ADA QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What is the ADA and how does it affect our lifts?
The Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) is a federal law that went into effect in 1991. The law is designed to eliminate any discrimination because of disabilities.
The ADA covers many different areas of discrimination but what affects our products is how the ADA addresses accessibility.
Under Section 504 of the ADA, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, also known as "Access Board"
was required to develop and issue guidelines which would become the final ADA accessibility standards. The American with Disabilities
Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) was written and went into effect in January of 1992. These guidelines were written to try
and clarify how architectural barriers should be eliminated and still comply with the intent of the ADA. The ADA identifies
what needs to be accessible and refers back to ASME standards as to what equipment can be used. Over the passed few years,
a committee has been working on updating ADAAG so that it is more consistent with available technologies and with the ASME
standard. The recommendations for the new ADAAG have been published and submitted to the Access Board for adoption.
NEW ADAAG has a couple of changes on the acceptable use of platform lifts to remove barriers but most important it new recognizes
ASME A17.1-2000, Part 5.2 for LU/LA elevators.
Does ADAAG permit platform (wheelchair) lifts as a means of providing
Yes. Platform lifts are defined in Section 3.5 as an accessible route and are covered in Section 4.11.
Are platform lifts allowed in new construction?
Yes. Platform lifts complying with 4.11 and with local codes may be used to provide accessibility to a performing area in an assembly occupancy, to comply with the
wheelchair viewing position line-of-sight and dispersion requirements of 4.33.3, in incidental occupiable spaces and rooms which are not open to the general public and which house no more than five persons,
including but not limited to equipment control rooms and projection booths or to provide access where existing site constraints
or other constraints make sue of a ramp or an elevator infeasible.
Will every building require an elevator,
ramp or lift?
No. Existing buildings require only what is readily achievable and can not cause a financial hardship
on the building owner. If a new or altered building has fewer than 3 stories or is less than 3000 square feet per floor, it
does not need to be equipped with an elevator. This exception does not apply to shopping malls or offices of heath care providers.
The ground floor, however, must be accessible. If an elevator is installed it must meet the ADAAG requirements.
ADAAG require any special requirements on platform lifts?
Yes. A minimum clear floor or ground space of 30"
x 48" is required on vertical and inclined platform lifts. The new ADAAG also requires platform lifts where the lift
does not allow a user to pass through the lift to have power openers on the gates or doors.
Do inclined platform
lifts comply with the ADA?
Yes. The goal of the ADA is to improve accessibility. If the inclined lift is the
best alternative tot he building owner, then that option should be taken. The inclined platform lift provides unassisted entry
and exit from the lift and can physically be operated by the rider.
Does the ADA allow key operation?
Yes. The ADA recognizes the need for keys. While Section 4.11 still stipulates that platform lifts shall facilitate unassisted entry, operation and exit from the lift, the preamble states
that this does not preclude the use of a key to operate a lift as long as the key is readily available and allows for unassisted
Are all of our lifts ADA approved?
No. The ADA does not approve anything! The ADA is
a civil rights law and the only way to get a ruling is if someone files a complaint with the Attorney General.
test laboratories such as UL or ETL now inspect and test accessibility equipment to comply with ASME standards. Any equipment
that displays one of these labels shows that the equipment has been inspected and tested to these standards and has passed.
Many states require an independent laboratory label to be on equipment and many states will relax their inspection requirements
if the equipment is labeled. There is a great expense to have the equipment listed, but if it allows our equipment to be more
widely accepted and adds to the creditability of quality, it is well worth the added expense.