Accessibility Codes and Standards

Insuring Accessibility is The Law

It is the job of all building owners and facility managersAccessibility_Violations_Safety_Equipment_14

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides broad reaching authority to insure that all Americans have access.  Insuring all people have access to safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, pull stations and more is the job of all building owners and facility managers.

Standards to reference: 

  • 28 CFR Part 36 sections 4.3.3 and 4.13.5
  • 29 CFR 1910.36(g)(4) and (f)(2), .37(a)(3)
  • NFPA 101 sections, 4.5.7,,,, and

According to

Items that should never be blocked include: 

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
  • Escape masks
  • Fire alarm pull stations
  • Wall-mounted firefighter phones
  • Wall-mounted floor plans with exit routes, nearest exit, or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    exiting information
  • Room identification signs
  • ADA emergency staging area and staging area signs
  • Brailled exit information signage
  • Brailled signage in exit stairwells and at all building exits.
  • Electrical panelboards with circuit breakers inside.Accessibility_Violations_6


Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189 (the “ADA”)


Applies to any Public Accommodation, Commercial Facility or Private entity that offers examinations or courses related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or postsecondary education, professional, or trade purposes.  42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(A); 28 C.F.R. § 36.102 and § 36.104.
Private entities that own, lease to, or operate a place of public accommodation are subject to the requirements of:
a)    Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189 and
b)    Implementing Regulations 28 C.F.R. Part 36 (see, and
c)    ADA Standards for Accessible Design 



  1. ADA is enforced through public and private means.  42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(A)(i); 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.501-36.508.
  2. Under title III of ADA, DOJ may pursue civil penalties of $55,000 and $110,000 for any subsequent violation. 28 C.F.R. § 36.504. see, Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Regulations.
  • A public accommodation must maintain in operable working condition those features that are required to be accessible. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(1)(E); 28 C.F.R. § 36.211(a).
  • A public accommodation must remove barriers to access where it is readily achievable to do so, 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv), and any altered facilities must comply with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 12183, which are implemented through 28 C.F.R. Part 36, including the applicable ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The ADA Standards for Accessible Design also serve as a guide (non-exclusive) to identify barriers to be removed.
  • Title III prohibits public accommodations from discriminating against individuals with disabilities in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a).
  • Title III also requires a public accommodation to make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures when such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that taking those steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii); 28 C.F.R. § 36.302.


Other Considerations:

PREPAREDNESS and emergency communications, 

  • Executive Order 13347, Individuals with Disabilities in Emergency Preparedness, on July 22, 2004“to ensure that the Federal Government appropriately supports safety and security for individuals with disabilities in situations involving disasters, including earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, floods, hurricanes, and acts of terrorism....”
  • ADASTD 28 CFR Part 36 Non discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations in commercial facilities