Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines is about more than following a set of rules. The guidelines attempt to give as many people as possible, access to your building.
As times change, so do the ADA guidelines. In some instances, the rules change out of a tragedy; in other cases, they change because of technology changes. Unfortunately, the changes can be expensive.
Here’s what you need to know about making sure your building is ADA compliant.
Risks of non-compliance
There are, of course, the expected risks when your building does not meet specific guidelines. Similar to other building codes, if your building does not meet the standard, you can expect fines and an obligation to make changes.
When it comes to ADA compliance, there are more potential risks. On top of a potentially-angry customer, if a person with disabilities is not able to access your building, you could face a lawsuit.
Safe harbor rules
The most significant ADA-related building code changes were in 1991 and 2010. If you made changes to your building to meet the 1991 standards, you are given “safe harbor” and are not required to make more changes to meet the 2010 rules.
There are, however, times when safe harbor rules stop applying. If you make changes or renovations to areas affected by ADA standards, you will need to update those areas to meet the 2010 guidelines.
Time to move?
If you are looking for a new building, check where it stands with the current ADA standards and consider what modifications you may want to make in the future. If your planned changes impact ADA compliance, it may have a significant impact on your budget.
Having an ADA compliant building can help you avoid fines and ensure your building is a safe and welcome place for everyone who comes to visit.