Americans with Disabilities Act - 30 Years of Access

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Christy Maerz

This July is the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We not only celebrate this milestone with the rest of the country, at PM Design Group, we think about access and inclusion in the built environment every day. Since our beginning, PM Design Group has in-house specialists that help our clients ensure their site and building are ADA compliant.

What is the ADA?

The ADA is a civil rights law, rather than building code. It is designed to make about 1 in 5 American’s day-to-day activities easier, which as a result, affects the businesses they visit on a daily basis. These businesses need to be accessible and equipped to accommodate those who are protected by the ADA, and that’s where we come in.

Enlisting experience can help save time and money, whether your project is a new build or an existing site.

Our in-house specialists know ADA requirements. Our team includes ICC accessibility inspectors and plans examiners and are Certified Access Specialists (CASp) in California. Bringing an existing building up to compliance standards can be challenging. Our specialists conduct an accessibility inspection of your site and create an action plan. The process includes producing barrier-removal drawings and permitting with local jurisdictions to help get your facility into compliance with the ADA and local building codes. We also ensure projects meet access code requirements—helping provide disabled access while reducing upfront costs and future liability.

We help our partners navigate between federal and state standards and local building codes so that they can meet and exceed the minimum requirements for local businesses. The accessibility updates to a site actually have many benefits, both to the business and the customer. By making their site ADA-compliant and accessible to those with disabilities, businesses gain customers that couldn’t access previously. Removal of architectural barriers such as providing accessible parking, accessible routes, and making entrances accessible in turn bring in more revenue to the business and help it thrive. 

When designing a new site, it’s important to do upfront analysis to fully understand design requirements. This is a win-win for both the business and the customer and is more financially viable than designing your site and making costly ADA updates later on. This is a win-win for both the business and the customer, and is more financially viable than designing your site, and making costly ADA updates later on. We make designing with accessibility in mind a critical aspect from the start, ensuring successful installation and compliance in the built environment. Keeping it simple—fewer errors in the field saves money.

The positive aspects of the ADA are many. Customers with disabilities are estimated to bring in 200 billion dollars in discretionary spending each year to businesses on average [U.S. Department of Labor]. These updates aren’t just about preventing a potential lawsuit, they’re about giving people equal opportunity, and expanding businesses.

Contact us with your accessibility questions.

With 30 years of accessibility in architecture, it’s our job to stay involved and stay educated. Looking ahead into the rest of 2020, you and your team can prepare by staying informed about updates to local building codes, interpretations on ADA legislation, and being proactive in removing architectural barriers to your site. We help our clients to do what’s right for their customers and their business, providing the greatest level of access.

If you have questions about how to make your business ADA compliant, contact us today.

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