• Handicap - Americans with Disabilities Act compliance: 
  • Compliance

    Compliance to the ADA Guidelines and Texas Accessibility Standards

    Your business is your source of income, bringing you wealth and happiness. But what if instead it's a liability, a massive lawsuit waiting to happen? Well, that's exactly what it is if it's not compliant with the handicap accessibility codes.

    Understanding how to comply with handicapped construction regulations can be a real challenge! Details are often overlooked by inexperienced contractors, costing you valuable time and money. We have the experience (we've saved our clients thousands of dollars because we understand the code) to help you meet all the guidelines of the ADA and Texas Accessibility Standards.

    In order to help you make sure your business isn't a liability, we advise on remodelling and provide handicapped modifications to make your business accessible. 

    Some of the services we provide:

    • Architectural compliance to the ADA and Texas Accessibility Standards.
    • Assistance with variance applications for alternative designs and technologies to provide equivalent or greater access to and usability of your facility.
    • Recommendations and solutions to failed inspections by the TDLR.

    Business Compliance to the ADA

    The ADA is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and ensures access to all public accommodations.

    All public buildings, government offices and privately owned, publicly used buildings including stores and restaurants must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    All public accommodations, including your business, are required to remove barriers if they are "readily achievable", including the entrances, toilet facilities and accessible routes.

    For more information see ADA Guide for Small Businesses and guidelines.

    Texas Accessibility Standards and the ADA

    State and local government have the authority to adopt and enforce their own building codes, but must meet or exceed those contained in the ADA. The Department of justice has certified that the Texas Accessibility Standards meets these requirements.

    Texas requires that construction documents and plans for all new business construction or alterations, if the estimated construction costs are $50,000 or more must be submitted to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for review and inspection. Construction projects under this amount are not required to submit plans or documentation, but still have to comply with the Texas Accessibility Standards.



    Americans with Disabilities Act http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm



    Special Needs Help Required

    Here is the problem...our home will need massive remodeling to make it accessible to a disabled person (ramps, wider doorways etc.) and we will need various pieces of equipment (hospital bed, rehab equipment etc.) We want to know if any of the subscribers on the list have had to do this and how they financially handled the task without spending a fortune. Where can corners be cut without sacrificing what our son will need?

    Social Worker Can Help

    In relation to needing hospital equipment when the patient comes home. The first person one should talk to is the social worker assigned to the unit in the hospital. They are trained in medicaid, medicare, social security, and other organizations that the patient may be qualified for aid. There are foundations such as heart, liver, and MS, and many more that have come together for aid and support of those who have a particular ailment or overcoming a surgery in a particular area. The social worker in the hospital, generally is trained to assist the patient or direct them to an agency than can help them.
    Albert N

    Used = Inexpensive

    To find inexpensive gear to help her son at home check the papers for ads. My mom has an electric wheel chair and hospital bed that belonged to my Grandmother (since deceased) and would love to find a good home for them at a very decent price. (I know she is negotiating with someone for the wheel chair for 1/10 of the original cost). So I'm sure there are others out there who would be willing to do the same.
    Brenda T.

    Ask for Help

    I would suggest getting out to yard sales and estate sales immediately for equipment. Estate sales, especially, may have many appropriate items since they are often put on by the families of homeowners who have just passed away. I've seen dozens of bathing chairs and hospital beds on my Saturday morning run.
    Also, call you local United Way, Family Services Agency or other general social services agency. They may be able to help steer you towards resources since many social service agencies have programs for persons on fixed or low incomes. if your family doesn't qualify for financial assistance with remodeling or other services they may at least be able to help you contact contractors experienced with such work. It will take some time on the phone, but you may be surprised at what pops up.
    Don't be too proud to ask for help--financial or otherwise. These agencies and programs exist because their staff and volunteers care enough to help others. Someday, through frugal money management and healthy time management you might find time to give back when your son's situation is stabilized. This is what community is all about.
    Keri K.
    Tucson, AZ

    An Experienced Response

    The best place to look for assistance in making your home accessible for a wheelchair is to contact an Independent living center.
    Ask someone in rehab if there's one in your city. Ask for a loan chest for the home care items, they loan wheelchairs. Also you could contact the Easter Seal Society. If these things aren't available in your city, contact some contractors.
    Tell them what you need, get estimates, and check them out with the Better Business Bureau or previous customers. I hope this will help you. I have been disabled for 47 years and have used a wheelchair over half my life.
    Judi D.

    Use Gov't and Other Agencies

    I'm very sorry to hear about your son's injury. We had a similar experience last year when my husband's spine was nearly severed in a car accident. I don't know what state you live in, but in our state (VA), there is a Dept. of Rehab Services that sometimes has wheelchairs and other equipment available to lend to seriously injured people without charge. They might also be able to direct you to other organizations that help people like your son. Also, the patient representative assigned to you at the hospital or one of your son's therapists might be able to give you some good references to organizations that have low- or no-cost medical equipment. We found ours to be very helpful once we asked.
    We also had to build a ramp from our front door. My father and sister went to a nearby hardware store and bought a long, sturdy piece of wood and some metal holders that are sold specifically for ramp-making. They just drilled a few holes in the concrete platform at the top of our steps, fastened the metal ramp holders to the concrete, and attached the holders to the wood. It worked very well for the three months that my husband used the wheelchair. We didn't use a hospital bed. Instead, I brought our own bed downstairs to the living room, and we slept there. Also, he was able to use the bed for some of his physical therapy exercises, rather than buying expensive equipment.
    One last thought. I wasn't sure from your note whether your son suffered a spinal cord injury. But if he did, some states (at least VA) have associations that provide services and useful information to persons affected by spinal cord injuries. We receive a monthly newsletter from them that we find very helpful.

    Help Organizations

    Here in Southern Oregon, we have an organization of physically challenged people called "Southern Oregon Citizens for Independent Living." This group sometimes installs ramps for free at the homes of those in need.
    You may be able to find resources like this in your area by calling a crisis intervention telephone service (sometimes called a "helpline") and asking for information on such organizations. Make sure that it's a free service for referrals. There are some crisis intervention services that charge fees.
    Another possibility for some help might be a local Elks Club. They sometimes provide monetary help for essential items for people with such needs.
    Charles and Olga

    Suggestions for Building Materials

    Many chapters of Habitat for Humanity run a ReStore, where they sell used and new donated building materials, and anyone can shop there. As for medical equipment, check with local churches; my own lends these items to any member.
    Jeannie A.

    Try Easter Seals

    About Vicki with the disabled son...contact Easter seals to see if they can help with some of the equipment needed.

    Call Around

    There is usually some money or help floating around somewhere - you just have to track it down. Make some phone calls - try your minister, local chamber of commerce, HUD, any charitable organizations,... They might not be able to do anything, but they might know who can. Habitat for Humanity might retrofit your house or know someone who can. I don't know where Vicki lives (the States?) but if there is a group advocating for Head Injuries, they might know who to contact.

    Special Needs Shower

    I am on SSI and have Spina Bifida. I am looking for a place that offers low interest loans for people like me. I live with my parents and we need to have our bathroom redone. When the house was built, the bathroom was not made wide enough. I do have a wheel-in shower, but I am in a power chair and I can not turn or move freely without knocking the tiles off the walls. I have the same problems in my manual chair. This bathroom is the only one that I can get into in the house.


    Make the Proper Contacts

    I am on SSD and I'm also a woman with Spina Bifida. I use a manual wheelchair and have in the past needed modifications for my home. Quite often you can get grants through your local Center for Independent Living (CIL) or Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS). Most times they will pay the entire cost of the modification and it isn't a loan so there's nothing to repay.

    The key is contacting the proper agency for your individual situation. If you don't work you should contact your CIL. If you are going to college or seeking employment, you should contact DRS. Both can be found in your yellow pages listed under disability. If they aren't listed there, look in the government listings. Both are considered government-funded programs. And if all else fails, contact your local Social Services office and ask them to help you make the proper contacts.


    Consider a Hand-Held Showerhead

    Have you considered a hand-held showerhead? Some of them can be mounted on a height-adjustable, vertical bar, and then removed if needed. If this would work for you, you wouldn't need to move around in the shower stall. I have worked with another wheelchair bound patient and she used this application successfully.


    Check with USDA Rural Development

    Check with the USDA Rural Development agency in your area. They offer home repair loans to qualifying applicants. You can find more information at


    Senior Citizen Organization May Help

    In my community, we have a non-profit group called FREED who, among other things, has volunteers who would do such work for you at no cost.

    I suggest you contact your local Senior Citizen organization and ask for a referral to such a group. I don't know if you will find one where you live, but this group would know what is available in your community.

    If you are a member of a church, call the office and ask if someone would volunteer to do the work.


    Here is a Tremendous Resource

    I would urge anyone in the U.S. with issues similar to this to seek out an organization called Center for Independent Living. If you do a search on the Internet, you should be able to find one in your state. Here is a link to a page with some of the CILs listed:

    The CILs are a tremendous resource to people with all types of disabilities, and may be able to provide information about grants or low/no interest loans for accessibility retrofitting of this type, in addition to accessing many other resources available in the community.


    Keep Calling and Keep Asking

    You should check with your state government. Many states offer funds for renovating existing living space to be more user-friendly for people with disabilities. They won't fund new construction, such as an addition, but remodeling your bathroom sounds like it fits the requirements. Also check Medicaid. They may have some money for accessibility remodeling, or someone there may know where you can go. Here's a word of warning. There are many programs out there, but no one seems to know about them. You need to keep calling and keep asking until you stumble across a person who has the answers.


    Another Great Idea

    Try calling your local high school or Vo-tech schoolteacher who teaches carpentry or home remodeling. In our area, they do projects like yours for the cost of materials. It also gives the students some great work experience.


    Rebuilding Together

    Rebuilding Together is a national organization (US) that performs home remodels and repairs for needy homeowners at no cost or obligation to the homeowner.

    The work is performed by volunteers with materials and financial backing provided by a variety of businesses, civic groups, church groups, and individuals.


    Contact the United Way

    In our area, we have a volunteer organization that is called "Christmas in April" where families and/or senior citizens can apply and have home repairs and/or remodeling done. This has included installing ramps, making doorways wider, fixing roofs, etc. The volunteers get together on one weekend and do all the work assisted by professionals who also volunteer. You might want to contact your United Way and see if they are aware of a program like this in your area.


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