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
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.
to 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.
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
DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION LINK
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Try Easter Seals
About Vicki with the disabled
son...contact Easter seals to see if they can help with some of the
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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