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The Construction Requirements Placed on Commercial Buildings

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ral barriers to existing facilities, which must be “readily accessible” – that is, businesses must determine whether it could fulfill such removals given the project costs. Otherwise, such non-compliance would cause the company to be charged with discrimination against the disabled. Exempted from this rule are private clubs, places of worship and historical landmarks. The APA is a unique piece of legislation in that it is flexible, allowing much leeway for legislators and implementers alike to amend and strengthen the law in accordance with the changes in society that directly affect disabled people. This is also in anticipation of the friction that might occur between advancing the rights of persons with disabilities and furthering the profit-making potential of business entities (ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business 9). Not surprisingly, a number of regulations related to the law have been made and eventually revised through the years. Along with the ADA’s enactment, the Standards for Accessible Design were published in 1991 which defined the merits and requirements for an accessible facility for the compliance of businesses. Implemented by the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, the standards were influenced by the ADA Accessibility Guidelines formulated by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Andrews 19). In 2004, the justice department and the Board thought it necessary to revise and improve the guidelines based on a list of suggestions submitted by the American Institute of Architects ("The Angle: New ADA Standards." AIA.org). On September 15, 2010, the justice department published a new set of standards for accessible design in the Federal Register, in tune with numerous developments that affect the…
As observed, the technical specifications included in the 1991 and 2010 ADA Standards are not necessarily strict. While details are provided as to the measurements, placing of amenities and other related factors, there is no explicit mention of any enforcement clause. This implies that small businesses which could not easily afford the requirements of the law may choose to adjust the dimensions depending on the size and floor area of its building, with the help of reliable civil engineers. Business owners must not use this realization as a scapegoat to not fulfilling the provisions in, say, around 10 to 15 years, since it is posited that their commercial endeavors would have progressed by that time.
Businesses still find it hard to comply with the law’s provisions. From the interview conducted with the ADA review specialist and the survey of non-compliance issues, it can be deduced that construction and design professionals could not meet at the center in terms of equipment and building material specifications. Businesses, on the other hand, are confronted with the challenge of using the appropriate materials for new constructions and structural alterations that are ADA-compliant, while still being wary of the expense limits. Apparently though, business owners failed to realize the long-term benefits of ADA compliance not just for the benefit of people of disabilities, but also for the convenience it can bring to the employees and even to the general public, given the increasing complication of modern working and living.