Public access to businesses, schools, hospitals, and other important facilities is a necessity. It creates a massive interruption in one’s life when citizens within the country or the state, or even in their home town aren’t able to have proper access to such facilities when they need it. It’s also an infringement on their legal rights.
Such an interruption is going on now as the US Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s office has recently filed a lawsuit against Miller-Valentine Operations, Inc. and all of its affiliated companies.
Miller-Valentine is an Ohio-based company that owns, develops, and builds multi-family housing (apartment) complexes throughout many areas of the Midwest, including neighboring states, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.
The suit stipulates that Miller-Valentine failed to adhere to both the Fair Housing and the Americans with Disabilities Acts because the design and construction prevented access to persons with disabilities. The facilities in question – according to the Federal Government – were built with financial assistance from a number of federal government programs.
Perhaps the design team let it slip their mind. Perhaps the construction teams felt under the gun of a major time crunch and had deadlines to meet. Regardless, the clear lack of oversight in this matter is a clear form of true discrimination against individuals living with one or more disabilities. And it is because of this discrimination that both federal Acts have been violated.
When such facilities possess inaccessible building entrances, amenities, parking, bathrooms, kitchens, doors, or make it impossible for someone with one or more disabilities to maneuver within a particular space, that is a problem.
Fair Housing Development Design Review
Accessology specializes in helping construction and development companies like this review their design plan and the structures and facilities forged from those designs to ensure they are designed and constructed meeting strict compliance with the applicable access related standards and codes.
Development companies like this can avoid this type of delay, cost, and embarrassment by seeking out a company like Accessology to review their plans from schematics to CD’s, working out the access issues while they’re still on paper. Even when projects do not receive public funding, there are responsibilities for accessibility. Accessology can help companies understand which access laws are triggered and which need to be considered in the design.
Access needs to be part of the planning process from the first stage of the project, and an access consultant should become part of the team on every project, just like a plumbing or electrical consultant are. Accessology stands ready to assist. Call us to set up an initial training class on your responsibilities under the various access related laws.