Welcome everyone to the final session of the 2003-2004 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Audio Conference Series. A collaborative effort of the 10 regional Disability and Technical Assistance Centers. I hope that the final days of fall find you all doing very well. Here in Chicago, we are enjoying a sunny, 82-degree weather day. So I hope that especially for those of you in the southeastern portion and Mid-Atlantic parts of the United States are finding some dryer and sunnier weather. As I mentioned, this is a collaborative effort, to find out additional information regarding the Audio Conference service or to get additional information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, I encourage you to contact your ADA center by calling 1-800-949-4232. As always today''s session is currently being real-time captioned on the Great Lakes website, www.adagreatlakes.org. You can also find transcripts and audio archives of past sessions on the Great Lakes website. We are excited to announce that the schedule for the 2004-2005 Audio Conference Series has finally been posted. Again, you can get information on the new schedule from your regional ADA center by calling them at 800-949-3242 number or visit the Great Lakes website to find that schedule. We are pleased to announce that the first session of the new series will kickoff on October 19th. Where we will have Christina Galindo Walsh from the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Services looking at the accessibility of the 2000 vote. Will individuals with disabilities have their votes counted? Please contact your regional center to get additional information about that session. We are also pleased to announce that in the March, April and May sessions we will be offering a three-part series on reasonable accommodations. The cost for the 2004-2005 sessions will remain the same as the current year. There will be a special price for individuals who only want to get the three sessions in April, March and May and the reasonable accommodation series. We will also be bringing back some of our more popular series, "Ask the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)" and "Ask the Department of Justice (DOJ)". For the full list of the sessions, visit the Great Lakes website or contact your ADA Center to get that information. Today''s session, we are very pleased to have with us a gentleman that has been with us in the past, Mark Derry, who works with Eastlake Derry and Associates. We appreciate Mark providing us with his very valuable time, as a matter of fact, Mark is on break right now, working on a project in Tucson, Arizona, doing a site survey there. So we are pleased that he has been able to provide us with some time and help you look at your business. Is your business accessible and in conducting a self-assessment. Today''s session will be a little different than how it is normally done. Mark will talk for approximately 15 minutes, at point we will invite questions for a period of time. Mark will then proceed with another 15-minute presentation and we will take questions after that. And again, Mark will finish up with a 15-minute section, and then we will wrap up the session with questions and answers. At this time I would like to introduce from Eastlake Derry and Associates, Mr. Mark Derry.
Thanks, Peter. I am glad to be here. Welcome, everyone. Welcome to the call, we are glad to have you. This call is very much looked forward to by me, because we do a lot of training on ADA and accessibility, and a lot of times we get to the point where we are teaching an awful lot about the law but a lot of people are calling us with nuts and bolts questions. How to make a place accessible? How do I determine if my place is accessible? And so it is my pleasure to come to you today to talk about is my business accessible, conducting a self-assessment. What do I need to know? I am a consultant on accessibility. I work on accessibility under several different laws, and this isn''t something that is new, we have been looking at the ADA since 1990, and looking at other civil rights laws as well as building code, prior to that that required accessibility. I am not going to get into the law too much today, I want to spend most of my time talking about determining accessibility at my place of business and how to do that. And I wanted to make sure I left a lot of time today for you all to call in and let us know your questions so we can try to address your issues and give you the answer today. When you need them in a way you can use, as well as resources for the future, so that after today you know that you can call that 800-949-4232 number for all the information you need on accessibility, as well as other resources to go to. That is your one-stop shop, that 800-949-4232 number. This isn''t very new; accessibility has been required under various laws, and under building code for quite a while. And more and more, people are calling folks at Centers for Independent Living or at the ADA information centers, and at my office asking how do we determine our place is accessible. And that is what I want to talk about today. Now, if you are a business owner, one of the things I want to mention right off the bat as a preamble to all of this. You want to make sure you are taking advantage of tax credits that are available, tax incentives that are available to you for removing barriers at your place of business. The IRS has two different tax incentives available, one is a credit, and one is a deduction. Can you get information on those from your ADA information center, and they are very important to know about as a business. Now, I will tell you, as a business owner myself, I had to tell my accountant about them. My accountant gave me a blank stare when I told her I was doing renovations to my office and I wanted to apply for the tax incentives and I was able to give her the tax code numbers, one is 44 and one is 190. One is a deduction and one is a credit. She then was able to go back and look them up, and apply them to my business. And so, please know that there are tax incentives out there, if you are a business, legible small business, to take advantage of for removing barriers. We know we need to remove barriers; it is a fact of law. It is also good business. In this day and age, when business owners are trying to address every niche in the market that they can. People with disabilities are a very, very important niche that needs to be addressed. The thing that a lot of business owners don''t think about sometimes is that for people with disabilities, there are families and friends who will also frequent their businesses. There are a lot of good reasons for you to make sure your business is accessible. So that is why we are here, and how do I become or make sure that I am accessible. There is a few different approaches to take, and I want to talk about this. If you are in an existing facility, and you are looking at removing barriers, that is one thing, and then if you are building a new facility and you want to make sure that you don''t have barriers in your new facility, that can be another thing. In one fashion you are becoming, you are being reactive in removing barriers, and making your business more accessible. And in the other, you are being proactive in making sure that your building is built right to begin with. Now, you are going to have some support from local building code officials, I hope. And your architects who are supposed to be up on all of this, and educated and making sure that those buildings are being accessible. And we all know that is happening right? Now, for the bad news, sometimes it is not. And so you being able to recognize whether something is accessible or not is going to be very important to you, no matter what your role may be in the business or in the facility you are in. If you are being asked about accessibility, the material we are going to cover today, I hope will be very helpful to you. When you are looking at an existing building and you want to remove barriers, there is guidance out there that is very helpful as far as what you need to look at and in what order you should be looking at things in. The Department of Justice, the ADA centers, the Access centers all have information available. All available through that 800 number to help you through this process. The Department of Justice is also given us priorities to follow as far as barrier removal goes. And there are four priorities that you want to look at when you are looking at barrier removal. You want to start out before you are even in your business with approach in entering the business. You have to get there in order to access the goods and services, you have to get there to begin with. So the first priority would be approach in entering the building or the facility. So that is the first thing you are going to look at. The second priority would be actual access to your goods and services, whatever you offer to the public, whether it is a good and service or whether it is a program, whether you are a state or local government. You need to look at accessibilities and access to those programs, goods, and services would be your second priority. Three would be the restrooms and in many facilities, the restrooms are going to be playing a much more important part. In my mind it should be moved up on the list. For instance, if I am at a restaurant, I almost always use the restroom when I am at a restaurant. So if any of you out there are restaurant owners, your restrooms can be a very, very much part of the dining experience and a major priority to make sure you have removed barriers to your restrooms. And then the 4th priority under those 4 priorities given from the Department of Justice includes everything else. For instance, access to telephone if they are provided for use by the public. Drinking fountains and anything else that is part of your offering to the public. So, those four priorities kind of are what you will see repeated. Not only in my survey presentation but in many of the resources you can obtain from the ADA information center. One of the resources is a checklist for existing facilities. That has been a very popular Checklist in the past and actually explains the priorities in the instructions of the checklist in the front. And goes through the four priorities and gives you a checklist to go through as you go through your Facility for Accessibility. Now, there are many checklists available and I will talk about them in just a little bit as I talk about tools. Because I think a checklist is one of your most important tools that you should have in your bag of tools as a surveyor. We are going to talk about tape measures and other tools, but that checklist can be every bit as important as the tape measure. When I am out around the country teaching about surveying for accessibility. I always make sure I relay to my audience that a checklist can be your most important tool. Always use a checklist and there are many available. So the checklist that you will find that existing structures checklist, there is a large checklist available from the access board. You should take list and work on your four priorities for access as you look at accessibility to your business. The checklist you will use as a guide to keep you on track in a progressive order. Now, I am going to turn it over for questions in just a minute for that first part of our conference here, but I wanted to make sure we understand that it is not just civil rights law, although civil rights law is very important. Anybody can file a complaint with the Department of Justice, or the Department of Transportation or whoever the enforcing agency is on the facility that you are at. Anybody can file a complaint if they are being discriminated against based on accessibility. But you also have building code too that if anything has been built lately, effects accessibility in those buildings, so accessibility is required by several different angles, if you will. And so we shouldn''t be too involved today on the do I have to be accessible. Because this day and age, if you are going to serve people with disabilities, and you should, they too are customers, you need to be looking at this no matter what law technically it falls under. So with that let us see if there is any questions as far as the why we are here, before I start talking about how do I determine something is accessible and what are the levels of surveying? So Peter, do we have any questions yet?
Mark, real quickly before we get to a question, something that you talked about, you may have businesses that don''t have the resource to hire an architect or they may working with someone that doesn''t necessarily know the law, it is important that a business owner have some knowledge. May not need to be an expert, but ultimately, it is going to be that business owner that is responsible if there are accessibility issues.
That is true and if there is any questions in their mind the best play to call is the ADA and Information Technology (IT) center, because our ADA centers are required to walk a fine line as far as giving people the straight information. If you are a business owner, you don''t have any worries about calling the ADA information center, they are going to tell you exactly what the requirements are or are not. And they have to do that to guarantee their credibility. So you have an excellent resource as far as determining your own particular responsibilities. All right, then, what I want to talk about next is levels of surveying, and many of you have a handout that went with this session, and I will go over it briefly. But some of the things I talk about in this handout are levels or models of surveying, and if you are a business owner, and this is mostly about, what do I do to make sure my business is accessible, it can be done in many different ways, you can self-survey, which is kind of what this call is all about. And in getting a checklist and a little education and some basic tools you don''t need fancy tools for this. I am going to talk about all kinds of tools, fancy and nonfancy. You can determine your accessibility at your place of business, yourself. There is also, I have had folks I have worked with in the past where we were, for instance, working on a college campus, and we wanted to involve students with disabilities. It is always good to involve people with disabilities. The ADA talks about that when it talks about determining accessibility. Getting people with disabilities involved is always a good idea. What we have done on several campuses that we have worked on is we have formed groups, committees, task force, whatever name you want to give it, and we have had-invited concerned citizens, students, folks that were involved with the facility to get involved with a committee-let us call it an access committee, and get involved with that access committee and by forming this group, you bring certain expertise to the table. Many people with disabilities will volunteer to get involved, and that is great. What I would have you think about doing is making sure you involve several people with disabilities, so that you get several points of view. From time to time, if you have one person with a disability and they are concentrating on their certain disability in the accessibility issues that apply to them and to their particular needs because of their disability focuses sometimes lost on the big picture on the total access picture. So by involving several people with varying types of disabilities, you are bringing more points of view into your group. And so that is always a great way to do it, by forming a team that can then go out with a little training and supervision, do the survey of a campus where we use that method, and if worked out very, very well. It brought back the folks after surveying to put a report together. And everything had stock in the report and it was just a great method for doing it. If you are a small business owner, you are not going to have that option necessarily, but you may have folks in your community who use it through involvement with your community or who have come into your place of business and introduced themselves and raised concern about some issue with accessibility in your business. And all of these folks are people that would be great to involve in the process. Don''t be afraid. I encourage to involve people with disabilities in the process it can only help you to make sure that your place is accessible. And that your business is accessible to everyone. And then, of course, if one of the ways you can bring people with disabilities into the process is to contact your local Center for Independent Living. I found and trained a lot of centers for independent living and found centers to be very good resources for accessibility. And input. And for folks to become involved in the process of making sure a place is accessible. So don''t forget about your Centers for Independent Living. If you are not aware of one around you, or where they are, the ADA and IT Center can help you there as well by calling their 800 number. And then last but certainly not least in my mind is hiring a consultant to the come in and do the survey work for you. That, of course, is the expensive way. And not always the best way. If you have a huge facility, very involved or you are already being sued or something, then it is worth your while to look at the possibility of hiring a consultant, but most of the time, when we are looking at businesses and community places and anything but the really large places, we can do it ourselves, or we can do it with a committee or a group that we have involved locally. And so knowing that those are your options, some of your options as far as types of levels of surveying, and the kind of groups to involve, is important. As far as the survey itself, years ago, when we were putting together the first survey training. There was a fellow by the name of Bill Hecker, who is an architect in Alabama who I worked with a lot in the past. He and I started doing the first survey trainings that I have heard about in the country. And we were kind of developing it as a science as we went along. This whole survey thing has become a science over the years and we have worked out protocols and ways of measuring things that I am going to talk about today that have become standard in the industry, if you will. For how we measure things and how we document things. So that everybody is measuring things the same. When Bill and I first started trying to get this all down on paper, one of the things we covered were well, there is several levels you can take this too. If you are having somebody come in to help you with it, or if you are doing it yourself, the level at which you are surveying a place using the Checklist for Existing Facilities is one level versus a level you have when you are bringing in a more complicated and thorough checklist such as the Access Board''s Checklist or several of the different types of checklist software out there that are available. Of which I don''t necessarily endorse any, because I believe in trying to keep this process as simple as we can. Especially for the small business owner. But of the levels that Bill and I worked out and tried to get down on paper. I put them on the survey notes, handout for this call. The first one is the orientation tour, which is your simplest kind of survey. And it is really just an abbreviated role or walk-through the facility to point out obvious barriers to a program or service where the representative of the facility. I do a written summary or report on everything I look at, because if you are just walking through a place, and pointing things out, somebody could be-the owner could be taking notes, but something can be lost. So I tried to write down things that I see and give people a report even on the whitest, if you will, form of surveying, but that is how we start, is with the orientation tour, and we build upon it from there. The orientation tour is also where you would start for a more complicated survey. You have to go through the building to see what you are going to be surveying before you survey on a bigger facility. And so that orientation tour can be important for that as well. Beyond the orientation tour, oh, and the orientation tour, again, would use a checklist, always use a checklist this kind of survey or tour would include something like using the Existing Facilities Checklist 2.1 that you can get. It would be something light, but I would always use a checklist, again. Beyond that, you go to your next level, which we call the basic facility survey. Usually it is larger, it is more thorough, we use-we would use something on the level of the Access Board Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) Checklist to do this survey. We would take pictures of the facility as we are going through it and write a summary and report with a narrative and the pictures of the issues that we found . And then the facility owner would use the report to develop a barrier removal program, to take care of the issues that were pointed out in the facilities survey. Beyond that, the third and most complicated survey is called a full detail facilities survey, and I wouldn''t encourage anybody who is just starting out or to anybody who is just taking this phone call as their first experience with surveying. You would not want to go out and take responsibility for a full detailed facility survey. Because it is much more complicated it would be a much greater level of reporting and documentation. And mostly importantly, the surveyor is usually done by somebody who does it professionally and the person takes on responsibility a lot more responsibility for their survey. And if things are missed. I have seen consultants getting a in a great deal of trouble because they were doing a full detailed survey, charging people for it and then barriers were found after they left by a consumer. That is not good. Anyone who is out there missing a barrier calling themselves a consultant needs to get caught. I am not on this call trying to influence anybody to jump into the business and do a full detailed facilities survey, but if you are already there, and you are doing consulting or you are a center for independent living that has been to a couple of survey trainings and you are getting into this in a bigger way, the full detailed facility surveys, it is similar to the basic facility survey, but with a greater level of reporting and documentation. And it should also include many of the things that I listed in our handout. One of them might be a summary, I include a summary with every report I do. Another would be a list of the barriers; you are going to have to have that in order to relate what are the barriers at the facility. Creative solutions might be something that you suggest or not. If you are not qualified to do so, I wouldn''t do it. If you are a business owner that is self-surveying and you have got some construction experience or you are a consultant with construction experience, and you can suggest creative solutions, fine. But if you don''t have any experience in construction or that end of things, I wouldn''t go there. I would let people-I would let a business owner who is probably already work writing a contractor or architect go to them for creative solutions to barrier removal. Some of the other things that might be included on a full detailed survey might be adding a severity code or priority code to the report, to try to give people-the reader of the report, an indication as to the seriousness of the barrier? And again, unless you have had some experience or know accessibility really, really well, and people with disabilities. I would hesitate to make a call on the severity stuff, because what seems like a very minor issue to one person may be a major barrier to somebody else. So that is kind of a judgment call. You want to be careful where you go with this, if you go to this full detailed facility survey. Other items that might be included in that report could be a schedule of barrier removal, where that might come up is if your working on a college campus surveying, or a larger business, and you formed a committee to look at barriers. The committee can get together with people who have the authority to say when and where we are going to schedule barrier removal and come up with a schedule. But again, that is something that unless the circumstances are right, I wouldn''t go there. And then the last two things would be cost estimates, which I rarely do myself, usually the facilities I am working with have regular people who they work with that give them costs of things or architects and they will have a good idea of what things cost to do cost estimates on the barriers. Many times what I do is, I make the list of barriers and write up the report and submit it and then the entity or facility or business that I am giving my report to will then go to an architect or an estimator and get cost estimates on their own. And then finally, I always leave room for extra comments and in the comments; I try to explain the why behind accessibility. When someone is looking at accessibility, they will understand it a lot better, if you can make them understand the why. How something is used. A toilet is supposed to be between 17 and 19 inches above the floor to the seat because that is the average height of the seat on a wheelchair, or that is what the access board determined was the average height of a seat on a wheelchair. And that makes it a straight lateral transfer from seat to seat. That is why they pick those numbers. In the comments section there is a lot of times where I will explain how accessibility or accessible features are used by people with disabilities, so to help my customer or my facility person understand better, the why behind accessibility. And so the priority codes that I mentioned in that full detailed facility survey are simply the priority codes I went over earlier, the four priorities established by department of justice. That again being approach, the interior route or access to goods and services, the restrooms and finally other accessible features. So there are several levels on which you can survey, there is several ways, whether it be self-surveying, forming a committee or a group or actually hiring consultants to do the work. What we want to talk about after i take a few questions. If there are any here, will be the how on accessibility surveying. I want to give you all an idea of the tools that we use and the process and the protocols that we have established for good surveying. So let us see if there is any question on the line.
Even for small businesses, it may be a good idea to create a schedule of when they are going to remove barriers. Just to show willingness that there going toe remove barriers.
Well it is the classic line, their showing good faith. DOJ says if you are doing something to remove barriers, if you are doing readily achievable barrier removal you can show a good faith effort. Now, myself and a lot of accessibility advocates out there will tell you, good faith years after the passage of the ADA, you know, good faith is wearing a little bit thin. You need to take care of business. But if you haven''t done anything, you are in a lot bigger pickle if somebody files a complaint than if you have done something. If you have done a survey and looked at your barriers, and you can honestly say, look, we are working on it, we did this the year before last, we are working on it, that is a good faith effort.
And you may have an owner who has taken over an existing facility. Where the previous owner did nothing, and now this individual has inherited a potential complaint.
I would also strongly advise small business owners who are leasing properties to always look at their lease contract and make sure that the owner of the building in the lease is held responsible for ADA accessibility or accessibility period. That is, I am finding is one that isn''t really looked at a lot. And at the time you move into a building, that is the time to talk to the landlord and say, look, as part of doing this deal, I am going to rent this facility for at least-or lease this facility from you, you have one step out front I need you to take care of so my customers can get into the building to access my goods and services. Technically for anybody who moves in here, you are supposed to do it, I need you to do it before I sign this lease. It is an opportunity to make sure the facility is accessible and the people who are supposed to step up and are doing so.
I find one of our biggest barriers are our Building Commissioners.
okay. Tell me more. You still there, what is the question, I understand that- how to get past the building commissioner when the building commissioner tells a person everything is okay. Most people do not want to go to EEOC. A lot of us in Indiana are from smaller towns and the idea of trying to explain if to get it through, you explained it quite well, I have heard you before.
Well, and the commissioners like everybody else, you have to figure out the angle to which you address it, and I am not talking necessarily about advocacy here as I am talking about providing information and making sure you educate folks. You know, there is always the next level you take things to, no matter which it is, they have somebody to answer to. But it is time and again-I have never sued anybody. I have always been able to figure out who I needed to talk to next, if I wasn''t talking to the right person, and I know there is times when you just run flat into a wall, and this may be it. But there is got to be a next level you can take it to, but what I would do is, make sure you are explaining the why behind the accessibility because I can''t say that enough. A lot of folks architects included, who I have explained the why to suddenly if they understand-suddenly, if they understand, oh, okay, that is why it has got to be-or that is how it is used. Yeah, my aunt uses a wheelchair, and she always has trouble with that particular feature. Oh, okay, all of a sudden they start getting it, but if you just say it is part of code or part of the civil rights law, and referenced in a standard, sometimes they are very resistant and they are going to wait until they are sued or until somebody makes them. If you can explain good customer service in the why behind the accessibility, I don''t know, maybe you will get somewhere, I hope.
Thank you for the question, minor point of clarification with the question. The complaint would be filed with the Department of Justice, DOJ, and not go through the EEOC.
Definitely, if you are going to EEOC if you have an employment discrimination thing happening.
As a person with disability what is the best approach I should use to educate the businesses about making their business accessible? Should I do a follow up after I talk to them?
Yes. And what I always do is take the approach of; i am here to help you, because people will listen better. And that is what we are there for, is to help them become accessible to benefit not only us, but all of our brothers and sisters with disabilities. By providing information and educating them, on resources and different things that are helpful to them to solve questions, to give them answers to questions, and eliminate the fear, you are doing them a good service. And believe it or not, giving them the 800-949-4232 number is extremely helpful, because they will get the information they need. I always do follow-try to do follow-up with people I talk to about accessibility because I want them to know, not just think, but know I am a resource for them. That I am Mr. Fix-it, okay? If they are going to-if they have got a question and I solved it, that one time, they are going to have 10 more questions, or their fellow business owners or architects or engineers or whoever it is going to have more questions. If I can get them to come back to me because they don''t feel threatened and they are getting the information and the answers they need, then, man, I am getting stuff done. That is the approach I take, and, yeah, I always file-I try to follow up. People give-I am not too good at following up on phone calls, but I try to get back to folks.
How do we inform architects and again, it was raised, the question was raised earlier about planning boards and zoning boards, because they feel in New Jersey that it is out of their jurisdiction. New Jersey does not recognize even from the top level of the governor''s office, they do not recognize ADA.
What they are doing is the classic official thing where they say we don''t enforce ADA we don''t enforce ADA. And that is when I say correct you are right. That is a civil rights law, a federal law, you are a state person, and you are not enforcing the ADA, unless a state building code people have adopted ADAAG as their standard for accessibility. However, they do enforce building code in their state and New Jersey''s got a pretty darn good one. You can follow up with them on that level. Now, and look at existing structure building code to see what their requirements are as far as removing barriers in existing structures. Some states are better than others, if you are talking to a state entity; you got two ways to approach it. ''A'' is making sure you know as much about accessibility in their building code as you possibly can so that you can talk their language on building code with their building code officials. The other thing is, there is an angle to this that you might want to look at in that they are Title II entity. ADA says that their programs and services have to be accessible. Inspecting buildings and making sure things are accessible have been a program or service and had been in other states where advocates followed up on it. Not that I am saying-giving you advocacy tips, I am not allowed to do that today. I want to talk about the nuts and bolts of accessibility and how to measure things. But if you are running into resistance a lot of times it helps if you back up and look at it and say, okay, they are say they don''t enforce civil rights law, but I know on all alterations, new constructions change or use code in many, many different codes that do have requirements and they are required to do that, so you have to have another ankle on barrier removal which is federal law and they are, in fact-federal law is civil rights law, they do have requirements as businesses to remove barriers as part of readily achievable barrier removal. When you get into the state and local government folks that are road blocked, you need to back up and say, okay, how do we want to look at this so we can explain it better so they understand.
That is a good point. And again, for business owners to have knowledge of the laws that apply to them, and they need to be aware if their state, obviously is not enforcing the ADA, but if their standards are different than the ADA, they still need to be aware that they have to meet the requirements under ADAAG.
Every state almost without exception has a building code that includes accessibility requirements and in fact. The folks that I know that have worked on committees with the Access Board also work on committees with building code officials and building code entities. And everybody for years now has been working on harmonizing the building code and our civil rights law the ADA or ADAAG. The standard that is referenced in the ADA and so they look a lot alike, and so when I am talking to folks about accessibility. I try to talk to them about the whole picture. It is-chances are, it is required, it is just a matter of which law it is required under, if you can get beyond that, and include good service in what you are telling folks, and let them know that you are there to help them through the process, it is not going to be that bad. Then hopefully you will be more successful.
All right. Mark, can we take one more question before we move on to the last segment?
If there are other individuals waiting to ask questions, please remain in the cue and we will get to your question after Mark''s next section.
What are the rules for historical buildings and are there any exceptions?
Like I said, I wasn''t going to talk about the law much on this. But in a nutshell, historic facilities, you will get this all the time, we are exempt, we are on the National Register of Historic Places. Well, no, you are not. The thing that gives your building its historic significance may be excused if modifying the building for accessibility is going to affect that historic significance, but you still got to look at accessibility on that building. And I have done accessibility on things that were landmarks at universities, and I did one on a building that was built in the 1800s, and we still found a way to provide accessibility. And so there are ways to do it, and the thing to remember is, it is not the whole building that is exempt, it is the thing that gives it its historic significance.
Our January 18th session in 2005, deals with exclusively with historical buildings. Mark, why don''t we go ahead and move along on to your next section.
Let me talk about tools a little bit. Let me talk about the how. How do we determine if something is accessible? I mentioned the checklist, a couple of them. Their are many out there, that is a very important tool. Always use a checklist whenever you are trying to determine something is accessible or not because a checklist will lead you through the questions you need to ask to make sure you are doing a thorough job and an accurate job of pointing out barriers to accessibility. So a checklist is a very important tool. Another important tool that you need in your toolbox is a tape measure. This may seem obvious, but I am starting with the basics, and with a tape measure, you need to have one that is clearly marked and big enough to read easily and quickly. I use a 25-I have two different tape measures I use, my every day tape measure is a little 16-foot tape measure that is three quarters of an inch wide, the tape part, the metal part that comes out with the writing on it, that is a nice sturdy tape. I also have a 25-foot tape that has a 1-inch wide blade on it or tape on it, which is very sturdy, below those tapes, you have got smaller tapes you can buy, that are 12 footers, 8, 9 footers, 6 footers, what have you, but they are very narrow tape measures and they are flimsy and they don''t last long. I always recommend going with a tape that is a little bit bigger and it will-it will pay off for you. Also, there is several different types of tape measures out there, there is some that have a thumb switch on them that is very difficult to operate if you don''t have good dexterity, there are several tapes out there by Lufkin, and a company called Stanley, and others make a tape with a lever lock on it. The reason that is important is you want to be able to pull your tape out and lock it and so that you can-you are holding it and you can see what the measurement is before you let the tape wind up back into the tape. So sometimes those lever type tape measures are a lot more accessible if you are looking at accessibility in your team. Another tool that is very, very important, also when you are measuring with a tape measure, as far technique, make sure you are looking straight at the tape measure, if you are looking at the tape measure from an angle above it or below it or from side to side, if you are not looking straight on, what you are measuring, you are not going to get an accurate reading. It is similar to sitting in a car on the passenger side and looking over at the speedometer, from that angle it looks like you are going a lot faster than if you are sitting behind the steering wheel. If you are looking straight at a tape measure, you are going to get accurate measurements. Accurate measurements are important. I once had a woman on a job I was doing who was a consultant, supposedly and she brought her tape measure and she started measuring things and writing down answers on the checklist. And that evening when I went over the answers, all of her measurements were even numbers. I couldn''t understand what was going on. And I called her and I said, you know, I almost always have fractions, it is something that is supposed to be 27 and it is 26 1/2 or something is supposed to be 32 in a doorway and it is 33 and a quarter. But she is writing down 33, and so I said, what are you doing? She said, I am rounding, isn''t that okay? I said, no, that is not okay. If something is off a quarter inch, you need to tell the person that you are reporting to that it is off a quarter inch. And so rounding is bad. You want to give people exact measurements, so they know that it is either good, accessible or it is not accessible and how inaccessible it is. So if something is supposed to be at 36 inches for a counter top, and it measures 35 1/2, it has got a different severity than if it measured 42. And so if you want to give people accurate measurements it is very, very important. The reason that it affects is if it is something that is a small deviation from what it is supposed to be and you have other barriers at the same property that are much more serious. We are going to need to put our attention towards those very serious barriers, not that this other one, the one I would call minor is not important, they are all important, but you are going to have to start somewhere, and you want to start with the safety issues first, and liability issues, and then work your way down to something that is a quarter inch off. No matter what you are doing, accuracy is important, okay? It protects your credibility, protects my credibility, and protects everyone is credibility. There are well-intentioned advocates out there that roll into a place and see if something is at a certain height to their wheelchair, they don''t even own a tape measure. That is not good. You need to measure things; you don''t say close enough, you tell them exactly what the measurement is. And then you are doing the right thing protecting all of our credibility. The other tool you use is a level. Before I do the level, let me talk about tensionomiters. That is a fancy word for door pressure checker. It is going to be used for checking the force to operate mechanism. To check the force required to operate a door latch or push or pull a door open. You can have a fancy tool that is available through a company that I have put in your survey handout. HMC and that tool is what we use, those of us who are doing this every day, that is the standard tool we use. It is a push/pull door pressure checker. We check for five pounds maximum on anything that we operate on doors, faucets, lavatories, anything that the button on a drinking fountain, anything that we operate should take less than five pounds of push/pull force. You can check the pressure on a door with a simple tool also. If you go to your local department store or sporting goods store, they will have fish scales, and you can buy a fish scale and it will do the same thing. You are only measuring for five pounds and usually if you have got a scale that goes up to 10 pounds, that works just fine. If you have a fish scale and you are trying to determine the weight of the door, you need to take a string and tie a loop on either end of it. The fish scale has a hook and all you do is pull with a fish scale. You put one loop of the string around the hook of the fish scale, and you put the other loop around the knob or lever of the door. Hopefully they have a lever already, if not, that is another thing you are going to talk to them about, it will be on your checklist, no door knobs, we need a lever or loop-type handles. You would put the string around what is there, and the string around the fish scale and give it a pull and look at how many pressure it takes to move the object. So a fish scale can be moved - it can be had for $5 or $10, versus a professional door pressure checker for $25-$35. There are simple tools and complicated tools it just depends on how much you are going to get into this as to which ones you use. I am trying to make sure you know about the different tools that can be had, depending on your budget and what level you are getting into surveying. Another tool that we talk about is the level. And there is a very simple level that a lot of people are familiar with, it is just a bar, straight bar with glass vile in it that have water in them with a bubble in it, and there is two lines and you lay the level on the ramp or slope you are trying to determine. And when the bubble is in between the two lines of the meter on the bar, the bar is level. And then I have included on your survey handout the three critical measurements, we look at when using a standard level to determine slope. When you are using a standard tape measure, you need to use a tape measure and a standard level and what you would do is lay the level on a-for instance, a ramp, if you are trying to see the slope of a ramp. You would lay the level along the running slope of the ramp, the running slope is the part-the direction you would run in, or roll in, okay, running slope, versus cross slope, which crosses the running slope, okay? It is from side to side as cross slope. We should never have more than 2% cross slope, and we should never have more than-on a ramp, one to twelve or-one to twelve or 8.3% slope. And I will tell you how to determine those. The longest standard walking accessible route, a sidewalk, any accessible route, it can be up to 5% or 1 to 20 slope before it becomes a ramp, which would then require all the things that a ramp requires, railings and edge protection and landings, for instance. And there are three critical measurements that you use to determine whether something has the compliance slope or not. I have included those in your handout and I will go over them briefly now. The way to do this is first you set the level down, let us say it is a ramp for this example, you lay the level down on the ramp, and you want to raise the one end of it, the bottom end of it, I will call it, until that bubble in the little glass vile is between the two lines in the level. Now, you are holding the level level with that bubble in between the two lines. You will have a space under the one end of the level at the bottom end, okay, of the ramp, and that space underneath the level and in our other handout I have a couple pictures that show me holding a level with the space underneath it. That space is where you measure for your critical measurement to determine if something is level. The space on the ramp, the space under the level should never be more than two inches on a two-foot level. That is important, you are using a two-foot level for all of this. If you are using a four-foot level for all of this, your measurements won''t work. It is a critical measurement of the space for that level. On a ramp, if it is 2 inches or less underneath that level, it is 1 to 12 slope or 8.3% slope or less. So if it is an inch and a quarter, it is an okay ramp. If it is 2 1/4 it is not an okay ramp. It is too steep. If you are going along the sidewalk your next critical measurement is looking for the 5% or 1 to 20 maximum slope along an accessible route before it becomes a ramp. The critical measurement under the level for that is going to be an inch and a quarter on the two-foot level. If you have anything less than an inch and a quarter on the running slope along an accessible route, it is at 1 to 20 or less. Now, on both of those you are also going to need to check your cross slope from side to side that I mentioned. That should never be more than 2% or 1 to 48, or 1 to 50 depending on what book you are reading. 2% is the maximum from side to side for cross slope, along an accessible route or ramp. The critical measurement underneath your level for that would be a half-inch of space. If you lay your level long ways across that ramp as we are using as an example. Along the running slope, which means the way you would run up it, the running slope should never have more than 2 inches in the level when it is in the level vile, the bubbles in between the lines and then you turn it perpendicular to check the cross slope from side to side and you shouldn''t have more than a half an inch under one side of the level or the other as you are setting it on that ramp. Same thing is going to happen on an accessible route were you set the level down to check the cross slope. You shouldn''t be able to get more than a half-inch under either end of that level for your 2% maximum cross slope. Those three critical measurements, the half-inch for 2%, the inch and a quarter for 5%, and the 2 inches for 8.3% are your 3 critical measurements when you are using a standard level to determine slopes. Another example of checking for slope would be in parking spaces and access aisles. Those are supposed to be flat. Flat means within 2%, okay? In all directions, and so what you are going to do on a parking space, for instance is take your level out to the space and you are going to place it on the space and get that-move the one end of the level until the bubble is in between the two lines in the vile on the level. And then measure the space underneath the one end of the level to determine if it falls within your critical measurement. There is going to be a half-inch of space maximum in order for those parking spaces and access aisles to be within the 2% requirement. Again, the important measurements, the critical measurements if you are using a standard level are a half inch for 2%, an inch and a quarter space for 5% or one two 20. And two inches for a ramp, 8.3%, or 1 to 12. That is the low-budget way to determine slopes, you can get a level. I have got homeowner''s levels I have bought for 5 bucks a piece that work just fine. In doing this every day, I use a tool called smart tool, which is digital. Well if you are an engineer it is called a digital inclinometer. But we just call it a level. You place it on the slope, and there are pictures other than our handouts. You place it on a slope and hit a button, it tells you exactly what the slope or cross slope is that you are measuring. We use it in our daily work because we can give our customer an exact measurement of what that slope or cross slope is so they can see just how bad it is. If it is off, they can see how much it is off. If it is 10% that is bad when it is suppose to be 8.3%. If it is 8.4% it is not as bad, it is still not complaint and you still have to write it up. When we get ready to do our list, our schedule of barrier removal, if I have got something that is 1/10 of a percent off I still need to address it in some way. I am going to get to the thing that is causing a major safety issue first, don''t let people tell you that 1% or 2% off on a slope is okay, because increasing the percentage on the slope, increasing the percentage on a cross slope especially is very, very bad and increases the amount of power or effort that a person has to put into going up or down that slope by 100% or more. These percentages are not a small thing when they are off. I heard some folks trying to justifying it being 3% instead of two percent on a cross slope. I tell them, watch a person who uses a wheelchair push across that cross slope and they will use one hand to push it because they are having to fight their wheelchair so bad. That does make a difference. Those again are your critical measurements on a simple level, that is a half-inch for 2%, inch and a quarter for 5%, 2 inches for 8.3%. Or If you are going to be doing this a lot and you have the budget to afford it, you can buy a two foot smart tool, they are a little over 100 dollars and you will have that tool. In measuring, I talked a lot about slope, in measuring things as far as protocol; you want to make sure you are measuring everything the same way, time after time, so that you get a uniformed set of results. If we are measuring parking spaces, for instance, well take three measurements across the parking space, we will-for running slopes, we will also take three measurements across spots for cross slopes, if we can determine if it is within 2% in all directions, starting from your parking lot and working your way in, according to that priority list we talked about, you would want to make sure that your accessible route from public transportation stops, the sidewalk coming up to the space, parking spaces and the accessible work going into your facility are the first things you are going to be looking at and your level is going to be very important for determining that those slopes are okay. Do we have questions-I want to see if we have questions on tools, before I get into protocol a whole lot. There are a couple other tools I want to talk about. Those are the basics.
okay. We have got about 22 minutes left.
How do you address construction tolerances? Where request we find any documented construction tolerances? An example would be the slope of a concrete ramp or location of a water closet, sigh the water closet us only 18 1/4 inches away from a wall?
I am glad you asked. It is a question I get all the time. And there aren''t tolerances. There are industry, accepted industry accepted tolerances for materials that we sometimes look at. There are defendants in ADA cases who try to say, well, it was only off a quarter inch, I should get some kind of tolerance on that. There are a lot of definitions for tolerances. I don''t use the t word much, because if you have talked to some-I really don''t use it in my surveying, something is off a quarter inch, I write it up as a quarter inch, and then I let the facility owner or somebody determine if they are going to do something about it and if so, how much. There is a study going on, or has been going on by an outfit that was contracted by the Access Board to determine reasonable tolerances for paid paved surfaces. I haven''t heard if that was completed. I can tell you in the business end of this, as a consultant that does this every day, I don''t talk about tolerances because the next thing that will happen is, one of my architects will think it is a tolerance-design tolerance and take it as that. The next thing you know, everybody is designing to the tolerances instead of what the requirements are. The requirements are what the requirements are. And as somebody who is surveying, you have to call it as you see it. It is up to them to give themselves a break, if they get a break, okay? As a surveyor, you have to protect your credibility and mine by calling it as we see it.
What should I do when as business owner who want to enhance my market to customers with disabilities but I face the problem that my landlord do not want to cooperate with me on making the facility accessible. Although the landlord suggests if he contribute to make the place accessible he will increase my rent? Is that legal?
Oh, man. I would get some legal advice on that. I would have a good look at my contract for my lease to see who is spelled out as far as accessibility responsibility. If somebody files a complaint, everybody is in trouble. The business owner, the owner of the building, everybody is going to be asked about the accessibility of that building, and at some point, the department of justice had said that it could be clearly spelled out in your lease that the owners got responsibility and then as a tenant you are okay. And then it went to court, and that, in fact wasn''t the case, and that-in that case, I would hesitate to say that the contractor leases-is an end-all safety net for the tenant. The tenant is still going to have responsibility for accessibility there and so I would concentrate on getting it done and look at my lease to see if there is some way I can pressure the landlord, but ultimately you need to have the accessibility done. And then look at tax incentives and things you can do to get the money back.
Right. I suggest that the person contact their regional ADA center for additional information on their situation.
Absolutely. If you have a landlord like-that needs a better education 800-949-4232 is a great place to get it. Let me talk about a couple other things real quick. I know we are going to run out of time. I want to take a few more questions before we wrap up if possible. There are a couple things I want to touch on. Forming a group or committee to do things is an excellent idea. The more you involve people with disabilities, the better. Using the right tools is very important. A couple of other things you need to think about or you could think about depending on what level you get into it. I always use a camera and give people lots of photos. And photos can be very convincing also if you have got people with disabilities on your survey team, showing people with disabilities trying to use the inaccessible item and have a picture of it to show the person you are giving the report too really does have an impact. Another thing to think about if you are getting to surveys is obtaining a set of floor plans for the facility. I did department stores a few years back for a certain company that had complaints filed against them, a large department store chain in the country. And I got real sick of department stores in a hurry, the thing that got me out of trouble on that was having a set of floor plans to mark what I surveyed and what I hadn''t. For instance, in a department store, you have fitting rooms all over the place and you can get real confused what you surveyed and what you haven''t and what the problem was, taking a set of-a simple set of floor plans and marking where you are surveying or where an issue is can be a very good service to the person you are giving a report to. And again the checklist is probably the most important tool in your tool pouch. If you have any issues with writing good notes, a tape recorder is an excellent idea, just know that if you do use a tape recorder, you are going to have to have somebody transcribe it into the written word for your reports, that is another step in the process you are going to have to think about. I use a tape recorder on all of my walk-through and all of my surveys and it is very handy. A lot of times I am measuring and using a checklist, my hands are busy. To have a tape recorder running in my top pocket records everything I am saying and it is a handy tool to have. Again, can you do this with simple tools; this doesn''t have to be overly complicated. A fish scale works great as a push/pull checker. Your plain old $5 level will work fine as long as you take our survey handout so you got those three critical measurements in front of you. Simple tools will do the job just as well as more complicated tools. Your handouts have contact information for those more complicated tools and you can follow up on it if you need those tools. Again, always use a checklist. Okay, have we got other questions?
Hi, Mark. Perfect timing, because this is a situation we are dealing with, and I want to go back to the idea of state building codes versus ADAAG. Everything you said absolutely, 100% we agree with and share this. We have a situation where an old building it almost was a house from way back and had been existing the facility. The Title III business in there was an existing facility all this time, during the ADA and it performed readily achievable. There is a huge step to the front and it is a big slab of marble. However, the building has been sold, a new owner has come in, is gutting the inside of the building to turn it into another kind of business.
oh, good. Change the use.
You require them to bring it up to accessibility standards for state code, once he does change of use, probably check it.
Are you saying that our codes say or the ADA talks about triggering, but are you saying you think that a standard building code might also say that.
They are going to have responsibility under both. They are probably going to have responsibility under Title III alterations to a primary function area and have to do up to 20% of what they are spending inside providing an accessible route to it. A lot of people forget about the 20% rule. Now, the 20% rule is in building code as well usually. And North Carolina has got great building code. And so they need to possibly look at 20% rule according to building code. There is another nuance to building code that many times applies, I would check it, if they have a change in use or change in occupancy, a change in use, to that building, they then have to bring it up to current code. That would include accessibility features.
That is what I was worried about. That one trigger piece in the code.
As you said Mark, the important piece of the ADA is triggering a path of the requirement with the alteration of the area of primary function.
absolutely. And I have had folks I have worked with who own businesses, big, big facilities that since, you know, since the ADA was passed have been doing renovations and alterations to primary function areas, and they haven''t considered the 20% rule the whole time they have been doing things, and so it is very important.
My question was, you said that to measure the doors, the five-pound force on the doors, you could use a fish scale, but what was the other measuring tool called?
The other measuring tool is called a-well, we call it a door-pressure gauge. It is made by a place called HMC international out of Colorado. They are on my web side eastlakederry.com, but can you go direct to the manufacturer by calling him at 800-848-4912. If you would like, and those are-they started out as a tensionomiter for checking fan belts, we started using them as consultants and they have been a great tool for checking five-pound pressures. That is what we use.
Excellent. Just to clarify on the five-pound pressure under ADA that applies to interior doors versus exterior doors where there is no maximum under the ADA. You need to be aware of your state code where you do have state code that will address the door pressure.
Florida is a good example. They have 8.5 pounds for their exterior doors. I use that example when I am talking to folks about power door operators. I have had well-intentioned advocates going to businesses saying, you have to put in a power door. Well, they have might, but it is not just-it doesn''t-standard does not require power operators. The ADA requires accessibility and the power door operator is one of your options, there is no requirement on the exterior door poundage in most states and under ADA at all. Because it was difficult to get it down to five pounds on an exterior door and still meet requirements for blow-open force, and fire codes. The door has to close or it will feed a fire. And it also, an open door throws off the heating and cooling systems of a building, so they have to close and if you make it too light on an exterior door, it can be held open by the wind and other circumstances. So the exterior doors were reserved in the ADAAG, and in several states they have used 8.5 pounds like Florida. And I point to them when talking about that to a building owner. If you can, adjust that door down to 8 1/2 pounds, like they do in Florida. If you can''t and your building still needs to be accessible, a power door operator may be one of the options you need to look at. Let me get the power door operator to talk to you. There are all kinds of power door operators, you can spend 600 or 6,000, and chances are, the building owners only heard the $6,000 version and they are full of fear over accessibility over it. The best thing again is education, and again, 800-949-4232 can work for both you and that building owner for getting information.
The question is, whether accessibility surveys include visual barriers such as contrast lines on stair steps or some way to know elevator floor arrivals, some signals, to know what floor the elevator stopped on, and then a related question for people who are deaf. What if you cannot hear the alarm system or-
Yes, you will find it, and that is another reason I always recommend using a checklist. I tell people in all my training, always use a checklist, because these things will come up. Even if you are a person the person with disability, but your disability doesn''t relate to the issue it is not going to be at the forefront of your mind unless you are using a checklist and you know to check it. There are requirements for strobes on fire alarms, there are all kinds of requirements for elevators. Audible tones, one for going down, another for going up, a tone as you pass each floor. There is also a requirement on elevators for emergency communication devices that don''t require pinching and grasping with your hand to pick up the phone or a voice to call for help or hearing to helps on its way. There are communications devices for elevators that you simply push a button with a closed fist and a little light indicates that-and a tone indicates that your call has gone out, and then a repeating tone and they have all of this in a blinking light would indicate that your call is being answered. So that no matter what your disability in that elevator if you call for assistance you can know that your call has gone out and your call is coming in. Besides like all the other requirements like Braille next to the buttons and on the hoist waves and all of that. There are a lot of elevator requirements that we check for. Again, use a checklist; it will be on there. The Access Board checklist, I call that the mother of all checklists and it is in there.
What about contrast lines on stair steps?
Those are not on a lot of the checklist. It would be something I check for. I know there are a lot of people not checking for them if there is an accessible route provided for them besides that stairs. I check the accessible route and checking the stairs. I tend to look at the accessible route and if there is a stair, I look at it to make sure I see if they have extensions on the handrails and strips at the steps. The Access Board is just finishing up recommendations on that to where we are revisiting it, it was reserved for some time.
Right, the accessible stairs warnings for stairs is something that is reserved under ADAAG, but the other things you mentioned, the extensions and so forth are part of the enforceable standard.
I have a two-part question, please. Earlier, readily achievable, is that determined by the property owner?
Yes, not by you.
If he decides he doesn''t want to do it, or can''t afford it, he doesn''t want to do it, he doesn''t have to do it even if it is required.
You can challenge it or a concerned citizen or consumer with a disability can challenge the readily achievable. They also need to be reminded that a readily achievable is a requirement that is ongoing. Everybody forgets that. They say, oh, well I did readily achievable in ''93 we are done. No, you are not, you still have barriers it''s an ongoing requirement. But I never ever determine what is readily achievable for somebody unless they give me the authority to do so, and very rarely will they do that, because I want the-I want to be able to write a check out of the checkbook. I don''t know how much money they got. I can''t make a call on in a. I have had big facilities that have given me authority to say what we are going to do, to remove barriers, and I have done that, but I don''t recommend anybody makes a call on what is readily achievable. We have challenged it, you know, the owner says; well, only this is readily achievable. Well, we believe that a higher level of accessibility is readily achievable. We can challenge that.
Right, because the Department of Justice defines readily achievable as what can be done with little difficulty or expense, and the expense goes to the resources of that particular business. So conducting a survey unless you have access to their bank accounts and their whole resources would be difficult to define that. Go ahead with your next question, quickly, we are running out of time.
thank you. No one has ever explained to me how to measure a slope. I appreciate that. Elevators, is that also-not just for public buildings, but is it for apartment complexes, apartment houses, multilevel buildings?
Public areas that lead to a rental office or public areas covered under ADA, it would be covered under that. Otherwise, fair housing would apply, and so the law, you are going to have to look at as far as what applies where.
For individuals still on line to ask a question, I apologize that we are unable to get to your question as we have hit the bottom of the hour. Would I encourage you those of you still having questions to contact your Regional ADA Center as Mark has done a great job of-and we thank him for this, for promoting the ADA center. If you still have questions please contact your Regional ADA center at 800-949-4232. I would like to let everyone know that a transcript and audio archive of today''s session will be available on the Great Lakes website, www.adagreatlakes.org in about 10 days, you can visit to check out the archive. I would also remind everyone that the new seasonal kicks off October 19th, where well have Christina Galindo Walsh from the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Services talking about Vote 2004, Will individuals with disabilities votes count. Please check again with your Regional ADA center for information about that upcoming session. I would like to thank everyone for their participation in the 2003/2004 series and look forward to having you participate with our upcoming series; there are two big reasons why the Audio Conference Series is a success. First is the ability of the ADA Centers to tap on the expertise of individuals such as Mark Derry and having him come in and participate with us, and giving us his time. We appreciate that greatly. And also having access to the federal agencies such as the Department of Justice, the EEOC and the Access Board. The other big reason for the success of the Audio Conference Series is the participation of all of you out there, and we greatly appreciate that and encourage your participation and look forward to having you join us on October 19th. Hope everyone has a great afternoon. Thank you.