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August 20, 2012 -
I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, ensuring restroom accessibility.
Restrooms in institutional and commercial buildings remain common areas for accessibility challenges because of the many components related to accessibility, including doors, door hardware, and dispensers.
Managers first need to understand the individual accessibility standards that combine to produce an accessible restroom. Misapplying these standards and requirements or installing products incorrectly not only makes a restroom non-accessible for individuals with disabilities. It also will heighten the probability of lawsuits alleging discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, and state codes.
Remodeling and new construction projects usually trigger the application of new accessibility standards. If a remodeling or new construction project is not compliant, it is hard to defend the reasons for including newly installed features, such as soap dispensers, that are not compliant. The cost to install a soap dispenser incorrectly is usually the same as the cost to install a compliant dispenser.
Diligent managers do their homework when remodeling restrooms. Understanding accessibility requirements will result in the job being done right the first time.
Specifying compliant products and paying careful attention to installation details will result in restrooms that meet federal accessibility requirements of the ADA accessibility guidelines (ADAAG), as well as state codes. Compliance with ADA is a minimum standard. If a state standard requires a greater level of accessibility than ADAAG, the state standard applies.