“Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Therefore, disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.”

World Health Organization


Understanding the compliance with accessibility codes has become a common, if not regular, part of the physical due diligence for a real estate transaction.  However, it can still be a source of confusion for many clients:


How thorough of an accessibility review do I need? Accessibility is touched on during a Property Condition Report, but the scope of the accessibility survey can vary widely based on the client’s needs. 

What codes apply? Accessibility is governed not just by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but also by other federal, state and local regulations. 

What are the main accessibility concerns at a property?

What do I do if I am not in compliance?  Many buildings built before the implementation of the applicable accessibility code will be deficient in meeting the code requirements. 


All of these topics are important to understand for those involved in commercial real estate due diligence.  This blog kicks off a series of discussions on accessibility, and I’ll start next with taking a look back at the history of regulations governing access concerns.