Posts Tagged ‘ADA Violations’




Emergency Update on California Building Code

| Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 | No Comments »

In order to better eliminate some more difficult compliance items, the Division State Architect has recommended some emergency updates to the 2010 California Building Code. The California Building Standards Commission has agreed to these changes. Many of the items, such as the Braille Signage as specified under the California Building Code are so different from the Americans with Disabilities Act 2010 that compliance with one standard means non-compliance with the other. So either way you can get sued.

These changes comes as a welcome alteration from the point of view of building owners, property managers and construction and design professionals working in California. Interestingly enough, many of these changes alter the sign requirements making the white papers released by Nova Polymers now outdated, as far as the California code is concerned.

I have reproduced these changes below for your convenience.

Emergency Express Terms 1 of 7 06/27/2012
EMERGENCY EXPRESS TERMS FOR PROPOSED BUILDING STANDARDS OF THE DIVISION OF THE STATE ARCHITECT REGARDING PROPOSED CHANGES TO CALIFORNIA BUILDING CODE CALIFORNIA CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 24, PART 2 ACCESSIBILITY TO PUBLIC BUILDINGS,  PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS, COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS AND
PUBLICLY FUNDED HOUSING
Legend for Emergency Express Terms:
1. California amendment: California language will appear in italics text.
2. Amended, or repealed language: Amended or repealed language will appear in underline
and strikeout.
3. Adopted language: Adopted language will appear in underline.
4. Rationale: The justification for the change is shown after each section or series of related
changes.
5. Notation: Authority and reference citations are provided at the end of each section.
6. Abbreviations:
CBSC (California Building Standards Commission)
DSA-AC (Division of the State Architect – Access Compliance)
USDOJ (United States Department of Justice)
ADA Standards (2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design)
EXPRESS TERMS
ITEM 1
1104B.3 Auditoriums, assembly halls, theaters and related facilities. …
1104B.3.9 Designated aisle seats. In addition to the wheelchair spaces required, 5 percent, but not less than one, of all fixed aisle seats, shall be designated aisle seats with no armrests on the aisle side, or with removable or folding armrests on the aisle side. The designated aisle seats shall be those located closest to accessible routes. Each such seat shall be identified by a sign or marker with the International Symbol of Accessibility (see Figure 11B-6). Signage notifying patrons of the availability of such seats shall be posted at the ticket office. Signs and markers shall comply with Section 1117B.5.1 items 2 and 3, as applicable.


Statement of Reason: During the 2010 rulemaking cycle, DSA-AC intended to incorporate the basic requirement of 2010 ADA Standards, Section 221.4, which requires at least five percent of the total number of aisle seats provided shall be designated aisle seats. Due to an inadvertent error, the approved amendment indicated at least five percent of fixed seats rather than aisleseats. DSA-AC is proposing to amend the provisions of 1104B.3.9 to correct this error.
Authority: Gov. Code§ 4450
Reference: Gov. Code§ 4450-4461, 12955.1 & 14679; Health & Safety Code§ 18949.1 &
19952-19959 & Vehicle Code§ 22511.8
ITEM 2
1115B.4 Accessible fixtures. …
1115B.4.1 Accessible water closets. Water closets required to be accessible shall comply with
this subsection:


1. The centerline of the accessible water closet fixture shall be 16 inches (405 mm) minimum and 18 inches (457 mm) maximum from the side wall or partition. On the other side of the water closet, provide a minimum of 28 inches (711 mm) wide clear floor space if the water closet is adjacent to a fixture or a minimum of 32 inches (813 mm) wide clear floor space if the water closet is adjacent to a wall or partition. This clear floor space shall extend from the rear wall to the front of the water closet.


Exception: The centerline of accessible water closets located in ambulatory accessible compartments shall be 17 inches (430 mm) minimum and 19 inches (485 mm) maximum from the side wall or partition.


2. Provide clear floor space and maneuvering space at accessible water closets in compliance with Section 1115B.4.1, Item 2. Refer to Section 1115B.3.1, Items 4.2 and 4.3 for additionally required maneuvering space at multiple-accommodation toilet facilities. Refer to Section 1115B.3.2, Item 3 for additionally required maneuvering space at single-accommodation toilet facilities.

2.1…
2.2…
2.3…

Exception: An adjacent fixture at the rear wall is permitted to encroach into the required
clear floor space at the wide side of the water closet where clearances are provided in
compliance with Section 1115B.4.1, Item 1.

Statement of Reason: DSA-AC is proposing to amend this section to align the CBC with the 2010 ADA Standards, Section 604.2. The requirement to locate the centerline of a water closet 18” absolute from a side wall or partition is being revised to provide a range of 16” minimum to 18” maximum from the side wall or partition. An exception is provided for water closets in ambulatory accessible toilet compartments. The exception provides that water closets within ambulatory accessible compartments be located 17” minimum to 19” maximum from the side wall or partition. In construction, the technological capacity to achieve an exact and precise placement of a water closet can be quite difficult. Variations in wall finish thicknesses or structural members can easily influence the final constructed condition, especially in concrete slab construction. Specifying a range rather than an absolute value for the location of the centerline of a water closet will better ensure that facilities accomplish the level of accessibility intended.
Additionally, DSA-AC is proposing to amend this section to delete the provision and exception which allow fixtures adjacent to an accessible water closet at least 28 inches from the water closet on the wide side, and to delete the provision which allows a wall or partition at least 32 inches from the water closet on the wide side. Under the 2010 ADA Standards, Sections 604.3.1 and 604.3.2, these elements are not permitted to overlap the required clear floor space at a water closet. Clear floor space requirements for water closets, as indicated in CBC 1115B.4.1, Item 2,
accurately reflect the 2010 ADA Standards clear floor space requirements for water closets not within a compartment (604.3.1), wall mounted water closets within a compartment (604.8.1.1) and floor mounted water closets within a compartment (604.8.1.1), and the current language in these sections remains unchanged.
Related code changes are proposed for Figures 11B-1A and 11B-1B for consistency.
Authority: Gov. Code§ 4450
Reference: Gov. Code§ 4450-4461, 12955.1 & 14679; Health & Safety Code§ 18949.1 &
19952-19959
ITEM 3
1115B.8 Accessories. …
1115B.8.4 Toilet tissue dispensers. Toilet tissue dispensers shall be located on the wall within 12 inches (305 mm) of the front edge of the toilet seat, wall or partition closest to the water closet, 7 inches (180 mm) minimum and 9 inches (230 mm) maximum in front of the water closet measured to the centerline of the dispenser, mounted below the grab bar, with the outlet of the dispenser at a minimum height of 19 inches (485 mm), and 36 inches (914 mm) maximum to the far edge from the rear wall. Dispensers that control delivery or that do not permit continuous paper flow shall not be used. See Figure 11B-1A.
Statement of Reason: DSA-AC is proposing to amend this section to align the CBC with the 2010 ADA Standards, Section 604.7. The CBC currently requires toilet tissue dispensers to be located in accessible water closet compartments within 12 inches of the front edge of the toilet seat and within 36 inches of the rear wall. The amendment to this section will require the centerline of the toilet tissue dispenser to be within a range of 7-9 inches in front of the water closet. Additionally, language consistent with the 2010 ADA Standards, Section 604.7 is being added to clarify the regulated height of the toilet paper dispenser is measured to the outlet of the dispenser.
Authority: Gov. Code§ 4450
Reference: Gov. Code§ 4450-4461, 12955.1 & 14679; Health & Safety Code§ 18949.1 &
19952-19959
ITEM 4

1117B.1 Accessible drinking fountains. Where drinking fountains are provided, they shall comply with this section: …

4. Operable parts, spout height and location. The bubbler shall be activated by a manually operated system complying with Section 1117B.6, Item 4 that is front mounted or side mounted and located within 6 inches (152 mm) of the front edge of the fountain or an electronically controlled device. The bubbler outlet orifice shall be located within 6 inches (152 mm) of the front edge of the drinking fountain and within 36 inches (914 mm) of the floor. The water stream from the bubbler shall be substantially parallel to the front edge of the drinking fountain. Spout outlets shall be 36 inches (914 mm) maximum above the finish floor or ground. The spout shall be located 15 inches (381 mm) minimum from the vertical support and 5 inches (127 mm) maximum from the front edge of the unit, including bumpers.

5. Water flow. The spout shall provide a flow of water at least 4 inches (102 mm) high so as to allow the insertion of a cup or glass under the flow of water minimum and shall be located 5 inches (127 mm) maximum from the front of the unit. The angle of the water stream shall be measured horizontally relative to the front face of the unit. Where spouts
are located less than 3 inches (76 mm) of the front of the unit, the angle of the water stream shall be 30 degrees maximum. Where spouts are located between 3 inches (76 mm) and 5 inches (127 mm) maximum from the front of the unit, the angle of the water stream shall be 15 degrees maximum. On an accessible drinking fountain with a round or oval bowl, the spout must be positioned so the flow of water is within 3 inches (75 mm) of the front edge of the fountain.

 

Statement of Reason: DSA-AC is proposing to amend this section to align the CBC with the 2010 ADA Standards, Sections 602.4, 602.5, and 602.6. CBC Section 1117B.1, Item 4 is being amended to incorporate language from 2010 ADA Standards Section 602.4 which requires the drinking fountain spout to be located 15 inches minimum from the vertical support and 5 inches maximum from the front edge of the unit, including bumpers. A title for this section is also being added.CBC Section 1117B.1, Item 5 is being amended to incorporate federal language which requires a
water flow location of 5 inches maximum from the front of the unit. Language is also being added to describe acceptable angles of water flow, relative to the front of the drinking fountain, based on varying spout locations as measured from the front of the unit. A title for this section is also being added.
A related code change is proposed for Figure 11B-3A for consistency.
Authority: Gov. Code§ 4450
Reference: Gov. Code§ 4450-4461, 12955.1 & 14679; Health & Safety Code§ 18949.1 &
19952-19959
ITEM 5
1117B.5 Signs and identification. …
1117B.5.3 Proportions. Characters Visual characters on signs shall be selected from fonts that have a width-to-height ratio of between 3:5 (60 percent) and 1:1 (100 percent) where the width of the uppercase letter “O” is 60 percent minimum and 110 percent maximum of the measured by the width of the uppercase letter “O” and height of the uppercase letter “I”, and a stroke width-toheight ratio of between 1:5 (20 percent) and 1:10 (10 percent) measured by the width and height of the uppercase letter “I”. Stroke thickness of the uppercase letter “I” shall be 10 percent minimum and 20 percent maximum of the height of the character.

1117B.5.5 Raised characters and pictorial symbol signs. When raised characters are required or when pictorial symbols (pictograms) are used on such signs, they shall conform to the following requirements:

1. Character type. Characters on signs…
2. Character size. Raised characters…
3. Pictorial symbol signs (pictograms). Pictorial symbol signs…
4. Character placement. Characters and Braille…
5. Proportions. Raised characters on signs shall be selected from fonts where the width of the uppercase letter “O” is 60 percent minimum and 110 percent maximum of the height of the uppercase letter “I”. Stroke thickness of the uppercase letter “I” shall be 15 percent maximum of the height of the character.
Statement of Reason: DSA-AC is proposing to amend CBC Section 1117B.5.3 to address character proportions and stroke width requirements of fonts used for visual signs to align with the requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards, Sections 703.5.4 and 703.5.7.DSA-AC is also proposing to amend CBC Section 1117B.5.5 to add Item 5 which addresses character proportions and stroke width requirements of fonts used for tactile signs to align with
the requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards, Sections 703.2.4 and 703.2.6.
Authority: Gov. Code§ 4450
Reference: Gov. Code§ 4450-4461, 12955.1 & 14679; Health & Safety Code§ 18949.1 &

19952-19959
ITEM 6
1117B.5 Signs and identification. …
1117B.5.7 Mounting location and height. Where permanent identification signs are provided for rooms and spaces, signs shall be installed on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door. Where there is no wall space on the latch side, including at double leaf doors, signs shall be placed on the nearest adjacent wall, preferably on the right.
Where permanent identification signage is provided for rooms and spaces they shall be located on the approach side of the door as one enters the room or space. Signs that identify exits shall be located on the approach side of the door as one exits the room or space.
Mounting height shall be 60 inches (1524 mm) above the finish floor to the center line of the sign. Signs with raised characters and Braille shall be located 48 inches (1220 mm) minimum above the finish floor or ground surface, measured from the baseline of the lowest line of Braille and 60 inches (1525 mm) maximum above the finish floor or ground surface, measured from the baseline of the highest line of raised characters. Mounting location shall be determined so that a person may approach within 3 inches (76 mm) of signage without encountering protruding objects or standing within the swing of a door.

See also Section 1115B.6 for additional signage requirements applicable to sanitary facilities.
Statement of Reason: DSA-AC is proposing to amend this section to align the CBC with the 2010 ADA Standards, Section 703.4.1. The 2010 ADA Standards require tactile characters on signs to be located 48 inches minimum above the finish floor to the baseline of the lowest tactile character, and 60 inches maximum above the finish floor to the baseline of the highest tactile character. The CBC currently requires identification signs with tactile text to be mounted 60 inches above the finish floor to the centerline of the sign. DSA-AC is proposing to require tactile characters on signs to be located 48 inches minimum above the finish floor to the baseline of the lowest tactile character, and 60 inches maximum above the finish floor to the baseline of the highest tactile character.

Authority: Gov. Code§ 4450
Reference: Gov. Code§ 4450-4461, 12955.1 & 14679; Health & Safety Code§ 18949.1 &
19952-19959
ITEM 7
1134B Accessibility for Existing Buildings …


1134B.2 General. When alterations, structural repairs…


1134B.2.1 A primary entrance to the building or facility and the primary path of travel to the specific area of alteration, structural repair or addition, and sanitary facilities, drinking fountains, signs and public telephones serving the area.


Exceptions:
1. …
2. …
3. …
4. …
5. If an element listed in Section 1134B.2.1, Exception 5, Items 5.1 through 5.5 has been constructed or altered in accordance with the accessibility requirements in either the 2007 or 2010 California Building Code, retrofit of that element to reflect the incremental changes in the August 1, 2012 Emergency Supplement to the 2010 California Building Code shall not be required solely because of an alteration to an area served by the element.
5.1 Accessible water closet – distance to adjacent wall or partition.
5.2 Accessible water closet – encroachment of the adjacent fixture at the rear
wall into the required clear floor space at the wide side of an accessible
water closet.
5.3 Toilet tissue dispenser – distance in front of water closet.
5.4 Drinking fountain spout outlet (bubbler outlet) – distance from front edge of
the fountain.
5.5 Drinking fountain spout – angle of water stream.

Statement of Reason: DSA-AC is proposing to add an exception to this section to coordinate with the 2010 ADA Standards, Section 35.151(b)(4)(ii)(C) of 28 CFR Part 35, which includes a ‘safe harbor’ provision for path of travel elements constructed or altered in accordance with the 1991 ADA Standards. This federal provision does not require path of travel elements to be modified to reflect incremental changes in the 2010 ADA Standards solely because of an
alteration to an area that is served by that path of travel. DSA-AC is proposing to amend this section to include a similar provision which provides relief from the requirement to upgrade specified elements constructed or altered in accordance with the accessibility requirements in either the 2007 or 2010 California Building Codes. The proposed exception will not require the specified elements to be modified to reflect incremental changes in the Emergency Supplement to the 2010 California Building Code solely because of an alteration to an area served by that element. This exception includes a list of the five elements which will qualify for the exception. Only elements proposed for amendment in this emergency rulemaking package have been included in the list of qualifying elements.

DSA-AC believes that this proposed amendment will ensure access for individuals with disabilities to buildings and facilities, while providing financial relief for alteration projects subject to the Emergency Supplement to the 2010 California Building Code. This amendment does not provide a blanket exemption for facilities. If an area is undergoing alteration, and required elements serving that area do not comply with either the 2007 or 2010 California Building Codes, then those elements must be brought into compliance with all applicable accessibility code requirements, including those items in the Emergency Supplement to the 2010 California Building Code.
Authority: Gov. Code§ 4450
Reference: Gov. Code§ 4450-4461, 12955.1 & 14679; Health & Safety Code§ 18949.1 &
19952-19959

If you want to see the original state posting it can be reached here: http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/access/2010CBC_Emergency-Express-Terms_06-27-12.pdf

As ADA experts we keep up with the latest code changes, and stay on top of this complex changing field. If you are interested in getting an inspection why wait? Avoid an Accessibility Lawsuit! Your site has many of these conflicts already, you should address those conflicts and remove the contradictory code elements from your site so you are compliant.

If you have any questions or comments call 866 982 3212 or email us at help@ytaccess.com to schedule an inspection or ask questions about how accessibility effects your site.

What to do if you are sued for an ADA violation

| Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 | No Comments »

The worst thing to do is nothing.

Look at what this article taken from [Facilities.net] says:

What is the best way to proceed if you receive notice of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violation?

If you’ve received notification that means that either a complaint has been filed in federal court or that the Justice Department has received a complaint or is investigating you. At that point, don’t say any of the following:
- “I didn’t know I had to comply.”
- “We’ve never had anyone in here in a wheelchair, so why do I have to comply?”
- “See you in court.”
- The worst thing to say is, “We can’t afford to do anything.”

The best reaction is to read or listen to what is being said, particularly if it’s coming from the Justice Department. If you receive a complaint filed in the court, read the allegations as just that — allegations. An individual with a disability may make allegations of violations that are not actually required under the ADA.

Be sure to evaluate your facility before responding (or agreeing to a settlement) so that you know exactly what your facility’s status is regarding ADA requirements. Don’t jump into a settlement with that individual/group and agree to remedy only the items they identified as they likely have not identified all issues. In that scenario, the next complaint filed with items other than those you agreed to correct will become a new complaint. Review your entire facility, put a plan together and start the corrections so that when (not if) the next complaint or question arises, you have an answer and a plan.

I would also like to add that in our experience, many small business owners think they can defend the complaint and not pay anything. Read this previous article: Small businessman’s guide to dealing with attorneys.

More often than once, a small “mom and pop” store owner will say to us, how can they sue us for the mirror in the bathroom? No one can fit a wheelchair into our restroom! And then proceed to think that they can walk into court and claim that because their restroom is inaccessible therefore they aren’t liable for an issue that they are in violation of. Another horrible situation is that they will call the plaintiff attorney and attempt to convince that attorney that they aren’t responsible (for something) because their store is too small or that they don’t have money because they have to pay other bills. In the first case, being too small only means they have more violations and in the second, they have money to pay other bills so they got money.

Don’t think you can ignore ADA violations or that somehow they magically don’t apply to you. Many of the violations can be addressed with a little bit of effort. Those that can’t be addressed can at least be foreseen so that one has an idea of how to proceed. ADA violations have at their root actual conditions, so be informed on those conditions. If you are sued once, you may be able to fight that in court. But if you don’t fix the issues you will have that happen a second time.

Our business exists because we have the expertise to help you. It doesn’t make sense to try and tackle these complex laws as your first encounter.

Some attorneys have told their clients that they can ignore them because everything is arguable in court.

Now that’s a bad attorney, as a good attorney will keep you out of court, saving you money and time in the long run. After all, tape measure does not lie.

Questions? email us at help@ytaccess.com or call us at 866 982 3212.

Common ADA Tips for Facilities Management Companies

| Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 | No Comments »

This is taken from [Facilities.net].

This article covers some common tips on how ADA violations can result from housekeeping. Many businesses believe that ADA violations are generally structural issues, but some general understanding can help businesses avoid ‘no brainer’ violations that fall out of the purview of architects and other design and construction professionals.

I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is, common ADA violations.

Twenty years after the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, institutional and commercial facilities continue to struggle in their efforts to comply with ADA’s accessibility guidelines. Here is a look at the more common ADA violations still found in facilities.

In the built environment, violations range from curb ramps and ramps that are too steep, to a lack of parking with a marked access aisle and signage. Ground markings are not effective because they are not visible at night or when covered with snow.

In restrooms, the most common violations involve toilets not mounted the correct distance from walls or partitions, and toilet flush valves on the wrong side. If the flush valve is on the wide side, users must reach over the toilet to flush.

In facility operations, the most common violations include these:
• Housekeeping workers placing a garbage can next to the restroom exit door. Clear space next to door gives a person using a wheelchair enough space to approach the door, reach the door handle and open the door.
• Placing garbage cans directly in front of call buttons for elevators, again impeding the progress of someone in a wheelchair or using a walker to reach the buttons.
• Mounting objects on walls that project 4 inches or more from the wall. If the objects are 27-80 inches from the floor, someone with a visual disability will miss the item on a cane sweep and walk right into the object.

The structural and design violations result from not following, understanding or paying attention to the ADA guideline and relying solely on building code and code officials. The operational violations, although not permanent or fixed items covered under the ADA guidelines, still create barriers.

In short, ADA violations run the gambit from very expensive items that are inherent in the building to purely positional things, like furniture or trash cans.

This is hard for people who have never been disabled to understand, so I am glad that others are catching on. Still, if you have a housekeeping or janitorial service, you ought to instruct them so as to avoid these common issues.

This also applies to construction — temporary paths of travel are required to be compliant under the ADA, something most contractors don’t understand… and something that falls beyond the purview of what most building departments would ever think to even look at.

Questions? email us at help@ytaccess.com or call at 866 982 3212

When ADA Calls: Responding to a Complaint

| Friday, August 26th, 2011 | No Comments »

This is a repost from [www.facililities.net].

I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is, responding to an ADA notification.

If an institutional or commercial facility receives notification of a violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), that means either a complaint has been filed in federal court or, the U.S. Department of Justice has received a complaint or is investigating the facility.

The best reaction is to read or listen to what the notification says, particularly if it came from the DOJ. If a facility receives a complaint filed in court, read the allegations as just that — allegations. An individual with a disability might make allegations that are not actually violations under the ADA.

Managers also need to evaluate the facility before responding or agreeing to a settlement in order to understand the facility’s status regarding ADA requirements. Do not jump into a settlement with the individual or group by agreeing to remedy only the items they identified because they probably have not identified all issues. In that scenario, the next complaint filed with items other than those the facility agreed to correct becomes a new complaint.

Review the entire facility, put a plan together, and start the corrections so that when the next complaint or question arises, an answer and a plan are ready and available.

This site is addressing ADA complaints throughout the United States, especially for larger facilities, which isn’t as applicable for California as California law changes the impetus for lawsuits a little differently.

In any case, the basic idea is to verify the complaint, which we can do. Ideally though, one would be compliant in the first place so as to avoid the lawsuit.

What this article misses is that when one is sued under California law, it’s generally too late to fix the items, Federal law is different. So be sure and get inspected and fix any issues right away.

Questions? email us at help@ytaccess.com or call us at 866 982 3212

What will it take (to avoid an ADA lawsuit)?

| Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 | No Comments »

This is the fifth time.

A business owner went to one of our seminars about six months ago. Saw our presentation on ADA compliance. Heard about

  1. the gap between the coverage of the California Building Code and the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act,
  2. learned that in the California Civil Code Section 52 and 54 he was liable for 4k worth of damages minimum of affected violations of the ADA

Of course when asked if he was interested in getting our help, he said no. He went back to his store, fixed a few items immediately that he learned from our presentation… and then was several months later sued for 80 thousand dollars worth of damages. He then went and hired us.

Another one of our clients heard our seminar, decided to hire us and then upon having a consultation and an inspection paid for our services. In following up with this client, when asked if they were going to look through the report and start to fix issues they said “No. We don’t need to. We have the report.”

I don’t know what else to say. We have started working with contractors to try and offer inspections and fixes — but in general most of our clients only want us to do the report. This is okay but reports are useless unless you also fix the actual issues! Getting sued is the worst case scenario — most disabled visitors simply won’t go to your store if they can’t get in. The only ones who sue are either extremely frustrated or looking for money.

It’s so unfortunate that it takes a lawsuit to get a perfectly good business to comply, but is that what it takes? Personally I would like to see businesses hire us and let us help them find effective ways to comply. Suing a business doesn’t help that business in any way. In fact, it’s an incredibly hurtful process that doesn’t leave the business in better shape before it was sued.

So avoid lawsuits! It’s many of the very simple things that can get a business in trouble. Most of our clients that have been sued have been sued over parking paint and signage. How expensive is that? Now, maybe not everything can be fixed right away, (like signage or parking paint) but most things can be taken care of eventually. If you can only afford $100 a month for accessibility, or even $50 by all means, budget it! Get it done! Also, look for ADA experts who can tell you what needs to be done and how to remediate that violation so you ARE accessible. It’s painful to see businesses that have done work trying to become accessible and getting it so wrong.

I don’t know what else we can do. We give free seminars, and publish free information… I guess that’s really all we can do.

We are working on putting one of our older education seminars online. In the meantime, stay tuned. I am a little swamped with work so I haven’t had time to write too much on here, but I do have some more updates planned.

In the mean while, here’s an older website about some factoids about the access lawsuit situation in California (which is on the rise, by the by). The website is called ADA Crisis. It’s full of interesting facts, like “Did you know, at least 42% of the ADA/accessibility lawsuits in the U.S. are filed in California?”

Anyway, as always, our contact information if you have any questions: 866 982 3212 and help@ytaccess.com.

ADA Accommodation #4: Parking and Path of Travel

| Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 | 3 Comments »

By Alexander Lee

Since we already covered the principles behind the ADA here: Common violations for ADA Accommodations regarding Parking and Path of Travel, we won’t go over the principles again. You can click to skip ahead: Get me to the ADA Accommodations! Otherwise you can read the copied text below.

ADA Requirements for the Parking

I don’t intend to discuss too much about the specific parking requirements.  That’s pretty cut and dry, either you meet the measurements or you don’t.  People understand that.  The requirements for parkings for the 2010 ADA has changed a little, but there are exceptions to allow for older CA parking which exceeded the original 1990 ADA parking requirements.  I’ll discuss the parking in a later post but in general parking should have:

  • 60 inches for the non-van access aisle.  Having 60 inches for the van access aisle is required under 2010 ADA but if you have a 96 inch access aisle, you need to have 108 inches of width for the van space.  If your van access aisle is only 60 inches then your van space width needs to be 132 inches.  You measure the spaces from the center of the line to the center of the other lines.  We have worked for places that have been sued because the contractor measured the parking from outside to outside, shaving off 4 inches from the requirements.  This is part of what’s known as “safe harbor” but you can’t rely on the older measurements.  For more details on the concept of the “safe harbor” see:  Department of Justice: ADA Primer for Small Businesses
  • The slope for both the access aisle and the parking space need to be on the same level AND the slopes cannot be greater than 1:48 inches in any direction.  If your parking space slumps, we would recommend that you either consider locating your accessible parking elsewhere, or that you try and level the space.  Van lifts won’t deploy if it detects that the ground is uneven.
  • Signs should be clearly visible to drivers who want to park in the space.
  • The signs should NOT say “handicapped”  (California, Vehicle Code § 22511).  You should replace your sign if it says this, as a lawsuit costs far more than replacing the sign.
  • The van space must be marked as being “van accessible.”
  • Sign heights for CA and the ADA are different, but in general the bottom edge of your sign should be above 80 inches when in the path of travel.  Many business owners seem to think this is funny, asking if they can place the sign at 13 feet above grade.  There is no upper limit, but again the sign needs to be visible to on-coming drivers.

Bewarned: This list is not exhaustive.  Also be aware that laws do change.  This list may become inaccurate.  I’ll try to remember to update it, but if you’re reading this list a year from now, be warned that it may be faulty, especially if the California Code of Regulations Title 24 changes (which is the next known update).

 

ADA Requirements for Path of Travel

The idea behind the path of travel is to provide a zone of safety around the pedestrian.  This zone, with attending requirements needs to go anywhere the public is allowed to go.  There are still ADA requirements for employee only areas (especially as put in by Title 1) but as a rule of thumb, the path of travel only needs to end up to the employee areas, including the door.  Some general path of travel requirements are:

  • No slopes greater than 5% without handrails.  Slopes greater than 5% require handrails and are considered ramps.
  • Door landings do different in size, but in general, each door landing with its latch-side clearance needs to have a steepness no greater than 1:48 in any direction.
  • Accessible paths of travel need to be pointed out with signage
  • At least one of each type of good or service must be located on the path of travel so that everyone has access to it.  This means that a bar upstairs doesn’t need to be accessible if there is an identical bar on the first floor (AND if all the amenities are the same.  This means that if a private party rents out the upstairs area, there is potential for a lawsuit).
  • The California Building Code requires at least 48 inches of width along external paths of travel with a recommendation of 60 inches.  For existing buildings this can go down to 36 inches for the ADA depending on hardship.
  • Objects which protrude into the pedestrian envelope greater than 4 inches for wall mounted objects (12 inches for post mounted) are considered hazards in the path of travel.  A path of travel should be devoid of these objects.  The area of projection is in general, between 27 and 80 inches above the finished floor.  This means that doorways that are lower than 80 inches are considered hazards.  Common protruding objects include fire extinguishers, signs and counters.
  • The cross-slope for a path of travel cannot be greater than 1:48 inches.
  • Detectable warnings are required under the California Building Code for vehicular hazard areas and transit platforms.  This requirement isn’t included under the ADA 2010 but it is included in the ADAAG 2004 and will probably be reintroduced under the Public Right of Way Access Guide which is supposed to come out soon.
  • No change in vertical level greater than 1/2 inch is allowed.  Changes in level between 1/4 and 1/2 inches should be beveled at a 45 degree slope.

Like the list above for parking, this list is not exhaustive and may change as laws and regulations change.  So be warned if you want to use this to assess your site.  Nonetheless, this gives you some idea of what some of the requirements are.

 

Discussion of ADA Accommodations
Picture #1 and #2: I think for most individuals who are disabled, this photo speaks for itself. For those of you who don’t understand though, the accessible path of travel needs to be a continuous path from the access aisle to the main entrance. This is for the safety of the pedestrian and to alert the driver that this is an area they should be aware of as a pedestrian right of way. The same goes for this second picture which has no access path outline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A larger issue with this second picture has to do with the location of the access aisles. In this image the aisles are not located on the passenger or driver sides, where disabled individuals actually get in and out of the vehicle. Because maneuvering in and out of a vehicle requires more time and space than normal travel, an access aisle is required by law to prevent vehicles from encroaching onto that space.

 

 

 

Picture #3
This photo is of a parking space that has an access aisle on both the right and left sides. This is in excess of requirements. Nonetheless, there are two obvious barriers in this photo. If you look at the passenger side, this access aisle abuts the driveway. Driveways are not accessible routes. So to provide safe passage to the general path of travel, there is a head aisle at the head of the space. If you look at the head aisle, you can see that the parking bumper has been pushed into the head aisle.

Parking bumpers are required by both the California Building Code and the ADA if parking bumpers keep the vehicle from encroaching onto the path of travel. So this space does require a parking bumper, but at the time of this photo the required bumper has been pushed into the head aisle making it into a barrier. Ideally, according to the Division State Architect (DSA), the parking bumper should sit 18-24 inches from the head aisle to prevent encroachment.

If the driver sought to avoid this barrier, he could attempt to back into the parking space. Backing into the parking space is allowed by the ADA 2010 but not the CBC. However, if the space were to be used in this manner, the support column in the driver side access aisle blocks the usage of that aisle, preventing the passenger side from being able to use the access aisle.

Both barriers effectively block this parking space from being an effective zone of safety to be used by someone with disabilities. If either the support column was elsewhere OR if the parking bumper was properly maintained then this space would be accessible. Maintaining your facility at all times is necessary to ensure proper compliance with the ADA.

 

Picture #4
In this photo, we have some major issues. The first major issue has to do with the slope. It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the parking space is significantly sloped towards the drainage. Spaces that are sloped this greatly pose a hazard for individuals transitioning out of their vehicle. It’s hard enough to move safely in and out of a vehicle, but to also require that individual to prevent their wheelchair from rolling away while doing it is grounds for a potential lawsuit. Baring re-surfacing this space so as to be level, we must ask — Was this the best possible space?

It’s not, but we can cover how to decide where a space should be in a different entry.

The next two obvious issues has to do with the lack of signage at the head of the parking space and the faded “NO PARKING” in the access aisle. Both of these items alert drivers that this space is not for vehicles to park in. The “NO PARKING” in the access aisle is particularly important as desperate or unaware drivers will sometimes park in the access aisle, effectively blocking the disabled patron from re-entering their vehicle. Not having the proper warning signs opens the store owners and the property managers to a lawsuit because it’s the owner’s responsibility to monitor their spaces and call the police to tow improperly parked vehicles. Having the required signage is necessary to protect the owners should the driver of the towed vehicle claim that they were unaware that they could not park illegally.

 

Picture #5
This last picture has to do with a path of travel from the access aisle to the main entrance. The subject of this photo has to do with the required extension of the handrail at the bottom of the stairs. Some of the requirements have changed slightly, but the issue with this extension has to do with the fact that it projects into the path of travel and constitutes a hazard for pedestrians. The extensions of the stairway are correct to be returned, but be extended to the ground so as to be caught by a cane-sweep.

 

 

 

ADA Compliance Takeaway

So you understand, the point of all these articles is to educate you readers about what ADA compliance entails.  Both what to do, how to approach it, how to best comply and what the common pitfalls for complete ADA compliance are.

Education is mostly free.  I have to spent a few hours, maybe a day and a half each week, working on articles, and you have to take time to read it, to shift through the multitude of available information.

Ultimately, though, we make a living doing ADA inspections and ADA consultation.

We do know the laws and ADA regulations, but we don’t know your facility.

I can write about the most common and glaring problems, but I can’t advise you on your particular site.  Even if you submitted pictures, I can’t measure slope or spot issues you may not know about.  If you find this information helpful, feel free to drop an email or a comment.  Submit a picture too, if you like.  I can email you back with an opinion.  Let us inspect your site!

But seriously, give me some genuine feedback and let me know if this was helpful or if you would like me to cover a specific topic.  If I get enough requests, I’ll take the time to write an article on it.  If you’re interested in having us apply our knowledge to your place of business/place of public accommodation in the form of an ADA consultation, by all means call us at 866 982 3212 or email us at help@ytaccess.com.

ADA Lawsuits can be dropped if…

| Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 | No Comments »

Those of you who have been sued become very quickly familiar with the complex intertwine of laws that give rise to ADA Lawsuits, in particular ADA cases.

One quick way to try and buck an ADA lawsuit though, is argue that the plaintiff never visited your store.

This tactic has worked before (especially if the defendant can demonstrate that no barrier was encountered because the plaintiff never showed up!) An older case comes to my mind, centered around Home Depot, when the plaintiff provided a receipt that he visited Home Depot (but it turned out that wasn’t the right home depot).

Nonetheless, here’s an interesting article:

SELINSGROVE — The son of a Texas woman who sued several Valley businesses for noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act had dropped out of Bucknell University about a month before the lawsuit was filed.

Richard K. Greer was a student during the fall semester 2010, which ended Dec. 16, but was not a student in the spring semester that started in January, university spokesman Tom Evelyn confirmed Thursday.

Meanwhile, Greer’s mother, Leslie Greer, filed ADA lawsuits on Jan. 11 against BJ’s Steak & Rib House, Emma’s Food for Life and Bot’s Cafe Inc., all of Selinsgrove; Mom’s Dutch Kitchen, Danville; Fox’s Family restaurant, Pennsdale; Colonial Village Plaza, Shamokin Dam; and Basin Street Shopping Center, Williamsport.

Leslie Greer, who uses a wheelchair, alleged in her lawsuit that she patronized the businesses during a recent visit with her son, a Bucknell student, and believes they are in violation of the ADA.

But when several of those being sued informed Greer they learned her son was no longer a student, the lawsuits were dropped.

“The premise of suit was that she’d be in our establishment, that there was the possibility she could continue to patronize us during her son’s tenure at Bucknell,” said Rick Schuck, owner of Bot’s. “He transferred in December, and we were served in the middle of January.”

You can read more here: Lawsuits against small businesses dropped from The Daily Item and through Overlawyered.com

Another way is to have a surveillance video of your store of everyone who enters your store — assuming of course that you didn’t erase your tapes, or that they did in fact did enter your store.  A loophole with this approach is that if you don’t have accessible parking, it’s possible that the plaintiff would claim that they couldn’t enter your store because there wasn’t proper parking, or there was something wrong with the outside. Sometimes that’s not the case. We can help provide evidence to verify the plaintiff claims, something we do regularly.

But that’s a different issue. Of course, the best way to avoid attracting a serial litigant who sees your facility as being an “easy target” is to become 100% compliant, to have all the appearance of compliance.

Comment below and share your thoughts on this!

If you want more tips on accessibility you can go here: Accommodation Compliance Rules and Regulations. Or you can reach us at 866 982 3212 or email us at help@ytaccess.com.

ADA Accommodation #3: Principles of Signage

| Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 | 2 Comments »

Signage is one of the “Readily Achievable” statuses under ADA Accommodation. Basically, this means that you should be able to afford to achieve this ADA Accommodation. (For further detail see here: ADA Accommodation Cost.) Signage is also one of the most least understood ADA Accommodations.

 

ADA Requirements for Signage:

While there are many different requirements for when signs should be placed, here are some general guidelines.

  • Signage should be placed when there are multiple paths of travel or when points of destination (such as main entrance) is unclear.  The pedestrian circulation path should coincide with the accessible route.  So directional signage from the accessible parking to the main entrance, or from an assembly area to a restroom are prime candidates for adding signage.  We’ve all had problems locating where the restrooms or where a main entrance is, but that problem can become compounded if you are mobility impaired.
  • Directional signage is not required to have Braille.  But signage to permanent rooms and locations should have signage.  Braille should be Grade 2 Braille.   So Braille signage must be present for stairs, elevators and rooms.
  • Braille signage must be accompanied by raised lettering.  This means that if it says “Room 32″ then the lettering for “Room 32″ must be raised.
  • The Braille for signage must not be located where there is danger.  If someone is reading the braille but the sign is in the door swing, that’s a problem.  Someone reading the sign could be hit by the door.  The ADA 2010 has the added requirements for the placement of the signs to clarify the unclear 1990 requirements.  Placement of the signs include 48-60 inches on center above the finished floor measured from the highest tactile character and centered a minimum of 9 inches from the door swing.  In California, there are requirements for restroom signs to be placed additionally on the door.  These signs must not have Braille on the swing-side of the door.  (ADA Accommodation for Restroom Signs in California)
  • The contrasting color requirements for the signs apply not only to the differences between the background of the sign and the lettering of the sign but also between the sign and the wall color.  Blending the sign into the wall does not make for accessible signage.  Likewise, reflective or semi-reflective signs are non-compliant.  We mention that also here:  ADA Accommodations #2:  Restrooms
  • There are added requirements for the proportions and spacing of each of the elements in the sign so be sure to check for these specific requirements.  For instance, elevator signage must be a minimumm of 2″ high for the jambs.

 

Discussion of ADA Accommodations

Sign Picture #1: Visibility

This picture is of a parking sign.  While required at parking spaces, this sign is both too low for the ADA requirements (which want a minimum height of 60 inches for all head parking signs), and this sign is not easily visible, as the plants around it partially cover the sign.  Where plants and signs are concerned, all signage should be easily visible.  This means that it is visible from the general circulation path, either of vehicles (if the sign is for drivers) or for pedestrians (if the sign is for pedestrians).  The ADA has the additional requirement that the parking head signs be visible to on-coming drivers seated on the driver’s seat.  (This means that the sign can’t be too high).

While there is no requirement for the maximum height of signage, the California Building Code (CBC) has the additional requirement that if in the circulation path, the head parking sign must be a minimum of 80 inches high as measured to the bottom of the sign.  So this California code requirement does not apply if the sign is wall mounted.  What this means is that if the parking warning sign (under CBC 1129B.4) is post mounted in the circulation path, it must have the lowest edge at 80 inches high from the path.  If this sign is on the wall, it may be less than the 60 inches required by the ADA, as it is not required by Federal law to be there.

 

Sign Picture #2 & #3: Latch side Signage and attending clear floor space

The latch side of a door is the side of the door where the handle is.  On that side, there must be a sign to designate that space if it is a permanent room or space.  So for an office, as the offices are numbered, there should be a sign present with raised letters and braille.  That sign must be of contrasting color.  Restrooms also must have a six by six area for a pictogram on this sign with an icon for mens, womens, unisex or family.  There is an additional requirement for clear floor space of 18 inches centered under this latch side sign.

This second picture does not have that latch side sign, it only has the California door sign required by the CBC.  By the looks of the drinking fountain, this door also would not have the clear floor space of 18 inches unless they removed the drinking fountain.

Likewise, this third picture violates the latch side sign height requirement and the floor clearance requirement.  There is a stool in the clear floor space.  The stool could be easily removed, and should be, as it is a barrier.

Additionally, the placement of the latch side sign as being so close to the door creates a hazard as someone who is reading the sign could be hit by the door swing. The 1990 ADA standards were unclear as to how far the sign should be from the door — the verbiage stated that the sign should be placed so that the door swing would be at least 3 inches from someone reading the door. At its current location, this would not be the case. This sign should be re-mounted so as to be a minimum of 9 inches centered from the door.

 

 

 

 

 

Sign Picture #4 & #5: Parking Warning Sign Visibility

In California, this sign is required either at the head of each accessible parking space or at every entrance to the parking lot. We had a client recently ask us if it was okay to mix and match. Mixing and matching isn’t addressed by the code but the principle behind this sign should be that a driver should have to encounter this sign on her way to park — and be warned that if she parked in the parking space reserved for the disabled she better have the proper disabled placard.

So placing the sign on a pole that isn’t even remotely close to the parking lot entrance, or placing the sign in such a way that it faces the wrong way defeats the purpose of presenting the sign to drivers. Likewise, in this photo allowing graffiti to be plastered all over the sign, or allowing the graffiti and stickers to persist on the sign makes a business liable for a lawsuit. (This sign must also be filled out with the telephone number to retrieve the car, or the tow-lot/police station to be fully compliant.)

As a stronger statement about signage is that it must be clearly visible. If the sign is damaged, turned the wrong way as in sign #5 (it’s not facing on-coming drivers, as it’s facing away from the street) then that facility is liable for not being in compliance.

 

ADA Compliance Takeaway

So you understand, the point of all these articles is to educate you readers about what ADA compliance entails.  Both what to do, how to approach it, how to best comply and what the common pitfalls for complete ADA compliance are.

Education is mostly free.  I have to spent a few hours, maybe a day and a half each week, working on articles, and you have to take time to read it, to shift through the multitude of available information.

Ultimately, though, we make a living doing ADA inspections and ADA consultation.

We  do know the laws and ADA regulations, but we don’t know your facility.

I can write about the most common and glaring problems, but I can’t advise you on your particular site.  Even if you submitted pictures, I can’t measure slope or spot issues you may not know about.  If you find this information helpful, feel free to drop an email or a comment.  Submit a picture too, if you like.  I can email you back with an opinion.  (Money is even more appreciated!)

But seriously, give me some genuine feedback and let me know if this was helpful or if you would like me to cover a specific topic.  If I get enough requests, I’ll take the time to write an article on it.  If you’re interested in having us apply our knowledge to your place of business/place of public accommodation in the form of an ADA consultation, by all means call us at 866 982 3212 or email us at help@ytaccess.com.

ADA Requires Proactive Approach

| Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 | No Comments »

 

This article from facilitiesnet.com which is geared towards property managers is a short article on ADA compliance.  The most interesting point, I thought, was that for ADA compliance should be proactive because waiting for a lawsuit to be filed could mean that a manager would lose control over the process.

The issue of accessibility is never too far from the minds of maintenance and engineering managers in institutional and commercial facilities. But mid-March 2011 is among the most important moments related to this issue in the last two decades.

Why? Long-awaited final regulations revising existing laws from the U.S. Department of Justice under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including its ADA Standards for Accessible Design, became effective March 15, 2011.

Joan Stein, president and CEO of Accessibility Development Associates, presented a session on the impact of the new ADA regulations at the recent NFMT Conference and Expo in Baltimore. Attendees learned about some important provisions of the new regulations, as well as the ongoing need to properly address access to their facilities.

You can read the complete article directly here: ADA Compliance Requires a Proactive Approach.

Donner Lake Kitchen closed due to ADA Lawsuit

| Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 | No Comments »

Another restaurant closed, this time due to a legal battle with Scott Johnson.

You can catch the story here:

Donner Lake Kitchen, a popular family-owned restaurant in rural Truckee, Calif. is closing its doors following a legal battle with attorney Scott Johnson, who is said to have filed “countless” complaints of lack of handicap accessibility at California businesses. The owner estimates that $20,000-$60,000 in repairs and upgrades would have been needed to bring the dining establishment into ADA compliance.

From Sierra Sun via CJAC via Overlawyered.com.

Find out more about Scott Johnson. This was on Sacramento Channel 10 earlier this year on Feb.

A shame, but don’t let this happen to you. Find out about your ADA liabilities.

Question? Comments? Feedback? Comment below, or email me at help@ytaccess.com or call 866 982 3212.