Accessible Design in Public Housing: NYCHA Staff Training Program

Version 4.0 July 9, 2001

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Glossary of Terms 

A. Definitions from the UFAS Standards

ACCESS AISLE. An accessible pedestrian space between elements, such as parking spaces, seating, and desks, that provides clearances appropriate for use of the elements.

ACCESSIBLE. Describes a site, building, facility, or portion thereof that complies with the UFAS standards and that can be approached, entered, and used by physically disabled people.

ACCESSIBLE ELEMENT. An element specified by the UFAS standards (for example, telephone, controls, and the like).

ACCESSIBLE ROUTE. A continuous unobstructed path connecting all accessible elements and spaces in a building or facility. Interior accessible routes may include corridors, floors, ramps, elevators, lifts, and clear floor space at fixtures. Exterior accessible routes may include parking access aisles, curb ramps, walks, ramps, and lifts.

ACCESSIBLE SPACE. Space that complies with the UFAS standards.

ADAPTABILITY. The ability of certain building spaces and elements, such as kitchen counters, sinks, and grab bars, to be added or altered so as to accommodate the needs of either disabled or non-disabled persons, or to accommodate the needs of persons with different types or degrees of disability.

ADDITION. An expansion, extension, or increase in the gross floor area of a building or facility.

ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY. A governmental agency that adopts or enforces regulations and standards for the design, construction, or alteration of buildings and facilities.

ALTERATION. As applied to a building or structure, means a change or rearrangement in the structural parts or elements, or in the means of egress or in moving from one location or position to another. It does not include normal maintenance, repair, re-roofing, interior decoration, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems.

ASSEMBLY AREA. A room or space accommodating fifty or more individuals for religious, recreational, educational, political, social, or amusement purposes, or for the consumption of food and drink, including all connected rooms or spaces with a common means of egress and ingress. Such areas as conference rooms would have to be accessible in accordance with other parts of this standard but would not have to meet all of the criteria associated with assembly areas.

AUTOMATIC DOOR. A door equipped with a power-operated mechanism and controls that open and close the door automatically upon receipt of a momentary actuating signal. The switch that begins the automatic cycle may be a photoelectric device, floor mat, or manual switch mounted on or near the door itself (see power-assisted door).

CIRCULATION PATH. An exterior or interior way of passage from one place to another for pedestrians, including, but not limited to, walks, hallways, courtyards, stairways, and stair landings.

CLEAR. Unobstructed.

COMMON USE. Refers to those interior and exterior rooms, spaces, or elements that are made available for the use of a restricted group of people (for example, residents of an apartment building, the occupants of an office building, or the guests of such residents or occupants).

CROSS SLOPE. The slope that is perpendicular to the direction of travel (see running slope).

CURB RAMP. A short ramp cutting through a curb or built up to it.

DWELLING UNIT. A single unit of residence which provides a kitchen or food preparation area, in addition to rooms and spaces for living, bathing, sleeping, and the like. A single family home is a dwelling unit, and dwelling units are to be found in such housing types as townhouses and apartment buildings.

EGRESS, MEANS OF. An accessible route of exit that meets all applicable code specifications of the regulatory building agency having jurisdiction over the building or facility.

ELEMENT. An architectural or mechanical component of a building, facility, space, or site, e.g., telephone, curb ramp, door, drinking fountain, seating, water closet.

ENTRANCE. Any access point to a building or portion of building or facility used for the purpose of entering. An entrance includes the approach walk, the vertical access leading to the entrance platform, the entrance platform itself, vestibules if provided, the entry door(s) or gate(s), and the hardware of the entry door(s) or gate(s). The principal entrance of a building or facility is the main door through which most people enter.

ESSENTIAL FEATURES. Those elements and spaces that make a building or facility usable by, or serve the needs of, its occupants or users. Essential features include but are not limited to entrances, toilet rooms, and accessible routes. Essential features do not include those spaces that house the major activities for which the building or facility is intended, such as classrooms and offices.

EXTRAORDINARY REPAIR. The replacement or renewal of any element of an existing building or facility for purposes other than normal maintenance.

FACILITY. All or any portion of a building, structure, or area, including the site on which such building, structure or area is located, wherein specific services are provided or activities performed.

FULL AND FAIR CASH VALUE. Full and fair cash value is calculated for the estimated date on which work will commence on a project and means:

(1) The assessed valuation of a building or facility as recorded in the assessor's office of the municipality and as equalized at one hundred percent (100%) valuation, or

(2) The replacement cost, or

(3) The fair market value.

FUNCTIONAL SPACES. The rooms and spaces in a building or facility that house the major activities for which the building or facility is intended.

HOUSING. A building, facility, or portion thereof, excluding inpatient health care facilities, that contains one or more dwelling units or sleeping accommodations. Housing may include, but is not limited to, one and two-family dwellings, apartments, group homes, hotels, motels, dormitories, and mobile homes.

MARKED CROSSING. A crosswalk or other identified path intended for pedestrian use in crossing a vehicular way.

MULTIFAMILY DWELLING. Any building containing more than two dwelling units.

OPERABLE PART (OR CONTROL) . A part of a piece of equipment or appliance used to insert or withdraw objects, or to activate, deactivate, or adjust the equipment or appliance (for example, coin slot, pushbutton, handle).

PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED. An individual who has a physical impairment, including impaired sensory, manual or speaking abilities, which results in a functional limitation in access to and use of a building or facility.

POWER-ASSISTED DOOR. A door used for human passage with a mechanism that helps to open the door, or relieve the opening resistance of a door, upon the activation of a switch or a continued force applied to the door itself. If the switch or door is released, such doors immediately begin to close or close completely within 3 to 30 seconds (see automatic door).

PUBLIC USE. Describes interior or exterior rooms or spaces that are made available to the general public. Public use may be provided at a building or facility that is privately or publicly owned.

RAMP. A walking surface in an accessible space that has a running slope greater than 1:20.

RUNNING SLOPE. The slope that is parallel to the direction of travel (see cross slope).

SERVICE ENTRANCE. An entrance intended primarily for delivery of services.

SIGNAGE. Verbal, symbolic, tactile, and pictorial information.

SITE. A parcel of land bounded by a property line or a designated portion of a public right-of-way.

SITE IMPROVEMENT. Landscaping, paving for pedestrian and vehicular ways, outdoor lighting, recreational facilities, and the like, added to a site.

SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS. Rooms in which people sleep, for example, dormitory and hotel or motel guest rooms.

SPACE. A definable area, e.g., toilet room, hall, assembly area, entrance, storage room, alcove, courtyard, or lobby.

STRUCTURAL IMPRACTICABILITY. Changes having little likelihood of being accomplished without removing or altering a load-bearing structural member and/or incurring an increased cost of 50 percent or more of the value of the element of the building or facility involved.

TACTILE. Describes an object that can be perceived using the sense of touch.

TACTILE WARNING. A standardized surface texture applied to or built into walking surfaces or other elements to warn visually impaired people of hazards in the path of travel.

TEMPORARY. Applies to facilities that are not of permanent construction but are extensively used or essential for public use for a given (short) period of time, for example, temporary classrooms or classroom buildings at schools and colleges, or facilities around a major construction site to make passage accessible, usable, and safe for everybody. Structures directly associated with the actual processes of major construction, such as porto potties, scaffolding, bridging, trailers, and the like, are not included. Temporary as applied to elements means installed for less than 6 months and not required for safety reasons.

VEHICULAR WAY. A route intended for vehicular traffic, such as a street, driveway, or parking lot.

WALK. An exterior pathway with a prepared surface intended for pedestrian use, including general pedestrian areas such as plazas and courts.

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