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The Americans with Disabilities Act and Building Accessibility

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Building Accessibility

When designing or altering a building with vertical barriers, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) is critical. According to The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the ADA gives Federal civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. Compliance to ADA is not voluntary, and is actionable through the DOJ.

There are many ways to make a building accessible including single level design, ramps, Limited Use/Limited Application (LU/LA) elevators, commercial elevators, and Vertical Platform Lifts (VPL)

Permanent vs. Temporary Access with Vertical Platform Lifts

Whether a building is being altered or is new construction, it must be made accessible. In many cases, Vertical Platform Lifts provide an excellent solution to allow entry to the building and to provide access between levels of the structure. According to the Access Board, “Platform lifts must be permanent and installed at the time of construction or alteration with few exceptions.

Portable Vertical Platform Lifts are not allowed to provide temporary access to permanent structures.

In most circumstances, portable Vertical Platform Lifts do not meet applicable codes to mitigate permanent architectural barriers and therefore do not provide the necessary accessibility. 

Portable VPLs are allowed to be installed only at temporary structures, such as:

  • portable stages
  • temporary buildings
  • portable classrooms
  • office trailers

What is the Appropriate Lift for my Project?

When determining how to provide accessibility, there are several resources you can utilize. If you’d like to conduct your own research to ensure you are well-versed, review the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. If you have additional questions, architects and vertical accessibility companies can provide their expertise.

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