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Opinion: Accessibility



Inquiry:

05-03

Subject:

Accessible counter

Code:

Chapter 134

Submitted By:

City of St. Paul

Prepared By:

Curt Wiehle, Greg Karow, Jerry Norman, Dave Krings, Rich Lockrem

Approved By:

Thomas R. Joachim, State Building Official

Issue Date:

November 21, 2005

Question:

Can a fixed counter be provided for customers without disabilities and a folding counter for customers with disabilities?

Answer:

No.

Comments:

1341 is based on the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines with state amendments. The original ADAAG included text addressing auxiliary counters and equivalent facilitation. The state's intent that the accessible counter be a fixed portion of the main counter is clear when comparing the ADAAG language, shown in strike-out, and the state's amended language, shown in underline:
1341.0720, Subpart 1. ADAAG 7.2(1):
In department stores and miscellaneous retail stores where counters have cash registers and are provided for sales or distribution of goods or services to the public, at least one of each type shall have a portion of the counter which is at least 36 in (915 mm) in length with a maximum height of 36 in (915 mm) above the finish floor. It shall be on an accessible route complying with 4.3. The accessible counters must be dispersed throughout the building or facility. In alterations where it is technically infeasible to provide an accessible counter, an auxiliary counter meeting these requirements may be provided. Assistance counters. If counters or windows are provided for sales or distribution of goods or services or to provide information or registration to the general public, five percent, but not less than one, of each type of counter or window shall have a portion of the main counter that is at least 36 inches (915 mm) in length with a maximum height of 36 inches (915 mm) above the floor. Accessible counters or windows shall be:

A. provided in a prominent location;

B. located on an accessible route; and

C. evenly dispersed throughout the building or facility.

EXCEPTION 1: Drive-up windows.

EXCEPTION 2: The maximum counter height on accessible conveyor-type check-out aisles shall not exceed 38 inches (965 mm) above the finished floor. The top of the lip shall not exceed 40 inches (1,015 mm) above the finished floor.

ADAAG 7.2(2) At ticketing counters, teller stations in a bank, registration counters in hotels and motels, box office ticket counters, and other counters that may not have a cash register but at which goods or services are sold or distributed, either:

(i) a portion of the main counter which is a minimum of 36 in (915 mm) in length shall be provided with a maximum height of 36 in (915 mm); or

an auxiliary counter with a maximum height of 36 in (915 mm) in close proximity to the main counter shall be provided; or

(iii) equivalent facilitation shall be provided (e.g., at a hotel registration counter, equivalent facilitation might consist of: (1) provision of a folding shelf attached to the main counter on which an individual with disabilities can write, and (2) use of the space on the side of the counter or at the concierge desk, for handing materials back and forth). All accessible sales and service counters shall be on an accessible route complying with 4.3

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