Designing Accessibly: ADA Standards for Commercial Remodeling

woman in wheelchair enter building ADA standards - commercial remodeling

When completing a remodeling project for your existing buildings, it’s essential that you hire a company with expertise in ADA standards – commercial remodeling. These Americans with Disabilities Act standards ensure accessibility for all individuals, including those with disabilities. Here are some critical considerations for ADA compliance.

ADA Standards – Commercial Remodeling

When undertaking commercial remodeling with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance in mind, it’s essential to adhere to guidelines that ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities. For example, all alterations to a facility must be made accessible – to the maximum extent feasible. Here’s a rundown of such guidelines for commercial facilities, national or local government buildings, and other structures.

Clear pathways

Maintain a clear, unobstructed, accessible path throughout the facility, including entrances, corridors, and common areas. Ensure that no protruding objects or obstacles could impede mobility – especially in a primary function area.

Entrances and exits

Entrances and exits are a crucial part of ADA compliance. Provide accessible entrances and exits with proper ADA handicap ramps or lifts where necessary. Doors should have no architectural barriers, have accessible hardware, and be of adequate width to accommodate wheelchairs (typically 32 inches minimum). Consider installing automatic door openers for easier access.


Allocate accessible parking spaces close to the entrance, with proper signage and markings. Ensure that van-accessible spaces have additional width and appropriate access aisles. Ensure an accessible route from the parking space to the entrances and exits.

ramp next to stairs improve ADA compliance


Designate public and company bathrooms with proper signage and ensure they meet ADA requirements. This includes sufficient space for wheelchair maneuverability, grab bars, accessible sinks, and toilets with appropriate height clearance. The drinking fountains serving the area should also be ADA-compliant.

Elevators and lifts

Install elevators or lifts if the building has multiple levels. Ensure that they are equipped with accessible controls, have sufficient space for wheelchair users, and meet ADA standards for operation and safety.

Counters and service areas

When remodeling existing facilities, ensure counters and service areas are at heights accessible to individuals in wheelchairs. Provide alternate methods of communication for individuals with hearing impairments, such as visual displays or written communication.

Lighting and signage

Maintain adequate lighting throughout the facility, including signage. Use high-contrast colors and large fonts for signage to aid individuals with visual impairments. Ensure that signs are positioned at appropriate heights for easy visibility.

Understand What Is Required for ADA Compliance

It’s important to consult the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and local building codes to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations. Additionally, involving individuals with disabilities in the design process can provide valuable insights and feedback to create a more inclusive environment.

In addition, it’s essential that you work with a commercial construction and renovation company with experience making a commercial building more compliant. After all, when remodeling an existing facility, a business is not required to spend more than 20 percent of the construction budget on barrier removal.

Is it time to remodel your existing building? Work with a company with experience in ADA Guidelines for commercial buildings – TopKey Construction. TopKey Construction offers commercial remodeling and contractor services in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Contact TopKey Construction today to schedule an ADA consultation. 

Key Takeaways: Making Existing Buildings More ADA Compliant

  • When remodeling, you must understand new construction standards for accessible design.
  • Bathrooms, parking, and pathways are just a few things that need to be considered when making a government or commercial building more accessible.
  • Work with a remodeling company with experience with ADA compliance to understand what is required.