Accessible Apartment units

what is the minimum number of accessible apartment units in a multi family housing? what if there are no elevators?

That may depend on the Zoning Code. There is no fixed number. I reckon there is a % that needs to be complied with. In real life it is tied to the type of project funding. Usually if the money is private, the % is less as opposed to publicly funded projects.

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@coachbryanhoward can you help with this? thanks

@mhaeri - There are a lot of sources out there that inform the number of accessible units in a development project. It is good practice to always start with local zoning and building codes for the project location. But, if we think about this from an ARE approach we must consider IBC and ADA guidelines. Chapter 11 of the 2018 IBC (which is the referenced code at the time of this response) defines accessibility requirements within the building code. It almost immediately references the 2009 ICC A117.1 which is a more detailed accessibility code, both should be referenced simultaneously and the more stringent requirement should be used. Section 1107 of IBC outlines how many Type A and Type B units are required for your project. A117.1 is the code that you will reference to understand the difference between Type A and Type B units.

As for ADA, refer to Chapter 2 section 233 for what percentage of units need to have accessible features. ADA does say that projects that are governed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have different requirements than privately funded projects. My experience has also shown that local public funding programs (Illinois Housing Development Authority is one that I am familiar with) have different standards for projects that they are either fully funding or partially funding. Again, reference all of the requirements that apply to your project, whether that be a local funding agency, HUD, ADA, and IBC, and use the most stringent requirement.

As for the elevator part of the question. You need to meet the code requirement for accessible units and those units need to be on an accessible route. Therefore, an accessible unit (Type A and Type B) needs to have accessible building entrance and unit entrance. So, depending on how many total units you have you might find it difficult to provide all of your required accessible units on the ground level. Also, let’s consider a hotel which falls under all of the requirements above. Patrons of the hotel might sue a hotel if it does not provide equal opportunities for the impaired meaning the hotel needs to provide a mix of accessible rooms that closely mirrors the general mix of rooms in the building. Corner units, special views, etc. A housing project that I worked on had to be redesigned in DD phase after comments from the AHJ to provide a better mix of units throughout the building.

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