ADA Aware: Not Complying Can Mean Trouble

  December 7, 2016

By Dave Lubach

Maintenance and engineering managers are always hearing about hot technology trends. Raise your hand if you have not heard buzzwords such as big data, Internet of Things, LEDs, or VRF sometime in the last five minutes.

While it is important for managers to stay on top of the new products and concepts that keep institutional and commercial facilities running efficiently and on budget, managers also must remember to not lose track of other important aspects of their jobs — like keeping up with changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

More ADA: When Doing Interior Retrofits, Complying with ADA is Critical

Established in 1990 to protect disabled Americans from discrimination based on disabilities, violating ADA rules can cause managers plenty of headaches. During NFMT Vegas in early November, Joan Stein, president of Joan Stein Consulting and a nationally known expert on ADA, emphasized the sometimes difficult task of keeping up with ADA standards often beats the alternative.

“Personal lawsuits make (complying with) ADA seem like a day at the beach,” she says.

Among the suggestions Stein offered to managers was to document any changes that are made to your ADA compliance plan. Those areas include facility changes, instruction and staff training, policies and procedures, and changes to your website.

The preparation should not end there, Stein says. Ensuring your facility stays ADA compliant is a task that should not be taken lightly. She offers a number of suggestions to ensure that ADA remains among the top priorities for managers. They include:

1) Continually reviewing your facility and your website for ADA barriers.
2) Don’t put the review on a shelf and forget about it. Make it a living, working document and update it as changes are made.
3) Integrating ADA compliance into strategic, financial, maintenance and construction budgets.
4) Getting professional help when you need it.
5) Building the program the right way, and maintaining it.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dave Lubach, Associate Editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions,


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