QUESTION: When new showers are installed in private or restricted
access areas, such as private offices, are they required to be installed
to the accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities?
DETERMINATION: In affected buildings, or portions thereof, required
to be accessible to persons with disabilities, staff advises that new
showers must be made accessible pursuant to the OSSC, unless a waiver
is approved pursuant to ORS 447.250.
ANALYSIS: The determination above results from staff review and
analysis of OSSC Chapter 11 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility
Guidelines (ADAAG), as follows:
- New bathing facilities, including showers when provided, must comply
with the requirements of OSSC Section 1108.2.1.
- The term "new" in this analysis means:
- New construction of bathing facilities;
- Addition of new bathing facilities;
- Replacement of existing bathing facilities; and
- Alteration of existing bathing facilities when required by OSSC
- Alteration of existing bathing facilities when required by OSSC
Section 1113.2. See OSSC Section 1188.8.131.52 Exception 3 that describes
when alteration of existing bathing facilities is not required.
- Review of ADAAG Sections 4.22 and 4.23 and OSSC Chapter 11, indicates
that the term "bathing facilities" specifically includes the bathtub
and/or shower used to bathe in, as well as associated elements such
as lavatories. A "bathroom" may include both toilet facilities and bathing
facilities. A "shower room" and "bathing room" may include only bathing
facilities. A "toilet room" may include only toilet facilities (water
closets, urinals and/or associated elements).
- When new showers are provided, at least 2%, but not less than one,
shower must comply with the requirements of OSSC Section 1109.10.
Note: These determinations are not equally applicable for covered multifamily
dwellings, but may have some similarities in those applications.
- An alternate method or design for a shower may be approved
by the building official pursuant to Section 1101.3. The alternate
must provide substantially equivalent or greater accessibility.
- A waiver or modification may be approved pursuant to OSSC
Section 1101.6 (ORS 447.250) because the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) provides an exemption for bathing facilities (including
an exemption from adaptability) for specific spaces. See ADAAG Section
4.1.3(11). When a waiver is approved, a shower provided in a private
office or other non-public or non-common use bathing facility, is
not required to meet the OSSC accessibility or adaptability requirements.
See the attached flow chart that describes the waiver process.
Example 1: New bathing facilities are added to a private office
space. ADAAG Section 4.1.3(11) states:
"If toilet rooms are provided, then each public and common use toilet
room shall comply with 4.22 [be accessible]. Other toilet rooms
provided for the use of occupants of specific spaces (i.e., a private
toilet room for the occupant of a private office) shall be adaptable.
If bathing rooms are provided, then each public and common
use bathroom shall comply with 4.23 [be accessible]."
ADAAG only requires private toilet facilities to be adaptable;
not private bathing facilities. Therefore, a waiver may be
approved pursuant to ORS 447.250 to exempt the bathing facility, including
showers if provided, from accessibility and adaptability requirements
of the OSSC.
- A disproportionate limit may be reached when performing
required additional accessibility work. (Note: All proposed
accessibility work must comply with OSSC Sections 1113.2 and 1113.1.2,
regardless of cost.) When a proposed project affects the usability
of an area of primary function, other existing elements must
be made accessible to the greatest extent possible pursuant to OSSC
Section 1113.1.1 (ORS 447.241). The priority given in altering other
existing elements is provided in that statute. The cost of altering
other existing elements need not exceed 25 percent of the total
cost of the alteration that affects the usability of the area of primary
function. However, alterations to these existing elements shall be
made accessible to the greatest extent possible within these cost
limitations. Since bathing facilities are not included in the list
of priorities in ORS 447.241 for providing additional accessibility,
providing accessible showers to implement that statute would not often
The term "primary function" is defined in statute as "a major activity
for which the facility is intended." The U.S. Department of Justice's
Title III Technical Assistance Manual further clarifies this definition
as including customer service areas and employee work areas, such
as offices. It specifically states that an area of primary function
does NOT include "mechanical rooms, boiler rooms, supply storage
rooms, employee lounges or locker rooms, janitorial closets, entrances,
corridors, or rest rooms."
Therefore, in determining the 25 percent disproportionate limit that
may apply to an alteration project, only work that affects the usability
of customer service areas and employee work areas should be included.
Example 1: New flooring is installed throughout a store. The
flooring affects the usability of the area because it affects whether
or not a person in a wheelchair can travel in the store. The new flooring
must comply with accessibility requirements. Additionally, no more
than 25% of the cost of the flooring in the customer service areas
and employee work areas must be spent to provide accessible elements
as outlined in ORS 447.251(4).
Example 2: Remodeling a store's rest room is proposed. The
remodeled rest room must comply with the accessibility requirements
in OSSC Section 1113.2. However, no additional work is required because
the rest room is not an area of primary function of the store.
- A barrier removal improvement plan may be approved to satisfy
the requirements of ORS 447.241 described above. The plan shall provide
an equivalent or greater level of barrier removal than required by
ORS 447.241. The plan shall include a letter of participation from
the building owner, a building survey that identifies existing architectural
barriers, an improvement plan, a time schedule for the removal of
architectural barriers, and an implementation agreement. The plan
may be reviewed and accepted through the waiver process under ORS
447.250 and shall be reviewed upon completion or every three years
for compliance. In effect, the building owner may use this plan, when
approved, to defer costs of barrier removal over the lifetime of the
barrier removal and improvement plan. Again, since bathing facilities
are not included in the list of priorities in ORS 447.241 for providing
additional accessibility, providing accessible showers to implement
that statute would not often occur.
Pursuant to ORS 447.250