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House Bill No. 5488

Public Act No. 04-237

AN ACT REVISING THE STATE BUILDING CODE FOR SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT AND CONCERNING MAIN ENTRANCES IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ASSEMBLY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsections (h) and (i) of section 14-253a of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(h) Parking spaces designated for the handicapped on or after October 1, 1979, and prior to October 1, 2004, shall be as near as possible to a building entrance or walkway and shall be fifteen feet wide including three feet of cross hatch, or parallel to a sidewalk on a public highway. On and after October 1, 2004, parking spaces for passenger motor vehicles designated for the handicapped shall be as near as possible to a building entrance or walkway and shall be fifteen feet wide including five feet of cross hatch. On and after October 1, 2004, parking spaces for passenger vans designated for the handicapped shall be as near as possible to a building entrance or walkway and shall be sixteen feet wide including eight feet of cross hatch. Such spaces shall be designated by above grade signs with white lettering against a blue background and shall bear the words "handicapped parking permit required" and "violators will be fined". Such sign shall also bear the international symbol of access. When such a sign is replaced, repaired or erected it shall indicate the minimum fine for a violation of subsection (f) of this section. Such indicator may be in the form of a notice affixed to such a sign.

(i) Any public parking garage or terminal, as defined in the [state building code] State Building Code, constructed under a building permit application filed on [and] or after October 1, 1985, and prior to October 1, 2004, shall have nine feet six inches vertical clearance at a primary entrance and along the route to at least two parking spaces which conform with the requirements of subsection (h) of this section and which have nine feet six inches vertical clearance unless an exemption has been granted pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of section 29-269. Each public parking garage or terminal, as defined in the State Building Code, constructed under a building permit application filed on or after October 1, 2004, shall have eight feet two inches vertical clearance at a primary entrance and along the route to at least two parking spaces for passenger vans which conform with the requirements of subsection (h) of this section and which have eight feet two inches vertical clearance unless an exemption has been granted pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of section 29-269.

Sec. 2. Section 29-271 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

Any state-assisted rental housing or rental housing project constructed or substantially rehabilitated under a building permit [issued] application filed on or after January 1, 1976, and prior to October 1, 2004, and which contains ten or more housing units shall have at least ten per cent of the units and all common use areas and facilities designed to promote safe and accessible means of entrance and egress and ease of access and use of facilities for the physically disabled, as defined in subsection (b) of section 1-1f, unless a waiver of such requirement is obtained from the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development as provided in this section. Any state-assisted rental housing or rental housing project constructed or substantially rehabilitated under a building permit application filed on or after October 1, 2004, and which contains four or more dwelling units shall have the dwelling units and all common use areas and facilities designed in accordance with the State Building Code to promote the safe and accessible use of facilities for the physically disabled, as defined in subsection (b) of section 1-1f, unless such waiver is obtained. Said commissioner may, with the concurrence of the director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities and the State Building Inspector, waive the requirement for such units for any state-financed rental housing project awarded state assistance under sections 8-124a and 8-216b, provided all requirements concerning the provision of housing units accessible to the physically disabled promulgated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development have been met. Physically disabled persons and families shall receive priority in placement in no less than ten per cent of the housing units constructed or substantially rehabilitated after January 1, 1976.

Sec. 3. Section 29-273 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

[(a) Any complex, or building which is not part of a complex, designated as use group R-1, "Residential-Hotels", as defined in the State Building Code, containing in the aggregate twenty-five or more dwelling units shall provide at least one dwelling unit accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities for every twenty-five such units or fraction thereof.

(b) Any complex, or building which is not part of a complex, and is a dormitory or rooming or boarding house, as defined in the State Building Code, containing in the aggregate twenty-five or more beds shall provide accessibility to at least one bed for use by persons with disabilities for every twenty-five such beds or fraction thereof.

(c) (1) Until October 1, 1991, and except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any complex, or building which is not part of a complex, designated as use group R-2, "Residential-Multifamily", as defined in the State Building Code, containing in the aggregate twenty-five or more dwelling units shall provide at least one dwelling unit accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities for every twenty-five such units or fraction thereof. (2) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, all dwelling units constructed or substantially renovated on or after July 1, 1991, and which are located on the ground floor and on any floor serviced by an elevator shall be accessible to and adaptable for persons with disabilities in any complex, or building which is not part of a complex, designated as use group R-2, "Residential-Multifamily", as defined in the State Building Code.

(d) Any complex, or building which is not part of a complex, designated as use group R-3, "Residential, one and two family attached" as defined in the State Building Code, containing ten or more dwelling units constructed or substantially renovated on or after July 1, 1991, shall provide at least one dwelling unit accessible to and adaptable for persons with disabilities for every ten such units or substantial fraction thereof. Such units may incorporate adaptable fixtures and features as provided for in the State Building Code. ]

Each residential building or complex constructed, substantially renovated or established by change of use under a building permit application filed on or after October 1, 2004, shall provide accessible or adaptable dwelling units for persons with disabilities as required by the State Building Code.

Sec. 4. Section 29-274 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) The provisions of section 29-269 shall not apply to [the following use groups in the State Building Code: (1) Use group H "High Hazard"; (2) use group S-1 "Storage, Moderate" to the extent that such facility is not designed to be utilized by the general public; (3) use group S-2 "Storage, Low" to the extent that such facility is not a parking garage to be utilized by the general public; and (4) use group R-4 "Residential, one and two family detached"; except that the provisions of section 29-269 shall apply to any employer occupying space in use group H, S-1 or S-2 who is in violation of section 46a-60] detached one and two family dwellings.

(b) The provisions of section 29-269, as amended by this act, shall not apply to the renovations, additions or alterations to existing buildings above the street floor being converted to use group B, "Business Buildings", as defined in the State Building Code, provided: (1) Each story above the street floor contains less than three thousand square feet of total gross area per floor; [and] (2) the street floor is renovated or altered to comply with the provisions of section 29-269, as amended by this act; and (3) the nonaccessible story above the street floor does not include the offices of health care providers, municipal or state agencies or passenger transportation facilities or offices located in airport terminals.

[(c) The provisions of section 29-269 shall not apply to any complex, or building which is not part of a complex, designated as use group R-1, "Residential-Hotels", as defined in the State Building Code, having fewer than twenty-five dwelling units or to the second story of a two story use group R-1 building where the street floor complies with the requirements of section 29-269 and subsection (a) of section 29-273. ]

[(d)] (c) Any building consisting of three stories or less, not otherwise exempted from the provisions of section 29-269, as amended by this act, shall be exempt from said section if (1) each story above or below the street floor contains less than three thousand square feet of total gross area, [and] (2) the street floor is designed, renovated or altered to comply with the provisions of section 29-269, as amended by this act, and if applicable, section 29-273, and (3) the nonaccessible story above or below the street floor does not include the offices of health care providers, municipal or state agencies or passenger transportation facilities or offices located in airport terminals or mercantile facilities having five or more tenant spaces.

Sec. 5. Section 29-200 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) The State Building Inspector and the Codes and Standards Committee, with the approval of the Commissioner of Public Safety shall adopt [regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54] standards as referenced in the State Building Code concerning the installation, operation, maintenance and use of inclined stairway chairlifts, vertical wheelchair or incline lifts and limited use, limited access elevators. [In adopting such regulations, the] The State Building Inspector and said committee may adopt, by reference, standards concerning inclined stairway chairlifts, vertical wheelchair or incline lifts and limited use, limited access elevators, as set forth by the American National Standards Institute.

(b) Any person, agent of the state, municipality or any other political subdivision of the state may apply to the State Building Inspector to vary or set aside standards [incorporated in the regulations] adopted under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. Any variation of or exemption from any provision of such [regulations] standards shall be permitted only when approved by the State Building Inspector and the executive director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities acting jointly. The State Building Inspector, within seven days of receipt of any such application, shall forward a copy of such application to said executive director, who shall, within thirty days of receipt, review the application, and acting jointly with the State Building Inspector, render a decision to accept or reject the application in whole or in part. The State Building Inspector and said executive director may approve a variation of or exemption from any such standard or specification when they jointly determine that it would not be feasible or would unreasonably complicate the construction, alteration or repair in question. Such determination shall be in writing, and if it sets aside any such standard or specification, a copy of such determination shall be sent to said executive director.

(c) Such lifts and elevators may be installed (1) in existing buildings principally used for meeting, gathering or assembling by any civic, religious, fraternal or charitable organization, (2) in residential buildings designed to be occupied by one or two families, [and] (3) in new buildings for which a building permit application has been filed on or after October 1, 2004, in accordance with the State Building Code, and [(3)] (4) in other existing buildings and structures only if the executive director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities and the State Building Inspector jointly approve such installation. An application for the installation of such lift or elevator in other buildings and structures under subdivision [(3)] (4) of this subsection shall be submitted to the State Building Inspector who shall, within seven days of receipt of any such application, forward a copy of such application to said executive director, who shall, within thirty days of receipt, review the application, and acting jointly with the State Building Inspector, render a decision to accept or reject the application in whole or in part.

(d) Any person aggrieved by any such decision of the State Building Inspector and the executive director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities may appeal to the Codes and Standards Committee within thirty days after such decision has been rendered.

(e) Any person aggrieved by any ruling of the Codes and Standards Committee may appeal therefrom to the Superior Court in accordance with section 4-183.

Sec. 6. Subsection (b) of section 29-269 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(b) Any variation of or exemption from any provision of (1) the State Building Code relating to accessibility to, and use of, buildings and structures by persons with disabilities, (2) subsection (g) of section 14-253a, (3) section 29-273, as amended by this act, or (4) [subsections (b) and (d) of] section 29-274, as amended by this act, shall be permitted only when approved by the State Building Inspector and the director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities acting jointly. Any person, agent of the state, municipality or any other political subdivision of the state may apply to the State Building Inspector to vary or set aside standards incorporated in the State Building Code pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. The State Building Inspector, within seven days of receipt of any such application, shall forward a copy of such application to said director, who shall, within thirty days of receipt, review the application, and acting jointly with the State Building Inspector, render a decision to accept or reject the application in whole or in part. The State Building Inspector and said director may approve a variation of or exemption from any such standard or specification when they jointly determine that it would not be feasible or would unreasonably complicate the construction, alteration or repair in question. Such determination shall be in writing, shall state the reasons therefor and if it sets aside any such standard or specification, a copy of such determination shall be sent to said director. Any person aggrieved by any such decision may appeal to the Codes and Standards Committee within thirty days after such decision has been rendered.

Sec. 7. Subsection (d) of section 8-218 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(d) The Commissioner of Economic and Community Development shall enter into a contract with a community housing development corporation for state financial assistance in the form of a grant-in-aid which shall be used by such community housing development corporation to provide grants for the purpose of conversion of adaptable living units into units accessible to persons with disabilities and for reconversion of such units to adaptable living units. Eligible applicants shall include any tenant or owner of a unit in a complex or building subject to the provisions of [subsections (c) and (d) of] section 29-273, as amended by this act.

Sec. 8. Section 3 of public act 03-231 is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Each place of public assembly, as defined in the State Fire Safety Code, constructed under a building permit application filed on or after [July 9, 2003,] the effective date of this section or renovated under a building permit application filed on or after said date to increase capacity or change its occupancy, as defined in the State Building Code, that has a single main entrance shall have [a] such main entrance sufficient to allow the emergency exit of two-thirds of the capacity of such place of assembly.

(b) The State Fire Marshal or the State Building Inspector may grant variations or exemptions from, or approve equivalent or alternate compliance with, the requirement in subsection (a) of this section where strict compliance with such requirement would entail practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, or is otherwise adjudged unwarranted, provided the intent of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be observed and public welfare and safety be assured. Any such determination by the State Fire Marshal or the State Building Inspector shall be in writing. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the State Fire Marshal or the State Building Inspector may appeal to the Codes and Standards Committee within fourteen days after mailing of the decision. Any person aggrieved by any ruling of the Codes and Standards Committee may appeal to the superior court for the judicial district wherein the place of assembly concerned is located.

Approved on June 8, 2004