I am in a Village that picks and chooses who to require ADA compliance. Three building next to mine have had extensive renovations, more than the purchase price. None have been required to install elevators to the second floor. (more than 1000 sq/ft) How is this possible? Art Gallery was recently put in a basement with no access? Theater that is not ADA accessible?

— Randall E.


The building Owner chooses what their scope is in complying with the ADA in existing buildings.  The local building official determines what needs to be done per the local accessibility code.  Sometimes the language is the same and others not.  The building official has no authority to enforce the ADA; however, in new buildings, by law, the entire building must comply with the ADA.

For existing buildings, the Owner has to determine what is “Readily Achievable” and “Technically Infeasible” for them to accomplish as far as barrier removal goes in existing buildings in relation to the ADA and may have to defend their decisions in court after a complaint is filed.  The ADA is enforced solely through lawsuits.

As for the elevator, there is an ‘elevator’ exemption in the ADA. Private buildings that have fewer than 3 stories or less than 3000 SF per floor are not required to have accessible routes between floors unless the building is a medical office or shopping center. This is possibly why there has been no elevator installed.

As far as your theater question is concerned I apologize but there is not enough information to reply.

Thanks for your inquiry! I hope this helps.

– Brad

Brad Gaskins