Published on

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide


  1. 1. Hayden WaddellMrs. CorbettAP Literature17 November 2011 ADA History and Requirements for Buildings Building codes are a huge part in the architectural design of homes, buildings, andskyscrapers. Building codes have many various and complex building codes but the mainchallenge for most architects is the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) .Building codes arethe bibles to architects and engineers, these help with certain restrictions . For example, the landitself might have certain restrictions on the area of the building, or the height of thebuilding .Through making height and width requirements, and giving certain dimensions tocertain objects and appliances are some of the many measurements architects must be aware ofwhen making a skyscraper or office building when it comes to Americans with disabilities . The ADA was established in 1990 when President George H. W. Bush signed it intolaw(Arlene Mayerson). Americans with these disabilities used similar techniques such as thecivil right movement used during the time when African American were be discriminatedagainst( About American with Disabilities Act). This allowed a small foot hold for theseAmericans whom were fed up with the discrimination and the segregation they had gotten fromthe government and the people around them(Paul K. Longmore and Michael Stein). Throughmany years of petitioning, and through protesting, the community of the disabled finally got theequal rights that everyone deserves. These rights help shape modern day architecture and what
  2. 2. Architects must follow to provided or create a building to the requirements of the ADA, and alsothe other building codes that architects must abide to when designing a building. Through many a fight, the disabilities community finally won what they have fought for,for so long. During the timeline of there endeavor a lot had changed for architects, even beforethe law was signed. For example, during 1968 the ABA was signed (The Architectural barriersact), this told architects that any Federal building is prohibited to have any barriers on thepremises (Disability History Timeline). This example shows the early effect’s of what is tobecome the ADA, and what it does to Architect’s during the thought and design of certain thingsin their project’s. This illuminates the fact that architecture today has so many code’s not justwith the ADA but with other organizations as well(Laurie Collier Hillstrom, Kevin Hillstrom) .Architects see building codes like a bible, so when organizations make more requirements tobuildings, architects must fulfill theses requirements if they want there buildings to be built. Another set of codes that have in large part affected skyscraper’s is elevators, doors,restrooms, and entrances to the building itself. Entrance way’s are a big part of the designprocess of most building’s, besides privately owned homes. The building’s must have equalchance for everyone to come in to, architect’s realize this, so with stairs they also put in ramps,because in recent year’s many Americans( the growth of the American society) have experiencedor in other cases or disabled. These disabilities range from minor injuries, to permanent ones(Building Envelope Design Guide ). These ramps that are put in help all who wish to enter abuilding, and do not impare any quests who wish to enter into the building. the required treadand height for these ramps are 11 inches in tread and set height of 7 inches, and for the stairs
  3. 3. there must be a 48 inch space between the handrails ( Jane Wong ). Egress and ADA both have requirements for the entrance and exit doorways forskyscrapers and other public buildings. Most building’s and skyscrapers require the buildingto have rotating, or automatic doors along side regular doors. This allows for everyone withdisabilities to easily enter a building without any discomfort when entering the building(Vigener, Brown). Each door for the exterior also have to have certain dimensions at occupya large number of people, or in some cases a person or persons in wheel chairs. The dimensionfor the door for the exterior of the building is 32 inches by 36 inches for people in wheel chairs(Common ADA Errors in New Construction and Alterations). These again challenge architect’swhom build these building’s, because when they design projects, they look for the needs foreveryone whom may come in the building. This is not necessarily a challenge but it does createdifficulty when trying to design certain buildings. Rest rooms are a big part for architects when designing a building, they have to makesure that the dimensions of the stalls meet the required length and width for people enteringthem, and they must also have the set required dimensions for people whom are handicappedand cannot go the restroom with out some assistance. For example, People whom are handicapneed to use a set of metal bar’s located near the toilet to help them get into the toilet seat withas little effort on there part. The dimensions for a regular non handicapped persons would be30 inches by 60 inches long , and the handicapped restroom stall is 5 feet by 5 feet, or 5 feet by8 feet depending on door size and the swing (Common ADA Problems at Newly ConstructedLodging Facilities). Some of these restrooms, depending on the owner or place of the building,
  4. 4. will have sinks in the stall to accommodate and or make the disabled bodied person to feel morecomfortable. Most restrooms in skyscrapers as is most floors are just copies, from level to level,the floor plans almost look exactly identical. This helps save the architect’s a lot of time indesigning individual floors. Elevators, born from simple lifts used back in ancient Egypt , to the power operated oneswe use today. Even though the elevator was originally created for the leisure of people to get upto certain places quicker, has become one of the biggest ADA regulations that is for Skyscrapersand other buildings. The average dimensions of an elevator is a 80 inches by 54 inches forone with a center opening, and with one door sliding is 68 inches by 54 inches (Wong). Thesesizes are specified so that a handicapped person may get on and get off with enough room forcomfort ability. In some cases some elevators have two opening’s to insure the safety of therider’s whom are riding the elevator. These elevators are made sure to account for wheelchairsand other weights that come onto the elevator,by using proper metal and cables they are ableto accommodate a great number of people and handicapped people. This ensures the equalityof everyone who rides the elevator so as not to exclude anyone from enjoying the easy ride upto the floor for the person or persons desire. When the architect designs a building, he designsthe elevators generally in the same vicinity of each other as to make it more convenient andgenerally a smarter use of space that the architect is given. The ADA is the Americans with Disabilitys Act, it was put forth and signed andis recognized as law. The community of the disabled got together and through fighting throughmany years of discrimination from not just the people that are around them but the government
  5. 5. as well, and through using the same strategies the civil rights movement used, finally after manyyears there voice was heard . In doing so made so that builders and architects had to make theaccommodations of the disabled body American.The architects and builders provide comfortabletransportation through buildings and proper doors so that they would be able to go through withlittle or no effort on their part. Examples of these would be like automatic doors, doors with awide enough diameter for some with a wheel chair to pass through with comfort, revolvingdoors, ramps, and handrails. These things in modern day society mostly if not for the ADAbecause many of it wouldnt be necessary for able bodied American. What we see in almostevery building now is handicap able restroom that accommodate people in wheelchairs or otherhandicapped person. Metal handrails that are in these restrooms help the handicapped persononto the toilet seat with little effort as to ensure the equality and ability that everyone may usethe restrooms in public spaces. The challenges the ADA brings to Architects, Construction, andEngineer’s is that on top of all the building codes that already exist, they must meet or exceedthe requirements set forth by the ADA. These requirements as well as all of the other buildingcodes are what each and every architect engineer must be aware of when designing andconstructing a building. This highlights that over the many hundreds and thousands of years,architecture is constantly changing, evolving, morphing into what our society needs it to be .Through art and general artistic expression architects will keep coming around, and coming upwith new ideas and new ideals about what architecture actually is and how it shapes not only thelives of Americans but of all countries, and that every ones culture shapes exactly what ourworld looks like, through architecture architects shape the world into cultural unity .
  6. 6. Work Cited"About the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)." Martin County FLorida. Martin County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. < page?_pageid=352,830377&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL>.."Americans with Disabilities Act." Dictionary of American History. Ed. Paul K Longmore and Michael Stein. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 2003. Dictionary of American History. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <>."Common ADA Errors and Omissions in New Construction and Alterations." ADA. U.S. Department of Justice, 15 Oct. 2002. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <>."Common ADA Problems at Newly Constructed Lodging Facilities." ADA. U.S. Department of Justice, 5 Feb. 2001. Web. 16 Nov. 2011.
  7. 7. <>."Disability History Timeline." Disability Timeline. Research & Training Center on Independent Living Management, 2001. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <>.Hillstrom, Laurie Collier, and Kevin Hillstrom. "Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ." Encyclopedia of Small Business. 2nd ed. Vols. Volume 1. Detroit, 2002. 42-45. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <>.Mayerson, Arlene. "The History of the ADA." dredf. N.p., 1 Oct. 2006. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <>."New ADA Accessibility Guidelines Side-by-Side Comparison." Access Board. ADA, Sept. 2002. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <>.Vigener, Nik, PE, and Mark A Brown. "Building Envelope Design Guide - Exterior Doors." Whole Building and Design Guide. National Institute of Building Sciences, 7 June 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. < env_fenestration_doors.php>.
  8. 8. Wong, Jane. "Interior Space Planning: Pre-Planning & Codes Compliances." Web.Ku. Jane Wong, 2008. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. < ~itech/planning/ada.html>.