ADA Doors: Find a Balance Between Safety, Security & ADA Compliance

ADA Doors: Find a Balance Between Safety, Security & ADA Compliance

25 May 2022 By Admin

When it comes to making sure that your business meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, commonly known as the ADA, doors are one of the key areas to address. If your doors are not accessible, then you are leaving a barrier that keeps up to 25% of your customers out! However, doors are important for other reasons too. They are often critical elements of safety and security. So, how do you balance all of these factors to create ADA doors that still address safety and security concerns for your business? An ADA construction expert should be your first port of call!

ADA Compliant Doors

ADA regulations bind any facility that is open to the general public. The Department of Justice (DOJ) issues the ADA Standard for Accessible Design, which dictates the minimum specifications for ADA compliant doors. Some of the important considerations include the minimum width of the doorway, the speed of closing, and even the hardware used. There is a lot of information to take in and very little margin for error. That is why you need to work with an ADA construction expert to make sure you get it right the first time. In California, an ADA violation is considered a civil rights violation under the UNRUH act. That is not something any business wants to have to deal with! Compliance is your best line of defense against an ADA lawsuit.

Safety & Door Design

Aside from ADA compliance, safety is also a significant consideration when it comes to choosing doors for your business. One of the main concerns is fire safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are specific guidelines to make sure that fire doors prevent toxic smoke and fumes from traveling throughout a facility in the event of a fire. An appropriate fire door should keep smoke in the room and also withstand fire. Fire doors are generally rated depending on how long they can stand up to fire, and they must be installed on a wall that is at least the same rating, if not higher. Fire doors must be inspected and maintained annually to remain compliant with the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code.

Security Factors

We have to remember that as much as doors allow people to enter our building, they are also used to keep people out in certain situations, so security also needs to be considered. If an accessible entrance is also a security door that needs to be kept locked, it is essential that you take steps to allow your disabled customers to enter. Working with an ADA construction expert will help you to find solutions. For example, installing an intercom to allow customers at a locked accessible entrance to alert someone that they require access. However, these controls must also meet ADA guidelines. Visual and audible cues must be used to help those with disabilities to navigate the controls. The panel must be lit and appropriately labeled, and at the correct height. Any handset that needs to be used should be a minimum of 29 inches in length. An ADA construction expert can make sure that all of the necessary guidelines are met.

What About Locks & Keys?

While we are on the topic of security, it makes sense to touch on the ADA requirements surrounding locks and keys. Like other operable parts of your doors, including handles, any lock or key used on ADA compliant doors must not require a tight grasping, pinching, or twisting motion of the wrist. It must also be possible to operate the locking mechanism with one hand. Keys are not prohibited on ADA doors because they are non-fixed parts, but it is in the best interest of your business and your customers to make sure all locks are suitable for use by disabled individuals. Your ADA construction expert can help advise you on the best options if you do require locks and keys for your ADA compliant doors.

If you need help with ADA compliant doors, Protrk Construction is the ADA construction expert you need. We specialize in making doors ADA compliant in accordance with CASp recommendations. Get in touch with us today to discuss your needs.

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Design | Build | Certified

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.

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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.

Mike Schaeffer

Owner & Founder Protrk®

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