What are ADA Standards and do they require permits?

Every project-goer, contractor, engineer and architect should be well-versed in ADA standards. The ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, has created a protective structure around building codes to ensure the safety, accessibility and equality of disabled individuals.

 

As per the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation, any built environment must be accessible to disabled persons. The ADA Standard is applied on a nationwide basis, which ensures its impact in any applicable scenario. Both local and statewide codes must adhere to the ADA standard, and both newly built and altered facilities must ensure similar adherence.

 

What Buildings are Affected by ADA Standards?

Any building created for the country, state and local level government is subject to the ADA and must comply with ADA Standards throughout any alterations or new construction. Every type of public facility, here, is covered, including public housing, schools, hospitals, prisons and courthouses.

 

Federal facilities, however, are not covered by the ADA. They’re covered by an earlier law—the Architectural Barriers Act—which meets similar standards. That said, the ADA does touch upon any public area of accommodation and all commercial facilities. Stores, shops, bars, restaurants, rental establishments and sales establishments must all be accessible to disabled individuals.

 

Is Size a Consideration?

In general, no. Size isn’t a determining factor of ADA adherence, and business owners must be aware of their location’s responsibility to meet industry standards while being safe and accessible. For this reason, assembly areas, places of education, private museums and places of lodging must frequently adapt entire building sections to meet ADA standards.

 

Do ADA Standards Require a Permit?

Once a provider has located a business area, they’ll need to acquire a specialized permit to ensure the area’s safety for workers, team members and customers alike. ADA standards do require the possession of a specialized building permit when the creation, installation or removal of electrical, structural, HVAC or plumbing systems takes place.

 

In addition to this, a construction project’s mere commencement is a “triggering event” for applying ADA standards. Any and all project dynamics must immediately adhere to ADA standards before they begin, and proper permits must be acquired before a project is ever commenced. Sometimes, a zone’s last building permit, start of construction proof or design blueprint can be used to alleviate the permit acquisition process.

 

Future Permits

In addition to acquiring the needed permits to begin a project, a business may need future permits to meet ADA guidelines. To ensure a building’s total accessibility, business owners may be required to make improvements with renovation or further construction. Often, a building permit is needed. When it is, business owners must prove adherence to ADA guidelines.

 

If a building is renovated in the future, its new construction must also meet ADA standards. Business owners, frequently, must update a building’s entrances, entry routes, bathroom entryways and sign areas. If any of these areas are altered, advanced notice must be given.


In a lot of cases, a permit expediter is used to circumnavigate bulky paperwork. While ADA standards should always be acknowledged, ongoing specialized permit applications can be troublesome for many business owners. Regardless of your project, it’s important to enlist the help of a permit expediter throughout your construction and building projects. Several permits may only technically apply to your project, and expediting them can save a good deal of time. Additionally, an expedited permit may be saved for later information—ensuring your business’s total adherence to ADA standards at a moment’s notice.