A new Department of Housing and Urban Development education initiative is aimed at helping builders, developers, architects and designers learn how to design and build multifamily homes in compliance with the Fair Housing Act.
Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST consists of the following training modules, which can be presented individually or in combination: an overview of Fair Housing Act accessibility requirements; disability rights laws; enforcement of the act; strategies for compliant kitchens; strategies for compliant bathrooms; common design and construction violations and solutions; accessible routes; and accessible public and common-use areas. The emphasis is on planning for compliance at the design stage to eliminate retrofits.
The Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements apply to new "covered multifamily dwellings," meaning for-sale or rental buildings of four or more units. The act's history and specifics can be found at www.fairhousingfirst.org.
The Web site includes frequently asked questions, educational manuals, legal materials, best practices and links to related sites. It also has a training and conference calendar detailing in-person training sessions, including one at the NAHB Pillars of the Industry Conference in late March. Operators at a call center, open 9-5 (ET) weekdays, can answer legal and technical questions about compliance with the act. The center's number is 888/341-7781.