Tag Archives: ADA Standards

Curb Ramps and Detectable Warning Surfaces (Chapter 4 Part 3)

When creating an ADA compliant outdoor hardscape, it is important to understand the engineering considerations to be included in the design.  In recent years, there has been a noticeable addition to the curb ramps that have been required since 1992.  The original Americans with Disabilities Act of 1973 had mandated that all crossing areas where an elevated sidewalk or pedestrian thoroughfare met a road surface, a curb ramp should be constructed to make the area accessible for persons with mobility challenges.  These curb ramps have gone a long way in improving accessibility for people in wheelchairs, or those walking with a cane or crutches.  For many people, even the elevation of a curb—just six or nine inches, causes a great deal of difficulty.  The wide-spread addition of curb ramps has provided them with greater accessibility, and consequently greater opportunity.  While the curb ramps have gone a long way to make things more accessible for the mobility challenged, is needed to be done to ensure the safety of visually impaired people.  The United States Access Board explains that after much testing, the solution that was recommended was the addition of detectable warning surfaces.

Using High-Contrast Color

The recommendation for detectable warning surfaces states that because the variance in levels of visual impairment are so great, the surface should be of a highly contrasting color.  This means that in the case of a white, concrete sidewalk, a red, blue or bright yellow would be desirable.  If the paved area is asphalt construction, blue or red is preferred.  In the case of a red, stamped asphalt, a black and white detectable warning surface might be advisable.

The Federal Highway Administration studied the use of detectable warning surfaces in 2005 and found that the use of neutral colors (tan, grey and black) was not advisable.  For people with visual impairments, these colors did not provide a discernable visual warning.  The FHWA report also went on to recommend the normalization of the use of certain colors (i.e. blue for handicap access, red or yellow for street crossings).

The Truncated-Dome Texture

Careful consideration was given to the texture of the detectable warning surface.  The prevailing “truncated dome” texture was chosen for a variety of reasons.  First, the texture is easily recognized by touch, even through most shoes.  Also, because of the open configuration, the texture is not easily affected by elements like snow, rain, dirt or sand.  Basically, it stays clear in most conditions.  Rather than completely round domes, which could be an unstable texture, the truncated design was incorporated.  Testing confirmed that the truncated domes provided enough surface variance to be sensed, but still offered a safe surface for crutches and canes to interact with.

In the past texturizing impressions had been acceptable for curb ramps, but the FHWA recommendations amended in 2016 make no note of such techniques, and strictly refer to the truncated dome type of surface. 

ADA Compliant Curb Warning
Tile footpath curb warning for visually impaired.

Placement Recommendations

Though the engineering recommendations by the FHWA have not yet been adopted as law, they have been adopted by the United States Access Board.  The recommended installation of detectable warning surfaces are as follows:

At edge of drop-offs and passenger platforms for in rail transportation, a warning should be installed at a depth of 24” from the edge

At all curb ramps at a depth of 24” from the gutter, for the entire width of the ramp surface

At any designated crossing point of flush-engineered or blended surface pedestrian areas

Working within the ADA

Many customers are frustrated with the ADA standards and do not understand the importance of such requirements.  East Coast Paving and Site Development reminds you that complying with ADA standards is meant to provide everyone with equal access, and by following the recommendations of the United States Access Board, you’re not only following the law, you’re respecting everyone.  Let us work with you to create a site plan that is efficient and accessible for everyone.

Help with ADA Standards

Serving clients in New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, the experienced professionals at East Coast Paving and Site Development are prepared to help you achieve the standards for ADA compliance.

For additional questions about ADA compliance, contact the paving experts at East Coast Paving and Site Development at 732-329-3600 or email info@eccompanies.com.

Ensuring Compliance for Ramps and Railings in the ADA Standards (Chapter 4, Part 2)

The Department of Transportation’s ADA Standards for ramps and railings mandate that any new ramp or railing be constructed in compliance with specific guidelines to ensure that people with physical disabilities can use them safely and easily.

If a person with a physical disability cannot access a building via lift or elevator, an accessible ramp must be constructed. However, ramps should be uniform, predictable, and easy to travel on. That way, those who are using equipment like wheelchairs or scooters can anticipate a safe and convenient traveling experience.

This also means that those who are constructing ramps must comply with specific guidelines in the ADA Standards. All ramps and railings must be constructed within the right dimensions to promote safety and prevent any injury to those using them for travel.

When ADA Standards for Ramps and Railings are Needed

According to the United States Access Board, ramps are mandatory along accessible routes that span changes in level that are greater than ½”. Accessible routes with slopes steeper than 5% must also be treated as ramps.

If the ramp has a rise greater than 6” then a handrail must also be installed on the ramp. The Standards do not require an additional lower rail for children except for ramps within play areas. The recommended height for these lower railings is a maximum of 28” and a separation of 9” from the main rail.

ADA Standards for Ramps and Railings Dimensions

To ensure that ramps remain level and safe for wheelchairs to travel over, the ADA Standards mandate that they be constructed within specific dimensions. This ensures predictability and safety for those that use them to travel in and out of buildings.

Dimensions for Ramps

ADA Standards require ramps to comply with these specific guidelines:

•Slope: To be uniform along a single ramp.

•Clear width: Ramp runs must have a minimum width of 36”. This is to be measured between handrails if installed.

•Rise: The height of a run is limited to 30” maximum, but a ramp can have an unlimited number of runs.

Dimensions for Railings

ADA Standards for Railings include:

•Rise: Any ramp with a rise over 6” must have railings.

•Width: Ramps with rails must have a clear width of 36” minimum.

•Height: Rails must be between 34-38” and at a consistent height along a single run.

ADA Standards for Landings Attached to Ramps and Railings

Landings help people with disabilities rest and change direction when using ramps. ADA standards for ramps and railings require level landings at the top and bottom of each run. The Standards also state that landings should be square or rectangular in shape and never curved.

ADA standards  for ramps and railings require that intermediate landings between runs, where ramps often change direction, be 60” wide clear and 60” long clear. No handrail or edge protection extensions can encroach on this clearing to ensure that there is enough spaces for larger assistive devices like wheelchairs to effectively change direction.

If there is a doorway adjacent to a landing, a door’s clearance is permitted to overlap the landing. However, for increased safety, it is best to ensure that the door swings away from the landing if possible.

Additionally, any landing that could be subject to wet conditions must be designed in a way that prevents water from accumulating on its surface. Examples include outdoor landings subject to weather conditions and indoor ones near pipes. Slopes no steeper than 1:48 may be installed for drainage.

Edge Protection

ADA standards for ramps and railings require edge protection be installed on runs under specific conditions. Edge protection installed on ramp runs helps keep wheelchairs and crutch tips on the surface. Examples include curbs, barriers, or extended surfaces.

Edge protection is not required for ramps higher than 6” that already have side flares, ramp landings connected to an adjacent ramp or stairway, or sides of ramp landings with vertical drop-offs not exceeding ½” within 10” of the minimum landing area. Whether using a curb, rail, or other barrier, they must be constructed so that they could prevent a 4” diameter round ball from passing through any spaces.

Aisle Ramps in Assembly Areas

Assembly areas refer to spaces like auditoriums, stadiums, and theatres. Here, the ADA standards for ramps and railings state that aisle ramps are required to be accessible, but may be exempt from certain handrail requirements. If the seating area is adjacent to an aisle ramp that is not part of a required accessible route, then it does not have to comply with handrail requirements.

Help with ADA Standards

Serving clients in New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, the experienced professionals at East Coast Paving and Site Development are prepared to help you achieve the standards for ADA compliance.

For additional questions about ADA compliance, contact the paving experts at East Coast Paving and Site Development at 732-329-3600 or email info@eccompanies.com.

Read More on this Series

The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance: Using the ADA Standards (Chapter 1)

Scoping Requirements and ADA Standards for New Construction (Chapter 2 Part 1)

Construction Alterations and the ADA Standards that Affect Them (Chapter 2 Part 2)

ADA Standards for Floor and Ground Surface Construction (Chapter 3)

Accessible Routes in the ADA Standards (Chapter 4 Part 1)

Accessible Routes in the ADA Standards (Chapter 4 Part 1)

There are several kinds of accessible routes a building or facility must have, according to the Department of Transportation’s set of ADA Standards, of which all accessible routes must comply.

Accessible routes are required where there are site arrival points, accessible routes within a site, as well as accessible routes within a building or facility.

According to the United States Access Board, an “accessible route” is classified and defined as “a continuous unobstructed path connecting all accessible elements and spaces of a building or facility.”  Furthermore, it goes on to explain that these accessible routes can also be described as, and include, corridors, ramps, elevators, lifts, and the like.

Overall, accessible routes are all about allowing whatever or whoever travels throughout your site to access other parts and spaces easily via routes or paths.

Site Arrival Points

To meet the ADA Standards, it is a requirement that there is at least one accessible route that leads to accessible facility entrances.

Additionally, these routes must be provided from within the site.

From these site arrival points, there must also be accessible parking zones, accessible passenger loading zones, public streets and sidewalks, and each public transportation stop.

Accessible Routes Within a Site

Similar to the requirements for site arrival points, the ADA Standards require that accessible routes from within a site contain at least one route within the site boundary.

Additionally, this route must also originate from the site arrival points and must connect all accessible on-site buildings, facilities, elements, and spaces.

This is common sense.  If a site is going to have multiple buildings, therefore multiple accessible routes from within the facility’s grounds, it has to lead to or connect something.

Accessible Routes Within a Building or Facility

For routes available for access from inside a building or facility, there are yet another set of rules.

These internal routes must contain at least one fully accessible route that connects all the accessible spaces and elements around it.

Furthermore, for circulation paths, if one is interior, then the accessible route must also be interior.

Additionally, vertical interior circulation routes must be in the same location as stairs and escalators.  It is against the ADA Standards for a vertical interior circulation to be located separately in the back of a building or facility.

Accessible Routes Are an Important Part of Construction Sites and ADA Standards

To ensure that you have the proper routes and structure you need for your site, building, or facility, it is always best to reinforce ADA Standards within your construction team.

So, do your research, play by the rules, and create good, effective, and safe, accessible routes for your site.

An accessible route is all about getting someone from point A to point B.  By following the ADA Standards and making sure your facilities comply with them, it is guaranteed your visitors will get from their starting point to their destination with ease and safety.

Help with ADA Standards

Serving clients in New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, the experienced professionals at East Coast Paving and Site Development are prepared to help you achieve the standards for ADA compliance.

For additional questions about ADA compliance, contact the paving experts at East Coast Paving and Site Development at 732-329-3600 or email info@eccompanies.com.

Read more on this series:

The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance: Using the ADA Standards (Chapter 1)

Scoping Requirements and ADA Standards for New Construction (Chapter 2 Part 1)

Construction Alterations and the ADA Standards That Affect Them (Chapter 2 Part 2)

ADA Standards for Floor and Ground Surface Construction (Chapter 3)

ADA Standards for Floor and Ground Surface Construction (Chapter 3)

In construction, floor and ground surfaces are subject to the regulations of the ADA Standards, which form the base of the Department of Transportation.

These standards require specifications for floor and grounding surfaces, which address the surface characteristics, carpeting, openings, and changes in level.

These surfaces can be hazardous, and it is the Department of Transportation’s goal to prevent hazards and make them as minimal as possible.  Hence, these standards were born.

The standards apply to all four major aspects of surfaces:

  1. Interior and exterior accessible routes
  2. Stairways that are part of a means of egress
  3. Clearances that are required
  4. Parking spaces, aisles, and passenger loading zones that are all accessible

Additionally, the standards are based on the three key aspects that contribute to a safe and minimal hazardous surface: firmness, stability, and slip resistant.

As a result, the first and foremost standard is that all surfaces must be stable, firm, and slip resistant.

Slip Resistance

As part of the three major standards for flooring, all surfaces are required by the ADA Standards to be slip resistant.

This means that all surfaces accessible by the public must have some level of resistance to slipperiness to reduce hazards, especially to people with disabilities or injuries.

However, the ADA Standards fail to specify the minimum amount, or, level, of slip resistance a surface must have.  Therefore, there are several protocol tools to help determine or estimate the amount of slip resistance a floor contains.

To comply with the slip resistance regulations, a surface must specify three things:

  1. Surface materials
  2. Textures
  3. Finishes

These three things must be used to prevent slipperiness to the surface, especially in conditions it is likely to face.

To prove that a surface is slip resistant, it must clearly prove the provision of these three things to reduce the risk of hazards.

Firmness and Stability

Secondly, a floor or surface must be firm and stable.

Contributing to the firmness and stability of a surface are four main elements: surface smoothness, carpet, openings, and changes in level.

These elements determine the amount of firmness or stability a surface has, and each is subject to different standards.

First, to provide greater surface smoothness, there are limits placed on openings in floors and grounds by the ADA Standards.  However, they don’t specify the overall amount or level of smoothness a surface requires.

However, it is important to know that rough surfaces such as cobblestones and Belgian blocks can produce hazards and difficulty for mobility aids such as wheelchairs and crutches.

Secondly, carpet standards consist of a specific maximum height and texture a pile can have.

The maximum pile height is half of an inch (1/2), which is measured to the backing, cushion, or pad.

Additionally, the pile texture is required to obtain a level or texture loop, level cut pile, and firm backing.

Openings are subject to a maximum width, where the passage can fit a max of ½ a diameter sphere. 

Finally, changes in level are required to be only ¼ of an inch without treatment, but with it can be ½ if it is beveled with a maximum slope of 1:2.

Additionally, changes above ½ of an inch are required to be classified as a ramp.

Safety First Should Always Be the Motto of a Construction Project

Nothing is more important than keeping your workers and the people walking on your grounds and surfaces safe.

Take precautions and be sure to follow the ADA Standards step by step to ensure that your new facilities truly are the safest they can be.

Help with ADA Standards

Serving clients in New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, the experienced professionals at East Coast Paving and Site Development are prepared to help you achieve the standards for ADA compliance.

For additional questions about ADA compliance, contact the paving experts at East Coast Paving and Site Development at 732-329-3600 or email info@eccompanies.com.

Read more on this series:

The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance: Using the ADA Standards (Chapter 1)

Scoping Requirements and ADA Standards for New Construction (Chapter 2 Part 1)

Construction Alterations and the ADA Standards That Affect Them (Chapter 2 Part 2)

Accessible Routes in the ADA Standards (Chapter 4 Part 1)

Construction Alterations and the ADA Standards That Affect Them (Chapter 2 Part 2)

Alteration is something practically all construction sites and facilities undergo at some point or another.

The compliance and standards of these alterations are determined by certain scoping requirements, which are the bases of the 2010 ADA Standards of the Department of Justice and the ADA Standards of the Department of Transportation.

For the additions and alterations of pre existing facilities, the ADA Standards are applicable. 

These standards apply to the elements and/or spaces being altered or added.  Therefore, the extent of which the standards are applied is determined mainly by the project’s scope work.

However, it is important to be aware of the fact that for projects affecting the usage or accessibility to a space that contains a primary function, there are additional requirements and expectations.

So, without further ado, here are the ADA Standards for alterations to existing facilities and which projects apply to them.

What Exactly Is an Alteration?

According to Business Dictionary, an alteration can be defined as a “change that does not affect the basic character or structure of the thing it is applied to” in general terms.

The difference, you might be wondering, between an addition and an alteration is that an addition is welcoming a new space or element to a facility, while an alteration is simply making a small change.

The keyword here is “small”.  As discussed earlier, projects that affect areas containing primary functions to the facility are now subject to new rules and must comply with the ADA Standards for alterations.

There are seven major projects that are classified as alterations:

  1. Remodeling
  2. Renovation
  3. Rehabilitation
  4. Reconstruction
  5. Restoration
  6. Resurfacing
  7. Rearranging

As you might have picked up, the thing that all of these have in common is the fact that they simply change the existing facility for its benefit instead of adding to it or expanding it.

Additionally, things such as maintenance, reroofing or painting aren’t considered alterations, as there is really not much physical change that affects the productivity or purpose of the facility for its own good.

Alterations That Do Affect Usage or Accessibility

The one major requirement that the Department of Transportation ADA Standards set in place for alterations that affect areas of primary functions is that there is a path of travel.

Regardless of whether it is a new addition or an alteration that does or doesn’t affect usage and accessibility, there must be a safe path of travel.

This means that if an alteration affects another function, it still must contain a clear traveling path and now must comply with the ADA Standards for alterations.

Being Comfortable with the ADA Standards Will Result in a Safer and Surer Alteration Project

It is extremely important to ensure that all of your projects and facilities comply with the ADA Standards.

It is never fun to have the Department of Transportation on the back of your construction business and possibly costing you money or getting you into legal trouble.

So, know the expectations set for you, and strive to reach them with excellence and comply with standards for safety and peace.

Help with ADA Compliance

Serving clients in New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, the experienced professionals at East Coast Paving and Site Development are prepared to help you achieve the standards for ADA compliance.

For additional questions about ADA compliance, contact the paving experts at East Coast Paving and Site Development at 732-329-3600 or email info@eccompanies.com.

Read more on the series

The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance: Using the ADA Standards (Chapter 1)

Scoping Requirements and ADA Standards for New Construction (Chapter 2 Part 1)

ADA Standards for Floor and Ground Surface Construction (Chapter 3)

Accessible Routes in the ADA Standards (Chapter 4 Part 1)

Scoping Requirements and ADA Standards for New Construction (Chapter 2 Part 1)

In the construction world, there are many standards and requirements that dictate how a job must be done for specific tasks.

Construction work falls under two major categories: the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation.  As a result, both of these two departments have their own rules and regulations applicable to the construction classified beneath them.

The regulations of the Department of Justice are referred to as the 2010 ADA Standards, and the Department of Transportation’s rules are governed simply by the ADA Standards.

Before beginning new construction under either of these two departments, it is vital to know the rules, regulations, and applications of both.

1. Scoping Requirements

“Scoping” is a term used very frequently in the construction industry, and it refers to the general way a construction job or project is going to be carried out under the signing of a specific contract.

Both the 2010 ADA Standards and the ADA Standards have different requirements for scoping construction.

Firstly, scoping requirements apply to four particular areas of construction.  These are elements, building, facility, and site.

Each is applicable by the Department of Justice’s 2010 ADA Standards and the Department of Transportation’s ADA Standards.

Additionally, there are other scoping requirements for technical provisions and covered elements and spaces that a site provides.

These elements and spaces are parking, means of egress, and plumbing fixtures.

For the 2010 ADA Standards, their requirements are determined by either building codes, design practices, or other factors.

The ADA Standards of the Department of Transportation, on the other hand, list the particular areas, elements, and spaces that are required to be accessible.

2. ADA Standards Application

The Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation both have a set of standards specifically for the application and accessibility of a new construction site.

As for the ADA Standards, requirements apply to all types of facilities, regardless of size or complexity.  This means that all facility sites, from simple, one-building facilities to complex sites containing multiple buildings, are all subject to the same rules.

These application regulations also apply to exterior and interior spaces, as well as all elements a site provides. 

Additionally, whether these sites are permanent or temporary does not matter.  The rules apply to both.

3. Accessibility Regulations

It is important to note that for all new construction, it is mandatory by the ADA Standards that all areas to be fully accessible, which normally means having multiple spaces of the same type.

However, the only three areas not required to be fully accessible or only partially accessible are as follows:

  1. Raised or limited usage spaces
  2. Specific employee work areas
  3. Spaces specifically for scoping provisions of which only particular portions are required to comply

The “particular portions” referred to in number three is areas such as dressing rooms or patient bedrooms, because they are only partially accessible.

Knowing the ADA Standards Ensures Your Construction Work Is Safe, Legal, and Successful

You never want to end up in a situation where you have the ADA on your back because you’ve fallen short of expectations!

Before starting your construction, take precautions and be fully aware of the laws and regulations applicable to your site.

This makes for a happy business, happy customers, and a happy Department of Transportation.

Help with ADA Compliance

Serving clients in New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, the experienced professionals at East Coast Paving and Site Development are prepared to help you achieve the standards for ADA compliance.

For additional questions about ADA compliance, contact the paving experts at East Coast Paving and Site Development at 732-329-3600 or email info@eccompanies.com.

Read more on this series:

The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance: Using the ADA Standards (Chapter 1)

Construction Alterations and the ADA Standards That Affect Them (Chapter 2 Part 2)

ADA Standards for Floor and Ground Surface Construction (Chapter 3)

Accessible Routes in the ADA Standards (Chapter 4 Part 1)

The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance: What Business Owners Need to Know

As an introduction to our new series: “The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance,” the paving and site development experts at East Coast Paving will be covering the five chapters from the 2010 ADA Standards issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Throughout this educational series, created specifically for business owners and property owners, we will address many of the frequently asked questions to help you achieve compliance and save money while reducing liabilities.

Why do I need to worry about ADA compliance?

Under the federal civil rights law, Americans with Disabilities Act, business owners and property owners must comply with regulations on disabled parking to accommodate all customers and employees. If you own or operate within a business that serves the public, it’s critical to review the specific standards for compliance before making any parking lot improvements at existing properties or starting new sitework.

How can I ensure my business has met the standards for ADA compliance?

Different from being building code compliant, ADA compliance refers to a set of federal standards to be met nationwide but still may be out of local compliance. To ensure compliance business owners are advised to work with a paving contractor with knowledge within this category.

What makes my business ADA compliant?

Standards for ADA compliance are outlined in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Some key topics business owner need to be aware of include: new construction, alterations, floor and ground surfaces, turning space, accessible routes, ramps and railings, curb ramps, detectable warning surfaces and specifics for parking spaces.

We will cover each of these in our series: “The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance.”

What if my site doesn’t meet the ADA Standards?

A business owner who does not comply to the ADA Standards will be required to re-do or repair their parking lot, could face fines and even a lawsuit.

Where can I find more information about ADA compliance?

For more in-depth information, refer to the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This 279 page document provides a thorough overview on the scoping and technical requirements for new construction and alterations.

Help with ADA Compliance

Serving clients in New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, the experienced professionals at East Coast Paving and Site Development are prepared to help you achieve the standards for ADA compliance.

For additional questions about ADA compliance, contact the paving experts at East Coast Paving and Site Development at 732-329-3600 or email info@eccompanies.com.

Read more on this series:

The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance: Using the ADA Standards (Chapter 1)