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Common ADA Violations
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Renovations Trigger ADA Compliance?Pt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Proceeding After an ADA ViolationPt. 4: ADA In Commercial Real Estate
The most common violations are found at every juncture of a facility.
Built Environment: It ranges from curb ramps and ramps that are too steep, the lack of marked parking with a marked access aisle and signage (ground markings don’t count, since they can’t be seen at night or when snow-covered.)
Restrooms: The most common violations are toilets not mounted the correct distance from wall or partition (a.k.a. water closet centerline), flush valve for the toilet is on the wrong side; if it isn’t on the wide side, you have to reach over the toilet to flush it.
Operations: Most common violations that are operational in nature, meaning they were not designed and/or constructed that way, include:
-Housekeeping/maintenance staff placing a garbage can next to the restroom's exit door. Clear space next to door (a.k.a. maneuvering clearances) is intended to give someone in a wheelchair the space to approach the door, reach the door handle and open the door. You can’t do that if the garbage can is there! Another is placing garbage cans/ash urns directly in front of the “call buttons” at an elevator, again impacting the ability of someone in a wheelchair or using a walker to reach the buttons.
- Retail establishments placing merchandise, information racks, etc. in the aisles, which reduces path of travel.
- Mounting objects to the wall (a.k.a. circulation route) that project 4 inches or more from the wall. If they are 27 inches to 80 inches from the floor, someone with a visual disability will miss the item on a “cane sweep” and walk right into the object and get hurt!
These are but a few. The structural/design violations are either a result of not following, understanding or paying attention to the ADA Standards as a federal law and relying solely on building code and code officials. Building codes can be negotiated; civil rights cannot. Good design documents can still be constructed incorrectly. Sometimes it’s that the workmen have been doing it that way for x years, they don’t pay attention, or they simply don’t stop to think of someone using it.
The operational violations, although not permanent/fixed items covered under the ADA Standards, create barriers nonetheless. Try explaining to someone who is trapped in a rest room because the garbage can is placed in their way that it really isn’t covered under the Standards — that won’t work!