My facility was built 40 years ago, I am grandfathered right?
No, the ADA doesn’t have a grandfathered clause. The 2010 ADA Standards is the definition of barrier. The ADA has a safe harbor which means this: if an accessible element (in a facility built prior to March 15, 2012) is compliant with the 1991 ADA Standards and not with the 2010 ADA Standards then you don’t have to bring that element into compliance with the 2010 ADA standards until said element is altered or modified. If an accessible element is not compliant with either the 1991 ADA Standards nor the 2010 ADA standards then there is an obligation, if readily achievable, to bring said element up to compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards.
Why am I not compliant with the ADA when I have received my building permits?
The ADA is a civil rights law that is enforced by the Department of Justice. ADA compliance is required wherever US Law is required. The State or Local Building Code is enforced by the code official with authority for that area. As such, code officials are responsible for enforcing their specific building codes which means they may not be looking for what the ADA standards require. In addition, building code officials have the authority to grant waivers, variances and other means as they interpret their building codes which may be contrary to what the ADA requires.
Who is responsible for my facilities non-compliance with the ADA?
The owner/operator is responsible for compliance with the ADA. If the Architect designs incorrectly or the contractor builds wrong it doesn’t matter, the owner/operator is still liable for any non-compliance issues found at their facility.
What should I do the avoid having a non-compliant facility?
Consult an independent ADA Specialist and have them work with your design and construction team during design and through the end of construction. Require of your design and construction teams that all work MUST be ADA compliant. If purchasing or leasing an existing facility, conduct an ADA Due Diligence Assessment to understand your risk doing business in that location.