What Businesses Have to Comply with Accessibility Laws

Businesses that must comply with ADA laws.
If you own, lease, lease to or operate a place of public accommodation, you must comply.
Public accommodations are privately-owned places of business that provide services to the public and fall within at least one of the following 12 categories:

1) Places of lodging - An inn, hotel, motel, or other place of lodging, except for an establishment located within a building that contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and that is actually occupied by the proprietor of the establishment as the residence of the proprietor.

2) Establishments serving food or drink - A restaurant, bar or other establishment serving food or drinks.

3) Places of Exhibition or entertainment - A motion picture house, theater, concert hall, stadium, or other place of exhibition or entertainment.

4) Places of public gathering - An auditorium, convention center, lecture hall, or other place of public gathering.

5) Sales or rental establishments - A bakery, grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping center, or other sales or rental establishment.

6) Service establishments - A laundromat, dry cleaner, bank, barber shop, beauty shop, travel service, shoe repair service, funeral parlor, gas station, office of an accountant or lawyer, pharmacy, insurance office, professional office of a health care provider, hospital, or other service establishment.

7) Stations used for public transportation - A terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation.

8) Places of public display or collection - A museum, library, gallery, or other place of public display or collection;

9) Places of public recreation - A park, zoo, amusement park, or other place of recreation.

10) Places of public education - A nursery, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate private school, or other place of education.

11) Social service center establishments - A day care center, senior citizen center, homeless shelter, food bank, adoption agency, or other social service center establishment.

12) Places of exercise or recreation - A gymnasium, health spa, bowling alley, golf course, or other place of exercise or recreation.

Businesses that don't have to comply with ADA laws.

If you're a "Commercial Facility", you are not subject to barrier removal.
Commercial facilities, such as office buildings, factories and warehouses are not subject to barrier removal. However, they must comply with the ADA architectural standards for new construction and alterations. Remember any area in the facility that serves the public is considered a public accommodation and is subject to accessibility standards.

If you're religious organization you are exempt from the requirements of Title III of the ADA and are therefore not subject to barrier removal.
Religious organizations are subject to code requirements in the California Building Code.

If you're a private club you are exempt from the requirements of Title III of the ADA and are therefore not subject to barrier removal.
If a private club opens any part of the facility to the public for an event, fund raiser, etc., then that part of the facility is a public accommodation and is subject to accessibility standards.

What are the accessibility requirements of Title III of the ADA?

Newer Buildings -- The ADA requires that public accommodations and commercial facilities designed for first occupancy on or after January 26, 1993 must be fully accessible to individuals with disabilities unless it is structurally impracticable to do so due to the unique characteristics of the terrain.

A newer building, though, only has to install an elevator if:
1) It has a minimum of three stories or 3,000 square feet per story; or
2) It is a shopping center, professional offices for health care providers, or transportation terminal or depot.

Remodeled Buildings -- A public accommodation or commercial facility must assure that any part of its facility altered after January 26, 1992 is made accessible to individuals with disabilities, unless doing so is virtually impossible. Alterations that trigger the accessibility requirements include remodeling, renovation, or reconstruction, but not normal maintenance, painting, or re-roofing. If the altered part of the facility affects or could affect the usability of or access to an area that contains a primary function (such as a dining room in a restaurant), the facility must also provide an accessible path of travel that connects the altered area with the exterior approach. The facility, though, need not spend more than 20% of the cost of alterations to the primary function area on accessibility alterations to the path of travel.

Existing Public Accommodations -- Public accommodations existing as of January 26, 1992 had (and continue to have) a duty to remove architectural barriers to the extent that doing so is "readily achievable."

The first priority is to assure access to the accommodation from the sidewalks or parking area (e.g., ramps, accessible parking and widening the entrance). The second priority is access to the goods or services (e.g., interior ramps, re-arranging racks). The third priority is access to restrooms. The fourth priority is removal of any other barriers.

Removal of barriers is "readily achievable" if it can be accomplished without much difficulty or expense, looking at various factors, including cost of barrier removal, the financial resources of the public accommodation and safety concerns.

Existing Commercial Facilities -- Commercial facilities built before January 26, 1993 have no obligation to remove architectural barriers under Title III of the ADA unless and until they are remodeled.

However, such existing commercial facilities may have an obligation to remove architectural barriers to accommodate the needs of employees with disabilities under Title I of the ADA (which governs employment discrimination).

Barrier Removal is an Ongoing Obligation!

The obligation to engage in readily achievable barrier removal is a continuing one. Over time, barrier removal that initially was not readily achievable may later be required because of changed circumstances.

If the obligation is continuing, are there any limits on what must be done? The obligation is continuing, but not unlimited. The obligation to remove barriers will never exceed the level of access required under the alterations standard (or the new construction standard if ADAAG does not provide specific standards for alterations).

For more information call 818/952-3452 or email ADA Compliance Professionals.

Accessibility Assessment

STEP 1: Our professional and insightful team will come to your locations for a complete evaluation

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Certified Reports

STEP 2: Our complete reports will give clear design guidance on what must be done to satisfy state regulations.

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Remediation Support

STEP 3: After the plan is done we are there from the selection of the right contractor to sign off on the final inspection.

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