ETH Regulatory Assessment

Introduction

Section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act requires the Access Board to develop and maintain accessibility guidelines to ensure that the construction and alteration of buildings and facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The Access Board’s current accessibility guidelines for building and facilities were issued in 2004 and are known as the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines. Other federal agencies are required to issue enforceable standards for the construction and alteration of facilities covered by the ADA or ABA that are consistent with the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines.

The Access Board prepared this preliminary regulatory assessment to meet the requirements of Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) and Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) requesting public comment on proposed amendments to the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines that specifically address emergency transportable housing units that are provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other entities on a temporary site in response to an emergency need for temporary housing. Among other things, Executive Order 13563 directs agencies to propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs; tailor the regulation to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives; and, in choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits. Executive Order 13563 recognizes that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify and provides that, where appropriate and permitted by law, agencies may consider and discuss qualitatively values that are difficult or impossible to quantify, including equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts.

Need for Proposed Rule

The ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines contain scoping and technical provisions for residential dwelling units. The scoping provisions specify the minimum number of units required to provide mobility features for individuals with mobility disabilities and the minimum number of units required to provide communication features for individuals who are deaf or have a hearing loss, as well as the accessible features to be provided within each type of unit. The technical provisions specify the design criteria for accessible features within the units.

Emergency transportable housing units provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita raised issues regarding the application of the scoping and technical provisions for residential dwelling units to emergency transportable housing units. Emergency transportable housing units are used to provide temporary housing and are not intended to be used as permanent dwellings. They are prefabricated so they can be deployed rapidly in response to an emergency and are installed on temporary sites with minimal site preparation. They are transported on a single transport vehicle over roadways, which results in size and space limitations. Emergency transportable housing units provided in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita typically were about 400 square feet.

The proposed rule would amend the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines to treat emergency transportable housing units as a subclass of residential dwelling units and would add new scoping and technical provisions for such units. The proposed rule also would amend existing scoping provisions for operable parts and platform lifts, and existing technical provisions for ramps, kitchens, and bathrooms to specifically address emergency transportable housing units.

Summary of Major Proposed Provisions

The major proposed provisions for emergency transportable housing units required to provide mobility features and emergency transportable housing units required to provide communication features are summarized separately in the tables below.

        
  Emergency    Transportable Housing Units Required to Provide Mobility Features   
  Major    Proposed Provisions   

Summary   

  

Justification    - Benefits

Scoping
  233.3.1.2
  F233.3.1.2
  F233.4.1.2

Existing scoping provisions applicable to facilities with residential   dwelling units provided by entities not subject to regulations issued by HUD   under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act currently require at least 5   percent of the units to provide mobility features. These scoping provisions   currently apply to emergency transportable housing units. The proposed new   scoping provisions would require emergency transportable housing units with   mobility features to be provided in accordance with regulations implementing   Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief   and Emergency Assistance Act, and the ADA. These regulations prohibit   discrimination on the basis of disability. Compliance with these regulations   would ensure that individuals with mobility disabilities who need units with   mobility features are provided such units.

When individuals and households apply for temporary housing assistance   from FEMA, their needs are assessed and they are assigned emergency   transportable housing units based on their assessed needs. The proposed new   scoping provisions would allow for flexibility to provide emergency   transportable housing units with mobility features based on assessed needs.

Ramps
  Exception 2 to 405.2
  Exception to 405.6.

The proposed new exceptions to the technical provisions for ramps would   permit a steeper and longer entry ramp for single unit installations of   emergency transportable housing units at private home sites where existing   physical or site constraints would prohibit the installation of an entry ramp   that complies with the technical provisions for ramps.

The floor level of emergency transportable housing units is elevated above   the ground. Ramps are installed at the entrances to units with mobility   features. If sufficient space is not available on a private home site to   install an entry ramp that complies with the technical provisions for ramps,   a unit with mobility features may not be provided at the site. The proposed   new exceptions would allow a steeper and longer entry ramp in such situations   so individuals with mobility disabilities can have units with mobility   features provided at their private home sites while their homes are rebuilt   and avoid relocation to a group site.

Kitchen Work Surface
  Exception to 804.3

The proposed new exception would permit a kitchen table complying with the   technical provisions for tables, all kitchen counter tops at 34 inches high   maximum, and an electrical outlet within reach of the table to be provided instead   of a kitchen work surface complying with the technical provisions for kitchen   work surfaces.

Kitchens in emergency transportable housing units have limited storage   space. A kitchen work surface complying with the technical provisions for   kitchen work surfaces would reduce the storage space. The proposed new   exception would provide accessible kitchen work surfaces for individuals with   mobility disabilities without reducing the storage space.

Kitchen Counter Top Electrical Outlets
  Exception 3 to 205.1
  Exception 3 to F205.1

Existing exceptions currently permit one of the electrical outlets   provided above a length of kitchen counter top that is uninterrupted by a   sink or appliance to not comply with the technical provisions for operable   parts. The proposed rule would amend these exceptions so they would not apply   to emergency transportable housing units required to provide mobility   features. This may result in electrical outlets installed in the face of   kitchen base cabinets.

Kitchens in emergency transportable housing units have fewer electrical   outlets than kitchens in other types of residential dwelling units. The   proposed amendments to the existing exceptions would make all the electrical   outlets accessible to and usable by individuals with mobility disabilities.

Water Shut-Off Valve
  Exception 11 to 205.1
  Exception 11 to F205.1

The proposed new exceptions would permit a single water shut-off valve   complying with the technical provisions for clear floor space and reach   ranges to be provided in emergency transportable housing units required to   provide mobility features.

Space constraints in emergency transportable housing units can limit   access to water shut-off valves in kitchens and bathrooms. The proposed new   exceptions would provide access to a single water shut-off valve for   individuals with mobility disabilities.

Kitchen Sink Water Spray Unit
  606.4

The proposed new provision would require a water spray unit to be provided   at the kitchen sink in emergency transportable housing units required to   provide mobility features.

The proposed new provision would facilitate dish washing by individuals   with limited reach and dexterity.

Folding Seat in Roll-In Shower
  608.4

The proposed new provision would require a folding seat to be provided in   a roll-in shower in emergency transportable housing units required to provide   mobility features.

The proposed new provision would enable individuals with mobility   disabilities to use roll-in showers if shower chairs are unavailable in the   aftermath of a disaster.

Bedrooms
  809.2.4.1
  809.2.4.2

The proposed new provisions would:

      
  • Require clear        floor space positioned for a parallel approach to be located on one side        of a bed and to be on an accessible route; and
  •   
  • Prohibit        accessible routes, maneuvering clearances, and turning spaces in        bedrooms less than 70 square feet from overlapping space occupied by        furniture supplied with the unit in emergency transportable housing units        required to provide mobility features.

The proposed new provisions would make the bedrooms accessible to and   usable by individuals with mobility disabilities.

Bedroom Lighting Control
  809.2.4.3

The proposed new provision would require a means to control at least one   source of lighting in the bedroom from the bed in emergency transportable   housing units required to provide mobility features. .

Bedrooms in emergency transportable housing units typically provide   overhead lighting controlled by a wall switch near the bedroom door. The   proposed new provision would result in providing a bedside lamp, an   additional wall switch near the bed, or remote control device that can be   operated from the bed so individuals with mobility disabilities can transfer   in and out of bed safely.

Weather Alert Systems
  809.2.5

The proposed new provision would require weather alert systems provided in   emergency transportable housing units required to provide mobility features   to comply with the technical provisions for clear floor space and reach   ranges.

The proposed new provision would make the weather alert systems accessible   to and usable by individuals with mobility disabilities.

 

           
  Emergency    Transportable Housing Units Required to Provide Communication Features
Major    Provisions   

Summary   

  

Justification    - Benefits

Scoping
  233.3.2.2
  F233.3.2.2
  F233.4.2.2

Existing scoping provisions applicable to facilities with residential   dwelling units provided by entities not subject to regulations issued by HUD   under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act currently require at least 2   percent of the units to provide communication features. These scoping   provisions currently apply to emergency transportable housing units. The   proposed new scoping provisions would require emergency transportable housing   units with communication features to be provided in accordance with   regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Robert T.   Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, and the ADA. These   regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Compliance   with these regulations would ensure that individuals who are deaf or have a   hearing loss and need units with communication features are provided such   units.

When individuals and households apply for temporary housing assistance   from FEMA, their needs are assessed and they are assigned emergency transportable   housing units based on their assessed needs. The proposed new scoping   provisions would allow for flexibility to provide emergency transportable   housing units with communication features based on assessed needs.

Residential Dwelling Unit Smoke Alarms
  809.3.1.2

The proposed new provision would require residential dwelling unit smoke   alarms with built-in visible alarms to provide either a commercial light and   power source along with a secondary power source, or a non-commercial   alternating current power source along with a secondary power source.

The proposed new provision is consistent with the National Fire Protection   Association (NFPA) 72 National Fire Alarm Code. It would ensure that   residential dwelling unit smoke alarms with built-in visible alarms have a   secondary power source in the event the primary power source fails so that   individuals who are deaf or have a hearing loss are alerted when the alarms   are activated.

Weather Alert Systems
  809.3.4

The proposed new provision would require weather alert systems provided in   emergency transportable housing units required to provide communication   features to provide both audible and visible output.

The proposed new provision would make the weather alert systems accessible   to and usable by individuals who are deaf or have a hearing loss.

Entities Affected by Proposed Rule

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act authorizes FEMA to provide temporary housing assistance to individuals and households in response to a major disaster or emergency declared by the President. See 42 U.S.C. 5174 and 5192. FEMA provides emergency transportable housing units where there is a need for temporary housing and a lack of available housing resources in the affected area. A review of the websites of state agencies and nongovernmental organizations that provide services in response to disasters did not show that these entities currently provide emergency transportable housing units. The preamble to the NPRM includes a question that requests information on whether state, local, or tribal governments or nongovernmental organizations provide emergency transportable housing units for people who need temporary housing in response to disasters.

Emergency transportable housing units provided by FEMA are covered by the ABA and are required to comply with the accessibility standards for residential facilities issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). See 42 U.S.C. 4151 and 4153. HUD’s current accessibility standards for residential facilities are the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). When HUD updates its accessibility standards for residential facilities to be consistent with the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines, newly constructed and altered emergency transportable housing provided by FEMA would be required to comply with HUD’s updated accessibility standards. The preliminary regulatory assessment estimates the total additional costs that FEMA would incur on an annual basis assuming HUD updates its accessibility standards for residential facilities to be consistent with the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines, as amended by the proposed rule.

Benefits

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that for the civilian non-institutionalized population aged 5 and older living in the United States:

  • 27.4 million people (11.9 percent) have difficulty with ambulatory activities of the lower body and 19.0 million people (8.2 percent) have difficulty with upper body physical tasks;
  • 8.5 million people (3.7 percent) have difficulty performing one or more activities of daily living such as getting around inside the home, getting into or out of bed, taking a bath or shower, getting to or using the toilet, dressing, and eating;
  • 3.3 million (1.4 percent) used a wheelchair or other wheeled mobility device and 10.2 million (4.4 percent) used a cane, crutches, or walker to assist with mobility; and
  • 7.8 million people (3.4 percent) have difficulty hearing.[1]

The proposed rule seeks to ensure that newly constructed and altered emergency transportable housing units are readily accessible to and usable by this population. The Summary of Major Proposed Provisions discusses the justification for and benefits of the proposed provisions for this population. These benefits are difficult or impossible to quantify.

[1] U.S. Census Bureau, Americans with Disabilities:2005 (Issued December 2008) available on the web at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p70-117.pdf.

Costs

FEMA’s planning estimate is to maintain an inventory of 2,500 emergency transportable housing units ready to deploy in response to disasters. As of March 2012, FEMA had approximately 2,065 units in its inventory. FEMA’s current policy is to have 20 percent of the units in its inventory comply with UFAS. FEMA periodically purchases new units to replenish its inventory.

When FEMA purchases new units, the units are constructed to FEMA’s requirements. Costs are attributed to the proposed provisions if it would result in FEMA requiring newly constructed units to provide a feature that it would not otherwise require and manufacturers would incur additional costs to construct the feature that would increase the cost of the units. FEMA reviewed the proposed rule and consulted with five manufacturers to determine whether any costs would be attributed to the proposed provisions. FEMA determined that no additional costs would be attributed to the proposed provisions for emergency transportable housing units required to provide communication features since it currently requires smoke alarms with built-in visible alarms and weather alert systems with both audible and visible output in all newly constructed units.

For emergency transportable housing units required to provide mobility features, FEMA determined that costs would be attributed to the proposed provisions for kitchen counter top electrical outlets, a single water shut-off valve, a kitchen sink water spray unit, and a bedroom lighting control. FEMA’s unit cost estimates for these proposed provisions are shown in the table below. No costs would be attributed to the proposed provision for folding seats in roll-in type showers since FEMA currently requires folding seats to be provided in roll-in type showers.

Proposed Provisions

FEMA Unit Cost Estimates

Kitchen Counter Top Electrical Outlets
  Exception 3 to 205.1 and F205.1

$150 - $500

Single Water Shut-Off Valve
  Exception 11 to 205.1 and F205.1

$200 - $500

Kitchen Sink Water Spray Unit
  606.4

$75

Bedroom Lighting Control
  809.2.4.3

$60

Total  

$485 -   $1,135

FEMA provided low and high unit cost estimates for the kitchen counter top electrical outlets. The high unit cost estimate assumes additional costs for custom made base cabinets that may be needed for electrical outlets installed in the face of the cabinets. FEMA also provided low and high unit cost estimates for the single water shut-off valve. The high unit cost estimate assumes that the units would have a sprinkler system and would need some redesign of the plumbing system. FEMA currently does not require the units to provide a sprinkler system and the high unit cost estimate for the single water shut-off valve would apply if FEMA would require the units to provide sprinkler systems in the future.

The number of emergency transportable housing units that FEMA deploys varies by disaster and from year to year. The number of units deployed during the four year period from 2008 to 2011 is shown in the table below. FEMA sometimes provides UFAS units to applicants who do not have a disability due to lack of inventory of other units.

 

                 
  Emergency    Transportable Housing Units Deployed by FEMA
  

Year   

  
  

Number    of
   Disasters

  
  

Total    Units Deployed

  
  

UFAS   
   Units

  
  

Other   
   Units

  
  

Percentage   
   UFAS Units

  

2008

5

3,798

369

3,429

10%

2009

5

1,353

201

1,152

15%

2010

3

51

3

48

6%

2011

14

4,036

420

3,616

10%

Total

27

9,238

993

8,245

11%

4-Year Average

7

2,310

248

2,061

11%

The total additional costs that FEMA would incur assuming HUD updates its accessibility standards for residential facilities to be consistent with the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines, as amended by the proposed rule, are estimated under three scenarios.

Scenario 1: 4-Year Average Deployment from 2008 to 2011

Under this scenario, the total additional costs that FEMA would incur on an annual basis are based on the average number of emergency transportable housing units deployed by FEMA from 2008 to 2011. During this period, FEMA deployed an average of 248 UFAS units per year. The scenario assumes that FEMA would purchase the same number of new units with mobility features annually to replenish the inventory. FEMA’s total additional annual costs under Scenario 1 are shown in the table below.

           
  

Scenario    1: Additional Annual Costs Based on
   4-Year Average Deployment from 2008 to 2011

  
  

Number    of New Units Purchased
   Annually with Mobility Features

  
  

Low    Estimate
   ($485 per unit)

  
  

High    Estimate
   ($1,135 per unit)

  

248

$120,280

$281,480

Scenario 2: 20 Percent of Units in Inventory Provide Mobility Features

Under this scenario, the total additional costs that FEMA would incur on an annual basis are based on its planning estimate to maintain an inventory of 2,500 emergency transportable housing units and its current policy to have 20 percent of the units in the inventory comply with UFAS. The scenario assumes that FEMA deploys the entire inventory each year and would purchase 500 new units with mobility features annually to replenish the inventory. FEMA’s total additional annual costs under Scenario 2 are shown in the table below.

           
  

Scenario    2: Additional Annual Costs Based on
   20 Percent of Units in Inventory Provide Mobility Features

  
  

Number    of New Units Purchased
   Annually with Mobility Features

  
  

Low    Estimate
   ($485 per unit)

  
  

High    Estimate
   ($1,135 per unit)

  

500

$242,500

$567,500

Scenario 3: Disasters Equivalent to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Under this scenario, the total additional costs that FEMA would incur are based on disasters equivalent to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FEMA deployed 145,000 emergency transportable housing units. The scenario assumes three different levels of assessed need for units with mobility features: 14,500 (10 percent), 21,700 (15 percent), and 29,000 (20 percent). FEMA’s total additional costs under Scenario 3 are shown in the table below. The costs may be incurred over more than one year depending on whether the disasters occur in the early part or late part of the year, and the manufacturing capacity and production time needed to construct large numbers of units.

        
  

Scenario    3: Additional Costs Based on Disasters Equivalent to
   Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

  
  

Number    of New Units Purchased
   with Mobility Features

  
  

Low    Estimate
   ($485 per unit)

  
  

High    Estimate
   ($1,135 per unit)

  

14,500

$7,032,500

$16,457,500

21,700

$10,548,750

$24,686,250

29,000

$14,065,000

$32,915,000

Conclusion

The Access Board has made a preliminary determination based on the preliminary regulatory assessment that the benefits of the proposed amendments would justify the costs; that the proposed amendments would impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives; and that the regulatory approach selected would maximize net benefits.

April 9, 2012