The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been in effect since 1990 and was updated most recently in 2010. In the almost 23 years since, great strides have been made in making the nation’s infrastructure accessible to more people. Evidence of the law’s impact can be seen everywhere from accessible parking spaces to interior features that allow easy navigation of a building.
However, a huge portion of the nations infrastructure was built prior to 1992 (when the new construction requirements went into effect). That means these buildings and parking areas weren’t completed with ADA compliance in mind. After 1992 and even continuing today, many new structures fall short of full ADA compliance. While the ADA allows for some variance in certain circumstances, the majority of publicly accessible buildings need to be brought into compliance whenever site alterations are made.
Compliance with the ADA means more people can access the nations parking lots, buildings and recreation areas. In short, more people can access your business. Non-compliance can mean lost customers, lost revenue and worse. Below are four reasons why building owners and property managers need to pay attention to the ADA.
It’s the right thing to do and it’s the law. If you own or manage a parking lot that is non-compliant with the ADA, and any upgrades are initiated, you must bring the site into compliance as, “any portion of the facility that can be made accessible shall be made accessible to the extent that it is not structurally impracticable”. (2010 ADA 28 CFR 35.151 New Construction and Alterations) While there are exceptions to this portion of the law, it’s important to recognize that the ADA requires money spent on a site be first spent to ensure compliance.
It can cost a lot of money to violate the ADA. Civil penalties can start at $55,000 for the first violation and rise to $110,000 for any subsequent violations. (2010 ADA 28 CFR Part 36 – Title III)
Upgrading the accessible parking spaces and access routes can drive the entire pavement project. As most compliant spaces and routes are near the main entrances of your building, any changes to those spaces will effect how the rest of the parking area and sidewalks are designed. You also need to be aware that just because a lot has accessible spaces marked out, they may not necessarily be compliant.
Better access to your buildings means easier client engagement and more accessible conditions for anyone using the building and surrounding parking structures. Why would you want to limit who has access to your parking areas, buildings and businesses? You wouldn’t.
ADA compliance evaluations are integral to our pavement design process. We ensure that you know exactly what changes need to be made to your parking and accessible routes so your building is in compliance with the ADA. Information provided does not constitute legal advice. For more information on the ADA please go here.