Commercial Building Hardscape Design And The Americans With Disabilities Act

Posted on: 24 September 2019

When erecting a new commercial building of any type, it's vital you put some serious thought and planning into the asphalt and concrete hardscaping surrounding it.

A building's hardscaping, which includes patios, walkways, and sidewalks, greatly affects the overall look of the building. The hardscaping is also responsible for ensuring employees and visitors are able to move around safely and comfortably around the building's exterior. And, this includes people who are living with disabilities of varying types.

Preplanning is Vital for All Hardscape Projects

Whether you are having large concrete patio-type areas installed around your new commercial building or if you simply want a system of sidewalks and walkways weaving through lawns or other landscaping, it's important to give everyone who visits your location the ability to move around easily and safely.

Although you could always save a ton of money by installing a bunch of gravel walkways, this would mean visitors who are living with disabilities would not be able to get around. Thankfully, for everyone involved, there are laws and building codes all commercial builders must comply with and they eliminate the gravel walkway option as well as many others.

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Sidewalk Design

Today, when a new sidewalk is built around a commercial building, by law it must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Specifically, it must comply with the sidewalk design criteria laid out in the ADA standards. 

For example, an ADA-compliant sidewalk or walkway must have a certain width, grade, slope, and composition.

If the width of the sidewalk is too narrow, then the ADA sidewalk design criteria require building in "passing spaces" where people with disabilities are able to pass others or get out of the way of those who wish to pass them.

The slope and grade of a walkway or sidewalk must be such that people in wheelchairs or using mobility scooters won't have issues staying upright.

In addition, sidewalks must have curb cutouts on their corners and near crosswalks so people living with disabilities can easily cross the street or parking lot.

For Further Information and Design Assistance in Relation to Your New Commercial Building's Hardscaping

In conclusion, before sitting down and trying to design your own hardscaping, instead, consult a licensed commercial concrete contractor in your local area. Commercial contractors often work with concrete engineers and design specialists who will ensure your building's hardscaping is safe for everyone and makes your new building look fantastic.