ADA: American Disabilities Act

ADA: American Disabilities Act

The ADA, American Disabilities Act of 1990, is probably the most important law when it comes to individuals with disabilities. The law not only sets parameters against discrimination for those with disabilities but as applicable in our case, provides standards which make the world a better place for those with disabilities.

Follow along as we explain.


ADA Definition and Brief History

The following is an excerpt from the ADA website as a clear definition and brief history of the ADA.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life — to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — the ADA is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities.” [As copied from the ADA Website –]

The ADA includes different sections and amendments which we will not go through here but can be accessed on the ADA website as well.

The reason the ADA holds a lot of weight for us and our task at hand is that included within it are accessibility design standards which employers and commercial construction must comply with. The punchline is that these standards can be used for any construction, remodeling or home modification purposes to benefit an individual with a disability. The ADA has therefore provided us with a blueprint for design concepts and measurements which will make the life of someone with a disability that much easier, safer, and more comfortable whether implemented in their home, work, school, or you-name-it.


2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

HERE is a link to the design standards established in 2010. It is quite tedious to go through, so I will give you some pointers where to look for some of the basic standards most commonly used when designing, remodeling or modifying a space to increase accessibility.

No need to fret though that putting it into practice when applicable feels daunting because as we go through all of the spaces in a home, I always include the recommended measurements in context at that time. So bear with us as, over time and throughout our posts, we will go through all of the spaces in the home and carefully take apart the standards and provide you with all you need to know.

Also, there are many diagrams and pictures throughout the design standards document. Don’t stress if they seem complicated or difficult to understand because I usually provide pictures with explanations throughout the posts whenever we discuss the relevant measurements at that time. My goal is to make your job as simple and stress-free as possible. That’s what this resource center is all about! So follow along on our journey to actualize this goal of simplifying the home accessibility/aging place modification process.


Key Applicable Design Standards

Here are the pointers to the most commonly used standards for an accessibly living space:

  • Chapter 3: Building Blocks
    • Basics clearance dimensions (i.e. turn spaces, knee and toe clearance, reach ranges etc.)
  • Chapter 4: Accessible Routes
    • Doors and Doorways
    • Ramps
    • Lifts/Elevators
  • Chapter 6: Plumbing Elements and Facilities
    • Bathrooms (toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers, grab bars etc.)
    • Laundry Rooms
  • Chapter 8: Special Rooms
    • Kitchens
  • Chapter 9: Built-in Elements
    • Dining and work surfaces

That’s the gist of the ADA and how it applies to us here.


I hope this was helpful! Feel free to contact us with any questions!

That’s that for ADA: American Disabilities Act.

We’ll keep you POSTED!

To safe and happy homes,


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