Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.

October 4, 2018



Hi Jennifer,

I am taking new space in an old building that I do not believe is ADA compliant - no ramp.  Is that a problem?  Can I just grandfather in?

Thanks, Dr. P


Could be a problem.  Updates to the ADA are very specific on building "build date", renovation dates, effort required by small business for compliance, etc.  For instance, buildings before 1991 have different requirements for adherence depending on whether or not they have been renovated over the years.  Newer buildings are required to comply or be fixed.  

The ADA provides a detailed overview of requirements in its (fairly) recent guidance -  
 Under the unique circumstances where ADA compliance in a new building is really not feasible because of a structural issue - (such as Ramp access in a very steep incline entrance), you may have to exhaust possibilities by seeking municipal confirmation through the input of plans to show you attempted compliance (if, or in case of, challenge).  

Compliance with ADA is absolutely fact specific - based on structure, build date, reno, and resources of business (at a minimum).  


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