With the new ADA regulations taking effect Thursday March 15th, 2012 you may have some questions about what that means for your playgrounds. The ADA guidelines have been in place since 1991. The new regulations now mean that the guidelines are law and can be enforced by the Department of Justice. If your playgrounds complied with these guidelines before, they will be compliant with the 2010 standards. Check out the following points from our internal experts:
- March 15, 2012, is the effective date in which all new construction must comply with the 2010 ADA standards.
- In addition, public entities are required to create transition plans for removal of all architectural barriers within their facilities. Transition plans include an estimated date when barriers will be removed and facilities brought into compliance with the 2010 standard.
- The 2012 ADA Standard for play areas was not modified from before (1991 ADA Guidelines for Play Areas), so if a play space complied with these guidelines before, they will be compliant with the 2010 standards.
- Older play areas that were not compliant with the 1991 guidelines do not need to be brought into compliance until the space is modified or updated, or when it is “readily achievable” to do so. “Readily achievable” means “easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense”.
- Neither the Department of Justice nor any state agency will be out enforcing compliance. An owner entity will only be cited if a citizen files a complaint. At that time the owner will need to produce their transition plans for bringing the facility into compliance.
These regulations provide a great opportunity to educate our playground buyers and owners about our philosophy on inclusive play, which addresses the environment, play experience and variability. We’re committed to going beyond accessibility to ensure inclusion; children of all abilities should be able to play together on the playground.