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ADA Needed?

ADA Needed?

ADA Needed?

I have a question regarding the need to meet ADA requirements through the entirety of my project. In my experience as a roadway/Transportation engineer anywhere a pedestrian could step foot had to meet all ADA requirements or be designed to the maximum extent feasible. I have recently changed gears and now I work for an A&E firm that is designing a fire station. Now the mind set here is that only a portion of the sidewalks, within a predetermined handicap access to the front door, needs to meet ADA requirements. To be specific there is a seating area out in front of the building (20ft x 20ft) that is paved and has benches. The lead engineer does not believe this area needs to follow the ADA requirements, 2% max. cross slope, since it is outside of the provided ADA path, from the handicap parking space to the front door. Is this correct? Or do all areas need to meet ADA requirements.

RE: ADA Needed?

So you're telling us that your lead engineer is willing to exclude ADA-covered persons from the clearly public bench seating area? That's a design liability that I personally wouldn't want to tackle, and then have to justify to anyone else.


RE: ADA Needed?

That is exactly right! I do not have my PE stamp but if I did I would be sure all areas were ADA accessible. But since he is the one stamping the plans I will suggest that we include additional grading of the surrounding landscape to bring all sidewalk and bench areas to ADA standards. I cant wait to get my stamp so I can start building things the right way and not have to argue about what I know is right.

RE: ADA Needed?

If it was in back of the building, with no access except by firefighters, I could see the argument.
However, if it's in front of the building on the way to the front door and could be or is intended to be used by the public, the engineer could be sued.
Keep in mind that if you have one ADA-compliant path from parking and the public right-of-way and one or more non-compliant paths you must provide adequate signage to guide people to the ADA-compliant path.
What is the cost difference of not providing ADA compliance on the patio. It should be minimal, as you're not going to have 10% slopes on a patio.

RE: ADA Needed?

Look at the ADA guidelines under "accessible route". Anything along the path must comply for the exterior. A public sidewalk is generally considered to be an accessible route, thus the curb ramps and tactile surfaces.

Agree with Dave on the liability issue. Remember.....at the local level, accessibility is a building code issue...at the federal level it is a civil rights issue....don't go there!

RE: ADA Needed?

Thank you all for your input! The costs to bring all sidewalks up to ADA compliance is very minimal compared to the cost of the building.

RE: ADA Needed?

My simple understanding of ADA access requirements is that if the public has access to an area, you must develop ADA access to this area also. You cannot limit someone from using a public area because of their disability. So the example provided above about not providing ADA access to a non-public portion (like the back) of the building is correct, but a public sitting area in front of the building definitely would need ADA access.

RE: ADA Needed?

jgailla....what is the status of the COE job?

RE: ADA Needed?

I'm starting on June 13th. Right now I'm sitting in an airport in Birmingham to go home after the last trip of the project and the last trip of my current employment.

RE: ADA Needed?


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