Is Your Facility ADA Compliant?

Here’s a quick primer.

What does the ADA require for new construction?

If you are considering updating your office or retail space, then familiarize yourself with The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). In a nutshell, the ADA ensures that people with disabilities can use a building with little to no impediment. The ADA requires that all new construction of places of public accommodation (like grocery stores and shopping centers) as well as commercial facilities (like office buildings), be accessible.

Failure to comply with ADA building compliance can result in hefty financial penalties, which can start at $55,000 for a first offense and $110,000 + for a second offense. Failure to comply can also lead to future liability issues which could then result in expensive litigation. That’s why it’s important to work with a commercial construction partner who understands and adheres to the ADA guidelines for your renovation and new build projects. 

A  Few ADA Requirements to Consider:

ADA compliant ramp

ADA Compliant Ramp

An ADA compliant ramp will help make your public areas accessible to wheelchairs, walkers, and motorized scooters.

While handicap ramps are designed for people with disabilities, accessible ramps can also be safer for the elderly and people visiting your site during inclement weather.

Click here to view a full range of ADA ramp guidelines.

ADA compliant office doors

ADA Compliant Office Doors

People with disabilities are the largest and fastest-growing minority in the United States and they use buildings and facilities that are accessible to them.

To ensure that your business’s doors are open to everyone, the ADA requires that all doors be at least 32″ wide with the door open 90 degrees. This guideline applies to hinged and sliding doors.

Click here for an ADA door fact sheet.

Multi-Stall ADA compliant restroom

ADA Compliant Restrooms

ADA compliant restrooms for commercial buildings are a necessity. A few of the most common ADA bathroom requirements include:

  • Toilets that are 17″ – 19″ high
  • Clear floor space and insulated pipes underneath the sink(s)
  • Wall-hung or stall-type urinals at a minimum of 17″ from the floor 

8 Common ADA Violations (in no particular order) include:

  1. Inaccessible entrance to building/exit from the building
  2. Incorrect ramp height to building and/or curb
  3. Incorrect ADA signage or no signage at all
  4. No parking access or no area for drop-offs
  5. Inaccessible restroom facilities and/or location in the building
  6. Issues with restroom equipment (i.e. toilet handles on the incorrect side, the incorrect height of sinks or towel dispensers, etc.)
  7. Not enough accessible seating in the building
  8. Staff unaware of policies and protocols

While the ADA requirements are easily available, it may take some time to understand the specific implications for you. To help you get started on the next steps, here are some immediate ways to avoid violations:

Parking: Ensure that there is van access, the required number of parking spaces for your building’s size, access to curb ramps, and other related requirements.

Seating for the physically challenged: Provide accessible and/or adjustable seating in waiting rooms and other public areas.

Building entrance/exit: Provide clear access for entry/exit and correct ramp slope ratio and signage.

Signage: Ensure the correct height of signage, and periodically check to ensure that changes to the building have not resulted in incorrect signage. (For example, update signs in Braille).

Restrooms: Verify and adjust access to and inside of the restroom, including proper installation (height for accessibility; and ensure that objects do not block entry/exit).

Staff Training: Update and communicate protocols (such as allowing service animals).

Click here for a comprehensive list of commercial building ADA regulations.

ADA commercial building requirements and best practices are ever-evolving. The information included here may not always reflect the most current ADA standards.

Contact BSM Construction For Your Commercial Construction Needs

If you’re concerned about your commercial building being out of ADA compliance, BSM Construction can help.