Americans with Disabilities Act

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Americans with Disabilities Act

Legislation in the United States, passed in 1990, that extended civil rights laws to persons who are physically disabled. Among other provisions, it requires facilities to accommodate the disabled insofar as it is possible. Businesses must comply with the Act when they build or expand their buildings. For example, most new commercial buildings with steps are required to provide access for persons who use wheelchairs.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A federal law that grants civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

• Real estate: The Act is most relevant in its provisions regarding public accommodation. Responsibility for compliance is placed on both landlords and tenants, as well as other property owners. Many commercial leases allocate the burden of ADA compliance so that the tenant must pay for any alterations or improvements necessary to bring a property into compliance.

• Places of public accommodation: These include a wide range of entities, such as restau- rants, hotels, theaters, doctors' offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers. Private clubs and religious organizations are exempt.

• Accessibility for existing properties: Steps must be taken to remove barriers, if it can be done easily and without much expense. The evaluation of the expense depends on the size and financial strength of the entity.

• Accessibility requirements when a property undergoes alteration or renovation: For example, if during renovations a doorway is being relocated, the new doorway must be wide enough to meet the new construction standard for accessibility. When alterations are made to a primary function area, such as the lobby of a bank or the dining area of a cafeteria, an accessible path of travel to the altered area must also be provided. The bathrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving that area must also be made accessible. These additional accessibility alterations are only required to the extent that the added accessibility costs do not exceed 20 percent of the cost of the original alteration.

• Accessibility in new construction: The ADA requires that all new construction of places of public accommodation, as well as of “commercial facilities” such as office buildings, be accessible. Elevators are generally not required in facilities under three stories or with fewer than 3,000 square feet per floor, unless the building is a shopping center or mall; the professional office of a health care provider; a terminal, depot, or other public transit station; or an airport passenger terminal.

• Litigation: Private individuals may bring lawsuits to obtain injunctive relief to force compliance with the ADA and recover their attorneys' fees for the litigation, but may not obtain money damages. Citizens may also file complaints with the United States attorney general, who is authorized to bring lawsuits in cases of general public importance or where a pattern of discrimination is alleged. The suit can ask for money damages and civil penalties.

• The official ADA Web site is

References in periodicals archive ?
They specialize in providing Aging-in-Place and various Handicap Accessibility property modifications to their clients.
other improvements include: handicap accessibility improvements to eagle field to comply with the americans with disabilities act (ada).
The mobile clinic was developed to accommodate for two exam rooms, waiting area, blood drawing station and attached is a wheelchair lift for handicap accessibility.
We've seen far too many afterthoughts at public entrances -- handicap accessibility features that do an important job, but look tacked-on.
A late April re-opening date has been set for the $472,000 renovation project, which includes new plaster and tile finish, new pool decking, a dual main drain system, new pool floor inlets, gutter repair, new pool handrails and handicap accessibility upgrades.
Broadway Medical Adult Daycare Center plans to open its impressive new 10,500-SF center in March after it completes necessary upgrades, including complete handicap accessibility.
The Central Garage branch provides customers with more convenient parking, handicap accessibility, easy drive-in, a walk-up outside teller window, drive-up ATM access, with a larger, more modern lobby area.
a handicap accessibility ramp is needed to be added to this mobile unit.
Included in the renovation is the opportunity to return the 3 floors of the Rahway Branch that sustained significant fire damage to the community, while adding a new elevator and handicap accessibility.
The plans include providing handicap accessibility to the building, restoration of the spectacular "Great Hall" on the second floor into a new performing arts center for the region, as well as construction of studio, classroom and office space on the second and third floors as a new home for Apple Tree Arts.
Next will come the process of soliciting bids to design and build a facility that will have to meet more stringent requirements than the old pool did, including handicap accessibility.
Tenders are invited for casino handicap accessibility project.