Telephone Systems

Telephone system equipment is either privately owned or is provided as part of the local phone service. Every building requires a central switching room or area where incoming telephone service is connected to the building's phone system. This is typically in the basement or on the ground floor as close as possible to the telephone service entrance. A small building may need only a small panel located in the mechanical room or closet. The number of phones serviced and the size of the switching panel determine the size of the room. We will look at telephone systems for residential buildings later on.

abilities, and the ADA sets clearance and reach requirements for these accessible phones.

Not all public telephones have to be accessible for people with disabilities. Where one or more public phones are provided, at least one must be accessible. Where there are several banks of public telephones, additional phones may need to be accessible. The interior designer must be aware of ADA requirements and be able to specify the correct type of public phone.

Accessible public telephones must have either front or side access for people using wheelchairs, with a clear area of 76 by 122 cm (30 by 48 in.). The base, side enclosures, and fixed seats can't reduce these clearances. The mounting height of the phone depends on the way the phone would be approached by a person in a wheelchair and the depth of any obstruction such as a shelf. Accessible phones must be located on an accessible route. ADA requirements include volume controls, the number of text telephones to be provided, push button controls, the position of phone books, the length of the cord, and signage displays.

Emergency telephone systems (Fig. 36-1) use regular phone lines or PBX. Power supply or battery backup is not required. The user simply pushes the button once to call and speak, and units are able to notify the attendant of the location of the calling phone by a recorded message and digital display. ADA-compliant emergency phones have a light-emitting diode (LED) indicator for the hearing impaired, as well as raised letters and Braille signage for visually impaired individuals. Indoor models can be designed to fit limited spaces, like elevator phone boxes.

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