The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 became effective on 26 January 1992. Its provisions, in the form of guidelines for the design of new buildings and for retro-fitting old ones, are not yet part of any building code. However, non-compliance with the Act's provision leaves the building owner open to suit on the grounds of discrimination on the basis of disability. The owner of an existing building is obliged to do everything possible to comply with ADA but it is recognized that some of the Act's requirements are not achievable. In new construction, however, no such excuse is possible and non-compliance opens up the very real possibilities of a suit being brought against all those associated with a project: owner, architect and contractors.

ADA is a Federal Act and is applicable in every state. In dealing with this section therefore, UBC and BOCA have been put aside for a review of ADA rules and regulations.

a Slope and rise

Maximum slope shall be: 1 in 12 Maximum rise between landings shall be: 30 in (760 mm) b Clear width

Minimum clear width shall be: 36 in (915 mm) c Landings

Level landings shall be provided at the top and bottom of each ramp run. Landings shall have a length of 60 in (1525 mm) clear, and if the ramp changes direction at the landing the minimum size shall be 60 in x 60 in (1 525mm x 1 525mm). Doorways at landings shall have a flat area in front of the door (in its closed position) of 60 in (1 525 mm). d Handrails

If the rise of the ramp is over 6 in handrails must be provided on both sides. If handrails are not continuous they shall extend 12 in horizontally beyond the end of the ramp. Handrails shall be 34-38 in (865965 mm) above the ramp landing. e Edge protection

Ramps and landings with drop-offs shall have a minimum 2 in (50 mm) curb below in addition to standards supporting the handrails to prevent wheelchairs from sliding off the ramp.

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