If you ever stop to notice, you will realize that a surprisingly large number of commercial properties are built such that they are not easily accessible to disabled people. There is a notable increase in the commercial property lawsuits tied to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). And recent laws have made it mandatory for new buildings or new parts of buildings to be accessible for the disabled. So, if you’re looking to buy or build a commercial property, you should be aware of the rights of disabled people and try your best to uphold them. Now, this is not as difficult as you probably think. All you have to do is understand the laws and put some effort and care when building a new property. Here are some tips to ensure your new property is safe and easily accessible for people with disabilities.
Why the Need for Disability Access
Are you wondering why we need separate features for disabled people in buildings? Are you wondering why the need for laws to help the disabled? There are many people in the world who don’t consider the rights of others if it gets in their way of success. Such people are the reason why we have legal rights to protect the interests of people with disabilities. And the laws regarding accessibility for the disabled are quite simple. The main purpose of the laws is ensuring easier access to all the facilities in the building, ensuring their safety and security, and giving them enough privacy. The ADA provides many guidelines for products and services that can help you secure the safety and comfort of disabled people. Whether it is widening the entryways or using ada lever handle for doors, there’s a lot you can do to increase accessibility in your property.
Better Access for Employees
More often than not, employees with disabilities face a lot of struggles due to discrimination or indifference of employers or fellow workers. However, it is the civil duty of the employers to ensure that disabled employees can work in a comfortable and accessible environment. This means building separate lifts, maintaining appropriate height for their convenience, and making sure they have easier means to access the facilities of the building. This can be done by widening the doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, replacing steps with ramps, relocating switches and door handles to proper heights, relocating workstations to lower levels, etc.
ADA Compliant Doors and Windows
Another good way to ensure the safety of disabled people in commercial properties is to use safe and ada compliant door locks and window locks. These locks are made specifically to facilitate easier access to those who have disabilities. The doors in public places and restrooms should have indicator locks that follow the guidelines issued by ADA. Whether it is the right size of the lever or the ease of use, make sure your door locks fit all the rules. There are many companies that make commercial-grade ada compliant indicator locks.
Easier Entrance and Exit Access
According to the latest laws, all commercial buildings are required to make their properties accessible by people who have disabilities. This means making sure the entrance and exit is such that even people with disabilities can easily use it. If the entrance is small, you should widen it to accommodate wheelchairs for disabled people. You can also consider using ramps instead of stairs in the parking lots, entrance, exit, and even inside the building. Another thing you can do is ensure the switches, doors and window locks, and other features are at an accessible height.
Providing Audio-Visual Fire Alarms
For people with hearing disabilities and other issues, it is better to use audio-visual fire alarms to ensure their safety even during a time of crisis. Fire alarms are meant to ensure that the occupants of the building can escape the building in case of an unexpected fire breakout. However, the standard alarm systems are generally audio based and don’t consider people with hearing disabilities. However, audio-visual fire alarms are ADA compliant and even deaf people can see visual alarm and escape to safety during fire. While audio-visual fire alarms are not compulsory for buildings, they are highly recommended.
Proper Signage for Easier Understanding
Another difficulty that many disabled people experience is the lack of proper signs to indicate the features for them. It is important that the building installs proper signage that people with disabilities can easily understand. Also, these signs should be placed at lower heights so that they are easily visible and accessible even by people with disabilities.
While it is difficult to solve all the problems we may face regarding access to disabled people, it is important to start somewhere. By following all the rules and regulations and doing your best to accommodate the disabled, you can make a start towards building properties that are equally welcoming to everyone.