Why would renovating your lobby, showroom, office space or conference room require you to update your commercial facility’s bathrooms? Commercial renovations sometimes trigger requirements for upgrades that will bring your space into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA is a federal civil rights law that prevents discrimination against disabled individuals. Title III of the ADA requires public and commercial entities to meet minimum ADA standards for accessibility. Failure to comply with ADA standards can leave your company vulnerable to liability issues. See which commercial renovations trigger ADA compliance and how to best handle each situation.
Commercial Renovations and ADA Compliance
A primary function area is defined as a space where activities relevant to the business are conducted. When barriers still exist in a building, any alterations to a primary function area trigger demand for ADA compliance upgrades. Therefore, giving your lobby, showroom, office space or conference room a facelift may mean that you need to improve other areas of the building to avoid running info ADA renovation guidelines issues. In this situation, up to 20 percent of the construction renovation costs should be dedicated to removing remaining barriers, if any. However, remodeling does not mean that an existing space must be made totally compliant. Generally speaking, a business is not required to spend more than 20 percent of the construction budget on barrier removal.
ADA Guidelines and Existing Buildings
While new construction is generally built to comply with the relevant section of the ADA, applying this law to existing buildings is a bit more complicated. That doesn’t mean buildings that predate the ADA can ignore the issue of ADA guidelines. In existing buildings, the law requires that barriers to accessibility be removed when it is readily achievable and can be accomplished without excessive difficulty or expense. Ideally, this should be an ongoing process, but any move to alter a facility makes ADA enforcement especially relevant. That’s because companies are required to make appropriate efforts to meet ADA compliance standards whenever they choose to renovate or remodel a primary function area.
Areas Commonly Impacted by ADA Requirements
If remodeling your business, this might fall under the category of ADA remodeling. You might be required to bring a facility up to date with ADA requirements which means making a space more accessible. This can be accomplished by:
- Upgrading public and company bathrooms so that they comply with ADA standards
- Widening doorframes to allow wheelchairs
- installing accessible hardware on doors
- Adjusting water fountains to better accommodate people with all disabilities including wheelchairs
- Replacing problematic flooring
- Adding railings or grab bars in appropriate locations
- Creating or improving accessible parking
- Installing ADA handicap ramps or creating curb cuts at entrances
- Rearranging furniture and other features to reduce barriers to service
Depending on how many ADA compliance upgrades you need, you might be able to Stay Open for Business During a Commercial Renovation.
“The Americans With Disabilities Act Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal,” is an ADA compliance checklist available at ADA.gov. It was created to provide companies with the information that they need to understand their legal responsibilities under this law. However, with so many variables, determining how ADA compliance requirements impact your commercial building renovation plans can be difficult.
CBF Contracting, Inc. has been a commercial renovation contractor in Pennsylvania serving commercial and industrial clients for more than 40 years. We have a great deal of experience with ADA compliance standards and understand how to effectively incorporate these requirements while fulfilling your construction or remodeling needs. To learn more about our services or request a quote, contact us today at 814-745-3000.