A tenant improvement contractor as well as their clients should know that in 2012 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will have changes. Affected locations are restaurants, hotels, hospitals, stores, factories and warehouses. This update was made by Rocky Mountain ADA Center, which is one of the 10 regional centers funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The changes will have full implementation for new construction or alterations after March 15, 2012.
The ADA changes are the following:
- Social Service Center Establishments – access to beds and roll-in showers.
- Housing at Places of Education– application of provisions for transient lodging and for residential facilities, and kitchen access and accessible circulation within units.
- Assembly Areas – additional criteria for the location and dispersion of wheelchair spaces and companion seats in assembly areas, including stadium-style movie theaters.
- Medical Care Facilities – dispersion of accessible patient bedrooms.
- Residential Dwelling Units – coverage of dwelling units designed, constructed, or altered by state and local governments for sale to individuals.
- Detention and Correctional Facilities – enhanced scoping (3%) for accessible cells, dispersion, and coverage of altered cells.
- Places of Lodging – application of scoping provisions to sites with multiple facilities, alterations, and exclusion of residential-only units.
Rob Gilkerson, Architectural Information Specialist for the DBTAC Rocky Mountain ADA Center said the revised standards are closely based on the ICC/ANSI A117.1-2003 and the updated ADA and ABA (Architectural Barriers Act) Accessibility Guidelines (2004) published by the U.S. Access Board, but the DOJ’s regulations implement the additional provisions above. When these standards go into effect on March 15, 2012, they will set new minimum requirements – both scoping and technical – for new construction and alterations of the facilities of more than 80,000 state and local governments and more than seven million businesses. Until the 2012 compliance date, entities have the option to use the revised standards to plan current and future projects so that their buildings and facilities are accessible.
These changes would have to be considered by a contractor should projects fall on or after the implementation date.
A contractor must now review implementation rules and guidelines before starting any project design, construction or renovation. It is emphasized that the failure to follow the ADA implementation can lead to more expenses due to rebuilds. Lawsuits and penalties would also be imposed to the business owner and sanctions issued on the contractor.