The Final Review

Burnham’s Blog

The Final Review shares the knowledge of Burnham’s experts in building permit expediting and code compliance. Learn about different jurisdictional building permit requirements, and stay up-to-date on the Americans with Disabilities Act and local accessibility standards. Follow the latest in sustainability, including building energy codes and sustainability design developments.

What’s Wrong with This Picture? ADA Chapter 6 - Plumbing Series

May 14, 2019 10:00:00 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has very specific requirements to make restrooms accessible. A variety of factors must be incorporated into the design and construction of toilet rooms so that they are compliant with the ADA. During our accessibility compliance reviews and site inspections, we see some common violations of these standards.

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ADA Exit Door Signage: What's Wrong with this Picture?

Feb 12, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Cushing and Burnham Nationwide Partner to Answer Your ADA Signage Questions

For 90 years, Cushing has been a Chicago printer with an international reach, first opening as a blueprint shop in 1929. In the decades following, the business grew to include film conversion, on-site printing (the first manned center in Chicago), color services, CAD plotting, and now a full suite of printing services.

Cushing retains its close ties to the architecture and construction community in the present day by offering wall graphics, construction fence wraps, and building signage. In recent years, they have added wayfinding and directional signage to their offerings.

Burnham’s Code Team often consults on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant signage, including exit and wayfaring signage, and we frequently see violations during our code compliance reviews. We’re excited to partner with Cushing, to address some of the most common signage mistakes in this post as well as in upcoming presentations and collaborations.

In the coming weeks, we’ll delve into frequently asked questions customers and prospects ask of both our companies. Additional blog topics will include egress communications and informational versus directional signage.

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New Illinois Accessibility Code Now in Effect

Nov 2, 2018 12:20:00 PM

The new Illinois Accessibility Code (IAC) was accepted at the October 16th, 2018 Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and as of October 23rd, 2018, the changes are now in effect. The Capital Development Board (CDB) will be releasing a searchable, user-friendly version of the Code in the future, but the new rules are available for review via the State of Illinois website at this time. 

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A Look at Ongoing ADA Title III Litigation: Kohl’s Department Stores

Jun 26, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Kohl’s has been embroiled in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) litigation over the accessibility of its department stores. These cases demonstrate that even though private parties cannot receive a financial award for ADA Title III claims, retailers are still at risk of costly and protracted private party ADA litigation seeking equitable relief. Additionally, the cases also illustrate that even if there is no specific ADA standard for a particular store element, the element could still fall under the ADA’s purview if it is found to be a barrier to accessibility and its removal is readily achievable.

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Amendments to Title III: Is the ADA Being Gutted?

Apr 3, 2018 10:00:00 AM

On February 14, 2018, the House of Representatives passed a bill amending some of the enforcement provisions of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA title prohibiting discrimination against those with disabilities by private entities providing public accommodations. The legislation, H.R. 620, ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (Amendments), has been the subject of alarming headlines such as, “The GOP Wants to Gut the Americans With Disabilities Act.” We thought we would take a closer look at the Amendments’ provisions and why they are raising so much concern.

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Updated: New Illinois Accessibility Code is In Effect

Feb 21, 2018 10:30:00 AM

The new Illinois Accessibility Code (IAC) was accepted at the October 16th, 2018 Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and as of October 23rd, 2018, the new IAC is now in effect. The CDB will be releasing a searchable, user-friendly version of the Code in the future, but the rules are available for review here at this time.

The Illinois Accessibility Code is a set of regulations that implement the Illinois Environmental Barriers Act, and applicable entities in Illinois must comply with both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Environmental Barriers Act. Previously, we summarized the changes to the code during the draft process. Look for an update of this soon. The IAC now more closely resembles the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design but does have a number of different and more restrictive requirements.

Although the new edition can be used immediately, projects currently in progress where a specific contract for planning has already been awarded prior to the effective date of the new IAC are exempt from compliance if construction begins within 12 months. Plans must comply with the version of the Code applicable at time of contract which would be the 1997 edition.

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Commonly Overlooked ADA Bathroom Requirements

Nov 14, 2017 10:30:00 AM

It is essential to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) toilet and bathing room requirements. Non-compliance with the ADA’s requirements may prevent bathroom use by people with disabilities or cause injuries, and owners of properties who do not comply with the ADA’s bathroom requirements may invite compliance actions and lawsuits.

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Are You Complying with the ADA’s Handrail Requirements?

Sep 26, 2017 8:00:00 AM

It is critical to be aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III’s requirements for handrails when designing and building new or renovated places of public accommodation and commercial facilities.

The ADA’s specific handrail requirements are found in the rules implementing the ADA, the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards), that incorporate the 2004 ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) developed by the United States Access Board. It is essential to strictly adhere to these handrail requirements to be in compliance with the ADA.

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Accessible Design: Chicago Adopts New Disability Rights Regulations

Jun 13, 2017 8:00:00 AM

New Chicago Human Rights Ordinance disability rights regulations governing accessibility will go into effect on July 1, 2017. Promulgated to provide greater clarity and alignment with federal requirements, these new regulations govern the accessibility of facilities, goods, and services of public accommodations. This post will specifically focus on the components of the new regulations governing accessible design.

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ADA Requirements for Protruding Objects: What is Wrong with This Picture?

Mar 28, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) contains specific requirements for objects that extend into circulation paths. During ADA compliance walk-throughs, we periodically see conditions that do not fully comply with these standards. It is important to understand the ADA’s requirements for protruding objects to avoid injury to people with visual impairments. See if you can find the violation of the ADA standards for protruding objects in this picture:

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Impact of Two-for-One Executive Order on ADA Title III

Feb 22, 2017 8:00:00 AM

On January 30, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (Executive Order), referred to as the two-for-one regulation order. This Executive Order has important implications for the development of future regulations such those implementing the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III, the section of the ADA covering private entities that operate as places of public accommodations or commercial facilities.

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San Francisco Law to Increase Buildings’ Disability Access

Feb 2, 2017 8:00:00 AM

In April 2016, San Francisco adopted legislation intended to increase access to businesses for people with disabilities. Ordinance No. 51-16, known as the Mandatory Disabled Access Improvements Ordinance (Ordinance), sets forth primary entrance requirements for owners of existing buildings that serve as places public accommodations. The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (Department) is currently working on the details necessary for implementing and enforcing the new law that improves disability access.

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Are You Compliant With the ADA’s Ramp Requirements?

Jan 18, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III has very specific requirements for ramps when being used in newly constructed or renovated places of public accommodation and commercial facilities. At Burnham, we receive many questions about ramp ADA compliance and thought it would be useful to provide an overview of the statute’s ramp requirements.

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Essential Guide to ADA Title III Enforcement: Private Party Lawsuits

Jan 10, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Private parties may bring lawsuits to enforce Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the section of the ADA that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by private entities that provide public accommodations or operate as a commercial facility. The extent to which a private party can receive damages is dependent on both federal and state law. Private party ADA Title III lawsuits are at times controversial because of the large number of “drive-by” or serial ADA Title III lawsuits.

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Essential Guide to ADA Title III Enforcement: DOJ’s Role

Nov 30, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Title III of the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most relevant of the ADA’s five titles for architects, builders, and others designing, constructing, and managing buildings. Businesses covered by Title III, private entities that operate as places of public accommodation or commercial facilities, must also comply with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards) that implement the ADA. It is critical to understand the United States Department of Justice’s (DOJ) role in enforcing the ADA because a failure to comply with the ADA and its standards may result in a DOJ legal action.

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Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way: When Will They be Finalized?

Sep 8, 2016 8:00:00 AM

We frequently receive questions about the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) that relate to the Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way (PROWAG). We're often responding to requests to explain the ADA’s curb ramp requirements covered by PROWAG, and although a draft of PROWAG has existed for a number of years, the guidelines are still only proposed rather than final. We thought it would be helpful to take a look at what the Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way cover and their current status.

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ADA Restroom Requirements: What is Wrong with This Picture?

Aug 25, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has very specific requirements to make restrooms accessible. A variety of factors must be incorporated into the design and construction of toilet compartments so that they are compliant with the ADA. During our accessibility compliance reviews and site inspections, we see some common violations of these standards. See if you can find the violation the ADA’s restroom requirements in this picture:

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Draft Amendments to the Illinois Accessibility Code

Aug 2, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) has just released their draft amendments to the Illinois Accessibility Code, the regulations that contain Illinois’ design and construction standards for accessibility. The amendments to the Illinois Accessibility Code are primarily intended to align the regulations with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, the current federal rules implementing the accessibility provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, The CDB is providing an opportunity to comment on the changes prior to their being presented as a proposed rule as required by the formal rulemaking process. The CDB’s deadline for submitting comments on the Illinois Accessibility Code amendments is August 17, 2016.

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The Latest Installment of the Online Guide to the ADA Standards

Jul 20, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The United States Access Board is in the process of creating a very helpful online Guide to the ADA Standards (Guide). This past June, the Access Board added another chapter to the Guide. We at Burnham thought we would take a closer look at the Guide and the added Chapter 5 covering Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for parking, passenger load zones, stairways, and handrails.

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A Misunderstood Area of ADA Compliance: Existing Facilities

Jun 22, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for existing facilities are a source of great confusion. We periodically encounter building owners or managers who believe the ADA only applies to new construction or alterations; and therefore, buildings that existed prior to the ADA’s enactment do not need to be accessible. However, the ADA does require the removal of barriers to accessibility in older buildings, and it is critical to understand the precise circumstances when such barrier removal is needed for ADA compliance.

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