Are you aware of federal laws that may require you to make comprehensive upgrades to your commercial property in order to accommodate disabled clients or customers? Even if you’re only making improvements to areas such as your showroom, your office, or your lobby, federal laws enacted could trigger your project to come into compliance with the law. The law in question is called the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA for short.
ADA is a federal civil rights law that protects the disabled from acts of discrimination. As such, commercial and public properties are required to come into structural compliance, allowing the disabled to use necessary equipment and structures that allow them to interface with the business. While making changes to your property’s structure might seem like an expense you’d rather avoid, it’s still a lot less expensive than being exposed to a federal lawsuit claim being filed against you and your business.
Compliance with ADA While Renovating Your Honolulu Commercial Property
You may be required to bring into compliance your primary functional areas. This is the space where any activities relevant to the business takes place. If there are any barriers in the primary functional areas that would cause an issue for disabled persons, then you are legally required to alter or remove any hindering barriers.
You’ll need to perform an inspection of all relevant areas, such as the walkways to the door, the lobby, your office spaces, or your conference rooms. Keep in mind that you are also mandated to dedicate up to 20 percent of your renovation budget towards removing any hindering barriers that might exist.
ADA Prescriptions For Pre-Existing And Non-Compliant Buildings
Usually, newly constructed public and commercial properties are designed with ADA laws in mind, so little to no renovation work is required. However, it’s always a good idea to perform an inspection to ensure that your design is still in accord with the latest compliance laws. But if your building or public space is over 30 years old, then there’s a good chance that it wasn’t constructed with ADA in mind, and you’re overdue for bringing the structural design into compliance.
While your property might not have been designed with disability mobility in mind, it’s an issue that should be at the top of your mind as you plan upgrades and structural renovations, moving forward.
What Are Common ADA Compliance Structural Changes Required?
Are you worried about failing to fall into ADA compliance? Fortunately, there’s steps that you can take to correct the situation. Below are the areas that you’ll need to perform a visual audit on and correct, if necessary:
Upgrade business and public restrooms to accommodate disabled persons
Door frames should be widened to allow wheelchair and scooter entrance
Change your door hardware to allow for easy disability access
Lower the height of your water fountains to allow access to anyone in a wheelchair
Replace any tiles or flooring that hinders disability mobility
Attach grab bars and railings for those who require balance aids
Improve your parking lots. Make repairs, such as repairing uneven areas, fixing pot holes, and designating parking spots specifically for disabled people who come to your building.
Create ramps and curbs designed for disabled people entering or leaving your property
Move any furniture or structures that create a barrier for the disabled
Will ADA Renovations Impede Business Operations?
You might be concerned that all of these renovation projects will require your business to close until the projects have been completed. But depending upon the project, you might be able to conduct business as usual without the need to temporarily shut down operations.
If you’d like to know what you may be facing, then be sure to check out The Americans With Disabilities Act Checklist For Readily Achievable Barrier Removal.This is a federally-compliant checklist that you can use against your current interior and exterior design plan.
When you’re ready to start Honolulu Hawaii renovation projects, then we’re here to help you to come into federal compliance. We have over 30 years of experience with helping our Honolulu clients come into proper compliance in order to avoid liabilities. Call us today at (808) 216-9956 to request a quote.