en-Gauge Fire and Life Safety Blog

Understanding Readily Achievable Barrier Removal

Posted by en-Gauge on 5/16/14 10:45 AM

We all know that keeping up with building codes and ADA is a challenge.  Understanding what is a readily achievable barrier removal opportunity can confuse even the best developers. Accessibility_Violations_Safety_Equipment_18

There is a great post by ADA Compliance Consultants, Inc. that covers this issue quite clearly. 

Regardless if you are the owner of the building or are a tenant in the building, the State and Federal guidelines still require that barriers be removed.
The better question to ask is which barriers need to be removed under the “readily achievable barrier removal clause?
Since every business is unique and financial abilities vary from year to year, the ability to truly identify readily achievable barriers remains a moving target.  The Department of Justice has defined readily achievable barrier removal as “easily accomplished and able to be carried out without much cost and difficulty”.
In determining whether or not a barrier is “readily achievable”, consider the following:
1.    The nature and cost of the action required under this part.
2.     The overall financial resources of the site or sites involved in the action; the number of persons employed at the site; the effect on expenses and resources; legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation, including crime prevention measures; or impact of the action upon the operation of the site.
Accessibility_Violations_Safety_Equipment_24

3.    The geographic separateness, and the administrative or fiscal relationship of the site or sites in question to any parent corporation or entity.
4.    If applicable, the overall financial recourses of any parent corporation or entity; the overall size of the parent corporation or entity with respect to the number of its employees; the number, type, and location of its facilities.
5.    If applicable, the type of operation or operations of any parent corporation or entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of the parent corporation or entity.
Let’s Get Real.
The previous list is technical, vague and somewhat confusing, so to help clear things up I have included a partial list of readily achievable barriers provided by the
Department of Justice.
Examples. Examples of steps to remove barriers include, but are not limited to, the following actions
1.    Installing ramps;
2.    Making curb cuts in sidewalks and entrances;
3.    Repositioning shelves;
4.    Rearranging tables, chairs, vending machines, display racks, and other furniture;
5.    Repositioning telephones;
6.    Adding raised markings on elevator control buttons;Accessibility_Violations_Safety_Equipment_21
7.    Installing flashing alarm lights;
8.    Widening doors;
9.    Installing offset hinges to widen doorways;
10.    Eliminating a turnstile or providing an alternative accessible path;
11.    Installing accessible door hardware;
12.    Installing grab bars in toilet stalls;
13.    Rearranging toilet partitions to increase maneuvering space;
14.    Insulating lavatory pipes under sinks to prevent burns;
15.    Installing a raised toilet seat;
16.    Installing a full-length bathroom mirror;
17.    Repositioning the paper towel dispenser in a bathroom;
18.    Creating designated accessible parking spaces;
19.    Installing an accessible paper cup dispenser at an existing inaccessible water fountain;
20.    Removing high pile, low density carpeting; or
21.    Installing vehicle hand controls.
The Department of justice does provide some guidance on which barriers are to be removed by priority.
1.    Businesses are urged to provide access from the public sidewalks, bus stop’s and disabled parking areas.
2.    Businesses are urged to provide access to those areas that goods and services are made available to customers
3.    Businesses are urged to provide access to restroom facilities and remove barriers that hinder access to those restrooms such as relocating equipment, vending machines or furniture, widening doors and installing directional signage.
en-Gauge can help:

Most of the time, people don't mean to violate the code;  yet it occurs every day. There is a better way.  en-Gauge enables readily achievable barrier removal.

Accessibility and obstruction monitoring with en-Gauge's en-Vision Module®:

  • 24x7 accessibilty compliance
  • en-Vision® Obstruction Recognition 
  • Keeps a 36 inch clearance 
  • Notifies alarm or building monitoring system of compliance challenges
  • Meets NPFA 72 and UL
  • Integrates with leading RTLS platforms