What does an ADA Survey cover?
Accessibility Surveys or “ADA Surveys” are used during real estate transactions and development to identify potential accessibility issues with a property, often done during due diligence in conjunction with a Property Condition Report. Though not solely governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (there are many other accessibility codes that may apply depending on the state and local codes), an ADA Survey generally looks at the same main concerns regardless of the property location. The main items an ADA Survey covers are discussed below.
Route of travel: An accessible route of travel shall be provided to all portions of the building and from the public way to an accessible entrance. To the extent feasible, the route should coincide with the route typically used by the general public.
Bathing and Toilet Facilities (Sanitary Facilities): Where bathing facilities are provided, at least one shower or bathtub, toilet and lavoratory support facilities shall be accessible. No less than 1% of all facilities shall be accessible. In multi-accommodation spaces wheel chair maneuvering fixture clearances shall be provided.
Elevators and Wheelchair Lifts: Elevators require sufficient maneuvering space for wheel chairs. Passenger elevators shall be on an accessible route, located near a major path of travel. Wheel chair lifts can only be used under very specific circumstances.
Kitchens: Kitchens require very specific clear spaces, counter heights and cooking heights.
Signs and Identifications: There are very specific requirements for signs. The manufacturers can provide a lot of assistance for this area. California is alone in requiring all signage plans be submitted for review.
Controls and Operating Mechanisms: Access to controls, dispensers, receptacles, outlets and switches.
Fitting and Dressing Rooms: Minimum number of dressing rooms, size, and clearances.
Space Allowance and Reach Ranges: Wheelchair passage width, turning space size and approach, forward and side reach.
Fixed or Built-in Seating and Counters: Minimum number, size, knee space, height of work surfaces, sales and service counters, teller windows and information counters.
Access to Employee Areas: In general, all employee areas must be accessible including individual work stations. Exceptions are security areas and areas not customarily occupied.
Floor Surfaces: Floors of accessible routes, rooms and spaces shall be stable, firm and slip-resistant. Allowable level changes are defined. Requirements for carpet and gratings on accessible routes defined.
Storage: Where fixed cabinets, shelves, closets or drawers are provided in areas where access is required, at least one of each type shall be accessible.
Next up, I'll discuss what can be done when a property is not in compliance with accessibility codes.
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Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. (Partner) is a full-service environmental and engineering consulting firm completing projects nationwide. We specialize in evaluating properties in connection with real estate transactions, development or management.