Is your building ADA compliant?

 In Blog, Workplace Safety

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all buildings that are for public use (such as government buildings, schools, etc.) as well as buildings that serve the public to be accessible to people with disabilities. The most up to standards were released in 2010 and apply to not only new construction but existing buildings as well.

Although you may think public accommodation and commercial facilities go hand in hand, many of these guidelines apply to industrial or manufacturing plants, too. However, there are a few exceptions to the law, and they may only apply to certain areas of the existing facilities.

For example, if you have a commercial store and there’s a storefront that is accessible to the general public, you’ll need to make sure it’s accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities. This means removing barriers to accessibility, such as doorways that are too skinny for wheelchairs or providing ramps.

Now, if your structure doesn’t have any front-facing access or you aren’t doing business with the general public, you don’t need to provide an accessible route or remove architectural barriers. This is assuming all employees are able to access their work areas. If you hire a person with disabilities, you’ll need to make sure their work areas come into ADA compliance.

Common ADA Compliance Issues

We already mentioned having doorways that are accessible to those in wheelchairs or who have other mobility issues and providing ramps for the same people. But there are other considerations, too. Is the door able to be opened by someone with disabilities? Are the ramps too steep to meet ADA building code requirements?

ADAchecklist.org is based on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and covers things such as parking spaces, restroom access, and other structural specifications. It does not cover Title II or III additional aids that may be needed for your workers, customers, or clients. Title III of the ADA guidelines includes verbiage about service animals for example.

The guidelines give exact specifications for the approach and entrance of your facility. In the parking lot, are there enough accessible parking spaces? For every 25 spaces, you should have at least one ADA parking spot. So, if there are 13 spaces, one of those should be accessible. If there are 80 spaces, you’ll need four spaces.

For every six of the above spaces, at least one needs to be van accessible. There also needs to be at least one route where persons can leave the parking lot or passenger drop-off point (including public transportation) and enter the building without encountering stairs or a curb.

There are also specific measurements for van access, aisles, and even height requirements for van parking. ADA accessible parking spots should all be clearly marked with signs. The bottom of these signs need to be at least 60 inches off the ground. Paths to the entrance should be free of large, uneven cracks and other obstructions.

Curb ramps and other entrance ramps have specific minimums for slope. The landing areas at the top and bottom of these slopes need to be of certain dimensions as well. If the ramps have a rise of more than six inches, handrails are required (although not required on curb ramps).

If the main entrance is not accessible for any reason, is there an alternate entrance that can be used independently and at the same hours of operation? Routes to the alternative entrance must be clearly marked from the main entrance.

Doors must have 60 inches of clearance for maneuverability and thresholds should be no more than ¼ inch high unless the edges are beveled. Door handles need to be able to be operated by one hand and not require tight gripping or twisting at the wrist. Handles need to be lower than 34 inches and no higher than 48 inches.

As you can see, there are many measurements and calculations that need to be done and we’re barely through the front door! While the above link is very specific, it’s not a completely exhaustive list. It also touches on counter heights, elevators and lifts, and restrooms as well as making signage available to those with sight issues.

Make your facility ADA Compliant

For decades, Storee Construction has been making industrial facilities or manufacturing plants safer for workers as well as other personnel that may be on site

As a facilities contractor, safety upgrades throughout your plant involving processes, floorplans, equipment operation, and more are a paramount concern. For us, ADA compliance is just one more piece of the safety puzzle. Many ADA compliance fixes are readily achievable, such as adding handrails where needed.

Wondering just how ADA compliant your facility is? Contact Storee Construction and we will perform a complete facility audit. We also install, retrofit, or upgrade existing spaces to ensure compliance. We also understand how downtime can affect productivity, so we can do the work around your busiest times.