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 In Education

by Kathryn Denis | Associate

Dormitory projects must follow both state and federal accessibility regulations.  These regulations often overlap, and the most stringent requirements must be met.  Below is a summary of the three major jurisdictions for dormitory projects:

  • 2010 ADA Standards: Dormitories are considered a form of transient lodging under the 2010 ADA Standards. Therefore, all common use spaces and a prescribed number of units must be mobility accessible (ADA-224.2).  There must be mobility accessible units with roll-in showers and other units with either transfer showers or tubs.  Additionally, a prescribed number of units must provide accessible communication features.  Both mobility and communication accessible units are required to be distributed amongst the various classes of units in the facility.
  • Design and Construction Requirements of the FHA: Dormitories are considered a form of multifamily housing and therefore dormitory units and common use spaces must comply with one of the 10 HUD recognized safe harbors.  If a dormitory building contains an elevator, all units are considered covered units.  Generally, the most significant impact of the FHA requirements will be to unit layouts with private kitchens/bathrooms.
  • State/City Building Codes: States/cities classify dormitory facilities differently.  Typically, local building codes treat dormitories as transient lodging facilities.  However, KMA is aware of some states/cities that treat dormitories as R-2 dwellings.  Many states/cities also have additional requirements for dormitory units that go above and beyond the 2010 ADA Standards and/or the Design and Construction Requirements of the FHA.  For example, in Massachusetts dormitories are considered transient lodging and must provide more units with communication features than required by the 2010 ADA Standards.

KMA strongly recommends a detailed accessibility scoping analysis at the start of a dormitory project.