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Hunt Ortmann supports Seachrome Corporation in a campaign to promote ADA compliance awareness.

October 2, 2019

Construction lawyer Omel Nieves discusses the rise in ADA non-compliance lawsuits and shares solutions to help improve compliance and protect your business.

ADA non-compliance is a growing area of concern in the construction industry. I am a construction law attorney with over 30 years of experience specializing in complex litigation with an emphasis on construction, real estate and business law matters. In the past five years, I’ve seen a sharp increase in ADA lawsuits and penalties — and it’s only getting worse. Seachrome Corporation, a leading manufacturer of accessibility bath fixtures, is raising awareness about the growing risks of non-compliance with ADA regulations and has launched an extensive digital media campaign to spread the word throughout the construction industry, and beyond. Here are some things you should know:

The costs can be staggering

Because ADA regulations ensure equal access for disabled individuals, non-compliance lawsuits often favor the plaintiff party. First-time penalties can be up to $75,000 and second-time violations can cost up to $150,000 — not including attorney’s fees.

Know the risks

If you are a business owner or public accommodation and your facilities are not in compliance with ADA regulations, you could be sued. Manufacturers of accessibility fixtures are also at risk for a lawsuit if products do not comply.

ADA Code 309.4 — the five-pound rule

Today, there is vast non-compliance with ADA 309.4, also known as the “five-pound rule”. There is no grey area with this code; either parts comply with the rule, or they don’t.

Code 309.4 stipulates that all operable parts must be usable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist. The force required to activate operable parts shall be a maximum of five pounds.

Don’t be next.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Understand ADA regulations and follow all required codes during construction and installation.
  • Be sure to specify ADA-compliant hardware and fixtures — because there are a lot of accessibility products on the market that do not comply with Code 309.4.

For more information about ADA compliance with Code 309.4, please visit: www.seachrome.com/compliance.

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