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Is Your Reopened Facility ADA Compliant?
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a host of changes to institutional and commercial facilities as facility managers have sought to create safer and healthier. Maintenance and engineering managers have retrofitted and upgraded key areas of facilities from entryways and restrooms to hallways and conference rooms to create space for workers.
As the impact of the Omicron variant begins to wane in some parts of the country, managers now need to assess the potential impact of these changes on accessibility to the building and movement through its hallways and workspaces.
The challenge for managers is to ensure that any building changes comply with the guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), along with fire and life safety codes, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Among the key questions managers need to address are these:
- Are reception and security areas staffed? If not, how would a guest be able to gain assistance with entry?
- Are required outside doors arranged to accommodate people with disabilities?
- Are check-in processes and technologies able to assist everyone?
- Are egress arrangements in the lobby and building free and clear of obstruction?
- Have building directories and directional signage been updated to account for relocations and moves within the building? This step can help reduce unnecessary travel in locating the intended party.
Dan Hounsell is senior editor, facility group.