The Americans With Disabilities Act requires wheelchair access be made available for new buildings in the process of being built. This can often be a burden for new business owners, but it is required by law and a business owner can be sued for not abiding by the ADA.
The ADA is a civil rights law that was signed into law in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush. A small business owner needs to be aware that one provision in the law refers to public accommodation. This is a provision that makes it illegal to not have wheelchair access for disabled individuals. Buildings under the law include restaurants, retail stores, hotels, banks, and most other public buildings.
Buildings that were constructed after 1992 are subject to the Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities section of the ADA. These are construction standards that include requirements for needing a wheelchair ramp. Buildings older than 1992 do not need to be retrofitted for wheelchair access but will need to remove any architectural elements that can act as barriers to entry.
Buildings that are required to have a wheelchair ramp defined as a route that has 1-inch rise, or greater, along the length every 20 inches. Ramps need to be constructed with no more than 30 inches of rise. A ramp should be built with the lowest amount of slope that is practical. A 1-inch rise for 20 every inches of length is required for new building construction.
Ramps that are more than 6 inches high will need a hand rail installed. A wheelchair ramp also needs to be at least 36 inches wide with a landing that is 60 inches long. The landing will also need to be at least 60 inches if the wheelchair ramp changes direction.
If you have any questions about the wheelchair access provision of the ADA, please contact us for more information.