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Re: ADA (Almost done with this yet?)

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Carl Sramek wrote: 

<<<In any case, you might be interested in a project I worked on a few years
back.  It was a seismic repair of a county courthouse here in California,
and included a number of ADA upgrades piggy-backed onto the project.

Now, if a person shows up to this particular courthouse in a wheelchair:

He (or she) doesn't need to park way down at the bottom level of the parking
garage in the far corner, because now he has a special parking space set
aside just for him, with signs pointing the way, and lovely blue stripes to
identify it........

.............If the going gets tough inside the courtroom, he can take a
break and get a drink of water from the drinking fountain that was lowered
enough for him to use.

And get this, if he's blind, he doesn't have to guess which door leads to
the restroom and which one leads to the courtroom, because now all the doors
have these funny little bumps that only he knows how to read.

And finally, if he wants to sue you and your friends, he not only has the
legal right to do so, he can actually have access to the building and
confront you face-to-face.

And I helped.>>>>>>

Carl-

I also was going to stay out of this thread but the results of a seismic
retrofit project I worked on a few years back were a lot different. The ADA
requirements added so much to the cost of the project (this was a concrete
tilt-up with a small second floor so the costs weren't incredibly high to
begin with) that the owner could not go through with the retrofit.  If an
earthquake occurs and one of the walls falls away crushing a car and killing
its occupant, do you think the city will be quick to jump up and point out
that their inflexibility stopped a seismic upgrade that resulted in a death?
I wouldn't hold my breath.  I truly couldn't see the rationale behind some
of the more expensive ADA upgrades being demanded by the city and couldn't
believe they would not compromise (I think it had something to do with
previous lawsuits against the city when they waived or modified ADA
requirements on past projects).  

Of course society should take every reasonable step to allow access to those
who have disabilities.  Clearly, we need codes, rules, regulations, etc. to
assure that those who wouldn't put an extra dollar into a project unless
they get two dollars back AND those of us who are ignorant of many of these
issues because we don't confront them on a daily basis do incorporate these
features.  But we also need to realize that every added cost may mean the
difference between a project being completed or shelved, a job being lost,
etc.  We can't have it all and life is not always fair.  My bottom line is
that following the rules and regulations has become an excuse (or maybe a
fear of being sued) to stop using common sense.  I don't think too many
(rational) people would deny that there is some cost that is reasonable (one
of the big problems is defining what is "reasonable") to accomplish this.
However, spending a ton of money to install an elevator or even a small
amount of money to lower sinks in an existing occupancy where a worker
cannot be in a wheelchair and do the job makes no sense.  This is money that
can be spent better elsewhere.  If your project becomes unviable (no matter
what it is) because a bureaucrat will not or can not waive a clearly
nonsensical requirement, I think we've traveled too far down the path.

Chris



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