Disability Laws, ADA and Access Control

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 09, 2013

Designing safe Access Control is paramount for everyone, especially those working with disabilities. In the USA, a specific set of codes, the 'Americans with Disabilities Act', mandates that every commercial or public building accommodates those who may have difficulty with 'traditional' building design. Access Control, in particular, is affected by this law, and many global entities pattern themselves from the same guidelines. In this note, we examine the most common ways ADA in the USA and the UN's guidelines globally impacts access control design.

Summary

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Comments (7)

In the USA, a specific set of codes, the 'Americans with Disabilities Act', mandates that every commercial or public building accommodates those who may have difficulty with 'traditional' building design.

I would like to see you explore the above statement especially where it applies to "privately owned" living quarters such as University dormitories that have specific living quarters for the disabled. We often see this in private schools that restrict the physically handicapped to living in one building. This applies to the blind and deaf community as well as those that have a mobility restriction. So what's the definition of "public"

Great article by the way. The international information is excellent.

Hello Mike:

I have been told by several entities that a 'compliance line' is drawn for facilities that receive some percentage of federal funding for operations, like colleges and research facilities. There is also compulsory compliance for many 'private' facilities based on doing business or being a supplier to the national government.

It's a good question, and I will dig in and research the specifics. I will update this article with those clarifications.

Thanks, great feedback!

Brian,

Also, would you address the enforcement of this "code". It is my understanding that there is still dissention among the ranks "on the hill" as to the definition of the ADA as a code since there is no enforcement vehicle with the exception of civil suite. Local AHJ's attempt but realistically the code as law has no teeth unless adopted as code at the local level. So is it a standard or is it a code? The answer I got several years ago from a congressman's clerk was that the official position of that office was that the Americans with Disabilities Act was an "act" that had no assigned enforcement entity. Duh...........what does that mean? The answer from the same office was that 'the act will be enforced in courts".

I am not sure that it would be anything short of public suicide for a commercial entity to fight compliance with the ADA in a public forum, however, enforcement is an interesting concept.

I could be slightly wrong here, but I recall the ADA is investigated by the EEOC or your local civil rights office, and in some cases the infraction can be referred to the US DOJ.

Few people have any desire to change out door hardware to comply with the codes because rarely is anybody going to say anything and make them do it.

I have no experience with ADA lawsuits. However, the ADA's website says this:

"Q. How will the ADA's requirements for State and local governments be enforced?

A. Private individuals may bring lawsuits to enforce their rights under title II and may receive the same remedies as those provided under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, including reasonable attorney's fees. Individuals may also file complaints with eight designated Federal agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation."

Also, there are many articles talking about ADA lawsuit issues in California, such as this one that notes:

"Since 2005, there have been at least 300 lawsuits brought in San Francisco alleging failure to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act"

Indeed, in California, the lawsuits were deemed such a problem that legislation was passed to make such lawsuits more difficult.

Great article!

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