ADA Consultant on Modifications


Brennan Consulting Inc.
Michael Brennan M.A.
ADA Consultant
7955 Biscayne Point Circle
Miami Beach, Florida 33141
Phone (305) 864-7070 Fax (305) 864-4140



Below please find excerpts from a pre-ADA restaurant facility that has space constraints precluding it from complying with alteration standards pursuant to the ADA. Accordingly, the guidelines allow for portable ramps in these extenuating circumstances.

6) Property Modifications: As specific consideration for entering into this Stipulation For Settlement of all claims asserted in this Action by Plaintiffs against Defendant, including any ADA, Title III, ADAAG and FACBC (Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction) Claims, Defendant shall cause the following alterations, modifications and improvements to be made to the Premises:

a) BAR: No lowered section of the interior bar is present for individuals who use a wheelchair pursuant to ADAAG 5.2. Defendant shall post an accessible sign in the bar area informing persons with disabilities that an accessible table is available for Bar patrons. The sign shall be permanently mounted in a conspicuous area near the bar counter, with the “ISA” and shall state “Assistance Available Upon Request for Bar Area.” Defendant shall ensure that any amenities provided at the bar are provided at the accessible table. Further, Defendant shall activate the closed captioning on the Televisions in the Bar area. (Activation of closed captioning facilitates inclusion by individuals who are hard of hearing or Deaf.)

b) ACCESSIBLE TABLES: One (1) table located on the sidewalk and two (2) tables, one of which shall be located immediately adjacent to the Bar area (with the other within the indoor dining area), shall be made accessible, shall be on or adjacent to an accessible route, and shall comply with the following: (This allows for an inclusive setting)

i) Knee space at least twenty-seven (27) inches high, thirty (30) inches wide and nineteen (19) inches deep shall be provided to comply with Figure 45 and 4.32.3 of the ADAAG in all respects. (This allows for an individual who uses a wheelchair to have adequate clearance to pull beneath the table.)

ii) The tops of the accessible tables shall be twenty-eight (28) to thirty-four (34) inches above the finished floor or ground and otherwise comply with 4.32.4 of the ADAAG in all respects. (This also allows an individual who uses a wheelchair to have adequate clearance to pull beneath the table.)

iii) The accessible tables shall be located on an accessible path of travel of not less than thirty-six (36) inches wide as measured in paragraph 6.d.i herein, and as required by 4.3.3 of the ADAAG. Additionally, at least one (1) accessible table in each area shall be capable of providing seating for a multiple party of individuals who use a wheelchair. (Again, providing an inclusive setting.)

iv) The accessible tables shall be dispersed so that at least one table is located in the general dinning area and one located immediately adjacent to the bar. Defendant shall establish a policy and procedure whereby staff will advise patrons with disabilities of the alternative locations for accessible tables. This policy and procedure shall be part of the Employee Training described below.

v) As part of Defendant’s training program set forth more fully below, Defendant’s policy shall advise each service employee not to seat able-bodied patrons at the accessible tables until all other tables are occupied.

vi) Defendant shall also adhere a laminated pictogram of the international symbol of accessibility, as illustrated in Figure 43(a) and (b) of the ADAAG, on each accessible table.
In the event Defendant utilizes tablecloth settings, Defendant shall set the pictogram on a small stand to be set on top of the tablecloth. [The requirements of the foregoing immediate preceding six paragraphs are referred to herein as “Accessible Tables”]’

c) PATH OF ACCESS WITHIN THE PREMISES: The accessible entrance shall lead into an accessible route complying with 4.3 of the ADAAG in all respects. The accessible route will lead from the accessible entrances, to the bar and dining areas’ Accessible Tables, and to the accessible unisex restroom.

d) ACCESS TO UPPER LEVEL AND RESTROOMS: Permanently mount signage with the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) indicating the availability of a portable ramp available upon request to access the restrooms. The portable ramp shall extend sufficiently in order to ensure the minimum rise pursuant to 4.1.6(3)(a) of the ADAAG, and otherwise comply to the maximum extent feasible with 4.8 of the ADAAG. Further, ensure that all employees are trained on how to erect the portable ramp upon request. (Inadequate space is present to allow for a compliant and permanent ramp without becoming a tripping hazard)

e) ACCESSIBLE RESTROOM: Presently, there is no fully accessible restroom present. The present Restroom nearest the dining area shall be modified to be a Unisex accessible restroom. Accordingly, Defendant shall modify the following elements to the Unisex accessible restroom:

i) SIGNAGE: Provide signage with requisite tactile characters and Braille. Relocate signage on the latch side of the door on the wall at 60″ to the centerline of the sign and otherwise complying in all respects with 4.30 of the ADAAG. (For individuals with visual impairments or who are blind.)

ii) DOOR LEADING TO THE RESTROOM: The door leading to the vestibule area outside of the restroom doors lacks proper offsets in violation of ADAAG 4.13.
(1) DOOR TO RESTROOM: Remove the door and bring to the exterior doorframe while reversing the hinge so that the latch is located on the right side of the door. Alternatively, Defendant may power the door and otherwise complying with the relevant provisions of 4.13 of the ADAAG. (Allows proper maneuvering clearance to enter through the door.)

(1) Add an additional full-length mirror, tilt the existing mirror, add an additional mirror below the existing mirror or lower existing mirror, to otherwise comply with 4.19.6 of the ADAAG in all respects. (Allows an individual who uses a wheelchair to be able to view themself.)
(2) Paper towel and other dispensers in the restroom require mounting so that the contents and operational controls are reachable at a height not exceeding 48″, in accordance with 4.2.5 and Figure 5(a) of the ADAAG. (Allows an individual who uses a wheelchair to reach the controls.)
(3) Signage: Provide accessible signage with requisite tactile characters and Braille. The sign should reflect this is a unisex facility. The sign shall be on the latch side of the door on the wall at 60″ above the finish floor to the centerline of the sign conforming with 4.30 of the ADAAG. (For individuals with visual impairments or who are Blind.)
(4) Grab Bars: Defendant shall install a minimum 30″ grab bar at the rear of the commode otherwise conforming to the maximum extent feasible with 4.16 and Figures 30(a), (b), (c), and (d) of the ADAAG. (Allows for space constraints with the lavatory.)
(5) Relocate toilet paper dispenser to no greater than 36″ from the back wall and 19″ above the floor.
(6) Mount waste receptacle on wall opposite the commode maintaining toe clearance beneath of at least 9″ above the finished floor.

The above excerpts are taken directly from a stipulation for settlement on an existing facility. Obvious space constraints are present with bearing walls and steps in this café that was built in the fifties. Enlarging these bearing walls would require eliminating one of the two restrooms. The loss of fixture count would not be allowed within the variance.

Other policies were incorporated into the stipulation for settlement including liquidated damages for noncompliance.

Should additional specifics be required regarding compliance with certain areas, I would at all times make myself available and urge any of the parties to contact me so that I may assist in compliance.

Respectfully submitted by,
Michael Brennan, MA