Americans with Disabilities Act, title III compliance

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Virginia Tech


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George Bush on July 26, 1990. Title III of the Act, Public Accommodations, went into affect January 26, 1992. The purpose of this study was to examine compliance by firms who own, manage, or lease buildings.

A study such as this was of great importance for the following reasons: both the disabled population and building owners, managers, and tenants are affected by this legislation; the ADA was not developed or intended to be a building code and is being enforced by the Justice Department; there is confusion in the existence of different compliance guidelines and the fact that some of the rulings are not clear or had not yet been finalized by January 26, 1992.

The specific objectives of the study were to examine the level of compliance, the compliance process, and the awareness and knowledge of Title III as well as the factors that influenced compliance or non-compliance among facility management professionals. Data was collected by a mail questionnaire which was sent to a random sample of 500 members of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) who are employed in American firms.

According to the returned questionnaires, more than half the respondents reported their compliance costs were less than $50,000 and signage was the feature most often altered. Nearly two-thirds of respondents reported they fell into the service category and just over three-fourths reported that their firms own the building(s) they occupy.

Findings of the study show that legal responsibility motivated respondents most. Respondents agreed most often with the attitude statements "accessibility is a right" and "the disabled make a valuable contribution" and the greatest problem encountered appears to be the lack of clarity of regulations. Just over three quarters of respondents complied before the deadline. Most firms are in the process of complying or have fully complied with Title III.



disability, buildings, accessibility, ADA, law