The ADA and Your Construction ProjectAssociation of Construction and Development
October 31, 2012 — 1,211 views
The ADA and Your Construction Project
The time to think about ADA regulation compliance is at the beginning of a construction project. Waiting until construction has begun or is completed can result in costly repairs and delayed completion. Some considerations of accessibility of a new general construction building include outside considerations, accessible route through the facility, access to restrooms, and access to other customer amenities.
If one takes a moment to view the outside from the perspective of someone who uses a wheelchair, the access needs are easy to understand. If parking is part of the construction, one in every six needs to needs to large enough to accommodate a wheelchair van (a 96 inch space adjacent to a 60 inch access route). The access route must include a curb ramp opening not blocked by anything. Ramps are necessary to any level of a building not accessible by an elevator or lift. The ramp slope should be between 1.16 and 1.20. Ramps and stairs need to be fitted with railings between 34 and 38 inches to the top of the grip on both sides. Building entrances need to be built with people using walkers and wheelchairs in mind. Doorways need to be at least 32 inches wide with a 90 degree opening without significant changes in threshold height. To make sure doors are easy to open follow guidelines for weight, force and easy use hardware.
Once through the door, accessibility considerations continue. A major concern is an accessible route to all accessible spaces or units of a structure. The path needs to be at least 36 inches wide with additional space of 60 by 60 inches at frequent intervals for passing or turning around. No objects should block this route including objects protruding from walls. Water fountains (two at different heights), ATMs, and public telephones need to be placed at a height that is easy to reach from a chair.
Along an accessible route in the building needs to be a bathroom with at least one wheelchair accessible stall. Some of the major considerations for bathroom construction include the size of an accessible stall (at least 56 by 60 inches with a T shaped turning space), placement of toilet (16 to 19 inches from floor to lid) and grab bars mounted behind and to the side of the toilet (see ADA guidelines for specifics about bars and placement). There are additional guidelines to place sinks, toilet paper, paper towel, and soap dispensers. All of these make it possible for a person using a wheelchair or walker to use all of the facilities.
More information and complete guidelines are available at http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#c5.