As the owner of a commercial building, making sure that your investment is ADA compliant is your responsibility. But ADA compliance is about more than ramps and parking spots.
There is a long list of standards that your building must meet in order to be ADA compliant. And the only way to make sure that you’re adhering to those standards is to get a professional ADA inspection.
Can You Afford $75,000 (or More) in Fines?
If you are found to be in violation of the ADA, you’ll get more than a slap on the wrist. Your first fine can be up to $75,000 and the second fine up to $150,000.
This doesn’t even include the monetary damages you may be forced to pay as a result of a lawsuit. If you are sued by a litigious customer, you’ll have to hire a lawyer and a construction expert, pay for the other side’s lawyer and experts (this is allowed under the law), pay a settlement (if the judge doesn’t rule in your favor), and still pay for the renovations to bring your building into compliance.
Wouldn’t it be better to get an ADA inspection now than pay hundreds of thousands later?
An ADA Inspection Can Save You Thousands
Many building owners aren’t aware that they are in violation of the ADA (or of the hefty fines) until it’s too late.
ADA compliance is only enforced for new construction, not for existing buildings. The only ways to be sure that you are in compliance are to get an inspection or get sued.
An ADA inspection can save you thousands by preventing lawsuits and avoiding fines. The high cost of fines and settlement fees is simply not worth the risk.
For example, replacing a round doorknob with an ADA-compliant lever doorknob costs only around $100. Are you prepared to stand in front of a judge and say you couldn’t afford that? When faced with the choice, any property owner would be more than happy to pay $100 to save $100,000.
We’re here to help.
A knowledgeable building inspector can help at all stages of building construction.
If you are constructing a new building or doing a renovation, an inspector can advise you throughout the process to make sure you are in ADA compliance from the start (rather than having to do it all over again later).
If you want to check your ADA compliance, an inspector can perform a full ADA inspection to see what needs to be changed.
If you are found to be in violation of the ADA, your building inspector can also give you solutions for making your building compliant. And this doesn’t have to involve tearing down your building or closing for renovations. Sometimes the solutions are as simple as repainting the parking lot and changing your booth layout.
An expert commercial building inspector will know what to look for and how to help.
ADA Compliance Checklist
During an ADA inspection, a commercial building inspector will examine the building’s:
- Parking spots – Are there enough? Is there enough clearance between spaces?
- Entrances – Is there a ramp with a non-skid surface? Are proper handrails installed?
- Doors – Does the door opening provide enough clearance? Can the door be opened without grasping, pinching, or twisting the wrist?
- Floors – Are the carpets low pile? Are floor coverings secured to prevent tripping?
- Accessibility – Do multi-story buildings have elevators? Do aisles have enough clearance? Are counters less than 38 inches from the floor?
- Signs – Are there adequate signs for handicapped parking? Are indoor signs easy to read? Do they include braille?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should give you some idea of how many features need to be examined for ADA compliance.
It’s worth noting that there’s no gray area in the standards set by the ADA; you either are compliant or you’re not.
If your doorknobs must be at least 34 inches from the ground and they are 33 inches, no one will turn a blind eye. The law doesn’t factor in the reasons why your building doesn’t meet the standards and there will be no accommodations or exceptions.
Just because the government doesn’t regularly check your commercial building for ADA compliance doesn’t mean that it’s not important.
Any employee or individual with a disability could potentially alert the authorities to your lack of accessibility and end up costing you thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.