“ADA Surveys” are used during real estate transactions and development to identify potential accessibility issues at a property. Property Condition Assessments performed before the acquisition of a property frequently include a screen for compliance with Title III of ADA, though a detailed accessibility survey can provide a more complete picture of compliance with ADA and other accessibility regulations. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law passed in 1990 that established protections for people with disabilities. Among other things, the Act required new construction of “public accommodations” and “commercial facilities” to comply with certain requirements to make the facilities accessible to the disabled, and required the removal of barriers to access in existing buildings. This applies even if the building was built before ADA became effective. There is a common misconception that some buildings have been “grandfathered” and are not required to comply with the ADA, but the ADA does not protect buildings built before the passage of the Act.
ADA surveys are strictly limited to an evaluation of conformance with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additional Federal, State, and local requirements may apply, but would typically be evaluated only during the completion of a more detailed accessibility survey. An ADA Survey generally includes:
Accessible Route: An accessible route of travel must be provided to all public accommodations and commercial facilities within 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.
Toilet and Bathing Facilities (Sanitary Facilities): Where public toilet facilities are provided, accessible signage must be provided, certain clearances must be observed to allow users to maneuver a wheelchair; mirrors and counters must conform to maximum heights, toilet stalls must meet minimum dimensions, grab bars must be installed, and fixtures and dispensers must be handicapped accessible.
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