ADA Building Regulations

What are ADA Building Regulations?

Answered October 03 2019

ADA ( Americans with Disabilities Act) building regulations are a set of standards in the United States for all areas of public life, in both public and private institutions, that prevent discrimination against people with disabilities.

This includes unintentional discrimination, such as only including a staircase as entryway to a building, or posting signs that do not include alternative reading formats. It also ensures that people with disabilities have access to jobs, housing, public benefits, commercial goods, and more.

What does this look like in the world today?

People speak sign language in a coffee shop, a father in a wheelchair sits at a table with his daughter, friends drive together, and a mother smiles with her daughter Image Source: Getty Images | The Disability Collection

How do ADA regulations impact facilities planning?

ADA regulations impact facilities planning by informing the design specifications to facilities planners. These guidelines ensure that all structures are accessible to the general public, including individuals with disabilities. The overall facility must be in compliance with the ADA regulations that apply to it. For example, all barriers to pathways of travel must be removed. Ramps must be included, as well as elevators, so individuals with mobility disabilities can have equal access to all parts of a building.

However, achieving ADA compliance is not always a simple process. For example, building requirements can vary, depending on the age of the building. The newer the construction, the more complicated the regulations can be.  In contrast, different standards might apply to older buildings that may not be able to be changed.

Universal design is better for everyone

When buildings are built to be accessible for people with disabilities, they are better to use for everyone. Universal design, also called inclusive design, involves the practice of building environments so that all components of a space can be enjoyed by anyone, including people with disabilities. For example, Starbucks recently launched a store in Washington D.C. that is entirely run by employees who are fluent in American Sign Language. The space itself  incorporates universal design elements to improve the experience for customers who are Deaf or hard of hearing, by considering sensory reach, mobility, proximity, light, color and acoustics.

How can I use a CMMS to comply with the ADA?

A CMMS ( computerized maintenance management system)can help your company catch common oversights, such as obstructed pathways, evacuation plans that may not take mobility devices into account, and other such places on your facilities. This is due in part to the fact that computers are simply much better at keeping track of things than people are capable of doing.

In addition, when fed the proper data set, a good CMMS may also generate reports that show you at a glance what needs improving. Given  the wide scope of the ADA regulations, such an overview is highly helpful.

In brief, when properly used, a CMMS, plus a preventative maintenance plan, ensures that you and your company are in compliance with the ADA.

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