The Truth About ADA Codes (AIA Build Palm Beach Conference 2011)

AIA Palm Beach sponsored a day of events for Build Palm Beach 2011: Design for a Sustainable Future
February 2011

Larry Schneider, AIA of his own public/private accessibility firm, LMS Accessibility Consulting spoke on:

Advanced Accessibility Compliance: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly OR Why Did I Do That?

This architect was hilarious! He brought so much energy to our audience for two hours, by using “accessibility” props and sticking in a few humorous facts in between the PowerPoint slides. Mr. Schneider incorporated very realistic life situations of typical human errors regarding parking in handicapped spaces, configuring the layout of accessible toilets with grab bars, as well as showing a multitude amount of wrongly applying the signage into different situations. I was very impressed with how great of a job he handled in engaging the audience with seriousness and a bit of humor to relax for two hours.

A great list of interesting facts that are easily misinterpreted:

*ADA is a Federal Civil Rights Law, not a Building Code.

*After or on March 15, 2011, all architectural elements must comply with 1991 Standards, if not they must be modified with the Standards.

Most Common Errors:

  1. Baby stroller signs posted in place of handicapped parking spaces
  2. Signs for vans carrying wheelchairs and handicapped people are not very common, which necessitates more priority
  3. No accessible pedestrian space for pulling out wheelchair out of the van parked in place
  4. Small compact cars sometimes park in the inset of a legally coded handicapped parking spot, which is incorrect
  5. Sidewalks sometimes end in front of a tree, shrubbery area, sometimes are incontinuous
  6. Handicapped signage on ground is often displaced and presented wrongly, sometimes off to the side of spot, sometimes overlapped under a catch basin, drain, etc
  7. Handrails are required to follow direction of circulation space, sometimes extend too far out as opposed to turning the corner
  8. Baby changing pull-out station in the restroom is oftentimes incorrectly mounted against the wall, cannot be positioned above the toilet
  9. Configuration of handicapped grab bars is always an issue surrounding the toilet room area
  10. Tilted mirrors and extended faucet handles for handicapped restrooms have no ADA requirement
  11. Food service circulation areas such as the line in front of McDonalds cashier checkout counter usually are not accessible for the handicapped

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