In 1992 in the history of the USA something special happened. In that specific year, The Americans with Disabilities Act, in short form ADA has been passed and America started to give more importance to disabled persons by giving them priority in many cases.
Soon after having ADA, many businesses started to make their businesses more accessible by redesigning many parts of their structure. One of the major changes that come into effect is making the structures, buildings, and facilities in a way so that disabled persons can access them more easily. Actually, ADA empowered disabled persons to be included in the mainstream development of society.
As a result, many small businesses started improving their policies, structures, and so on. Within a short time, maintaining ADA compliance for small businesses become a trend for small businesses. But the question is do you really need ADA compliance as a small business owner?
The answer is ‘Yes’ if you meet certain requirements. The ADA compliance requirements are mentioned on the ADA for small private businesses are-
- The number of employees should be at least 15
- Runs its business for equal to or more than 20 weeks in a calendar year and
- Doing business in a sector that affects commerce.
So, if your company meets these certain requirements it is a must to comply with the ADA compliance.
Only Structural Compliance or Virtual Compliance too?
Meeting only structural compliance is not enough. As today’s world is mostly online, you need to make your website in a way so that it meets the requirements of the ADA. For example, if you have a video on your website, you must have to put a transcript, so that visible disabled persons can hear what you are trying to say on your video. Having a proper site structure is also important for maintaining ADA compliance.
What are the structural changes you should make?
In 2010, ADA has been revised and Title II & III has been modified making the new construction as well as old construction more accessible to disabled persons.
It mentions that, new construction should be such that a wide range of disabled persons can access them easily with ramps, with signs etc. For example, if it is a commercial building having more than 3 floors a wheelchair-accessible lift or elevator may be required. Every structure should have door ramps so that people with walking disabilities can access them easily.
What are ADA regulations for the doors and ramps?
The door is a very important part of any building, facility, or structure. This is because it provides and opens to the facility for the people seeking some sort of service or work. Therefore all doors including the doors inside the building should be ADA compatible. A professional can help to let you know whether your doors meet the following ADA requirements.
General people think of automatic doors or ramps only. But a real ADA compliance is something more than that.
We are mentioning some not all ADA requirements for the doors and ramps on your business facility:
- The door handle should be easy to hold and twist(if needed) for opening. The door must have to be opened with one hand. The force required for opening should not be greater than 5 pounds. If different, you may need to replace it with a door that meets ADA requirements.
- For automatic doors having a safety mat, guide rails, etc are a must. For manual doors bottom rails less than 10 inches are a must.
- Guide rails may be necessary on a ramp. The slope of the ramp should not be greater than 1:20
- The landing before and after the ramp should be adequate.
The general rules are mentioned here. There are specific values to be used by an experienced engineer or person who knows to maintain ADA compliance.
Signs for Disabled persons
To have ADA compliance for your business it is mandatory to provide adequate signs for disabled persons. These signs will help the persons with disabilities to understand what is waiting for them inside and will lead them to access the business without any hassle after moving on.
- Having a Braille sign may help visually disabled persons. For example, If there are no braille signs on the lift/elevator it will be difficult for the visually impaired person to access the property.
- Permanent functional rooms should have proper signs for their specific works. A room will be termed as permanently functional if the room is being used for 7 days for any specific type of work.
- Safety signs should maintain ADA compliance. For example, like signs for emergency exit, signs for construction in progress etc fall in to this category.
- Accessibility signs should be such that disabled persons can access the property easily. For example, a sign that this door can be operated by disabled persons can help them.
If you want to have an inclusive development meeting the ADA compliance is a must. It is almost impossible for any general person to understand the underlying meaning of ADA compliance. In that case, you should take advice from experienced personnel or company.