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Do All Businesses Have to Be ADA Compliant? Title III of the ADA applies to all private and public entities that serve the public. These include but are not limited to stores, restaurants, and other service establishments, as well as hotels, private schools, theaters, museums, doctor’s offices, and shopping malls. A broad set of standards was introduced in 1991, but requirements were significantly revised in 2010.

Is ADA Compliance Mandatory?

Architectural barriers must be removed when doing so doesn’t impose undue difficulty on an organization. The size, type, and financial burden of modifying a public accommodation is taken into account, but what is difficult at one time may not be so in the future. The language of the ADA recognizes that business finances change over time.

How Do I Know My Business Meets ADA-Compliance Requirements?

The primary areas to focus on, especially if resources are limited, include:

Parking Areas: Handicapped, or accessible, parking spots are required under the ADA. For every 25 parking spaces, there should be at least one accessible spot. Accessible parking spaces must be closest to the nearest wheelchair-accessible entrance. The law also sets limits on the ground slope and requires access aisles to be five feet wide near a car-accessible space and eight feet wide near a van-accessible space.

Building Entrances: Accessible entrances must remain unlocked during business hours. Any bell or intercom must be four feet or less from the ground. Non-accessible entrances are permissible if a building has more than one entryway, but must have clear signage directing individuals to the nearest accessible entrance. Door hardware must be usable by people with mobility issues, such as levers and loop handles.

Ramps: Where steps are removed, ramps or lifts must be provided, with limits on the steepness of a slope. Accessible ramps must be at least 36 inches wide. If data cables, hoses, or extension cords run across a ramp, they must be protected by a special heavy-duty cover that meets ADA-compliance standards. If one isn’t available or appropriate, a standard heavy-duty polyurethane cord protector can be used.

Elevators: Accessible entrances must provide direct access to elevators. Call buttons must not be higher than 54 inches above the floor. The sliding door must also reopen automatically if something is obstructing it. Elevator interiors must be at least 54 inches deep by 36 inches wide, with at least 16 square feet of clear floor space.

Signage: The International Symbol of Accessibility must be featured at all accessible parking spaces, elevators, bathrooms, and areas leading to accessible entrances. It should not protrude more than four inches into the accessible path. Tactile characters and braille must designate permanent rooms and spaces, while text must contrast with the background.


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