Disabled Accessibility in Multistoried
Dwelling Units in Buildings without Elevators - SB 1025
The first set of statewide accessibility provisions for multifamily
construction took effect in September of 1985. California’s
regulations were substantially changed in 1992 to conform
to the recently passed Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act.
In apartment buildings of three units or more and in condominium
buildings of four units or more, all ground floor units must
comply with California’s disabled accessibility provisions.
In apartment and condominium buildings having an elevator,
all units in the building (100%) must comply with HCD’s
SB 1025 amended Government Code Section 12955.1(b)(1) to
state: This subdivision shall apply only to multistory dwelling
units in a building subject to this subdivision for which
an application for a construction permit is submitted on or
after July 1, 2005.
The statute requires ten percent (10%) of the primary entry
levels of multistoried dwelling units in buildings without
elevators to comply with HCD’s accessibility provisions
for new multifamily construction. Under California
accessibility code, a multifamily dwelling is defined as an
apartment building containing three or more dwellings or a
condominium/town home building containing four or more dwellings
under the same roof. One-and two-family dwelling units are
exempt from these requirements, as are “carriage units”.
A“carriage unit” is a dwelling that is located
directly above the private parking garage that serves that
unit. Units which are located above a common-use parking structure
are not “carriage units”.
To determine the total number of multistory dwelling units
subject to this subdivision, all multistory dwelling units
in the buildings subject to this subdivision on a site shall
be considered collectively.” On a site with multiple
buildings containing multistoried dwelling units, the “ten
percent” application level is applied to the entire
construction site. It is not applied separately to each building
if there are multiple buildings on a site.
SB 1025 contained a specific provision amending Government
Code 12955.1(b)(1) which states; “This subdivision shall
not be construed to require an elevator within an individual
multistory dwelling unit or within a building subject to this
subdivision.” However, an accessible route, which may
include an elevator, ramp or other means, may still be required
to access dwelling units in a multistory building where the
first floor containing dwelling units is located above grade
or ground level (i.e. located above retail facilities or common-use