Friday, October 27, 2017

More ADA Violations! Ramping Up

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is not that hard to understand if you make the effort to do so.  Anyone reading this blog knows that The Sliding Door Company is not complying with ADA for several of their products already.

We've already seen that The Sliding Door Company at one time violated ADA intentionally to save money on commercial door handle heights.

We also know their swing doors violate ADA.  I've tried to explain to them why ADA laws matter.

In April of 2015 I complained about The Sliding Door Company's ADA ramps in a letter.  I wrote: 

"I am a published illustrator in the ADA world – IBC, CBC. My peers expect better of me.  Am I supposed to pretend our non-ADA ramps are ADA compatible – or am I supposed to pretend I don’t know what I’m doing? This hurts me professionally! "
It's now the end of October, 2017, and they STILL haven't addressed this issue.  Let's have a look at what I was talking about.  Below is a picture of The Sliding Door Company's threshold ramp.

It even has dimensions on it so this will help in our investigation.

Let's start by looking up what an ADA compliant threshold ramp would look like (Note: While I illustrate ADA books, the illustrations below were not produced by me):

Option 1

To the left (Option 1) is an ADA threshold.  Notice the slope is 1 unit of height to 2 units of length.  It can be up to 1/2" tall total as long as the 1:2 slope is maintained.  

Option 2
(Numbers shown in inches and mm)

What if the ramp needs to be shorter?  Can it still meet ADA requirements?  YES, if you include  a vertical element which cannot exceed 1/4" in height (Option 2).  The 1:2 slope must STILL be maintained.

So, what's out of compliance with The Sliding Door Company's threshold ramp?  

Well, somehow, the experts at The Sliding Door Company picked neither solution.  Their ramp is something in between and out of compliance with ADA.

Not an Option

Remember the 1:2 slope that MUST be maintained regardless of whether there is a vertical element in the ramp?  It's easy to see, by their own dimensions that their threshold ramp is 3/8" tall - well within the 1/2" maximum.  But to be in compliance with ADA, it would need to be twice as wide or 3/4" wide.  Let's check.  Oh dear, it's 3/16" too short.  It's out of compliance with Option 1.  

OK, but could it be in compliance with Option 2? 

Good question - let's have a look at the height.  We can go up to 1/4" without ANY slope.  Oh darn... 3/8" is taller than the 1/4" maximum allowable vertical change in level, so it has to be considered a ramp.  And, as we know, a threshold ramp must maintain 1:2 ratio.  So The Sliding Door Company's threshold ramp is out of compliance for ADA and they have known about it since April, 2015.

Opening the door to lawsuits

Here's the good news... in some states you don't even have to be a customer of The Sliding Door Company or their customers to sue them over this.  Here's an article describing ADA non-compliance lawsuits.

From the article:

The Americans with Disabilities Act has helped improve the lives of tens of millions of people.  It’s lessened discrimination against them and made everyday life more accessible.  Because of the law, every business that serves the public -- all 7 million of them in America -- has to make sure disabled customers have equal access, and if businesses don’t comply, they can be sued without warning.   
You might think you have to be a customer of a business to file a lawsuit against it, but in some states you don’t.  You can simply drive by a store or restaurant, and if you see a sign in the wrong spot, or a ramp that’s off by a few inches, you can sue.  They are called drive-by lawsuits, and some lawyers are filing hundreds of them against businesses that often have no idea they have done anything wrong.
It gets worse...
If you think drive by lawsuits – hatched from the comfort of a car – are a novel way to enforce a law, there’s another kind of lawsuit that requires less work…lawyers call them “Google lawsuits.”
Anderson Cooper: What’s a Google lawsuit?
Nolan Klein: A Google lawsuit is where the suspicion, at least, is that the property was spotted on Google, Google Earth, Google Maps, whatever the case may be, and you could see certain things from Google.  
People can easily sue The Sliding Door Company's customers whenever they see their non-compliant threshold ramps.  At some point, it may be cheaper to actually COMPLY WITH THE LAW!

I get that companies want to save money, but penny wise is pound foolish.  Instead of doing the right thing and correcting their own product failures, they are exposing THEIR OWN CUSTOMERS to lawsuits because of their own inability to understand why ADA is important.  Hopefully, readers of this blog won't make the same types of mistakes.

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