How to Use A Basic ADA Inspection Checklist for Existing Facilities?

Existing facilities still have to adhere to the ADA and ensure that they are able to pass an inspection at any point in time. Accessibility is important to society as a whole. You can do your part by ensuring your facility stays ready to make appropriate accommodations for employees and clients alike. Here are the most basic components of an ADA inspection checklist for existing facilities to help you prepare your business.

1. Accessible Entrances

All businesses must have entrances that are accessible to anyone who wants to use them. Proper grading and well-maintained access are important to the entrance. Ensure that proper signage is both posted and fully visible. Entrances should not be placed in different areas than non-accessible entrances so as to single out those with mobility related disabilities. If at all possible, existing entrances should be modified to make them more user friendly.

2. Parking Spaces

Parking spaces must be big enough for a standard accessible van. Acceptable sizes vary by region, but all must be at least big enough for two people to fit into the space. Enough room outside of the space itself for unloading must also be provided. The signage and painted space markers must be well maintained and fully visible.

3. Door Size and Weight

Doors must be big enough for a standard wheelchair to fit through. Ensure that you measure from the top to bottom and side to side. Ensure that the door swings wide enough to allow for complete access. Ensure the door can be opened with a single hand. Anything heavier without an automatic switch is considered a barrier and must be replaced. Handles should be at an appropriate height to allow users in wheelchairs to grab them without having to shift or otherwise put themselves in danger.

4. Ramp Angles

Ramps must have 12 inches of space for even inch of incline. Measure each ramp and ensure the incline is not too steep for users. Ramps must also come flush with the ground above and below them. If you observe any gaps, make sure to note them so they can be repaired and re-inspected. Ramps that do not have enough run before the incline can be fixed by adding length to the ramp.

5. Bathrooms

Check that the bathrooms fit all the above requirements and then ensure that all fixtures are within easy reach. People in wheelchairs should be able to wash their hands, reach the door handles, lock the stalls, etc. Ensure that the handicapped stall is big enough as required by law, that the mobility assistive fixtures are both positioned correctly and at the correct height. Pull on them as hard as you can to make sure that they are properly anchored and will not come off or cause a fall.

Aside from these, make sure that all proper signage is available through-out the location. Ensure that accessible rooms are available for employees and that there are no barriers to employment with your company as well. It doesn’t hurt to make sure that areas that might become slick when wet have anti-slip strips or that there are policies in place to quickly clean up any kind of spills that might happen.

When working through the checklist make sure to both record everything you are doing in writing, but also to photograph your results. If you need to open a door to check, make sure that you photograph it both closed and then open, showing the different states of use. This will help ensure that you have all the necessary documentation if your facility is selected to undergo an inspection.

David LoPresti, co-owner of ADA Compliance Professionals, brings years of architectural design and ADA compliance experience to the table. With a mother who has had a life-long disability, he has seen first-hand the complexity and challenges of making a property ADA compliant. This experience has led to him dedicating his life to improving ADA access for businesses across California so they can be enjoyed by all.