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Burder, President Tacala, Inc. 500 Chase Park South, Suite 108 Birmingham, Alabama 35244 Dear Mr. Burder: This letter responds to your correspondence regarding your efforts to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals or entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA's requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation, and it is not binding on the Department. Depending on the context, title III of the ADA imposes a range of compliance standards on private entities regarding physical barriers in places of public accommodation. When a public accommodation is engaged in new construction of a facility, it must comply with the accessibility provisions of the ADA and the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) established pursuant to it. When a public accommodation is engaged in an alteration or remodeling of an existing facility, it must comply with ADAAG's requirements for alterations. When a public accommodation is engaged in neither new construction nor alteration of a facility, then a significantly less rigorous accessibility obligation is imposed. The public facility must remove any physical barriers to individuals with disabilities where the removal of those barriers is "readily achievable" -- that is, where the removal can be done easily and without much difficulty or expense. The regulations issued by the Department of Justice discuss the factors that are to be used in determining whether the removal of a particular barrier is readily achievable. These include the nature and cost of the action, the financial resources available both to the site and the parent organization, the size and number of employees at the site and overall, and the
relationship of the site to the parent organization. A copy of these regulations is enclosed. cc: Records; OADA; Wodatch; Breen; Beard; Arthur 01-00761 -2The removal of existing physical barriers to your restrooms should be evaluated under the "readily achievable" standard. Where removal of all barriers is not readily achievable, you must still take whatever steps you can under that standard to remove barriers. In addition, the obligation to remove any existing barriers is an ongoing one. What is not readily achievable today may be readily achievable next year. We hope that this information is useful to you in evaluating your compliance with the ADA. Sincerely, Philip L. Breen Special Legal Counsel Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act