Building Better Buildings
Updated: Feb 11
Times have changed since Dr. Caswell-Massey first opened up his apothecary shop in 1752. The only business rule for these avid entrepreneurs was to open up a shop and make money. Fast forward to the 20th century, and the rules have changed. Opening up a business requires more than an idea and a location. Now, it comes with requirements and regulations. With the new laws emerging, many owners have been given a responsibility to update their business in order to comply with the new regulations of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
On January 26, 1992, the American with Disabilities Act was established for public accommodations in order to prohibit the exclusion of people with disabilities. A business that provides goods or services to the public is considered a public accommodation and must follow the new law. Since alterations can be costly, small businesses with buildings built before 1993 have a less strict code to comply with, but no existing business is exempt from this.
Many businesses were built without accommodation for people with disabilities, and this prevents them from being a part of everyday activities. Therefore, businesses must perform "barrier removals" to be "readily achievable". In other words, any physical features in a business that limits a disabled person must be removed so that they can easily access services or goods. This promotes equality for those who are disabled and ensures they never feel isolated from society's everyday activities.
The importance of businesses complying with the American with Disabilities Act goes far more than just making sure the liability is reduced but also to ensure that the moral standing is there. We shouldn't forget that those who are disabled should have just as much freedom as everybody else when it comes to accessibility.
"The Nation's proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for such individuals."