1 - General ADA Information
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is important to specifiers
for three reasons:
- It requires you to meet the needs of
all those who enter or occupy the building.
- It enables you to keep the building's
owner compliant with current accessibility standards.
- It helps reduce the possibility of lawsuits,
even after the building's owner takes occupancy.
It is considered discrimination any time a disabled person is unable
to take part in typical activities associated with a building. This
includes eating at restaurants, using restrooms and shopping at
stores, among many others.
Question: Why is ADA Important to you?
Answer: It is a Federal Civil Rights Law!
- Signed into law July 26, 1990
- Enforced by the Dept. of Justice
The ADA is a federal civil rights law that was established more
than 19 years ago. Today, approximately 20% of Americans (or 54
million) are disabled. Within the next 27 years, one in five people
will be 65 or older. The risk for ADA complaints increases as the
Individuals can sue in two ways. First, they may bring a private
suit to court and obtain an order to stop the discrimination. Or,
they may file suit with the Attorney General. In these cases, the
Attorney General may seek monetary damages and civil penalties.
It is a myth that violators are granted a grace period to get up
to code, and therefore circumvent litigation. The truth is that
you can be sued for your first violation the same as your 20th.
With lawsuits averaging $10,000 - $100,000, what you don't know
WILL hurt you.
ADA is comprised of five titles, including Employment, Public Service,
Public Accommodations, Telecommunications and Miscellaneous. The
entire ADA law can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (ADA
Standards for Accessible Design). It recognizes and protects the
civil rights of people with disabilities. A117.1 is a standard that
is referenced by many building codes. This code, derived from the
Public Accommodations title, requires business owners to make reasonable
attempts to remove barriers and provide disabled people with access
equal, or similar, to that of the general population.
The cost of incorporating these features totals less than 1% of
new construction costs. However, when dealing with hardware, openings
can account for a large percentage of the owner's headaches and
this small percentage of cost can cause an entire build not to receive
a "certificate of occupancy".
There are four main accessible elements and
spaces to consider:
- "Getting to the building" starts
at the parking lot and ends at the entrance.
- "Getting into the building"
covers all obstacles at the building's entrance, including doors,
hardware, thresholds and necessary force.
- "Moving around the building"
calls for ease of movement around the space and into restrooms.
- "Using the building elements"
refers to telephones, seating, water fountains, mirrors, toilets
and sinks, among others.
Upon submission, results of
your evaluation will be displayed with the correct answers shown
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