Thursday, April 16th, 2015
The American population is rapidly aging and by year 2030, 71.5 million Baby Boomers will be over the age of 65 and demanding products, services, and environments that address their age-related physical changes. In addition, there are more than 50 million disabled or limited mobility Americans frequenting businesses on a daily basis.
To satisfy the growing demand, new ADA (American Disabilities Act) specs and laws are being incorporated into building codes by local, state and federal governments to allow all people to more easily gain access and navigate buildings in a safe manner. Incorporating new ADA compliant modifications and construction in your commercial buildings can allow you a broader customer base for years to come.
The Department of Justice’s revised regulations for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) were published in 2010. These regulations adopted revised, enforceable accessibility standards. On March 15, 2012, compliance with the 2010 Standards was required for new construction and alterations under Titles II and III. March 15, 2012, is also the compliance date for using the 2010 Standards for program accessibility and barrier removal.
Doors, doorways, and gates that are part of an accessible route shall comply with Section 404 of the 2010 Design Statues. Inaccessible door hardware can prevent access to the business, however, changing or adding door hardware is usually relatively easy and inexpensive.
A round doorknob can be replaced with a lever handle or modified by adding a clamp-on lever. In some cases, a thumb latch can be disabled so the door can be pulled open without depressing the latch or the hardware may be replaced. A flat panel-type pull handle can be replaced with a loop-type handle.
Note that the ADA does not spell out exactly what you must do in every situation. It lets you, the business owner, landlord or developer, decide what is reasonable based on how your business operates and what kind of accommodation the person needs because of his or her disability. The idea is not to exclude a customer by being unwilling to make an accommodation that is fairly simple and easy to make.
Here at PRO-LOK, we carry ADA compliant door hardware products to ensure a smooth accessibility for all, for instance:
We believe that if you are replacing a hardware part or doing new construction, why not install one that is ADA compliant if possible? If you consider that in your choice, in the long run you will be providing better access for all customers and tenants. It could also prevent costly retrofitting later on if a code changes.