A Basic Guide to Fair Housing Accessibility: Everything Architects and Builders Need to Know about the Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines

Overview

The guide that takes the guesswork out of Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines conformance

The Federal government is stepping up its enforcement of the Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines, and failure to comply with these guidelines can result in a complaint for discriminatory housing practice. A Basic Guide to Fair Housing Accessibility enables building professionals to avoid these charges with clear, concise interpretations of the ...

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Overview

The guide that takes the guesswork out of Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines conformance

The Federal government is stepping up its enforcement of the Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines, and failure to comply with these guidelines can result in a complaint for discriminatory housing practice. A Basic Guide to Fair Housing Accessibility enables building professionals to avoid these charges with clear, concise interpretations of the Guidelines and descriptive illustrations of proper conformance.

Inspired by the author's HUD-sponsored review of nearly 400 built projects, this compact yet comprehensive guide reviews the guidelines for conformance with the seven basic design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Amendments Act, from accessible building entrances to usable kitchens, and points out common conformance errors made by architects, builders, and developers.

This practical, easy-to-follow handbook:
* Demystifies accessibility guidelines and reduces the risk of litigation
* Explains which buildings and units are covered by the law
* Provides a compliance checklist for multifamily housing design and construction

Featuring only the facts and technical guidance needed to help ensure conformance with the Guidelines, A Basic Guide to Fair Housing Accessibility is an indispensable resource for architects, builders, contractors, site engineers, and developers who need to know that their work is in conformance with Federal guidelines.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This book provides building professionals with interpretations of the Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines and offers guidance on compliance with their requirements. Seven basic design and construction requirements are described, with explanations concerning which buildings are covered by the law. A compliance checklist is included. Appendixes feature the guidelines themselves, and the supplemental question and answer document. Stratton and Crosbie work for an architectural research firm. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471395591
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,406,362
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

STEVEN WINTER ASSOCIATES, INC., is an architectural research firm whose expertise contributes to making buildings more energy efficient, affordable, accessible, and sustainable. The firm has offices in Norwalk, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

WHY SHOULD YOU READ THIS BOOK?

In a 1988 amendment to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), Congress extended protection against discrimination in housing and housing-related transactions to people with disabilities and to families with children. As a result of the 1988 amendment, failure to design and construct covered multifamily housing so that it is accessible to people with disabilities is discriminatory housing practice and a violation of federal law. A complaint for discriminatory housing practice can be filed against anyone involved with the design and construction of a covered project. If you are a designer, architect, builder, developer, contractor, or subcontractor in the multifamily housing industry, you should protect yourself against charges of discriminatory housing practice.

The federal government is stepping up its enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. In an effort to ensure that multifamily housing projects are in compliance with the design and construction requirements of the FHA, and in an effort to increase the availability of accessible housing, disability rights advocacy groups are becoming more active in identifying multifamily housing projects that allegedly are in violation of the FHA. In some cases, the architects and builders of such projects have been required to pay compensation to the litigants, or have been required to pay for alterations to the project to bring them into compliance. Other architects and builders with decisions against them have been required to attend courses, at their expense, which cover the accessibility requirements of the FHA. Our firm, Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA), has presented such courses. SWA has also been retained by the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide expert testimony in legal action against architects and builders of multifamily housing that allegedly does not meet the FHA's accessibility requirements. We are aware of the areas where many architects and builders are most vulnerable in the design and construction of multifamily housing that should comply with the Act. We have designed this book to clearly communicate the facts you need to know to comply with the accessibility requirements of the FHA, with particular attention on those areas where many architects and builders go awry of the law.

JUST THE FACTS

This book is structured according to the accessibility requirements of the FHA. Part 1 focuses on the requirements and how to satisfy them. Part 2 provides a checklist that you can use in the design and construction of multifamily housing, to help make sure that your project is in compliance.

Part 1 tells you exactly what you need to know about conforming with the seven design and construction requirements of the FHA in a simple and clear manner. This section elaborates on technical guidance for FHA compliance, but it does not contain any "recommendations" or "good ideas" that may be beyond the scope of the accessibility requirements of the FHA. This book zeros in on what is required of you as a design and construction professional. If you want to go beyond the requirements of the act, you should develop your own creative solutions for compliance. This book communicates to you only what is required by law.

Part 1 also addresses the subtle differences between several terms defined by the Guidelines, or the regulations that implement the 1988 amendments to the FHA, and the same terms defined by model building codes. We do this because misapplying the commonly understood model-code definition of a term, which is actually defined differently by the Guidelines or the regulations, may be misleading. We also understand that it is a common mistake for those familiar with building codes to assume that other codes or laws define the same terms in the same way. It is extremely important to communicate to you the subtle differences in those definitions, to help you to avoid potential violations of the FHA.

The Checklist

Part 2 includes a comprehensive checklist to be used by multifamily housing industry players to help identify covered multifamily buildings and the dwelling units in them that must comply with the design and construction requirements of the FHA. Once covered projects and units have been identified, the checklist is organized in question format and incorporates the scoping and technical provisions of the Guidelines, including the technical requirements of its referenced standard-- ANSI A117.1 --beginning with the Guidelines' "Requirement 1: Accessible Building Entrance on an Accessible Route," and ending with "Requirement 7: Usable Kitchens and Bathrooms."

The checklist is a modified version of one that was developed from a survey of nearly 400 multifamily housing projects undertaken by SWA for HUD to study the rates of compliance with the FHA. The original survey was developed by SWA, working closely with HUD. The checklist in this book is a useful tool for architects to use during the preplanning, schematic design, and design development phases of a project, through the production of construction documents to help ensure that covered projects incorporate the accessibility requirements of the FHA. Builders can use the checklist to help ensure that the building construction is also FHA-compliant. The same checklist used by seasoned industry professionals can also benefit students, by helping them become aware of the needs of people with disabilities and of the importance of barrier removal in the built environment to help increase housing opportunities for people with disabilities.

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Table of Contents

Introduction.

PART 1: "The Act" and the Guidelines.

I. THE FAIR HOUSING ACT.

II. OTHER FEDERAL ACCESSIBILITY LAWS.

III. BUILDING CODES.

IV. CROSS COVERAGE.

V. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS AND REASONABLE MODIFICATIONS.

VI. THE GUIDELINES.

REQUIREMENT 1: ACCESSIBLE BUILDING ENTRANCE ON AN ACCESSIBLE ROUTE.

REQUIREMENT 2: ACCESSIBLE AND USABLE PUBLIC AND COMMON USE AREAS.

REQUIREMENT 3: USABLE DOORS.

REQUIREMENT 4: ACCESSIBLE ROUTE INTO AND THROUGH THE COVERED DWELLING UNIT.

REQUIREMENT 5: LIGHT SWITCHES, ELECTRICAL OUTLETS, THERMOSTATS AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS IN ACCESSIBLE LOCATIONS.

REQUIREMENT 6: REINFORCED WALLS FOR GRAB BARS.

REQUIREMENT 7: USABLE KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS.

PART 2: Compliance Checklist.

INTRODUCTION.

CHECKLIST.

Appendices.

APPENDIX A: FINAL FAIR HOUSING ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES.

APPENDIX B: SUPPLEMENT TO NOTICE OF FAIR HOUSING: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT THE GUIDELINES.

Index.

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