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Americans with Disabilities Act: 2010 standards are changing.

TO MARK THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA, IN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ISSUED FINAL LAN-GUAGE ALTERING THE ADA REGULATIONS.

We anticipate that there will be a potential increase in media coverage and lawsuits in conjunction with the changes to the ADA in the coming months. These new standards go into effect in March 2012, and may affect 1REM Members. It is important that real estate managers and commercial real estate investors research the new revisions, including any and all pertinent regulations. In particular, practitioners should pay close attention to the regulations dealing exclusively with accessibility issues at already-existing or soon-to-be renovated properties. New construction will be held to the tightest standards of ADA regulations and will need to comply with all regulations. There are three main phases of compliance with the ADA changes: barrier removal, new construction and alterations.

One particularly important section of the new regulations is the accessibility standards and the increased emphasis on "barrier removal" standards for hotels, office buildings and other commercial properties.

PHASE 1 OF.ACCESSIBLE DESIGN-BARRIER REMOVAL:

This applies to all public buildings and facilities and requires the removal of all physical barriers in existing properties, including communication barriers, regardless of when the building was constructed. Structural changes and barrier removal--including installing ramps, railings and grab bars in restroom stalls--must be done where it is "readily achievable'1 and easily accomplishable, without much difficulty or expense to the company. Communication changes include adding raised letters, or Braille, and fire-warning signals and devices for the hearing impaired. Essentially, the ADA wants first priority to go to certain obstacles that prevent the disabled to "get in the front door"

PHASE 2 OF ACCESSIBLE DESIGN-NEW CONSTRL ION:

Ttiis applies specifically to newly constructed properties built between September 15, 2010 and March 15, 2012, in accordance with the 2010 Standards. These buildings are to comply with the most comprehensive requirements oi the Americans with Disabilities Act Design Guidelines.

PHASE 3 OF ACCESS DESIGN-ALTERATIONS:

This applies to significant renovations (projects of significant cost and often over a period of several years) to a facility of public accommodation made between September 15, 2010 and March 15, 2012, in accordance with the 2010 Standards. These buildings will be required to achieve compliance at the same level as new construction. It is important to note that the actual start of the construction or renovation does not include the ceremonial groundbreaking; actual construction must have taken place.

ALTERATIONS 0 AD M STANDARDS

After the revisions to the ADA 2010 Standards were adopted, there were several changes that took place regarding accessible design and construction features.

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A few are detailed below:

* Power-driven devices now include Segways and similar devices. They must be permitted unless the device interferes with a service providers program or threatens the safety of others.

* Disabled persons must be able to make reservations at a hotel or resort during the same hours as a non-disabled person. This means that there must be sufficient information available to disabled persons, specifically via website, so that such persons can find a room to meet their specific needs. Websites must also be updated to comply with these changes.

* Service animals, including dogs and miniature horses, must be trained to provide specific assistance. These animals cannot have the sole purpose of providing "emotional support" (Note: the Fair Housing Act has broader definitions of service animals, including animals that do provide "emotional support"),

* Accessible routes must be in the same area as the other passage paths.

* Pools must have an accessible path of entry. This may require businesses to supply lifts, construct a sloped entry or provide transfer walls.

BARRIER REMOVAL OF ALTERATION REQUIREMENTS

The 2010 Standards augment the barrier removal regulations subject to safe harbors. Certain elements that have not already been changed on or after March 15, 2012, and that comply with the corresponding requirements in the 1991 Standards, do not need to be altered to comply with the requirement of the 2010 Standards.

The new ADA 2010 Standards have undergone much interpretation and scrutiny in recent months. Twenty years ago, it was presumed that the 1991 Standards would force buildings to comply as they engaged in major renovations; however, it seems that many structures were never subject to the alterations.

We encourage all members to read and understand the regulations so they may be protected. For more information, and to read the language, please visit www.ADA.5-gov.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THESE iSSUES, PLEASE CONTACT BETH PRICE. THE LEGISLATIVE LIAISON FOR IREM HEADQUARTERS IN CHICAGO, AT BPRICE0IREM.ORG OR (800) 837-0706 EXT. 6021.

BY IREM LEGISLATIVE STAFF

COMPLIANCE DATES EOR BARRIER REMOVAL:

Before March 15, 2012: Elements that do not comply with the estabtished requirements in the 1991 Standards must be adopted if readily achievable. (ADA 1991 or 2010 standards)

On or after March 15, 2012: Elements that do not comply with the established requirements in the 1991 Standards; or that do not comply with the additional technical requirements to the 1991 Standards, must be adopted if readily achieve able. (ADA 2010 Standards)

Elements not altered after March 15, 2012: Elements that comply with the requirements of the 1991 Standards that do not need to be.al tered for the 2010 Standards. (Safe harbor)

COMPLIANCE DATES FORI NEW CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATIONS

On; or after January 26, 1993, and before September 15, 2010. Building permit application must have been Submitted before September 15, 2010. (1991 Standards)

On or after September 15, 2010, and before March 15, 2012. Building permit application must have been submitted on or after September; 15, 2010. (1991 Standards or 2010 Standards)

On or after March 15, 2012. Building permit application must have been submitted on or after March 15, 2012. (2010 Standards)
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Title Annotation:New Legislation
Comment:Americans with Disabilities Act: 2010 standards are changing.(New Legislation)
Publication:Journal of Property Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Words:956
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