Toolbox > Guidelines to the ADA and Texas Accessibility Standards
Information on Business Compliance
It can be hard for business owners to understand and get the information they need to comply with the ADA and Texas Accessibility Standards. We understand this, so we've given our best effort to help you discover the guidelines you'll need to modify your business to meet the needs of the disabled.
The inclusion of this information is a service, not intended to serve as legal advice. We assume no obligation to update these materials, and no liability for their accuracy or content. Reader assumes all responsibility for confirming the accuracy of this material or changes in the law. We comply by these codes and this is how we interpret them. We strongly suggest that you meet with your local building officials and discus your project before it begins.
Business- the ADA and TAS
The ADA, a federal civil rights law, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, ensuring equal access to all public goods and services. The regulations include design specifications 2010 ADA STANDARDS FOR ACCESSIBLE DESIGN developed from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Architectural Barriers Act.
The ADA sets federal standards for all public accommodations, transportation systems and portions of commercial facilities.
Texas New Construction and Renovation Requirements
Each state and local government has the authority to adopt and enforce its own building codes, but must meet or exceed those contained in the ADA. Texas has their own guidelines, the Texas Accessibility Standards.
Texas requires plans for all new business construction or alterations over $50,000 to be submitted to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for review and inspection. Projects under this amount do not have to submit plans but must comply with the Texas Accessibility Standards.
For information contact:
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
Architectural Barriers Program
P. O. Box 12157
Austin, Texas 78711
(877) 803-9202 (Toll free in Texas)
(512) 436-6599 (voice)
(512) 475-2871 (fax)
For information on your state, go to the State Code Contact List.
The ADA Affects All Public Buildings and Commercial Buildings
The Americans with Disabilities Act covers public buildings, government offices and privately owned, publicly used buildings such as stores and restaurants. Know that the ADA does not apply to individual housing.
All new construction of public accommodations and commercial facilities is required to meet or exceed ADAAG design specifications if the application for building permit or permit extension was completed and filed after January 28, 1992, and the facility was occupied after January 28, 1993. All additions to functional spaces in existing public accommodations and public spaces, including the entrances, toilet facilities and accessible routes that service these spaces, are considered new construction and are subject to the same ADAAG requirements.
Existing public accommodations are required to remove barriers if the alterations are "readily achievable." The ADA regulations provide guidelines and details on modifying existing buildings to provide equal services for people with disabilities. For more information see the ADA Guide for Small Businesses.
To get answers to questions about the ADA or to learn more about the law call the Department of Justice ADA Information Line, toll-free (1-800-514-0301 voice and 1-800-514-0383 TDD).
If you feel that a place of public accommodation has discriminated against you on the basis of your disability, you can file an ADA complaint.
The "Americans with Disabilities Act"
The ADA is divided into five titles:
- Title I - Employment: Business with fifteen or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities in all phases of employment, including restructuring jobs, altering the layout of work areas and equipment modifications. This title is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.
- Title II - Public Services: Public services provided by state and local government and public transportation systems cannot deny services and must be accessible to people with disabilities. This title is enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Title III - Public Accommodations: New construction and modifications must be accessible to people with disabilities. Existing facilities such as theaters, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, retail stores, libraries, parks, schools, privately owned transportation systems and other similar places must remove barriers to services if readily achievable. This title is enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Title IV - Telecommunications: Companies offering telephone service to the general public must have a telephone relay service for people who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TTYs) or similar devices. This title is enforced by the Federal Communications Commission.
- Title V - Miscellaneous: Includes a provision prohibiting coercing, threatening or retaliation against people with disabilities or those attempting to aid the disabled in asserting their rights under the ADA.
The Fair Housing Amendment of 1988
The amendment protects people with disabilities from discrimination and mandates residential rights and architectural access. New apartment buildings and condominiums with four or more units first occupied after March 1991, must have access to every ground floor unit, and in all units if the building has an elevator.
Although the landlord is not required to pay, they can not refuse to make reasonable accommodations or let people with disabilities make reasonable installations or renovations to the property. This includes widening doors, installing grab bars, floor covering, etc. For more information go to the Fair Housing Accessibility guidelines.
To file a complaint on a building located in Texas that is not accessible or in violation of TAS, You can file a complaint online or you can contact TDLR at (877) 803-9202 or (512) 436-6599. Forms are also available online at http://www.license.state.tx.us/ab/forms/abforms.htm.
Finding a Houston area contractor familiar with handicap accessible code requirements can be a real challenge. We can help you meet all the guidelines of the ADA and Texas Accessibility Standards. Our services are available to Houston and the surrounding areas, and begins with an evaluation of your business. Contact us today to see what our experience can do for you!