ADA 2012: What You Need To Know

By MS Editorial Staff  

Today, we will be discussing recent changes to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) that went into effect March 15, 2012, and the way the new and updated guidelines will affect your facilities and their operations. 

For the purposes of today's discussion, we will focus on the major changes to accessibility guidelines that already are in effect for the nation's commercial and institutional buildings which include:

• New elements, including guidelines for amusement rides, golf courses, swimming pools and spas, fitness rooms, and other recreational areas.

• Changes in scoping and technical requirements, such as those for toilet centerlines, reach ranges, the number and types of hotel guest rooms, and the number of van-accessible parking spaces.

Joining us today is Joan Weiss Stein, a national ADA expert who will answer your questions. 

Joan is president and CEO of Accessibility Development Associates Inc., the company she founded in 1992. She heads the company's human resources, policy development, event and convention planning, and related consulting services. 

Joan has presented programs to more than 200 professional, civic and service organizations about ADA, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the Pennsylvania Housing & Finance Agency, and Manpower Services Inc. 

  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Welcome to our live chat with Joan Stein, a national ADA consultant who will be joining us in less than 90 minutes to discuss recent ADA changes that went into effect March 15, 2012.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: We'll be starting the chat momentarily. Thanks to everyone for joining us. Joan will be here soon.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Joan has arrived, Welcome.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: And here's the first question -
Comment From Dennis Clifton 
Do most of the changes affect new construction or existing buildings?
  Joan Stein: The 2010 ADA Standards apply to both existing buildings for readily-achievable barrier removal, renovations, alterations as well as new construction.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: And, the next question -
Comment From Leesa Williams 
Where can we access the complete list of changes effective March 15, 2012?
  Joan Stein: The complete set of the 2010 ADA Standards can be found at www.ada.gov. Click onto 2010 ADA Standards and you can download them. Since you can no longer use the 1991 ADA Standards, these are the comprehensive requirements for all title II and title III facilities.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Our next question comes from a member of the U.S. Airforce
Comment From Maj Eric Green, USAF 
What is your perspective on accessibility when applied to DoD Medical Facilities?what is your perspective on 100% accessibility? Does 100% accessibility mean every room should be 100% accessible and every piece of equipment within the room shall have a 3'-0" clearance? This is proving to be very problematic in the development of our facilities - leading to bigger rooms throughout the program and constant disagreement amongst the team and our consultants.
  First, USAF facilities are covered under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), the requirements can be found at the same website address of www.ada.gov. There are different scoping requirements for ABA, as well as medical facilities. If this is new construction and the requirement is 100% compliance, then that would be necessary. However, I would read the scoping chapter (2) carefully - unless a medical facility is geared only to provide services related to disability, the percentage requirements are generally not 100%. Also remember that many items in an exam and/or patient room could be movable. Another factor is medical necessity. It is important to drill down through the requirements of the ABA compared to what the medical licensing entity is requiring.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Thanks, Joan. And our next question comes from an attendee.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Attendee question ---> If we are not doing renovations, alterations, or new construction to our facilities, what does the March 15, 2012, date mean to me?
  Joan Stein: As of March 15, 2012, any barrier removal, alterations, additions or new construction must be done to comply with the 2010 ADA Standards, not the 1991 ADA Standards. Additionally, any new elements (recreation, golf courses, swimming pools and spas, etc.) that were not covered under the 1991 ADA Standards must now be evaluated for readily-achievable barrier removal.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Thank you, Joan. Our next question comes from another attendee.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Attendee question ---> What are the new technical and scoping changes for toilet centerlines and clear floor space at toilets?
  Joan Stein: The toilet (a.k.a. water closet) requirement has been changed from an absoulte 18" from the side wall or partition to a range of 16" - 18" from the side wall or partition in a toilet room or accessible toilet stall. For ambulatory stalls, the requirement has been changed to 15" - 17" from the side wall or partition. That's the good news. 
The requirements for clear floor space at a toilet have changed significantly. You can no longer place a lavatory (sink) within the clear floor space requirement for a side transfer. Look to Chapter 6 (604) for clear floor space requirements for toilets in both toilet rooms and bathroom (in hotels) as well as accessible toilet stalls in rest rooms.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Thanks, Joan! And on to the next question.
Comment From Guest  
The DOJ is knocking on my door (correctional facility), buildings are up to current standards when they were built (from 1980 to current). However, I do have a complaint in one small area. And now, I am being told to bring a 728, 000 sq. ft. campus up to current standard plus. Is there or isn't there any recourse?
  Joan Stein:
  Joan Stein: 
First, of the DOJ is making these requirements, you need to talk with them and listen to them. Has your administration already entered into a Settlement Agreement or Consent Decree with the DOJ? I cannot provide legal advice as I am not an attorney. However, if the Department of Justice is making these requirements, your only other alternative is to fight them in court, which is typically a losing proposition for anyone. Make all efforts to work with them, particularly in the timeframes for making the modifications. If your facility is a title II entity (governmental, rather than private), you cannot use financial as a reason not to make a modification. There are situations where issues such as safety and fundamental alterations to the programs and services can be a reason not to make the changes. Good luck!
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Thank you for that answer, Joan. And our next question comes from an attendee. Here's the question: I heard there is an extended deadline for one of the requirements for swimming pools. Is that true, and, if so, when is the new deadline, and what does it cover?
  Joan Stein: Yes, the requirement for lifts at pools and spas has been extended to January 31, 2013, primarily to allow time for clarfication of several key issues. They are whether a pool lift must be "secured" to the pool deck and whether a lift can be shared by more than one body of water. The first issue comes down to the terminology used in the regulations that the ADA Standards cover "fixed" elements - in other words if you turn the room upside down, whatever doesn't fall is covered. So, for pool lifts, many facilities have purchased portable lifts that are put away and brought out to the pool (or spa) on request by a guest with a disability. The Standards state that the lift must be in place and available for independent use (paraphrase) during the hours that the pool is available to all users. This issue and the sharing of lifts between bodies of water is yet to be decided. My professional recommendation is to continue whatever efforts you have been making to purchase a lift. If your pool is existing (and you are not doing any renovations or new construction), your obligation is to perform readily achievable barrier removal. If it is new construction, I believe the lift will be required to be fixed. Remember also that all barrier removal efforts are eligible for tax deductions (for private companies, not non-profits).
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Thanks, Joan. Our next question pertains to braille signage. Here it is -
Comment From Bill 
We just had an inspector tell us our signage (braille) is incorrect. Our sign company uses the ADA act II system. We were told to use the ANSI A117.1 - 2003 with 703.4. What is the correct code, system, etc should we be using?
  Joan Stein: 
I am not familiar wiht the ADA act II system. The ANSI A117.3 is consistent with the 2010 ADA Standards, so those are the requirements you should follow.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Thanks, Joan. Here's the next question -
Comment From Denny Buchannon 
Would you please clarify the requirement for detectable warnings? Are they required at street crossings, curb cuts, etc.?
  Joan Stein: This is a change for 2010. For private properties, the requirement for detectable warnings at curb cuts and vehicular crossings (i.e., strip mall) have been removed. The Access Board is currently finalizing the guidelines that are part of the Public Rights of Way requirements (streets, public domain) - stay tuned for those.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: Thank you, Joan. And on to our next question ...
Comment From Dennis Clifton 
Do the changes affect multi-level Parking Garages stall width, Garage elevators entrances and exits. Heights for installing emergency call buttons / phones.i.e. in elevator cabs?
  Joan Stein: There are several key changes related to multi-level parking garages, particularly those that are newly-constructed. First, an accessible route must be provided at each level of the garage to the building. 
Second, the scoping requirement for van-accessible parking spaces has been changed from 1 of every 8 accessible spaces to 1 of every 6 accessible spaces. Reach ranges have been reduced to 15"-48" aff. (removed the 54" aff for a side approach). In an elevator, emergency communications and buttons must be grouped at the bottom of the panel. See the chapter on Elevators in 2010 ADA Standards for all specifics.
  Maintenance Solutions magazine: This concludes our live-blog event. Thanks to everyone for joining today's live chat with Joan Stein. A special thank you to Joan for taking the time to answer these questions. If you are looking for additional information on ADA be sure to check out Joan Stein’s web workshop series available at:https://www.facilitiesnet.com/webinar/ada/

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »

  posted on 7/25/2012   Article Use Policy

Related Topics: