations, the furniture, accessible route, maneuvering clearances, and required turning space can be arranged so that all are usable if the designer thoughtfully lays out the bedroom and closet doors. Unfortunately, there is no requirement specifying the minimum bedroom size for emergency transportable housing units. Therefore, ensuring that required maneuvering space at doors and turning space is usable becomes much more difficult in such units where bedrooms often are smaller than 70 square feet. Therefore, the committee has addressed this concern by adding a new requirement prohibiting the accessible route, maneuvering clearances, and turning space from overlapping space provided for a bed and a dresser.

The committee notes that such a requirement should cause designers to be more cognizant of the needs of individuals with disabilities as they lay out the rooms and furniture.

Item 19: Units designed to provide communication features.

PROPOSAL: Provide exceptions for notification devices and peepholes.

809.5.5.1 Notification. A hard-wired electric doorbell shall be provided. A button or switch shall be provided outside the residential dwelling unit primary entrance. Activation of the button or switch shall initiate an audible tone and visible signal within the residential dwelling unit. Where visible doorbell signals are located in sleeping areas, they shall have controls to deactivate the signal.

EXCEPTION: Section 809.5.5.1 shall not apply to emergency transportable housing units.

809.5.5.2 Identification. A means for visually identifying a visitor without opening the residential dwelling unit entry door shall be provided and shall allow for a minimum 180 degree range of view.

EXCEPTION: Section 809.5.5.2 shall not apply to emergency transportable housing units.

Note: Some of the requirements in Section 809.5 for residential dwelling units with communication features would not apply to emergency transportable housing units because those requirements typically address barriers to communication access in multi-family units.

UNIQUE: Yes. The committee believes that notification devices and peepholes can be provided after construction and deployment of a unit as a reasonable accommodation. The committee is concerned that requiring a covered entity to maintain two percent of units in their inventory which contain these features and then to appropriately allocate them could be burdensome and possibly result in an increase in their response time for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

COMMENTS: Section 809.5.5.1 contains a requirement entirely new to the guidelines which requires audible and visible doorbells to be installed at the entry door to units providing access for individuals with communication disabilities. Two percent of units in a facility must comply with this requirement. The committee raised a number of questions related to communication features including whether visible alarms should be required in all accessible emergency transportable housing units and whether the other provisions in Section 809.5.1, 809.5.5 and 809.5.6 should apply to emergency transportable housing units. In any emergency, providing shelter as soon as possible is of paramount importance. Matching individuals with hearing impairments with units specifically designed for their use could cause unnecessary delay.

The committee concluded that Sections 809.5.1 Building Fire Alarm Systems, 809.5.3 Interconnection, and 809.5.6 Site, Building, or Floor Entrance would not apply to emergency transportable housing units because, unlike apartment buildings, multiple emergency transportable housing units are not contained in larger buildings. The committee elected to permit an exception for the visible doorbells required by Section 809.5.5.1, Notification; and peepholes required by Section 809.5.5.2, Identification.

Item 20: Use of slide-outs

PROPOSAL: Add a new section to permit the use of slide-outs only where occupants will not have to cycle the unit and where changes in elevation/ level comply with the guidelines.

XXX.XX: Slide Outs. Slide outs shall be permitted in emergency transportable housing units only where the manufacturer’s warranty documentation indicates that there is no need to cycle the unit after set-up and provided that changes in level between floors comply with 303.2 and 303.3.

UNIQUE: Yes. Only one type of factory built housing, recreation vehicles, use slide-outs.

COMMENTS: If provided within accessible units, the committee was concerned that a slide-out, which increase square footage within the unit once it is installed and set up on a site, could create conflicts with accessibility. The committee wished to either prohibit slide-outs or be assured that they did not present accessibility concerns.

Accessible routes and accessible space cannot have changes in level greater than 1/2 inch (beveled) and 1/4 inch (vertical). Therefore, the joint between the unit floor and the slide-out floor must essentially be flush. Also, the joint cover must be stable, firm, and slip resistant. An additional question was whether slide-outs are required to be cycled or activated periodically as part of a preventative maintenance program. If so, activating the slide-out would pose extreme difficulty for individuals with disabilities who would need to move furniture before operating the mechanism. Although the committee was assured that joints between slide-out and the adjacent floor can be modified to comply with the guidelines and was provided information regarding the manufacturer’s which provide slide-outs activated by switches within the unit, the committee did not resolve whether or not slide-out must be activated from time-to-time until their last meeting. That issue was a primary concern when making the final recommendation.

Members of the committee representing the industry provided information from manufacturers of electric and hydraulic slide-outs which are readily available and which do not require the unit to be exercised. Consequently, the committee refrained from prohibiting slide-outs in emergency transportable housing units.

Item 21: Weather alert system

PROPOSAL: Add a new requirement for clear floor space and reach to the operable parts where weather alert radios are provided in accessible units.

XXX.XX Weather Alert Systems. Where provided in emergency transportable housing units, weather alert systems shall comply with 309.1 through 309.3 and shall provide audible and visual output.

UNIQUE: Yes. HR 2787, introduced in the U.S. Congress would amend the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 to require that weather radios be installed in all manufactured homes manufactured or sold in the United States.

Bill Status as of 10/6/08

H.R.2787
Sponsor: Rep Ellsworth, Brad [IN-8] (introduced 6/20/2007)
Related Bills: S.2724
Latest Major Action: 11/1/2007 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
House Reports: 110-415

COMMENTS: The committee believes that the information provided by a weather radio must be equally accessible to individuals who either cannot hear the audible alert or who cannot read a viewable text alert. As a result, they recommended a provision be added to the guidelines to require both audible and visual output. Where weather radios are installed in a unit, their controls must comply with most requirements in Section 309 for operable parts, including reach range. However, the proposal does not apply Section 309.4 to the controls on weather radios because certain controls on units currently available cannot comply with requirement that they be operable with one hand, not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist and require no more than five (5) pounds force.

HR 2787, introduced in the U.S. Congress would amend the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 to require that weather radios be installed in all manufactured homes manufactured or sold in the United States. Although this proposed law would not directly affect recreation vehicles, park models or most types of housing for that matter, the committee has structured the requirement in such a way that it would be applied to any installation of a weather radio within an accessible dwelling unit.