RE: CH elevators
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 21:53:08 -0500
One thing to look at is that I beleive there are square footage percentages 
that you can use, so that if the upper floor is less than some percentage of 
the total accessable floor you don't have to have it accessible. I don't know 
either the numbers or even if that is still the case. There are  specialists 
in this arena in Seattle that you can consult. 

I originally wrote a long diatribe about accessibility, then deleted it as too 
unPC for this list. Let me just say that in my opinion, the government has way 
too much interference in the doings of private citizens, building private 
homes and private recreational structures.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood, where 90% of the commonhouse is accessible.

From:   cohousing-l [at] on behalf of Joe Nolan
Sent:   Monday, April 06, 1998 1:32 PM
Subject:        Re: CH elevators

>From: Lynn Nadeau <welcome [at]>
>Subject: upstairs for Common House?
>BUT the local city building inspector, with Uniform Building Code in 
>hand, says that we are a type A-3 "assembly" building and that any 
>"occupiable" upstairs space MUST be handicapped accessible. That 
>translates into not only the space for an elevator, but around $20,000 
>elevator cost. Which we don't have. 

We at EVCC were also surprised late in the game with a requirement for an
elevator ("lift"), also at around $20K cost. Both floors of our CH are
already fully accessible, with multiple accessible outside entrances at
each level. However, the zoning folks declared that we must have "equal
access". This means that since we have an internal staircase, we must also
have an elevator. (I think they stretched the letter of the law a bit.)
Fortunately, we were able to defer the requirement to install it for a year
or 2, so that it will be easier to pay for. It's not that we didn't want to
provide accessibility, but a large surprise cost + shoe-horning an elevator
into an existing design can be unpleasant. Also, you start feeling pretty
villainous when you receive threatening letters from the Paralyzed Veterans
of America (we did).
Forming groups take heed: plan for *maximum* accessibility early!

joe nolan
EcoVillage at Ithaca, NY, USA
1st nh completed 8/97! 2nd well underway.

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