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What is Wheelchair Accessible Construction?

By S. Mithra
Updated May 17, 2024
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Buildings comply with wheelchair accessible construction to make their business or residential facilities open to disabled people. Simple accommodations, such as wide hallways, wheelchair lifts, entrance ramps, automatic doors, or designated parking spaces, can bring their property up to the code of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Wheelchair accessible construction means a person using a wheelchair can move freely between floors, in bathrooms, at workstations, and through walkways.

Some new buildings are required by legislation to design and build structures that make it easy for those in wheelchairs to use the same facilities available to a non-disabled visitor. These newly constructed buildings integrate wheelchair accessible construction into every part of the building, from parking and entering to finding their destination and getting there. Such plans might have ramps in place of stairs, an elevator in place of an escalator, wheelchair accessible restrooms, drinking fountains at different heights, automatically opening doors, and information posted at wheelchair height.

It's also possible to retrofit existing public and private buildings with wheelchair accessible construction. Many companies are devoted to designing and implementing plans that reduce the constraints of a disability, such as the National Architecture Program of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Bars or rails can be hung in restrooms and along ramps to allow visitors to move independently. In residences, entire bathrooms and kitchens can be replaced with new toilets, showers, counters, and sinks that are convenient to reach and control. Portable stair climbers offer an alternative to elevators.

In your own residence, deciding on wheelchair accessible construction may allow you or your parents to live more independently if in the future you are less mobile. Your investment will not only be worth it for peace of mind, but often your city, county, or insurance agency provide grants to help offset the costs of renovation. Your options are amazing for bathtubs with easy-access doors that don't leak, small elevators, outdoor pool lifts to encourage exercise, height-adjustable tables and desks, and doors and cupboards that open at the push of a button. The improving technology and affordability should bring wheelchair accessible construction to countless new homes.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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