Why is ADA Compliance So Important in Construction?

Why is ADA Compliance So Important in Construction?

24 August 2022 By Admin

When it comes to planning a construction project at your place of business, there are a lot of things that you need to take into consideration. However, one of the most important factors is something so many business or property owners overlook - ADA compliance. Whether you are undertaking completely new construction or renovating existing features, many different requirements need to be met to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Failing to meet these guidelines could result in lengthy legal troubles and fines of as much as $150,000! That’s why it is so important to work with an experienced ADA contractor who will help you take the necessary steps toward making your business fully ADA compliant.

What is the ADA?

The American Disabilities Act of 1990, commonly referred to as the ADA, is legislation designed to stop discrimination based on disability. It covers both mental and physical disabilities. In terms of construction projects, the part of the ADA that is particularly important is Title III which sets out detailed federal codes. All new construction must comply with everything set out by Title III of the ADA, so it is important that you work with an ADA contractor who understands all of the requirements. There is almost no margin for error when it comes to meeting the requirements on things like door width, railing height, and the gradient of slopes. Renovations can be even more difficult as only those renovations that are deemed readily achievable are required to meet ADA standards. There are also exceptions for specific buildings, including places of worship and private membership clubs.

ADA & New Construction

A new build facility being built by either a public or private entity is required to meet the minimum ADA standards in accordance with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. These guidelines set out specific requirements for both new construction and alterations to existing buildings that will make the property accessible to everyone regardless of their disability status. It does not matter when the building was originally built; any new construction on the property must follow these guidelines in order to be ADA compliant. A qualified ADA contractor can help to guide you through the design-build process and help you to achieve CASp certification after the work is completed to the necessary standards. It is worth taking the time to find an ADA contractor so that you do not end up paying twice for work that was not completed to code the first time around. This is a surprisingly common occurance simply because many general contractors do not fully understand the tight margins that are permitted. Even 2mm can be the difference between ADA compliance and a federal lawsuit! Don’t take that chance. Work with a contractor who specializes in ADA construction work.

Renovating Existing Facilities for ADA Compliance

When it comes to buildings that were initially built prior to the ADA being passed in 1990, property owners are still obliged to make changes to remove accessibility barriers in accordance with the law. However, the rules are slightly different in that they only need to make changes that are considered to be readily achievable. This essentially means that the changes should be easy to accomplish without incurring too much difficulty or expense. Some examples of readily achievable barrier removal might include things like:

  • Adding a ramp
  • Installing curb cuts
  • Widening entrance doors
  • Lowering counter heights
  • Adding additional signage
  • Installing visual alarms
  • Designating accessible parking spaces

These are all things that are relatively inexpensive to put into place, and that will not require extensive structural changes to a building. There is no ‘grandfather clause’ in the ADA for older properties, but they are allowed to follow this readily achievable approach to making the property ADA compliant. An experienced ADA contractor can help put a plan together to remove any current accessibility barriers on your property.

What About Public Facilities?

State and Local Government facilities, including schools, courthouses, and recreation centers, come under Title II of the ADA, meaning that any public facility built before the ADA was passed into law must provide access to their programs or services to all members of the public. This means that they either need to remove all physical barriers that are preventing access for disabled people, or they must find an alternative way to deliver the service, for example, moving that service to a different, more accessible location. That could mean an entirely different building or just relocating it to the ground floor of the existing building, as long as ADA compliant access to that floor is available.

As you can see, ADA compliance can be complex, and there are a lot of different rules and regulations to adhere to. Hiring an experienced ADA contractor is the best way to ensure you don’t inadvertently break the law and face a costly lawsuit. The best defense is ADA compliance!

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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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  • Step 1 - Third Party CASp Report
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  • Step 3 - Solutions & Value Engineering
  • Step 4 - Construction Documents & Permits
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  • Step 6 - ADA Compliant Certifications