Did you know that commercial facilities (but not residential buildings) need to be accessible for people with disabilities according to the ADA? If your commercial building isn’t accessible, you may be in violation (which can put you at risk of fines).
Having reliable and safe disabled access is essential, but what upgrades should you prioritize? Let’s talk about it.
Read on to learn all about improving your building access so it’s safe and functional for as many people as possible.
Make Sure All Floors Are Accessible
This one is tough, especially in old buildings. Not every building owner is able to install elevators (and elevators are often a waste in buildings that are only two stories tall).
Buildings that are three or fewer stories don’t legally need elevators unless they’re health facilities, public transit facilities, shopping centers, or airport terminals, but it’s best to have that extra accessibility option regardless.
So if you can’t install an elevator, what can you do?
Wheelchair lifts are great alternatives. They’re more affordable than elevators but they still provide the extra accessibility that potential employees or patrons need.
When it comes to getting from the ground to the front door (if there’s a small set of steps), make sure there’s a ramp available.
Install Power-Assisted Doors
Heavy doors are problematic for people in wheelchairs and people who use other mobility-related devices (even canes and walkers). People need to be able to freely enter and exit your building.
Power-assisted doors make this easy. People can press a button to open the door so they don’t have to push or pull it. At least one entrance to the building (even if it isn’t the main entrance) should have power-assisted doors.
You can also install automatic closing and opening doors, but this isn’t often worthwhile for smaller businesses.
Improve Parking Lot Accessibility
All parking lots should have parking exclusively for people with disabilities. Make sure that your parking lot is accessible.
The parking spots for people with disabilities should be as close to the entrance as possible. There should also be plenty of room next to each parking spot for people to comfortably exit if they use mobility devices.
Parking lots should be well-lit and free of debris or obstructions.
Make Sure Hallways Are Wide Enough
This isn’t an option for older buildings, but if you’re doing a serious renovation project or building a new commercial building, it’s something to keep in mind.
Avoid narrow hallways or hallways that can be completely obstructed by doors if the doors open. You want people to be able to navigate the hallway even if they’re using mobility devices.
Bonus tip: consider putting handrails along the sides for extra safety.
Improve Your Building Access and Safety
These renovation and building solutions for building access will make your commercial building safer and more welcoming for people with disabilities.
Making these changes might seem troublesome, but it’s worthwhile.
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