The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into federal law in 1990 by President George Bush, (the 1st). The act requires that all publicly accessible buildings, (not including private residences) comply with certain standards to make them more accessible for those with physical challenges. The ADA specifically covers elevators, and sets standards for elevator floor size, door with, button heights, visual and tactile (Braille) signage, along with visual and audible signals.
The ADA is retro-active, and requires new and existing buildings to be brought into compliance. However the act calls for "Reasonable Accommodations". This term has been broadly interpreted to mean anything from doing nothing at all, or a partial upgrade, or a complete renovation to full compliance. In our experience "Reasonable Accommodation" seems to mean to many, what is reasonably cost effective. For example, a small two floor office building with a undersized elevator, may not be required to make major structural changes to the building and install a whole new elevator, just to add a few inches to the floor area.
Since the ADA was signed into law, we have been called upon to update many elevators to full or partial compliance.
The United States Department of Justice maintains a comprehensive website regarding ADA standards. This website provides building standards that can be downloaded in PDF format, or viewed on your browser. These standards covers the aspects of building design, and provides drawings and images. Part 4.10 covers ADA standards as they apply to elevators.
For more information on ADA standards, click on he following link: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/stdspdf.htm
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