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State of Oregon
Building Codes Division Staff
Technical Advisory

 

The following advice applies to current code and conditions described in the question.
Applications for similar situations may have different determinations.

 

PROGRAM:

Structural Program

SUBJECT:

Accessibility Waiver Process

SOURCE:

1996 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC)

REFERENCE:

Section 1101.6

DATE OF ISSUE:

January 10, 1997 

PREPARED BY:

C. Darin Wilson, P.E., Code Specialist, (503) 373-1354

 

QUESTION: How is an accessibility waiver obtained?

DETERMINATION: OSSC Section 1101.6 references ORS 447.250 for accessibility waivers. Pursuant to ORS 447.250, a waiver may be approved to lower or modify a State of Oregon accessibility standard when a determination is made that a statute or specialty code requirement exceeds the standards or specifications imposed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Fair Housing Act (FHA). In no instance shall an accessibility requirement be lowered or modified below ADA or FHA standards. See the attached flowchart that summarizes the process in ORS 447.250 for obtaining an accessibility waiver.

ANALYSIS: The determination above results from staff review and analysis of ORS 447.250. In order to process a waiver, a person or governmental entity that constructs, renovates, alters or modifies an affected building, covered multifamily dwelling or its related facilities must determine that a particular statute or specialty code requirement exceeds the standards imposed by the ADA or FHA.

Additionally, full compliance with the statute or specialty code requirement must be impractical in that it would defeat the purpose of the project. The applicant must set forth a proposal for the work complying with the statutory or specialty code requirement to the maximum extent that is considered practical. They may then apply to the appeals board having jurisdiction over the project for a waiver or modification of the statutory or specialty code requirement through the waiver process. The following steps summarize the accessibility waiver process:

  1. If the waiver request is for a jail, prison or correctional facility it must be submitted to the Building Codes Structures Board (BCSB). If the BCSB denies the waiver request, the applicant may, within 30 days of the appeals board decision, appeal to the BCD Administrator who will then consider the waiver request.

  2. If the waiver request is for any other building or project, the applicant must determine if there is a local appeals board with jurisdiction over the project. If a local appeals board exists, the waiver is submitted to the local appeals board. If the local appeals board denies the waiver request, the applicant may, within 30 days of the appeals board decision, appeal to the BCD Administrator.

  3. If a local appeals board does not exist, the waiver request is submitted directly to the BCD Administrator.

  4. In considering a waiver request, the appropriate appeals board or Administrator will investigate the application and shall seek the advice of the Oregon Disabilities Commission (ODC), as well as other expert testimony as required. If the appeals board or Administrator finds that the proposal would constitute a substantial compliance with (or acceptable alternate to) the particular accessibility requirement, a waiver may be granted. If the appeals board or Administrator finds otherwise, the application will be denied with notice given to the applicant.

As explained above and clarified in the attached flowchart, anyone aggrieved by the final decision of an appeals board regarding a request for a waiver or modification of a State of Oregon accessibility requirement may, within 30 days of the decision, appeal to the BCD Administrator. The BCD Administrator has been delegated this authority from the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). The request to the BCD Administrator must be accompanied by a $20.00 check or money order made out to DCBS.

In order for the Administrator to consider a waiver request, the final decision of the local appeals board, if one exists, must be submitted in writing. The completed application, local appeals board decision (if applicable) and fee must be mailed or delivered to:

Director, Department of Consumer and Business Services
c/o Administrator, Building Codes Division
Structural Program
1535 Edgewater Street NW
Salem OR 97301-3878


ACCESSIBILITY
WAIVER
PROCESS

Pursuant to ORS 447.250