On this date, July 26, 1990, President George Bush H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act which is “An Act to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability.”
Regulations supporting the law were issued in July, 1991, and Anderson Lock Company published a catalog which featured door hardware that met accessibility guidelines, and also included a summary of, and excerpts from, the legislation. The quote on the cover reads, “If your business is open to the public, then it must be accessible to people with disabilities…”
Doorknobs require more dexterity to operate than levers, and accessible doors “should have hardware that is shaped so that it is easy to grasp with one hand and does not require tight grasping or pinching or twisting of the wrist to operate. Lever-operated mechanisms, push type mechanisms and U-shaped handles are the acceptable designs of the ADAAG.” As a result, Anderson Lock replaced thousands of knoblocks with levers at area schools and other public facilities in the nineties.
Door closers can also create a potential architectural barrier to a person with disabilities. It is important that the pressure setting on the closer is not beyond that which has been established as the maximum that a disabled person can operate. Anderson Lock estimators and sales representatives are trained to know how many pounds of pressure exterior doors, interior doors and fire doors are allowed to have to meet ADA guidelines.
Thresholds were also addressed in by the ADA, with the rule stating that “no door threshold shall be over 1/2″ high in its profile (with specific exceptions.) If a threshold is over 1/4″ high, a beveled profile must be provided for wheelchairs to bump over and to lessen the risk of tripping.”
Existing facilities, defined as public accommodations, were required to take steps to remove “architectural and communications barriers” by January, 1992. Priority was given to measures that enabled individuals with disabilities to “get in the front door” followed by measures providing access to goods and services and providing access to restroom facilities. Anderson Lock has always been known as more than a source for door hardware. We are a resource for expert technical advice. Our sales representatives are trained to know building codes, and other applicable regulations, like the Americans with Disabilities Act, celebrating its 20th anniversary today.