If you are planning on building a new commercial facility, you will need to make sure it complies with accessibility regulations as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ever since this act was passed, contractors have had a lot to say about its requirements, which has in turn led to a lot of misinformation about accessibility construction. In this article, we’ll do our best to dispel some of the most common myths surrounding this topic.
Myth #1: I shouldn’t have to abide by accessibility construction regulations because I don’t have disabled clients.
First of all, not all disabilities are apparent to able-bodied people. Second, there are over 61 million disabled adults in the United States. Taken together, these facts mean it’s impossible for any business to not have any disabled clients, and you likely have disabled workers in your company as well. People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the world, and they have money to spend—we encourage you to invest in accessible construction to encourage them to spend it with you.
Myth #2: Accessible construction is only for wheelchair users.
While many aspects of accessible construction focus on accommodating people with mobility issues, accessibility as a concept is not just for wheelchair users, but for everyone. Ramps and automatic doors are examples of accessible construction, but so are lower counters (so wheelchair users, children, and Little People can use them), as well as Braille signage, and even acoustic design.
Myth #3: Accessibility construction isn’t worth it.
In reality, investing in accessibility construction has incredible benefits for both disabled and non-disabled people. Since the passing of the ADA back in 1990, researchers have identified what they call the curb-cut effect, which describes how installing ramps on street corners (cutting curbs) benefitted not just wheelchair users but also many other groups. Once corner ramps were installed, it became much easier for parents to push strollers and for delivery and stockroom workers to push dollies. Some people theorize the new ramps even contributed to the increased popularity of skateboarding in the 1990s. All of this is to say that if you invest in accessible construction, it will make your business more appealing to everyone.