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REAC Rules: Damage Caused by Wheelchairs

Rules Regarding Damage Caused by Wheelchairs

There are a number of rules that are part of the UPCS Inspection protocol that has been in effect for so long that people sometimes forget they exist. This appears to be true with the rule that relates to damage caused by wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters on during REAC and UPCS Inspections.  While the rule does not say that it should never be recorded by a REAC Inspector, wheelchair damage does have its restrictions.

Routine Damage to Any Area

This rule applies to damage that is likely to recur if repaired. This is most typically seen at wall corners in units or common areas where drywall or wall trim is damaged by wheelchairs. The rule states that an inspector to:

Do not record superficial surface/paint damage caused by wheelchairs, walkers, or medical devices as a deficiency.

This rule only applies to walls and wall trim. It does not apply to doors or flooring, nor does it provide an exception for hazardous conditions. This rule applies to routine issues caused by wheelchairs that don’t create a hazard. Common hazards would include conditions such as sharp edges, exposed wires, or blocked egress.

Rule Associated with UPCS Code, not HUD, or LIHTC Specifically

This instruction is part of the PASS Dictionary of definitions. The rule regarding damage caused by wheelchairs is applicable to family properties as well as elderly or disabled properties.

Are Wall Guards or Corner Guards Acceptable?

Is it ok to add additional protection to wall surfaces to prevent damage caused by wheelchairs? Yes, it is a best practice. However, there are several things to keep in mind. First, the materials used as a guard needs to be designed for this purpose. For example, wainscotting is not a “wall guard”, it is wall trim.  Secondly, if a wall guard is installed, the surface under the guard must be repaired first. You cannot use a wall guard to encapsulate or cover-up an issue. Lastly, ensure the guard is installed properly and professionally.

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