The Top 10 ADA Accessibility Violations that we have encountered on sites that we have been requested to audit are many times easily corrected by on-site staff members. However, depending on the size of the project, number of buildings, and the location, these simple violations can add up to hundreds or more violations of the ADA requirements.
Property owners should have a qualified professional prepare a documented report of all access violations that prioritizes which ones to correct first by providing detailed instructions on how to correct the violations. By beginning outside the building and following the path of travel, a qualified professional can identify those typical items that are most problematic for owners.
The Top 10 List
1. Path of Travel.
Uneven surfaces, blocked ramps or pathways, and incomplete or wrong directional signage are along the path of travel from the site and parking to the entry of the building.
The configuration of the vehicle parking space is incorrect or is the wrong dimension many times. The slope of the parking space or ramp is incorrect. The required access aisle is either on the wrong side, is not the correct size or is non-existent.
Signs that are missing, have incorrect language or graphics, or are installed at the wrong height or in the wrong location per the ADA requirements are typical violations.
4. Curbs and Ramps.
Curbs that are not flush with the parking lot pavement or ramps that are the incorrect slope or configurations often impede access to the pathway and to the building.
Entry areas and doors into buildings that are cluttered by miscellaneous materials, non-ADA signage, do not have the correct clearance requirements, or have a step up into the building.
6. Stairs and Corridors.
Incorrect handrails or guardrails, clearance or width issues, tripping hazards, warning stripping, or inadequate lighting are found within many buildings.
7. Pedestrian Ramps.
Pedestrian ramps both inside and outside buildings often are constructed the wrong size, with the incorrect slope, landings that are not level or the correct size or with ramps that are the wrong length or width, and handrails that are incorrect.
Restrooms usually represents the single item on the list that has the most number of violations. In general, rooms or stalls that are too small, fixtures that are out of reach, do not have the proper clearances, and door swings that are improper or do not have the proper clearance are the most typical violations.
Doors that are too small or have clearance issues, doors that are too heavy and require more than 5 pounds of force to open, the wrong door handles, and doors that close too quickly may require simply hardware replacement or may need replacement in their entirety.
10. Clearances and obstructions.
As a general rule, clearance and obstruction issues occur throughout a building. Whether it is the clearance required for ADA access behind a built-in desk, in a restroom, or an obstruction that extends more than 4" into a pathway, these items are typical ADA violations that occur that are missed by a building inspector but are still require compliance.
In conclusion, there are still civil monetary penalties under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act that may be assessed or enforced by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. For the ADA, they have adjusted the maximum civil penalty for a first violation under Title III from $55,000 to $75,000; for a subsequent violation the new maximum is $150,000. The new maximums apply only to violations occurring on or after April 28, 2014.
In order to determine if there are any issues or violations with your site or building, we highly recommend that you contact a qualified professional to provide you with a documented report on your property in order to avoid any civil monetary penalties.