Accessibility can mean a lot of different things. In general, accessibility describes how easily something is used. It can be a website, a building, or a trail, for example. We have laws to be sure that people are not excluded from services based upon their disability. In this post, we will dig into accessible self-storage. How can you make sure your facility offers safe and accessible self-storage?
Over three decades ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in the US. And 20 years ago, Title III of the ADA was put into place “to prohibit private entities from discriminating against individuals with disabilities by maintaining places of business that are not physically accessible.”
Self-storage facilities offer services to the public. So, in order to be accessible self-storage, these facilities need to be safe and available to everyone. Accessible self-storage relates to customers on site as well as employees. As a business owner, be sure you’re aware of potential liability and risk.
Here’s a look at ADA regulations relevant to self-storage owners, as well as tips for limiting risk and liability with accessible self-storage.
Physical handicaps can make using a storage facility difficult. To be compliant with the ADA, self-storage facilities must consider their accessibility. This is a matter of adding pulls/ropes to doors, setting ramps, posting signage, and designing your site layout appropriately. Self-storage facilities must have a certain number of ADA compliant units. It’s a percentage based upon the number of total units:
- Out of the first 200 units at a facility, 5 percent must be compliant. And out of any remaining units, 2 percent must be compliant.
- Facilities must offer a variety of sizes of ADA compliant units. The tenants with disabilities can choose between sizes, like everyone else. Of course, if a facility only offers one size, that would be an exception to the rule.
Doors, Pulls and Ropes
Roll up doors are a great option to help self-storage facilities adhere to the ADA rules. Keep in mind that the accessible doors will have to have some modifications to be compliant.
- Install a pull on the door somewhere between 15’ and 48’ above ground level. The pull must have a loop at the end big enough to fit a fist for someone in a wheelchair to be able to pull the door upward.
- Install a nylon rope on the bottom bar which hangs 15″ – 48″ inches when door is open. This must also have a loop large enough for a fist.
- Tension the doors for easy opening and closing. Note: Some door manufacturers already meet this need.
Ramps and Signage
For wheelchair accessibility, install ramps at the doors for smooth entry. The ramps need to cover the entire width of the unit. The ADA also outlines requirements for larger restroom spaces to accommodate wheelchairs. Plus, there are workspace requirements for disabled employees. And display signs with braille outside of the accessible units.
- Parking spaces
- Counter heights in office
- Restroom design
- Sufficient lighting on property
- Easy-to-operate locking system
- Service animal needs