Solving Threshold Height Problems for Multi-Family Housing and High-Rise Construction

  Sep 02nd, 2014 |   ADA Compliance
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Weep holes, sometimes known as drainage channels for window and door systems can create barriers that conflict with ADA and Access Code Regulations. Compliance with ADA and disability access are easily achieved with 100% recycled rubber landing products that afford proper drainage and compliance.

 

Most sliding and swing door systems used in Multi-family housing and High-rise construction require they be placed on the surface of the balcony substrate to allow water to drain properly. (See Fig #1)

While this adequately addresses water drainage from the unit, the trade-off often results in a non-compliant door entrance. Threshold heights over ½” in vertical height do not comply with relevant sections of ADA Title III, Fair Housing Act and model building code laws, i.e. California Building Code section 1132A.4 “Level floor or landing”.

Door manufacturers have developed sophisticated sill weeping systems that prevent moisture damage to the interior of the unit while also providing for various design pressure ratings (DP) for doors and windows as required and local code enforcement agencies. Design Pressure Rating represents the maximum positive and negative wind load that a window or door can experience without breaking, deglazing or permanently distorting.

Depending upon the geographic location, for example the Florida coast to the Midwest, DP rating requirements will vary significantly. Typically, as the DP rating is greater so is the vertical rise at the threshold.

While these engineered design factors make for safer environments in multi-family and high-rise construction projects, the level of complexity for finished door threshold compliance increases and becomes more problematic.

A recent project in San Francisco, at the Mary Helen Rogers Senior Community encountered this very problem with vertical rises at balcony door thresholds that exceeded federal and state building regulations.

SafePath Products, of Chico California, was asked by HKIT Architects of San Francisco, to present a product solution for code compliance at these outswing balcony doors. It was critical not to impede, but rather facilitate the weep channels existing in this door system while providing an attractive “green” solution for this problem.

Working with Cahill Construction and HKIT Architects, SafePath Products developed a secondary substrate, material made from 100% recycled tire rubber that had the look and feel of grey granite that satisfied ADA Title III, Fair Housing Act, and the local California Building Code, section 1132A.4 “Level floor or landing”. (See Fig 2)

Ultimately, an EntryLevel Landing substrate was created incorporated field verified weep hole locations for exact placement of drainage channeling at all weep holes throughout the length of the door and window system. The EntryLevel Landing in conjuction with weep holes allws for a subterranean pathway for water to escape as originally designed out to the front of the balcony. At the same time this system offered an attractive substrate made from 100% recycled rubber that incorporates a proprietary quartz coated surface that provides for a functional and attractive slip-resistant surface while channeling excess water underneath the surface. This ultimately provided for a safer surface for the tenant by reducing the slippery balcony surface, with weep holes operational.

Another ancillary benefit provided with this EntryLevel Landing was not only the natural look and feel of the granite appearance surface, or the sound reduction qualities offered by the rubber substrate, but rather one of the highest rated static coefficient surface ratings (SCOF) existing building materials in the industry.

Disability access is a legal mandate that demands to be included in the engineering elements of threshold access for High-Rise and Multi-Family Housing construction. This is necessary, not just the result of a legal mandate, but because of the market growth of our aging population, a demographic that is growing in the multi-family housing arena in greater numbers than ever experienced and will continue on a steady increase until at least 2025.

Overall, this product solution was a success, utilizing several hundred pounds of recycled tires for each balcony, providing a safer, quieter and more attractive balcony surface for seniors that are scheduled to take residence the first quarter of 2013.

SafePath Products has been producing “green architectural products” since 1994 and continues to offer the largest selection of transition products.

Overall, this product solution was a success, utilizing several hundred pounds of recycled tires for each balcony, providing a safer, quieter and more attractive balcony surface for seniors that are scheduled to take residence the first quarter of 2013.

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