ADA Guidelines 2020

Wheel chair traffic sign pointing to the right in parking lot

Passed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was revised later with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. It was originally intended to reduce discrimination. In these guidelines, we will discuss ADA-compliance requirements for accessibility in public spaces.

Two components of the ADA apply to businesses, including:

  • Title I: Covers qualified employers with 15 or more workers that operate for at least 20 calendar weeks per year, and which serve any industry affecting commerce. Individuals with disabilities must be provided with the same opportunities at work as others and workplaces cannot discriminate against anyone because of a disability. By law, businesses must provide reasonable accommodations to help people with disabilities to perform their job duties.
  • Title III: Applies to businesses considered to be “public accommodations” and prohibits discrimination against customers with disabilities. Title III requirements apply to any business that serves the public, regardless of size. They primarily focus on accessibility regarding removing physical barriers to existing structures, accessible design, and the use of mobility devices and service animals.

ADA-Compliance Standards

Accessibility requirements laid out by the ADA include:

  • Remove barriers by installing ramps, creating curb cut-outs in sidewalks and entrances, and arranging furniture such that areas can be easily and safely navigated. Other considerations here include:
  • Placement of tables/chairs, displays, racks, and vending machines.
  • Installation of accessible door hardware—knobs, locks, keyholes, etc.
  • Raised markings on elevator control buttons.
  • Grab bars in toilet stalls.
  • Configuration of toilet partitions to provide space to maneuver.
  • Placement of paper towel dispensers in bathrooms.
  • A path of travel must allow individuals with disabilities, including those with wheelchairs, to access restrooms, telephones, drinking fountains, and other areas serving primary functions of a facility, including cafeterias, offices, and meeting rooms. Paths of travel also include sidewalks, parking areas, and streets.
  • Parking spaces must be accessible. A facility with on-site parking must have at least one accessible parking space per 25 regular ones. This rule applies to both parking lots and parking structures, which must also provide an accessible route from the parking space to a building entrance.
  • Detectable warnings must be used. The most recent Title II ADA regulations, introduced in 2016, require state and local governments to install and/or enforce the use of detectable warning surfaces. These must include dome-shaped truncated domes, a slope of 8.33% or less, and a ramp of at least 36 inches wide. Curb ramps must be wherever a sidewalk or pedestrian path meets a curb, while transitions must be level with an opposing surface, such as a walkway or street.

Ways to Make Your Business ADA-Compliant

Title III requires business owners to make reasonable efforts to make their facilities accessible. You can meet ADA-compliance requirements by:

ramp for wheelchair disabled people at office building

  • Designating accessible parking spaces close to the nearest wheelchair-accessible entrance.
  • Installing signage directing individuals to the nearest accessible entrance or path.
  • Installing door hardware, such as levers and loop handles, that people with mobility issues can use.
  • Providing ramps or lifts and using ADA-compliant covers over hoses, electrical cords, and data cables.
  • Having at least one accessible entryway—if there’s one, other non-accessible entrances are permissible.
  • Creating direct access from accessible entrances to elevators.

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