BCAB #1441 - Access for Persons with Disabilities to a Church Sanctuary Platform, Sentence 18.104.22.168.(1) & Article 22.214.171.124.
May 15, 1997
Re: Access for Persons with Disabilities to a Church Sanctuary Platform, Sentence 126.96.36.199.(1) & Article 188.8.131.52.
The project in question is a two storey church. There is a raised platform at the front of the sanctuary on the main floor. The platform is 2' 6" above the sanctuary floor and only accessible by stairs at each side.
Reason for Appeal
Sentence 184.108.40.206.(1) and Article 220.127.116.11. outline those areas and facilities of a church which are required to be accessible. Sentence 18.104.22.168.(1) applies to all buildings while Article 22.214.171.124. contains an additional requirement for churches.
The appellant contends that inside the sanctuary only viewing positions are required to be accessible. There is no requirement for access onto the platform. The pastor and building committee state that there are no occasions when access for persons with disabilities will be required to the platform and a lift would be an unnecessary expense.
Building Official's Position
The building official maintains that Article 126.96.36.199. is in addition to Sentence 188.8.131.52.(1) which in Clause (c) requires access to "... all areas where work functions can reasonably be expected to be performed by disabled persons." The pastor, choir, band, guest speakers and church members will all use this raised platform and any one of these people could be disabled. To say such disabled persons cannot access this platform to perform church "work" functions contravenes Clause 184.108.40.206.(1)(c). This is a large platform that will have specific church "work" functions performed there on a regular basis, i.e. the band storage is at this level.
Appeal Board Decision #1441
It is the determination of the Board that access for persons with disabilities is required within the building from the sanctuary seating area to the platform. Sentence 220.127.116.11.(1) applies to all buildings and Clause (c) requires access to areas where work functions can reasonably be performed by disabled persons. The Board considers the platform to be a work area within the context of the access requirements of the Code and it is entirely reasonable for disabled persons to work there.
George R. Humphrey, Chair