ADA compliance is an essential component of commercial building design. Even for businesses that are not required to follow ADA regulations, it is wise to factor in accessibility to ensure everyone who visits your business has a positive experience. While most business owners know that entrances and exits need to be ADA compliant, there are many other elements of your building design that also fall under these regulations.
Your electrical system is one such design element that has specific ADA requirements for any building that is intended for public use. Electrical components that are required to be accessible include:
- Light switches
- Electrical outlets
- Environmental controls operated on a frequent basis
These components are required to be installed in an accessible location, meaning they are positioned at a height that does not require one to reach up or down in order to use one. They should also be placed in areas without obstructions either on the floor or near the walls. An example of a non-ADA compliant installation would be an outlet that is placed on the floor (not reachable from a forward direction) or one that is installed on a wall obstructed by a wide countertop).
Some of these controls are not covered under ADA requirements. For example, if a comparable control is installed in an accessible location, then a control in an inaccessible location is allowed. You can see this in outlet and light switch placement, where multiple controls may be installed to provide access for all.
Other controls that are not required to be ADA compliant include:
- Circuit breakers
- Outlets dedicated to individual appliances
- Appliance controls (such as knobs on an oven, as these are part of appliance design)
Understanding these compliance issues can help you create a better business for all. If you are redesigning your electrical system, talk to MaintenX about accessibility standards and ways to make your electrical system better for your business overall. We offer preventative care and affordable installations to businesses across the U.S.