|Re: (common house as a) commercial building||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: MWorswick (MWorswickaol.com)|
|Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 12:36:01 -0600 (MDT)|
Sarah and Coho-L This is Matt Worswick of Synergy Design responding. Mac Thomson had referred to me as the designer of several common houses, including Heartwood's in Bayfield Colorado. I live in Harmony Village in Golden, CO, and have designed or co-designed 6 of the Colorado coho communities. (Come see some during the conference tours!) I agree with some of the other comments about this subject from other communities around the country. The (appeal) process is part art (convincing building officials) and part science (building code requirements). I would add that in my experience, the difference in the size of the building department usually makes a huge difference in the process you need to go through! If you are in a large city (my most recent was Colorado Springs, Colorado) as opposed to a small town or sparsely populated county, the strict adherence to "code regulations" can vary dramatically. For example, in Bayfield, there was one county building official who was open to common sense modifications of code requirements based the logic of how the building would be used. For example I appealed the need for a "commercial range and fire suppression hood" based on cohousing meals vs. commercial restaurant type meals. In Bayfield final plan approval took only a week or so. By contrast, in Colorado Springs, the building official(s) in a big department had NO authority to grant variances. In order to get the same variance for cooking equipment I had to go through a six-person variance board that met once a month. When I lost there, I went to the appeal board (another month) where we finally prevailed - a two month process for one issue! Of course, this same flexibility with code enforcement usually applies to "hand-made houses" as well. If you want to experiment .......do it in the country! There are a lot of specific "commercial construction" issues that you can run into when designing a common house. Having an experienced cohousing designer, architect, or consultant on board EARLY in the process can save many headaches (The cohousing company, and Kraus Fitch architects are other companies that do this kind of work). I'm not sure which issues have come up for your project at Manzanita Village. In general, I try to adhere to all the ADA requirements. However when budgets and space are tight (and when aren't they!) I have (successfully) proposed two notable exceptions: 1) The requirement for 2 separate handicap accessible bathrooms (male and female) on the main level. I will often argue that 1 unisex handicap accessible bathroom along with a second (sometimes non) accessible bath (often on another level) is adequate and reasonable for cohousing type uses. 2) Accessibility to upper or lower (basement) levels. This one is a real challenge due to the expense of elevators or lifts. As nice as it would be to provide access, it is often cost-prohibitive. If that is the case, I am very careful to try to design the building so that there will not be an exclusive use on those other levels. If the same function can be accomplished on the main level (for example, meetings, TV watching, exercising, office work) perhaps with, at most, a rearrangement of furniture, then you can make the case that you would not be excluding a handicapped person from any of the functions of the common house. This can also be especially important when planning ahead for the "future finish" of a basement or loft. I ask the cohousing group to make this important cost/benefit decision (elevator or not) based on their specific, current and future, needs. I hope this may help a little in your, or other communities, approval process. It sounds like you may be late in considering some of these issues if you have already submitted your plans for approval. But, then again, Prescott is a pretty small town, right? At least, hopefully, you won't have a mountain of bureaucracy to move! Best of Luck, Matt Worswick Synergy Design (303) 278-1880 MWorswick [at] aol.com n a message dated 04/26/2003 11:01:41 AM Mountain Daylight Time, cohousing-l-request [at] cohousing.org writes: > Message: 5 > Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2003 08:18:35 -0600 > From: Mac & Sandy Thomson <ganesh [at] rmi.net> > To: Coho-L-postings <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org> > Subject: [C-L]_ > Reply-To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org > > >> In our City's review of our common house construction documents, the > decision > >> has been made that the CH is a commercial building and must therefore > comply > >> with ADA and other commercial-construction policies.... > >> Has anyone dealt with the commercial-building issue with your city > planning > >> department, and/or with appeal processes? Advice welcome! Thanks. > > The thing that helped us the most to get our common house approved by the > building department in the way that worked for us was to work with an > architect (Matt Worswick) experienced in common house design. Matt had been > through the process several times with several different building > departments so he knew the issues ahead of time and how to address them. > > - Mac > > > -- > Mac Thomson > > Heartwood Cohousing > Southwest Colorado > http://www.heartwoodcohousing.com _______________________________________________ Cohousing-L mailing list Cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org Unsubscribe and other info: http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L
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