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The Architecture of Accessible Housing (5 MCEs)
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When: Friday, April 7, 2017
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Where: AIA San Francisco
130 Sutter Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, California  94104
United States

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A Five Hour Accessibility Continuing Education Event

Complete all five hours of Mandatory Continuing Education required for your Architectural license renewal in one day.


Program Details

This session focuses on federal laws (FHA, ADA, 504 & ICC/ANSI 117.1) and regulations related to the design and construction of accessible residential communities. The session will highlight the role and responsibilities architects have in applying laws and regulations, in educating Stakeholders, and in teaming with lenders, jurisdictions and the public for successful project outcomes. We will explore how housing discrimination plays out in court, which in turn affects regulatory development, and consequently transforms communities.

Thesis: The liberty of “equal access” is beneficial in the development of viable communities because the laws and regulations that protect our civil rights give Architects a durable and equitable framework to build on, which inevitably results in a pleasing aesthetic - the beauty of diversity and inclusion.

This interactive workshop will explore common violations of accessibility laws and regulations and discuss key requirements that apply to the design and construction of a variety of residential housing types. The appropriate use of the Fair Housing Act and associated Safe Harbor provisions, the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act and Standards, Section 504 under the Rehabilitation Act, and the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards will be explored through examples and scenarios. Publically funded and privately funded projects will be compared and contrasted under the laws as will the enforcement and interpretation duties of the Department of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, and the state and local jurisdictions. The role of the Architect as a leader in accessibility and universal design, and, best practices to reduce risk and improve product quality will also be topics for group discussion. Ample materials and resources will illustrate complex ideas and facilitate learning throughout the day.


Learning Objectives

  1. Empower architects to understand and use current regulation and standards as tools for positive community change.
  2. Understand the separate and overlapping roles of Fair Housing and related regulations, and be able to move confidently between public, common and residential requirements efficiently.
  3. Learn global strategies in form of case studies which exemplify housing design patterns inclusive across age groups and abilities.
  4. Gain familiarity with available resources and know when and how to turn for addition support.


Pricing and Registration

  • AIA Member: $140
  • General Admission: $170

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9:00 AM: Why all these Rules
Softly introduce the people, day's plans and the laws the affect accessibility in Architecture. Explain why the laws are necessary and have a discussion about how ethos is reflected in our built environment. Group participation and quiz on the application of laws and regulations that affect residential architecture.

9:30 AM: Regulations are our Friends
So much of design is following rules. Are we decorating boxes or really creating place? The presenters will discuss why we should we care about compliance and why universal design is an architect’s expertise to be honed and promoted. Architects who understand the principles of equal access will have successful outcomes and be prepared for the changes to come. Steps for scoping accessible solutions early in the design phase will be outlined and the ever-present constraints of cost per square foot, contract limitations, and phased construction will be reviewed.

10:15 AM: BREAK

10:30 AM: Applying ADA and FHA in New and Existing Construction
Knowing the rules is one thing but applying the rules is another. This hour will review the importance of the specific regulatory principles and the plain language of accessibility law. The presenters will introduce new technologies and alterative materials that can enhance or hinder access.

11:45 PM: LUNCH

12:45 PM: Residential Building Types - Compare and Contrast Accessibility
Sometimes the best way to survive in the economy of Architecture is to specialize. We will explore the variety of residential project types and find the groove that each one offers the user. Even the experts in the crowd will learn a new fact that will influence their approach to the problem and fly in the face of reason. I didn't know the ADA applied single family homes?! Often highlighting the differences illuminates similarities and reinforces the logic of the rationale.

1:45 PM: Advanced topics on Funding HUD Oversight and Enforcement
Whenever HUD stomps onto the scene of a project funded with federal dollars, life becomes complicated fast and so does the paperwork. We will review the who, what, where, when and how of HUD and why it really pays to get in the know about their mighty enforcement powers - especially when they team up with the DOJ - the dynamic duo. One blow from the Feds and your project will tank. HUD and DOJ are slow and clumsy elephants - but they never forget. Some examples will be shared.

2:15 PM: BREAK

2:30 PM: Scenarios & Role Playing
All the knowledge presented will either put you to sleep or blow your mind - either way it's time to play. Putting into practice the information presented, the participants will test their imagination by converting a whine-whine into win-win. There's nothing like a juicy change order brought about by an accessibility boo-boo or add-services agreement because of a construction blunder to get the conversation going again. There will be time for reflection to consider the user - usually the only stakeholder not in the game.

3:00 PM: Case Law, Lessons Learned and Practicum
Our transition to this hour's subject is role playing as judge. There's so much case law on discrimination and architectural barriers your head will spin. How do we keep our Client's out of court. How do architect's reduce their risk? We will present some answers to these questions and others. All the facts are in the public record, so we will review some construction documents, contracts, and the party's pleadings and let the audience be the judge.

3:30 PM: Resources, Q/A, Reflections



  • AIA Members: $140
  • General Admissions: $170


About the Presenter

Dawn Anderson
Principal, As It Stands

Dawn Anderson is the principal at As It Stands, an architectural firm specializing in accessible design and construction in the built environment. As It Stands offers 35 years of professional experience serving public and private entities throughout California and the United States. The firm’s insights on construction law, building provisions, emerging technologies, and building methods, combine to form an integrated approach for assessing and remediating complicated facility conditions. As It Stands performs accessibility scoping studies, design reviews, facility inspections at new and existing commercial and residential properties, as well as, the assessment of outdoor spaces. Ms. Anderson delivers reports, transition plans, and legal findings as a subject matter expert for accessibility-related casework. She participates nationally in the development of the ICC/ANSI A117.1 Standard and is the technical lead for the ASTM Standard for Accessible Facility Assessments. She has served on California’s Division of State Architect Advisory Code Task Force, the Commission on Disabled Access, and the Building Standards Commission Access Subcommittee. Dawn is a registered Architect and Accessibility Specialist in California (CASp), Texas (RAS), and Minnesota. She is an ICC Accessibility Plan Reviewer and Inspector, a Combination Inspector, and Inspector of Record for healthcare facilities. Dawn speaks regularly at national forums and teaches locally throughout the San Francisco Bay Area on risk reduction and empathic design.