FM Complaints eBook, order your copy today >

4  FM quick reads on ADA

1. ADA: Renovations and Requirements

ADA

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, facility renovations and ADA.

Maintenance and engineering managers undertaking renovations in institutional and commercial facilities need to be aware of the impact on the project of requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.

The requirements for readily achievable barrier removal under ADA began Jan. 26, 1992, and have continued since then. Organizations must remove barriers, with a few exceptions, regardless of any work being done.

Anytime a facility undergoes renovations where access barriers exist, the organization must spend 20 percent of the construction costs on removing these barriers from the path of travel. For ADA purposes, the path of travel includes water fountains and restrooms. Any renovation to a primary function area triggers this requirement. The phrase primary function area applies to an area where the activities are germane to the business, such as a bank's teller stations.

As with the model building code — The International Building Code and the American National Standards Institute — ADA does not require barrier removal on the path of travel that exceeds 20 percent of the cost of the renovation. The major difference in this regard between ADA requirements and building codes is that the ADA requires barrier removal in existing buildings, regardless of renovations. Building codes do not come into play until renovations, alterations or new construction occurs.

Managers can find more specific information in the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, Sec.36.403 Alterations: Path of travel. ADA guidelines typically supersede a state or local building code, unless the code provides for greater or equal protection of individuals with disabilities.


2.  MSCA Star Certifies Non-Residential Mechanical Service Contractors

Today's tip from Building Operating Management: For facility managers looking to hire HVAC contractors, one certification program to check out is the MSCA Star certification.

The Mechanical Service Contractors of America created the MSCA Star designation in 2003 for mechanical service contractors that serve industrial, commercial and institutional facilities. Among the requirements for the MSCA Star designation:
• Contractors must have been involved in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration industry for at least five years.
• At least 25 percent of the contractor's service techs must hold the UA Star certification, an HVACR service technician certification from the United Association of the Plumbing, Pipefitting and Sprinklerfitting Industry of the United States and Canada.
• Employees have to attend at least one national or local program sponsored by MSCA or its parent group, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America each year.
• Inventory control programs for trucks and tools are required for contractors.
• Contractors must have documented service safety and health programs and must maintain what MSCA calls an "outstanding" safety record.
• All field personnel must be required to wear photo ID cards.
• Contractors must maintain a high-level of customer service. The MSCA Star qualification process checks contractor references with customers. To receive UA Star certification, technicians have to pass an exam designed to ensure that they are qualified to service, repair, maintain or retrofit a wide range of mechanical systems. Technicians also have to complete a 5 year apprentice training program and have work experience.

A third-party personnel certification agency, National ITC Corporation, administers the MSCA Star program, as well as the UA Star program and a wide variety of other industry certifications. NITC is certified under the ISO 9001 quality management standard and is ANSI-accredited.

3.  Water Conservation: Low-Flow Faucets

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, common ADA violations.

Twenty years after the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, institutional and commercial facilities continue to struggle in their efforts to comply with ADA's accessibility guidelines. Here is a look at the more common ADA violations still found in facilities.

In the built environment, violations range from curb ramps and ramps that are too steep, to a lack of parking with a marked access aisle and signage. Ground markings are not effective because they are not visible at night or when covered with snow.

In restrooms, the most common violations involve toilets not mounted the correct distance from walls or partitions, and toilet flush valves on the wrong side. If the flush valve is on the wide side, users must reach over the toilet to flush.

In facility operations, the most common violations include these:
• Housekeeping workers placing a garbage can next to the restroom exit door. Clear space next to door gives a person using a wheelchair enough space to approach the door, reach the door handle and open the door.
• Placing garbage cans directly in front of call buttons for elevators, again impeding the progress of someone in a wheelchair or using a walker to reach the buttons.
• Mounting objects on walls that project 4 inches or more from the wall. If the objects are 27-80 inches from the floor, someone with a visual disability will miss the item on a cane sweep and walk right into the object.

The structural and design violations result from not following, understanding or paying attention to the ADA guideline and relying solely on building code and code officials. The operational violations, although not permanent or fixed items covered under the ADA guidelines, still create barriers.

4.  Common ADA Violations

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, common ADA violations.

Twenty years after the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, institutional and commercial facilities continue to struggle in their efforts to comply with ADA's accessibility guidelines. Here is a look at the more common ADA violations still found in facilities.

In the built environment, violations range from curb ramps and ramps that are too steep, to a lack of parking with a marked access aisle and signage. Ground markings are not effective because they are not visible at night or when covered with snow.

In restrooms, the most common violations involve toilets not mounted the correct distance from walls or partitions, and toilet flush valves on the wrong side. If the flush valve is on the wide side, users must reach over the toilet to flush.

In facility operations, the most common violations include these:
• Housekeeping workers placing a garbage can next to the restroom exit door. Clear space next to door gives a person using a wheelchair enough space to approach the door, reach the door handle and open the door.
• Placing garbage cans directly in front of call buttons for elevators, again impeding the progress of someone in a wheelchair or using a walker to reach the buttons.
• Mounting objects on walls that project 4 inches or more from the wall. If the objects are 27-80 inches from the floor, someone with a visual disability will miss the item on a cane sweep and walk right into the object.

The structural and design violations result from not following, understanding or paying attention to the ADA guideline and relying solely on building code and code officials. The operational violations, although not permanent or fixed items covered under the ADA guidelines, still create barriers.


RELATED CONTENT:


ADA , accessibility , renovations

65 Crazy, Outrageous Occupant Complaints. Order your copy today >


QUICK Sign-up - Membership Includes:

New Content and Magazine Article Updates
Educational Webcast Alerts
Building Products/Technology Notices
Complete Library of Reports, Webcasts, Salary and Exclusive Member Content



click here for more member info.