Resources and Information for Public Entities
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New Construction and Alterations to Existing Buildings
New Construction and Alterations
State and local governments are required to follow specific architectural standards in the new construction and alteration of their buildings. They also must relocate programs or otherwise provide access in inaccessible older buildings.
While the ADA requires that all new public accommodations and facilities built for first occupancy after January of 1993 be accessible to disabled individuals, California law actually provides some greater protections. California already requires that facilities open to the public and built with private funds after July 1, 1970, be accessible. Facilities constructed before July 1, 1970 must have been made accessible when any alterations, structural repairs, or additions were made.
California also passed a series of laws designed to ensure that all buildings, structures, sidewalks, curbs, and related facilities open to the public and constructed using state, county, or municipal funds, were accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities. Buildings constructed before 1968 are not required to be accessible unless structural alterations or repairs are made.
Division of the State Architect (DSA) acts as California's policy leader for building design and construction, and provides design and construction oversight for K-12 schools and community colleges. DSA has offices in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Diego. DSA also develops and maintains the accessibility standards and codes utilized in public and private buildings throughout California. DSA incorporates the offices of the independent State Historical Building Safety Board, caretaker of California's State Historical Building Code.
Building and Standards Commission's mission is to produce sensible and usable state building standards and administrative regulations that implement or enforce those standards.
A public entity shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communications with others. Accessibility requirements for information technology such as computer terminals and websites has been outlined in both Federal and State laws.
Appropriate auxiliary aids and services need to be provided where necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity conducted by a public entity.
The type of auxiliary aid and service is determined by giving primary consideration to the requests of the individual with a disability. "Auxiliary aids" include such services or devices as qualified interpreters, assistive listening headsets, television captioning and decoders, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDD's), videotext displays, readers, taped texts, Braille materials, and large print materials.
The Legal Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PDF) - Chapter 3, Non-discrimination in Businesses and Services
Section 508 - Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.
Applying the ADA to the Internet: A Web Accessibility Standard
by Cynthia D. Waddell, JD
ADA Coordinator, City of San Jose, CA USA
The International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet ICDRI
West Coast Captioning: 209-931-0904
Rapid Text: 949-399-9200
Real-time Captioning: 818-376-0406
Jane James Captioning: 510-530-3989
Total Recall: 818-991-2413
Information and Signage
Public entities need to make available information on the existence and location of accessible services, activities and facilities to interested persons, including persons with impaired vision or hearing. A public entity shall provide signage at all inaccessible entrances to each of its facilities, directing users to an accessible entrance or to a location at which they can obtain information about accessible facilities. The international symbol for accessibility shall be used at each accessible entrance of a facility and appropriate Braille signage at all elevators.
Designation of Responsible Employee and Adoption of Grievance Procedures
Public entities need to designate at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with the ADA and disability access laws, including any investigation of complaints alleging noncompliance. The name, office address, and telephone number of the employee or employees designated must be available to the public. Grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints need to be adopted and published. For more information see the The Role of the ADA Coordinator
Disability Advisory Committee
The United States Department of Justice, when promulgating the regulations for the ADA, recognized the importance of state agencies and departments soliciting the input of individuals with disabilities when developing policies and procedures. Additionally, state law directs departments to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to positions in state government on an equal and competitive basis with the general population. To this end, departments are encouraged to assemble a disability advisory committee (DAC) comprised of employees with a broad range of disabilities or with a knowledge of disabilities to provide consultation to management on issues regarding program access and employment for persons with disabilities.
For More Information In Forming A Disability Advisory Committee see: How to Have an Effective Disability Advisory Committee.