Saturday, June 06, 2015


City’s RFP for container housing does not require ADA compliance

by Larry Geller

Yesterday I fetched a copy of the RFP for the tiny container houses that the city wants to place on its Sand Island homeless campground. I’m pretty sure this is not the finest RFP I’ve ever seen.

Most of it is boilerplate concerning the process itself, with only a few pages defining the scope of the project. If you would like to read along, download your copy from here.

Important: this is an OCR copy, do not rely on it. It is not the official copy. There may be errors.

[Why is this copy an OCR copy? The City posted a scanned copy, which does not conform to Section 508 requirements that it be accessible. Bad start. It also can’t be searched. You can search the OCR copy, or copy text from it, but not from the original.]

Just a few points:

1. There is no requirement that units be accessible. The incidence of disability in the target population is relatively high. ADA compliance is an “option” mentioned once, but it is not stated as required in the list of required options. So a bidder could conceivably win the contract without providing any ADA-compliant units, if I understand correctly.

Another option is a “lanai.” Sure.

2. The RFP calls for insulation, but there is no specification. The walls could be lined with bubble paper. Perhaps this is covered in the building codes.

3. There is no provision that the units be closeable against inclement weather, nor is there a standard of ventilation. Remember that the units are planned to be installed on top of a layer of hot, black asphalt and will be in full, unshaded sunshine.

4. The units are to be secured, but the RFP doesn’t say how.

5. The RFP calls for battery or solar lighting, without any specification. Perhaps a flashlight could be part of the winning bid.

But I’ll have to admit to having had a bit of a laugh at the overview statement for the project:

The City & County of Honolulu ("C&C") has initiated an Islandwide Housing Strategy to address the lack of affordable and workforce housing on Oahu. The level of need for such housing for persons in the very low and low income level, up to 50% of the area median income, is particularly acute. The C&C seeks to develop cost efficient and compact housing units on an expedited schedule to address this segment of the population which is most vulnerable to homelessness.

So I guess a multi-generation family, with grandparents, parents, kids and grandkids, could benefit from these “cost efficient and compact housing units” if they applied.

Good also to hear that Honolulu “has initiated an Islandwide Housing Strategy to address the lack of affordable and workforce housing on Oahu.” I’m not being cynical. I’d love to have a copy of that document.


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