As most hotel owners and operators know, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by “public accommodations,” including places of lodging. This requires facilities to be designed, constructed, and altered – where “readily achievable”– in compliance with the accessibility standards as set forth in the Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).
The ADAAG standards – last revised in 1994 – are being amended by the Access Board, Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice (DOJ). It is expected that the proposed ADAAG standards will be adopted substantially as drafted.
The hospitality industry has been keenly interested and involved in this process. For example, at one point, the Access Board proposed that 50% of all guest rooms be made accessible with hearing impaired devices. But industry experts estimated the economic conversion cost at nearly $3,000 per room, and in the final version of the Access Board’s proposed guidelines, the requirement has been lowered to 9% of all guest rooms.