Do I need an ADA Access Audit?
A facilities audit (also known as a Barrier-Free Audit, or People with Disabilities Access Audit) is an assessment of a building or facility, an environment, or a service compared to best practice standards to benchmark its accessibility to people with disabilities. The key elements to refer to are the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Titles II and III, along with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Act, and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.
The audit will consider what is reasonable for your building or services. Factors will include the size of your organization, the age of your building, and location. Our reports set out clear recommendations in the form of an action plan with priority ratings to enable you to plan for the next three to four years.
Facility Audits help you to understand your obligations, they identify barriers to disabled access and a range of options to address these barriers so that you can take steps to make your facility barrier-free. Many of our clients want to go beyond mere compliance and create truly welcoming venues. We help you improve access for people with disabilities and many other users.
What are the standards?
Americans with Disabilities Act Title II requires that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in public entities’ programs, services and activities in the most integrated manner appropriate. While Americans with Disabilities Act Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations. An ADA Access audit should also have references to other publications where relevant, and any sector-specific guidance issued such as for railways or healthcare provision.
As a federal law, the ADA applies to all local, county, state, and federal government agencies as well as many businesses in the United States with 15 or more employees who are open to the public including hotels, retail stores, restaurants, medical facilities, private schools, and health clubs.
As innovation and new ideas emerge, not everything is covered within standards that would be useful to consider for your site. A good Access Consultant will therefore be able to select relevant new ideas and concepts that improve accessibility and inclusion.
What is the ADA?
In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 sets out how people with disabilities have rights in employment, access to goods and services, the management of property, and education. The ADA defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”.
Organizations that provide products, facilities, or services to the public, cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. This is defined in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessibility:
“Each facility or part of a facility constructed by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity shall be designed and constructed in such manner that the facility or part of the facility is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities”.
So what does an audit cover?
Our facility audits look at all aspects of a disabled person’s journey to your site and through the site. From getting there to the entrance, reception, restroom facilities, communal and office spaces, and any other area that may be accessed. Audits also consider wayfinding, emergency egress, lifts, and stairs.
Our ADA Access Auditing team
The Direct Access team all have lived experience of disability combined with having Certified Professionals in Accessible Built Environments (CPABE) credentials.
We also work closely with schools where the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) applies.