ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has led to a lot of questions regarding how ADA affects mats and matting. ADA is the law. The law is enforced by the Justice Department. To help the Justice Department enforce ADA a federal organization called the U.S. Architectural & Transportation Barriers Compliance Board a/k/a Access Board prepares ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Interpretation of these guidelines has led to questions regarding how ADAAG treats floor mats. The question raised most frequently was, “Are mats subject to the ADA accessibility guidelines in Section No. 4.5 and specifically Sections No 4.5.2 and 4.5.3?
These questions were passed along to The Access Board.
The Access Board reported that ADAAG deals specifically with fixtures and facilities that are “built in” at the time of construction or as a result of any remodeling or refurbishing. According to the Access Board, mats and matting products are considered “furnishings” and do not fall under the provisions of ADAAG. However the Board cautioned that the intent of any guidelines issued is to insure that “Ground and floor surfaces be maintained in a stable, firm and slip-resistant condition”. (Emphasis added).
. . . nature and function of mats is to enhance the firmness, stability and slip-resistance of floor surfaces. In order to fulfill this function, and to comply with the intent and guidelines of ADA, mats must not present a trip hazard and must be maintained so that they remain safe, firm, slip resistant . . .enhance safety and accessibility. . .
. . . ADAAG deals specifically with “built in” fixtures and characteristics of a facility. Matting does not fall under the ADA accessibility guidelines and further, by their nature and function, properly maintained mats actually contribute to a facility’s compliance under ADA.
By Daniel M. Laity
Photos and drawings by Nick Berendt
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