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When a small business undertakes an alteration to any of its facilities, it must, to the maximum extent feasible, make the alteration accessible. An alteration is defined as remodeling, renovating, rehabilitating, reconstructing, changing or rearranging structural parts or elements, changing or rearranging plan configuration of walls and full-height partitions, or making other changes that affect (or could affect) the usability of the facility.
Examples include restriping a parking lot, moving walls, moving a fixed ATM to another location, installing a new sales counter or display shelves, changing a doorway entrance, replacing fixtures, flooring or carpeting. Normal maintenance, such as reroofing, painting, or wallpapering, is not an alteration.more
The ADA requires that all new facilities built by public accommodations, including small businesses, must be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. The 2010 Standards lay out accessibility design requirements for newly constructed and altered public accommodations and commercial facilities. Certain dates in the construction process determine which ADA standards – the 1991 Standards or the 2010 Standards – must be used.
If the last or final building permit application for a new construction or alterations project is certified before March 15, 2012, businesses may comply with either the 1991 or the 2010 Standards. In jurisdictions where certification of permit applications is not required, businesses can also choose between the 1991 or 2010 Standards if their jurisdiction receives their permit application by March 15, 2012. Businesses should refer to their local permitting process. Where no permits are required, businesses may comply with either the 1991 or 2010 Standards if physical construction starts before March 15, 2012. Start of physical construction or alterations does not mean the date of ceremonial ground breaking or the day demolition of an existing structure commences. In this situation, if physical construction starts after March 15, 2012, the business must use the 2010 Standards.more