ADA compliance refresher

  "Bush signs in ADA of 1990" by Unknown - Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -

"Bush signs in ADA of 1990" by Unknown - Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -

A responsible architect, designer or homeowner is already aware of the importance of designing a space that is not only aesthetically pleasing but is also safe and easily accessible for all who enter.

The President of the United States signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) back in 1990 ( updated in 2010) that, in part,  set standards for accessible design that must be adhered to in government and other public and commercial buildings. However, many designers and architects are designing private buildings and homes with these standards in mind in order to accommodate an aging or disabled population.

Along with very specific requirements for specifics like elevators, moving stairways, automatic doors, required space between beds and dining tables in detention facilities, school and restaurants, placement of ramps, etc., many elements of accessible or universal design can also be applied to private spaces and include:

  • No threshold doorways that allow wheelchair access as well as eliminate the need to step-up to enter a room or building.
  • Wider doorways and hallways that make it possible to move from room to room and turn around with a walker or wheelchair.
  • Rocker light switches that are easier to operate than a standard switch.
  • Lever hardware that eliminates the need to grasp and turn a knob to open a door or window.
  • Roll-in showers and tubs that also provide a seating area.
  • Slip resistant flooring and/or carpet pile and pad that allows for easy maneuverability of a wheelchair.
  • Grab bars in appropriate areas, particularly in the shower/tub and water closet.

This is a very abbreviated list of regulations and ideas.  You can view the entire list of ADA Regulations by visiting the government site here.  While compliance is a must in public and government buildings, any of these features can be customized to meet the needs of a client in a private residence, thereby making their life a bit easier and safer.

Many of our custom hardware pieces comply with ADA requirements.  To view these, or to view our entire collection of architectural hardware, please visit our site at