I know that many iDigHardware readers love Fixed-it Friday, but I especially love when I can use Fixed-it Friday to ask for help (there were so many helpful comments last week!). I have another question this week that I hope you will weigh in on.
In California, the building code requires automatic operators to have two actuators – one at the standard height and one near the floor for use by people who need to use their feet, crutches, wheelchair footpads, etc. to push the actuator. Here’s what the California Building Code (CBC) says about the required locations for the actuators (note that this requirement is specific to California, but insight/opinions from any state would be great):
At each location where push plates are provided, there shall be two push plates; the centerline of one push plate shall be 7 inches (178 mm) minimum, and 8 inches (203 mm) maximum above the floor or ground surface and the centerline of the second push plate shall be 30 inches (762 mm) minimum and 44 inches (1118 mm) maximum above the floor or ground surface. Each push plate shall be a minimum of 4 inches (102 mm) diameter or a minimum of 4 inches by 4 inches (102 mm x 102 mm) square and shall display the International Symbol of Accessibility complying with Section 11B-703.7.
In lieu of using two actuators, the CBC allows a vertical actuation bar:
At each location where vertical actuation bars are provided the operable portion shall be located so the bottom is 5 inches (127 mm) maximum above the floor or ground surface and the top is 35 inches (889 mm) minimum above the floor or ground surface. The operable portion of each vertical actuation bar shall be a minimum of 2 inches (51 mm) wide and shall display the International Symbol of Accessibility complying with Section 11B-703.7.
The CBC includes a little more information about the location of the actuators:
Where push plates, vertical actuation bars or other similar operating devices are provided, they shall be placed in a conspicuous location. A level and clear floor or ground space for forward or parallel approach complying with Section 11B-305 shall be provided, centered on the operating device. Doors shall not swing into the required clear floor or ground space.
Nathan Burkhardt of Opening Technologies sent me today’s Fixed-it Friday photo, which he received from a customer. The actuator in the photo will need to be moved down in order to comply with the CBC, but the question is this: Would/should the obstruction of the handrail be allowed if the actuator can still be operated in the locations (at the specified distance AFF) where the two actuators are required by the CBC? Would this meet the intent of the code? WWYD?