What You Need to Know About ADA Compliance for Your AV Technology

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted almost three decades ago in order to make sure that all citizens had adequate access to physical buildings, information, and more. And through the lens of senior living and medical facilities, ADA compliance is of utmost importance. 

Not only is compliance a legal necessity, but many of the residents and patients at such facilities require special considerations due to their own physical conditions or limitations. So, how can facility owners make sure they meet ADA building compliance and thereby prioritize all needs of those in their care? Here are two key recommendations. 

1. Prioritize hearing, seeing, and height.

ADA requirements for touch screens are primarily focused on the physical placement and accessibility of such devices. For example, the maximum for ADA touch screen mounting height is 48”, keeping all touch components within easy reach of someone in a wheelchair. There should also be ample space around the touch screen in which a wheelchair can easily be maneuvered. 

Additionally, Section 902 of the ADA guidelines mandates that work surfaces can be a minimum of 28 inches and a maximum of 34 inches above the floor. This, again, helps to make sure all those within your facility are able to use them. 

Furthermore, remember that audio communications can be a great tool for many, but will be hard to hear for others. Assistive Listening Systems (ALS) are the best way to amplify the volume of touch screens and other devices on your facility’s premises. They help to ensure audio messages are more easily heard by those with hearing issues. 

Designers may remember audio and height compliance details, but make sure they don’t overlook signage. For those who still cannot hear audio communications, clear, large font signs are an important part of ADA compliance. 

2. Comb for potential hazards. 

After you’ve designed with audio, visual, and height considerations in mind, review your space with fresh eyes. AV equipment and signage might appear to be complying with ADA requirements and in the right positions, but there could be unnoticed dangers still present. For example, anything that protrudes from a wall could be hazardous to someone who doesn’t have fully functional vision. 

Unfortunately many buildings use wall-mounted audio visual systems that extend beyond four inches from the wall, which is the maximum amount allowed by the ADA. We recommend diving into sections 204 and 307 of the ADA guidelines to fully understand what is acceptable in terms of protrusions so you can make sure your AV designs meet compliance.

ADA building compliance is important for legal reasons, but it’s also crucial for the safety and experience of your residents or patients. If you’d like help understanding how to make your next build ADA compliant, please give us a call