ADA Grandfather Clause

Many Businesses assume that they are exempt from making accessible changes to their facility because of an “ADA Grandfather Clause.” Here are the rules.

“Misconceptions” about  Grandfather Clauses

Two senior men enjoying coffee and a newspaper.
Two senior men enjoying coffee and a newspaper.
  1. Elements that already comply with the 1991 Standards need not comply with all alterations in the 2010 Regulations.
    • Individual businesses must ask themselves if existing accommodations are the best way to serve their clients and employees.
  2. Elements that do not comply with the 1991 Standards, must comply as follows:
    1. If an element was constructed prior to 1/26/93, and not altered since then, they must remove the barriers “to the extent readily achievable” (defined as “easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense.”)
    2. If the element was altered after 1/26/92, it must comply with the 2010 Standards to the maximum extent feasible.
    3. If the element was constructed after 1/26/93, it must comply with the 2010 Standards unless doing so is structurally impracticable.
  3. Elements covered for the first time in the 2010 Standards must comply by 3/15/12 to the extent readily achievable.
  4. There are many Key Changes to existing standards.
    • Example: 1991 Standards allowed an accessible sink placed within the required toilet clear space.  The 2010 Standards requires that an accessible sink may not be placed within the toilet clear space.

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