Page 41

October_2016_BSJ

Are Wheelchair Spaces Required at Bars? continued 1108.2.9. The relevant IBC text is the following: IBC 1108.2.9.1 Dining surfaces. Where dining surfaces for the consumption of food or drink are provided, at least 5 percent, but not less than one, of the dining surfaces for the seating and standing spaces shall be accessible and be distributed throughout the facility and located on a level accessed by an accessible route. Think about the variety of restaurants out there—from fine dining, to different ethnic restaurants, burger joints, ice cream parlors, to your favorite local family restaurant. Different types of eating and drinking facilities have different kinds of seating, including tables, booths, banquets and bars. One of the new trends in many restaurants is bar-height tables. Some fast food restaurants or delis may provide only a stand-up counter to eat at. A designer would count all the spaces set up for dining or drinking—both where seats are provided and where people were expected to stand. Based on that number, 5 percent of those spaces must be on an accessible route, and the surface must be at an accessible height, with knee and toe clearances. Wheelchair spaces must be dispersed throughout the facility. While a whole table might be at an accessible height, only one wheelchair space would be at a table. That allows for the other seats to be located so that only the minimum egress widths are required behind the non-accessible seats, and only the wheelchair space is accessed by a 36-inch wide route. The circulation of serving staff and other diners throughout the dining area also may be part of the design considerations. You would not want to locate a wheelchair space where someone would be bumped into by others passing. The wheelchair spaces should not overlap the required aisles, but they can overlap the aisle access ways. This is the same intent expressed in the assembly seating arrangements for theaters and sports venues. One of the reasons wheelchair spaces are not dispersed by type is the effect accessibility requirements would have on a type. For example, if you had bar-height tables and lowered some to get the 34-inch maximum height dining surfaces (ICC A117.1 Section 902.4), you no longer had a bar-height table, you have a standard height table. If you had booths, and pulled off one side to allow for wheelchair spaces, you now have a banquette seating. Each time you apply the accessibility requirements, you create another type of seating—the result being that a designer could never provide wheelchair spaces at all types. There also have been practical issues with cutting down a portion of a bar. If you cut down just one wheelchair space, the person sitting there is much lower than their friend sitting next to them. What happens operationally is that the cut-down portion is often used for the cash register, the pick-up window, or by the waitresses coming to pick up orders at the bar, so the space was not available. Older editions of the A117.1 and the 1991 ADAAG had a requirement to cut down a 60-inch-long portion, so you could have someone sit next to a person using a wheelchair at the bar. Both documents have since dropped that requirement in favor of providing seating nearby. Tables nearby allowed for more friends to sit together comfortably, and have a much greater chance of being readily available. Coffee houses might provide tables at coffee table height. Cafés may provide only small bistro tables. Some bars and sports facilities provide only drink rails. The Accessible portion used as cash register and pick-up window. Accessible portions partially located behind the back of the bar and not incorporated with the rest of the seating. Isolated wheelchair space and actual counter way below reach and direct communication with the service staff. OCTOBER 2016 | 41


October_2016_BSJ
To see the actual publication please follow the link above