Volume VI  Number 7                        July  2011

It is a misconception that the ADA does not apply to historic buildings or that they only apply if significant renovation takes place. The ADA requires that physical barriers in existing facilities be removed when it is "readily achievable" .


But what does "readily achievable" mean? The ADA defines it as "easily to accomplish and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense". Below are some examples:


At a minimum, an existing building should allow entry to their facility.  Some readily achievable barrier removal examples at entrances could be:


The old hardware at the door could be converted to a lever for easy opening.


fix knob




If there are steps or higher thresholds at entrances, adding a ramp will make the entrance accessible. 


ramp at entry 


In This Issue
Removing other barriers
What's next?
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The next thing that we should provide is an accessible restroom.  This may not be readily achievable to fix the entire restroom, but there are elements that can be fixed easily: 


Adding permanently fixed objects below large paper towel dispensers which could be  protruding objects along the walls.





Wrapping exposed pipes at lavatories will assist people in wheelchairs and avoid injury due to sharp or hot pipes





Removing other barriers

Some barriers may be more expensive, such as either fixing existing non-compliant curb ramps or adding new curb ramps along accessible routes;  



an existing curb ramp with a steep slope



curb ramp fixed and even enhanced the approach to the building. 


Adding a ramp at a swimming pool





Or changing the ground cover for a play area to one that is stable and slip resistant.  The one shown in the picture below is a rubber mulch mat that is not loose and will allow for disabled children to maneuver and be safe from harder surfaces.







If the cost to remove these barriers exceed 20% of the construction cost, the Department of Justice does allow for deferral of the removal until such time where it is affordable. 



The idea is  not to upgrade or fix EVERYTHING in the facility, but to slowly and steadily remove the barriers that exist in order to make the facility accessible to all.


 What's next....



TDLR posted a draft of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards.  It is open for public comment at their website.


Remember that March 15, 2011 is when the new Standards became effective in the Federal level.  They will be mandatory on March 15, 2012. And each State will adopt it or not at their discretion.


If you want to learn more about the new Standards, The ADA Companion Guide has the 2004 Guidelines with commentary and explanations throughout.

Upcoming CEU opportunities:


August 12 METROCON11 "Understanding the 2010 Standards"


 If you have any questions about these or any other topics, please feel free to contact me anytime.  

Marcela Abadi Rhoads, RAS #240
Abadi Accessibility
214. 403.8714