Readily Achievable Barrier Removal
The ADA requires that businesses remove architectural barriers in existing facilities when it is “readily achievable” to do so. Readily achievable means “easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense.” This requirement is based on the size and resources of a business. Therefore, businesses with more resources are expected to remove more barriers than businesses with fewer resources.
Readily achievable barrier removal may include providing an accessible route from a parking lot to the business’ entrance, installing an entrance ramp, widening a doorway, installing accessible door hardware, repositioning shelves, or moving tables, chairs, display racks, vending machines, or other furniture. When removing barriers, businesses are required to comply with the Standards to the extent possible.
Priorities for Barrier Removal
- Providing access to your business from public sidewalks, parking areas, and public transportation;
- Providing access to the goods and services your business offers;
- Providing access to public restrooms; and
- Removing barriers to other amenities offered to the public, such as drinking fountains.
Create a Readily Achievable Barrier Removal Plan
Identify Barriers: Start with the MSCOD Building Access Survey.
Prioritize Barriers: Follow the advice above and for other issues contact the local Center for Independent Living or other disability organizations and talk about how the barriers should be prioritized.
Establish a reasonable timeline based on the number of barriers that need to be addressed and your financial resources. Remember though, this obligation has existed for 25 years and if you have failed to remove barriers for a number of years, you need to make up for lost time. Try to double your efforts when establishing this timeline. Remove as many barriers as possible, as quickly as possible. For instance, this year you could install the needed number of disability parking spaces with the required access aisles, ramp the steps at the entrance and possibly install a power door opener if needed. Next year, you could improve access to your goods and services. If you own a restaurant you could improve access to and throughout your dining area, if you own retail space, you could improve access to the merchandise area. The next year of the plan could be dedicated to improving restroom access. You could enlarge a stall, install an accessible height toilet and grab-bars, install an accessible sink, mirror and paper towels, etc.
Secure cost estimates or at least get an idea of what the modification might cost, keep a record of the estimates, timeline and resources – many times the cost is less than expected, other times it’s more.
EXECUTE THE PLAN!
Keep records on what barriers you have removed and the cost.
Tax Credit and Deduction
To assist businesses to comply with the ADA, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code includes a Disabled Access Credit (Section 44) for businesses with 30 or fewer full-time employees or with total revenues of $1 million or less in the previous tax year. Eligible expenses may include the cost of undertaking barrier removal and alterations to improve accessibility, providing sign-language interpreters, or making material available in accessible formats such as Braille, audiotape, or large print.
Section 190 of the IRS Code provides a tax deduction for businesses of all sizes for costs incurred in removing architectural barriers in existing facilities or alterations. The maximum deduction is $15,000 per year.
Need Assistance? Contact an Access Specialist
If you need assistance identifying barriers in your businesses and developing a readily achievable barrier removal plan, you may want to hire an access specialist. The list of access specialists below own and operate their own businesses and have provided a statement regarding their knowledge and experience. This is not a complete list and you may want to contact your local center for independent living to obtain additional resources.
Accessible Homes is a certified woman owned accessibility builder and remodeler licensed, and insured in Minnesota. Our focus is creating environments that are accessible for people of all abilities. Accessible Homes has knowledge and experience working in both commercial and residential settings. We are certified in accessibility by both the state of Minnesota Dept. of Labor and Industry and have received an accessibility certification through the Minnesota Builders Association.
Contact Andy for additional information and assistance at 651-450-5620 (Fax 651-554-3085).
Julee Quarve-Peterson, Inc
Julee Quarve-Peterson, Inc. (JQP, Inc.) is a small, woman-owned business specializing in accessibility with over 40 years of experience working with businesses (Title III) and government entities (Title II). With extensive knowledge in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ADA 2010 Standards for Accessible Design and the Minnesota Building Code, Chapter 1341 (Accessibility) and how they apply to existing facilities, JQP, Inc. is able to assist clients in understanding their minimum obligations as well as identifying other opportunities to provide greater accessibility for all customers. JQP, Inc. can work with clients to review their existing site, develop a barrier removal plan and (if necessary) respond to complaints/lawsuits.
Contact Julee Quave-Peterson at JQP_inc@yahoo.com or leave a voicemail at 612-374-3031.
rlkACCESS, LLC is a Minnesota woman/disability-owned business specializing in creating, improving, and ensuring disability access that works. With strong working knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 2010 ADA Standards, and the Minnesota State Accessibility Code. rlkACCESS, LLC can provide individuals and businesses with plan review, technical assistance, and site review. rlkACCESS, LLC can also assist in prioritizing access modifications in order to avoid or respond to complaints.
For more information, please contact Roberta L. Kehne, rlkACCESS, LLC, at 612-624-1801 or email@example.com.
- Readily Achievable Barrier Removal – Title III Technical Assistance Manual (Word)
- Modified Primer – Readily Achievable Barrier Removal (Word)
- VIDEO: Business Owners Question Motive Of Disability Act Lawsuits
- Making Built Environments Accessible: Compliance, Recent Litigation, And Helpful Resources (external link)