Why Remove Barriers?
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 Accessibility Standards in Building Code to the extent possible, and follow additional legal requirements.
For more information, refer to Readily Achievable Barrier Removal Info (PDF)
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 MCD Building Access Survey to determine where barriers exist in your building.
- Prioritize Barriers: Follow the “Priorities for Barrier Removal”. For other issues, contact your local Center for Independent Living or other disability organizations to talk about how barriers should be prioritized.
- Establish a reasonable timeline based on the number of barriers and your financial resources. For instance:
- Disability parking
- Ramp the steps at the entrance and possibly install a power door opener if needed
- Move inside and address the dining or merchandise area
- Toilet Room access
- Identify appropriate person to follow through with the plan. Often, if no one is assigned a duty it never gets done.
- 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 track of changes you make and use the access tools on this page.
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.
For more information, refer to IRS Tax Credits and Deductions.
Disability Parking Quick Reference Guide (PDF)
This document is meant to be a primer on specifications for disability parking. For more information, refer to the resources listed at the end of the document.
Accessible Entrance Quick Reference Guide (PDF)
This document is meant to be a primer on specifications for accessible entrances. For more information, refer to the resources listed at the end of the document.
Accessible Toilet Rooms Quick Reference Guide (PDF)
This document is meant to be a primer on specifications for accessible toilet rooms. For more information, refer to the resources listed at the end of the document.
10 Ways to Improve the Accessibility of Your Hotel (PDF)
This document is meant to be a primer on best practices for hotel/motel rooms. For more information, refer to the resources listed at the end of the document. Making sure your accommodations are accessible and usable will make you a destination.
Building Access Survey (Word)
This survey book highlights the code requirements of the Accessibility Chapter of the Minnesota State Building Code. It is designed to be used as an independent tool to determine the level of accessibility of an existing commercial building.
Building Access Short Survey (Word)
The Building Access Short Survey identifies the most common areas of a public accommodation that might require readily achievable barrier removal. Please consult the full Building Access Survey on this website for access information not covered by the Short Survey.
Readily Achievable Barrier Removal – Title III Technical Assistance Manual (Word)
Select portions of the ADA Technical Assistance manual that addresses Public Accommodations and the removal of barriers.
Modified Primer – Readily Achievable Barrier Removal (Word)
Select portions of the ADA Readily Achievable Barrier Removal manual that addresses Public Accommodations and the removal of barriers.
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.
- VIDEO: Business Owners Question Motive Of Disability Act Lawsuits
- Making Built Environments Accessible: Compliance, Recent Litigation, And Helpful Resources
2015 Minnesota Accessibility Code
The 2015 Minnesota Accessibility Code contains detailed accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities in new buildings, additions to buildings and buildings undergoing alterations. It does not apply to residential dwellings having three or fewer dwelling units in a building. Examples of subjects regulated include, site access to buildings, accessible restroom features, accessibility between different floor levels, features for sight and hearing impaired persons, etc.
Additional information can be found on the Department of Labor & Industry’s accessibility page.