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A Craft-Brewery Unreasonable Hardship

There are amazing buildings and locations out there, some of which may have existing, non-conforming ADA conditions, avoid a Craft-Brewery unreasonable hardship. The cost to bring those requirements up to current code, can be quite expensive, and in some cases may exceed the planned construction cost necessary to make your brewery operational.

Section 1134B.2 General, explains, “When alterations, structural repairs or additions are made to existing buildings or facilities, they shall comply with all provisions of Division I…” for any modifications you make to a building, you must comply with current ADA standards and requirements .

Now that we know we must comply, Section 1134B2.1 Exceptions: 1 allows for an UNREASONABLE HARDSHIP DETERMINATION FOR COMMERCIAL ALTERATION PROJECTS, this,Los Angeles Building Department, document/form explains:

“When the total construction cost of alterations, structural repairs, or additions to existing buildings and facilities does not exceed a valuation threshold of $139,934.00 and the enforcing agency finds that full compliance with the requirements for disabled access upgrades serving the area of alteration, structural repair, or addition creates an “unreasonable hardship,” an exception can be granted to allow for less than full compliance for the upgrades. This determination for “unreasonable hardship,” as detailed in Code Section 1134B.2. 1, can be requested when the cost of providing the disabled access upgrades is disproportionate to the total construction cost; that is, where it exceeds 20% of the cost of the project without these upgrades. Under this determination, upgrades will still need to be made, but only to the point where the upgrade costs are disproportionate (i.e. 20% of the total construction cost will be required to be spent toward these upgrades).”

The hardship exception is confined to the area of proposed construction. That’s helpful for larger buildings with multiple tenants, their is no reason to bring your tenants space up to current ADA code standards. In choosing which accessible elements to provide, priority is given to those elements that will provide the greatest access.

When choosing your first, or growing your existing brewery, make sure you consider the cost of ADA improvements to existing non-conforming structures.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

About Neil Rubenstein

Neil Rubenstein joined Rubenstein Architects in 2004 as co-founder of this second-generation architectural firm. With an extensive background as a Senior Technical Director in Visual Effects working for industry leading studios as, Sony Imageworks, Warner Digital, my vision for the firm is to blend my past experience creating buildings that possess a subtle character and personality of their own.

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