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Accessibility Face-Lift

The DOB recently released a bulletin to clarify instances when wheelchair lifts can be used within an accessible route. With few exceptions, the 2014 Building Code eliminated wheelchair lifts as a component of accessible route in “new construction.”

New construction is defined as buildings constructed under the 2008 or 2014 Building Code. It also includes construction under prior code buildings not subject to LL 58 of 1987 if the following apply:

  • The construction requires a change of use, where change of use is the main or dominant use in the building.
  • The value of alterations exceeds 50% of the total building value.
  • There is new access to spaces, such as rooftops and cellars, that is accompanied by a new or change in occupancy.

There are exceptions where wheelchair lifts are still permissible in new construction. Here are some:

  • Accessible routes related to performing areas
  • Toward spaces specifically designated for wheelchairs and not general public
  • Areas in courtrooms
  • Serving amusement rides
  • Toward play/amusement structures
  • Toward team or player seating areas

Lawful wheelchair lifts as a component of accessible route must abide by ASME  A18.1, which limits travel, floor penetration and capacity.

Have an accessibility issue? Need code consultation on a project? Contact us.