Time and again, I find that there is often confusion as to what Access means and who it is for. There is this overlying presumption that it is mostly for people who use wheelchairs. There are many types of disabilities. The question is – what are we doing and for who is it for.
One of the items that did not seem entirely clear to me was reflective or reflectorized signs for parking, and how do you recognize them, vs glossy or matt signs. At one point I looked for small dots in the signs but many of them seem to be faded with no added benefit that I could discern. And recently I have been seeing the signs with vertical type prism bands. So what is required, what is the difference, and what are we looking for?
Many times issues come up regarding the presence of animals in public spaces and places of public accommodation. Most building/business owners (hopefully) know enough to allow the service animal in and that they can not ask a person with an animal what their disability is. But the question is – is the animal really a service animal – how can they tell, and which animals are they required to allow to enter the premises?
I have been asked many times, what is a CASp (Certified Access Specialist program) and why is this program necessary. What I have found over the years is that Accessibility has become so complex, not only in the scoping and technical aspects but also which regulations apply. Typically this has been in the realm of architects, but determining which regulations and how to apply them many times depends upon money sourcing and whether it is a program of a public entity or a federal agency.
This is a relatively simple topic, but I have seen a number of new facilities where these are not specified or installed in a compliant fashion. The ADA standards does not require all of the machines to be accessible. In each accessible space, one minimum is required to be accessible for a dryer and one for a washing machine. And if there are more than 3 washers or 3 dryers, then two are required to be accessible of each. This is applicable whether it is in a laundromat, or a common space laundry room for public residential dwelling units, or student housing at a place of education, or social service center establishment sleeping rooms, or a mobility feature dwelling unit.
The 2015 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has elected Janis Kent to its esteemed College of Fellows.