Thursday May 15 2008
Seminar focuses on ADA business compliance
By: Michael Althouse
Parking lots, restrooms, other barriers are discussed
Recognizing that some Rocklin businesses might not be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a seminar last month regarding accessibility issues. Presented in conjunction with the city of Rocklin, the seminar featured a workshop with Chief Building Official Pete Guisasola and was free to anyone who wanted to learn more about gaining compliance. About 25 businesses took advantage of the workshop, Guisasola said. “It was geared to the (ADA) obligation on businesses for ‘barrier removal.’ It’s federal law,” he said. Guisasola said because the city deals with ADA issues so often, it was appropriate that he make the information readily available. The workshop was focused on “everyday corrections” to help the business get into compliance sooner. “What we give them is a basic review of what barrier removal is and a check list of what they need to do,” Guisasola said. “The most important thing is that when you’re providing service to the public, there must be access to the business, the restrooms and the parking lots.” Guisasola added that newer businesses and buildings are mostly already in compliance because permits would not have been issued if they were not. “If you had a 25 year old business in a 40 year old building, then you have to retrofit,” he said. The ADA first took effect in 1992 and is an ongoing commitment, Guisasola said, adding that sometimes the codes will change. “The business then has an obligation to remove those barriers.” Rocklin Area Chamber Board member and owner of Custom Word, Randy Nagel worries that some business owners are not aware that they are not in compliance. “There are lawyers running around suing people,” Nagel said. “They’re just suing people for profit.” Nagel said it’s usually just little things that add up. “A lot of people just don’t think about these things if they’re not handicapped,” he said. Although Nagel said he would have liked to see the workshop better attended, he still says the efforts are worthwhile. “There were 25 to 30 people there, but there should have been more like 100 because there are so many businesses here,” he said. Nagel said there are tentative plans to present another ADA workshop later on this year.