What does readily achievable mean for ADA compliance?

Maintaining an accessible building can be vital to your business. If your building is not attractive and easy to access, you risk losing critical customers.

Although you want as many people as possible to have easy access to your building, having the latest accessibility modifications is not always feasible or financially prudent. You need to be able to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines without getting involved in an elaborate remodeling project.

Here’s what you need to know about the “readily achievable” standard and how it applies to your business.

Understanding the expectation

There are specific minimum expectations in the ADA guidelines to make your business accessible for people with disabilities. The ADA tries to make its standards to remove accessibility barriers reasonable by not forcing companies to make changes that are not readily achievable. Readily achievable modifications may include:

  • Widened doorways or walkways
  • Grab bars in toilet stalls
  • Rearranging a floorplan to increase maneuverability
  • Repositioning shelves or other displays

In addition to meeting the ADA standard, following these guidelines can help your clients have a more comfortable experience when they visit your building.

Some expense, not zero expense

While the ADA does not expect you to go to extreme measure modifying your building, that does not mean you can avoid accessibility modifications altogether. When evaluating your business for the “readily achievable” standard, they will look at factors such as:

  • Financial resources to make modifications
  • Cost of needed changes
  • Fiscal relationship to a parent corporation
  • Type of business and location

When you discuss the readily achievable standard with an inspector or another official, be prepared to talk about the changes you have already made and the nature of your business. You may also need to discuss what resources you have to make changes to your facility.