How To Achieve ADA Business Requirements in Modular Buildings
About 1 in 4 adults in the United States have some sort of disability. From this, 11.1% of U.S. adults have a mobility disability and have trouble walking and using stairs. These adults may require a mobility device, wheelchair, cane, or crutches to move from place to place.
As part of the American Disabilities Act of 1990, business owners need to now meet standards of accessibility to make their buildings accessible to all individuals. In this ADA compliance guide, we’ll highlight key areas to focus on so you can meet these ADA business requirements.
5 Key Areas of ADA Compliance
Below, we’ll outline some of the key areas that need to be addressed for your structure to be ADA-compliant. These guidelines are a general rule of thumb and should be used as a starting point. Specific states may have different or more stringent requirements that need to be followed, so make sure you’re following your state ADA laws as well.
During our construction and final installation process, our team will ensure that your structure meets all ADA business requirements. You can use the following as a guide to know what to expect as we build your structure and what additions you’ll need once the structure is put in place.
1. Building Access
Typically, modular buildings are installed on a 36-inch high concrete foundation. To meet ADA compliance requirements, you’ll need to add alternative access to your building for employees or visitors in wheelchairs or those that cannot safely navigate steps.
If you’re looking to avoid putting in ramps or alternative entries, you can deepen the foundation of your modular building instead. So the 36-inch rise would be level with the ground. However, this isn’t the most cost-effective solution.
Although this would eliminate ramp construction costs, it will cost more and take longer to deepen the foundation. Additionally, your building may face long-term issues with moisture and humidity control in the basement.
Ultimately, our recommendation is to build a wheelchair-friendly ramp. Building code requires your ramp to have handles on both sides and a minimum width of 36 inches. The ramp slope follows the rule that for every inch off the ground is raised, you must add one foot to the ramp. So, with a BOXX Modular structure set on a 36-inch foundation, you will need a 36-foot ramp.
The ADA defines architectural barriers as physical pieces of your building that inhibit movement or access for people with disabilities. To avoid these barriers, it’s critical there are ramps and handles around your building access points.
As part of your BOXX Modular structure, we have stairs and entryway packages that ensure you have ramps without going through a third-party supplier.
2. External Considerations
Other than including a wheelchair ramp, your accessible modular building may also need disabled parking, curb ramps, or public sidewalks. This will depend on the placement and purpose of your modular building.
If your organization is open to the public, you have certain ADA business requirements you must follow. Commercial facilities such as office buildings, warehouses, and factories only need to follow the ADA standards for Accessible Design.
Businesses that are open to the public must ensure that a person with disabilities can fully participate and interact with the business. So there are a few additional requirements that you must follow.
Businesses must designate accessible parking spaces for staff or visitors. These parking spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route to the entrance of the building. Along with this, marked aisles must be used as designated areas for wheelchairs and other mobility devices that can be used to get in and out of the vehicles.
The aisle must be at least 60 inches wide and the physical parking space must be at least 96 inches wide. As an added precaution, make sure the parking spaces and aisles are on stable ground and slip-resistant to help reduce the risk of injury or an accident.
To determine how many accessible parking spaces you need, a good rule of thumb is one accessible parking spot for every 25 total spots. If you have less than 25 spots, you need at least one accessible parking spot to stay within ADA compliance.
In the next sections of this ADA compliance guide, we’ll discuss requirements for the interior of your buildings. As stated previously, at BOXX Modular, a part of our construction and installation process is ensuring your building meets ADA requirements.
Doorways should be designed to be at least 32 inches wide with a clear opening. This measurement should be done when the door is open at a 90-degree angle and starts at the face of the door to the door frame. Along with this, there should be adequate clearances on both sides of the doorway for easy opening and closing of the door.
Finally, all your doors should use door handles rather than door knobs. With these implications, your doorways should meet all ADA building requirements.
Similar to your doorways, hallways need to be wide enough for any wheelchair or mobility device to easily move through. ADA-compliant office space is better achieved with open office spaces and minimal barriers such as doors, walls, or tighter hallways that may interfere with the flow of traffic.
The specific measurements to be ADA compliant are a minimum of a continuous width of 36 inches. This means that all hallways need to always be at least 36 inches wide and should be smaller when there is a doorway.
You must also consider passing space for people in the hallway. These spaces are required every 200 feet and must be at least 60 inches wide. Again, the more open your floor plan is, the easier it will be to comply with these ADA business requirements.
If you have a multi-story building, you will also need to build an elevator so individuals with mobility difficulties can reach the upper floors.
When designing your ADA-compliant office space, you also need to consider the restroom facilities. You should take steps to include an ADA-compliant stall with safety rails. The minimum width of this stall must be 60 inches and the doorway must be at least 32 inches wide, just like all other doors in your building.
You will also need to consider bathroom accessories and the height of each of those. Things like towel dispensers and soap must be easily accessible by all individuals. In all of our floorplans that include a restroom, you can be assured that these restrooms will already be ADA-compliant.
If you’re using a modular restroom on its own, not inside a building, you will need to follow the ADA compliance guidelines listed above and provide ramps to the restroom entrances.
Making Existing Buildings and Renovations ADA-Compliant
ADA building requirements for modular construction are pretty clear for new buildings. Where it gets a little more complex is when you’re looking to update an existing structure to be ADA-compliant. Even if the changes will take longer, it’s essential for an organization to start putting the renovations into action.
The reality is that if you’re using modular buildings during your remodeling, renovating, rehabilitating, reconstructing, or rearranging, you are required to make an appropriate effort to meet all ADA compliance requirements.
As a general rule, up to 20% of your construction costs must be dedicated to removing barriers to various access points, exterior or interior. These points can include bathrooms, public telephones, and drinking fountains.
If your construction costs will exceed this percentage and amount, this is called a “disproportionate cost” and you may be able to get an allowance for it.
ADA business requirements are part of every project we work on. Learn more about a new modular building or expanding your existing space by contacting our offices.
This blog was originally published on October 19th, 2018 and was updated on May 1st, 2023.
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