20 September 2022 By Admin
If you own or manage a building with public access, you should be aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its requirements regarding accessibility. If you aren’t, it’s time to start doing some research. It is your responsibility to comply with the ADA, and ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse when you find yourself being served a lawsuit! The good news is that you can work with an ADA construction specialist to ensure you meet the requirements to keep your property ADA compliant.
There are many rules, and it can get pretty confusing to someone inexperienced. There is also little to no margin for error when dealing with ADA compliance, so you must work with an ADA construction specialist rather than a general contractor to ensure everything is completed to the appropriate standards. Let’s take a look at some of the common ADA violations business owners face and how you can address them with the help of an ADA construction specialist.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA as it's more commonly known, is designed to protect those with disabilities from discrimination. In terms of construction, this means that municipal, public, and commercial buildings must be accessible to any member of the public regardless of their disability. This covers not only physical disabilities but also mental disabilities. Providing accessibility covers an array of different elements of your property including, but not limited to:
With so many different regulations, it can be challenging to know where to start! As an ADA construction specialist, we suggest considering the first part of the property your visitors will encounter - the parking lot! Approximately 95% of all ADA lawsuits originate from violations in the parking lot. Most patrons will likely start their visit by pulling into your parking lot. It's essential that you provide the required number of accessible parking spaces for the size of your parking lot and that some of those are also van accessible. However, ADA compliance in the parking lot goes beyond just providing accessible parking stalls. You also need to ensure you have all of the relevant signage in place, that the striping is done in accordance with the ADA, and that you provide appropriate travel paths from the parking to the entrance.
After visitors have used your newly compliant parking lots and those accessible paths to get to the entrance of your business, the next potential violation to address with your ADA construction specialist is whether or not disabled people can access your property. It may be necessary to install ADA compliant ramps to help some of your patrons reach the doorway. Like parking lots, ramps have many requirements that need to be satisfied to make them compliant, including the width of the ramp, the handrails, the gradient of the slope, and more. It is crucial that you work with an ADA construction specialist to plan how to introduce compliant ramps to your property.
Pro Tip! When installing an accessible ramp, it is essential not to get rid of the stairs that were there first. While some disabled people need a ramp for mobility issues, a shorter distance is necessary for others. Since ramps are usually a greater distance to travel than a few stairs, you would be discriminating against those individuals. The best option is to incorporate stairs and an accessible ramp at your entrance.
We have briefly touched on the required signage above while discussing parking lot renovations. However, this is another common ADA violation area, so we need to dig a little deeper than just a passing mention. In addition to the necessary signs to mark accessible parking stalls, you should also add the appropriate signage to help disabled visitors to your property find suitable accessible routes, doorways, and other facilities. The ADA lists multiple guidelines regarding signage, including how high from the ground it should be placed. Some of the other requirements include:
These are just a few common ADA violations that many property owners don’t realize are present. The ADA covers a variety of other factors that could make your business inaccessible to disabled individuals. If you are ready to discuss how to ensure your business stays ADA compliant, get in touch with an experienced ADA construction specialist.
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Why Wait to be "Forced" into ADA Compliance. If you are a public business or public property owner, save money, lawsuits, time and headaches by being prepared and avoiding it all in the first place. It’s time to call in the ADA pros. Use Protrk, an ADA construction expert, to Get it Done Right Prior to Forced Compliance.
Call 415-813-9877 today or visit www.protrkconstruction.com for more details.
Being involved in ADA design and construction has given me the opportunity to help a lot of business owners and commercial property owners prevent costly ADA compliant lawsuits.
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