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ADA: Compliance Considerations
December 28, 2011
I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, ADA compliance considerations.
Maintenance and engineering managers rely on the guidance and knowledge of architects and contractors before and during new construction and renovations. Confidence in the architect’s or contractor’s ability to meet applicable codes and regulations is usually a given.
Since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, in 1990 and the implementation of Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, or ADAAG, some managers have inserted references to nondiscrimination and compliance with the ADA into contracts. On the surface, this seems to offer all the protection needed. ADA is a federal law. It's easy to assume that architects and contractors will comply with it and fully understand it. But in real life, things aren’t so simple.
Managers would be wise to invest time upfront to be sure the project they expect is actually the project architects and contractors deliver. Consider these questions to ask architects and contractors, many of which also apply to product manufacturers and representatives:
- Is your firm knowledgeable about the various disability-related laws and requirements pertinent to this project?
- What is your firm's design philosophy, particularly on accessibility and universal design?
- Does the firm involve people with disabilities in the design process?
- How disruptive will this project be to persons with disabilities?
- Does the firm have a list of past client references for similar accessibility projects that can be contacted?