ADA Construction Standards for Accessible Design

Association of Construction and Development
June 21, 2013 — 1,469 views  

The ADA or the Americans with Disabilities Act is a law for civil rights that forbids discrimination, based on disability, within set parameters. It was initially introduced in 1990 with the objective of providing disabled workers with better protection. Since then it has undergone several amendments that have facilitated more secure facilities for the disabled.    

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

On the 15th of March, 2012, new regulations were passed to the effect that all new constructions had to comply with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. These regulations, linked with the architectural sector, mainly cover recreational facilities and public amenities.

Easy accessibility is the keyword in this amendment. In amusement parks, newly designed or newly constructed rides must be easily accessible by the disabled. However, rides controlled by the rider or specifically designed for children are not included. With regard to boating facilities, a fraction of the boat slips and boarding piers should be easily accessible by individuals with a disability. At fishing piers, accessible routes, clear ground space, sufficient turning space, and low guardrails or handrails are a prerequisite.

At exercise centers, a disabled person must be able to access and use at least one of each type of exercise equipment conveniently. For golf facilities, accessibility is essential not only to the golf course but also to areas such as the golf car rental zone and bag drop-off zone. Play areas must have ramps and transfer systems. Swimming pools, wading pools, and spas must have a sloped entry, a pool lift, or a transfer system. Sufficient turning space, clear floor space, and an accessible bench are needed in steam baths and saunas. The revisions also include easy accessibility at judicial facilities, detention and correctional facilities, as well as residential areas among other public areas.                

Accessibility Guidelines

As per the construction standards, all new constructions should be built or modified so as to facilitate easy and independent movement for disabled individuals. All public utility areas such as recreational centers, housing facilities, medical care units, judicial centers, and work stations must have easily accessible approach paths that allow disabled individuals to enter and exit independently.

They must meet design standards so as to allow the convenient passage of wheelchairs. There should be sufficient clear ground space for comfortable movement and easy maneuverability. The facilities should have sufficient turning space as well. Ramps or a transfer system must be present in places which are difficult to access using a wheelchair.   

ADA Requirements for Accessibility of Pool

As per the ADA requirements for accessibility of a pool, small pools need to have at least one pool lift or sloping entry area. Large pools need to have at least two entry/exit points for disabled individuals. From these, at least one must be a sloped area or a pool lift. Besides physical accessibility, disabled individuals should also be given the opportunity to participate in all pool related activities and competitions, unless doing so will need a complete change in the initial plan or result in added costs. In the case of already existing pools, the installation of a pool lift is essential. Alternately, a portable pool lift may be used as and when the need arises.  

Compliance dates

All constructions that began on or after the 15th of March, 2012 must comply with the ADA construction standards for accessibility. Alterations to existing constructions, barrier removal, and program accessibility should also have been in effect as of the 15th of March, 2012. In case facilities have already implemented the 1991 design standards, they need not make alterations to match the requirements of the 2010 standards.      

So, we see that the ADA Construction Standards for Accessible Design mainly aims at ensuring that every individual can enjoy all the public amenities irrespective of their disabilities. This act not only protects the interests of the disabled but also ensures that they have a fulfilling life in every sense.  

Association of Construction and Development