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Preventing ADA Problems
June 14, 2010 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is accessibility.
Today, 19 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, a significant number of facilities covered under this federal law are still being sued for their failure to comply with the standards. How can facility managers help their organizations avoid ADA litigation? Taking proactive steps now will help keep facility managers ahead of that curve. Here are some such steps:
If a manager performed a comprehensive ADA evaluation of a building previously, that’s good. Now it's time to take it off the shelf, read it and ask the following questions:
• Have "readily achievable" barriers been identified and removed?
• Were these changes documented in the ADA compliance plan?
• Was a plan developed to address barriers requiring capital expenditures?
• Is that plan being followed?
• Are all renovations, alterations and new construction required to comply fully with ADA requirements? Was this requirement specifically stated in contracts for all professional services, including architects, engineers and contractors?
• Does the organization ensure that all accessible elements (elevators, automatic door openers, wheelchair lifts, visual strobe alarms) are maintained in working order?
If there are more "no" answers than "yes," it's time to get to work.