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Does a business need an elevator to be ADA compliant?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2022 | ADA |

One of the easiest ways for people who have mobility concerns to move about a business is to use an elevator. As such, depending on the type of building, its age, and/or the services or products being offered at the building, the ADA may require that the building have elevators so that they provide equal access to everyone.  In this blog, we are discussing elevators only and not lifts for disabled persons.  A disabled person’s lift, also known as an ADA lift, may be a reasonable solution in cases where an elevator would not otherwise be required. Again, what follows is only a discussion of elevators and not ADA lifts.

As a business owner, you may be a bit surprised by this, considering just how expensive an elevator installation would be. What you need to know is that there are many exceptions to the elevator rule. Whether or not you need one to be ADA compliant will depend on the specifics of your building and your business.

How the exceptions work

Generally speaking, a building that is less than three stories tall does not need to have an elevator. So, if you just have a second story, you’re not required to have an elevator to reach it. You also don’t need to have an elevator if there are less than 3,000 square feet on every floor of the building. This means that many smaller businesses do not need to install elevators.

However, there is an exception even to this exception. Some buildings that are under 3,000 square feet may still need an elevator if they are a:

  •     Shopping center
  •     Mall
  •     Public transit station
  •     Health care office
  •     Airport passenger terminal

Installing elevators does increase access for people who may not be able to move about the building otherwise, but it can also prove to be a highly detrimental cost for a small business. These are not required most of the time, these are not required.