As the development of luxury multifamily housing in primarily urban areas continues to rise, SWA’s team of accessibility consultants has been encountering more and more specialty rooms and features that bring accessibility into question. Wine cellars, yoga and meditation rooms, and even clothing vaults (fur coat, anyone?) are all making their way onto the scene as luxury amenities available for residents of high-end real estate. While current accessibility laws and codes remain silent on many of these types of spaces specifically, they are not exempt from accessibility requirements.
Generally, we apply accessible design criteria that are most relevant to the luxury amenity. Let’s take a look at a common scenario – dog washing stations – which are often provided in high-end residential buildings. If A117.1 2009 applies to the project as triggered by the applicable building code, then we would recommend following the criteria for work surfaces, sinks, and operable parts, as follows:
- Ensure that all operable parts of all controls at the wash area (e.g., spray nozzle, shampoo dispenser, adjustable height tables, dryer, etc.) comply with reach range requirements as Section 309.
- Ensure that the top of the wash basin is mounted no more than 34 inches AFF. See Section 606.3
- Ensure that the top of the grooming table is mounted no more than 34 inches AFF with knee and toe clearance complying with Section 306.
And there you have it – an accessible luxury amenity! To use this approach on your next project, simply assess the amenity space for compliance with the most applicable design criteria. We look forward to seeing what’s next in line for accessible amenities, but are waiting with baited breath to assess our first all-inclusive rooftop tiki bar-pool-personal spa!