FEB 1 1995

The Honorable Phil Gramm United States Senator 2323 Bryan Street, #1500 Dallas, Texas 75201 Dear Senator Gramm: This is in response to your letter on behalf of your constituent, XX , regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). XX is seeking your assistance because a prospective tenant of a commercial space that he leases has requested that a survey of the facility be conducted to assess "ADA compliance." The survey, which was enclosed with XX letter, is based on the ADA requirements applicable to the design and construction of new facilities. XX apparently believes that the ADA requires his building to meet this standard, and he is concerned that providing full accessibility in his building would be burdensome. It appears that XX is somewhat confused about the requirements of the ADA. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by places of public accommodation and it requires new or altered commercial facilities to be made accessible. Because XX has described the property in question as a "commercial space," we are assuming, for the purposes of this letter, that it is subject to title III. With regard to buildings covered by title III, the ADA provides for three different levels of accessibility. For new construction, the ADA requires full and strict compliance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (Standards), 28 C.F.R. pt. 36, Appendix A. This requirement for full accessibility to newly constructed buildings and facilities is based on the fact that incorporation of accessible elements into design and construction at the very beginning of the process, before inaccessible elements are set in concrete and wood, is relatively easy and inexpensive.

cc: FOIA

01-03608 -2When alterations take place in an existing building, the ADA provides a somewhat less stringent standard. The ADA requires that the altered portion of the building be made accessible in accordance with the ADA Standards. This requirement is based on the fact that incorporation of accessible features into an area that is already being rebuilt is relatively simple and inexpensive. However, the ADA recognizes that structural constraints in existing buildings may prevent full compliance with the ADA Standards. Therefore, the ADA provides lesser accessibility requirements for alterations when full compliance with the ADA Standards is technically infeasible. The ADA imposes requirements for existing buildings that are not otherwise being altered only if they fall within the twelve statutory categories of places of public accommodation. The owner or operator of such an existing place of public accommodation is only required to remove structural barriers to access to the extent that it is readily achievable to do so. Removal of a structural barrier is readily achievable if it is easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. The Department's regulation implementing title III provides examples of, and priorities for, readily achievable barrier removal, as well as alternatives for those situations where barrier removal is not readily achievable. Surveys such as the one attached to XX letter may be useful in identifying barriers to access in existing buildings. However, the ADA does not necessarily require that every barrier identified on such a survey be immediately corrected. Rather, the ADA's three-level system seeks to balance the needs of people with disabilities against the real constraints faced by businesses. I am enclosing a copy of the Department's regulation

implementing title III for your further information. I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division

Enclosures 01-03609 Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchinson Honorable Phil Gramm Honorable Jack Fields I lease commercial office space in Houston, Texas & am a constituent of yours. I have attached for your review a section of a request for proposal by a tenant looking at one of my buildings. This section deals w/ADA compliance. Does anyone in Washington have any idea how obtrusive ADA regulation is? Property owners are spending billions of dollars to comply w/ADA to satisfy completely the needs of a miniscule portion of the population. Buildings should provide barrier free access however ADA is so absurdly eggregious that only a bureaucratic, detached government could pass it & not understand the potential ramifications.

Something must be done to mitigate the ongoing damage


being suffered by business people to comply w/ADA. What do you suggest?


XX Houston, TX 77068


ADA AUDIT REPORTS AND INSPECTION FIRMS Aetna Corporate Leasing Services requires an ADA survey prepared by a qualified firm for all facilities being considered for occupancy by Aetna. This memorandum outlines what constitutes a qualified firm and what is

required in a survey. To be qualified, inspection firms will at a minimum meet the following criteria: a) Firm should have either a licensed Registered Architect or Professional Engineer managing the inspection program. b) Firm should be able to demonstrate an expertise and experience in ADA/Code Compliance work. c) Firm should have had recent training in ADA Compliance by a reputable organization such as the AIA or BOMA. d) Firm should be able to provide references from other clients for similar types of inspection work. The survey will include at a minimum the following items: a) A brief description of the property. b) A copy of the full survey that demonstrates that all ADA-related requirements have been reviewed. c) A list of all non-compliant items relating to the technical elements noted in the BOMA "ADA Compliance Guidebook". d) Pictures of non-compliant items. e) Recommendations for corrective action. f) Cost estimates for corrective actions. g) Timeline for corrective actions

01-03612 ADA CHECKLIST Building: Address: Parking and Access to Building YES NO 1) Is there designated compliant parking for individuals with disabilities (width: 96", aisle width: 60", clearance: 80", maximum slope: 1:50)? Number of compliant disabled parking spots: Number of disabled parking spots: Total number of parking spots: 2) Are accessible parking spaces located on the shortest accessible route to an accessible entrance? 3) Is there at least one accessible route (width: 36", running slope: 1:20, slip-resistant surface) to an accessible building entrance from public transportation stops? from accessible parking spaces? from sidewalks? 4) Is a curb ramp (maximum slope: 1:12, clear width: 36", slip-resistant surface, not obstructed by parked vehicles) provided whenever an accessible route crosses a curb? Entrances/Interior Route 5) Are at least 50% of all entrances accessible? If all entrances are not accessible, are there appropriate signs indicating the location of the nearest accessible entrance? 6) Is there at least one accessible door (clear opening: 32" with door open 90 degrees, maximum threshold height: 1/2", hardware which can be grasped by one hand) at each accessible entrance? 7) Is there at least one accessible route (width: 36", headroom: 80", running slope: 1:20, slip-resistant, clear floor space: 30" x 48" interior doors with pull pressure less than 5 lbs.) connecting accessible entrances with all accessible spaces? Ramps 8) Are there ramps (maximum slope: 1:12, clear width: 36", level landing, cross slope: 1:50) wherever an accessible route exceeds 1:20?

Elevators 10) If the building is 2 levels high or greater, is there an elevator? 11) Are all elevators accessible (automatic operation, notification time: 5 sec, audio and visual position indicators, clear minimum: 36", depth: 51, width: 68" side opening door/80" center opening door)? Bathrooms 12) Are there accessible bathrooms (unobstructed turning space of 60" diameter circle or T-shaped space of 60" square with 36" legs) which are located on an accessible route? 13) Within an accessible bathroom, is there at least one toilet stall which is accessible (width: 60", minimum depth: 56" to 59", outward swinging door)? If desired, attach a sheet with explanatory comments. Building Owner/Representative Signature: Title: Date: This checklist is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or approval regarding compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.