Space Options offers full design, consultation, training, facilitation, and project management services to assist our clients in complying fully with current American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Fair Housing Act, and other disability rights laws. And even though ADA regulations only took effect in 1992, commercial and residential clients have been using our accessibility services since 1985 in order to comply with ADA’s predecessor, the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). We have been recognized both locally and nationally for our 28 years of expertise in this evolving specialty.
The bedrock of our company is our client’s satisfaction, and Space Options’ work comes almost entirely from existing clients and their referrals to others. Interestingly, industry experts estimate that Hawaii has had more ADA lawsuits filed per capita than any other state. So we believe our level of commitment speaks for itself in that none of our clients have been sued for failing to comply with ADA after using our services.
Furthermore, the disabled community has endorsed our work through letters of commendation, public recognition from disability groups, and five awards from Hawaii State’s Disability Communication Access Board. We have been invited to conduct state-wide “best practices” seminars for architects, engineers, developers, managers, and other professionals about our ADA work. Our work has been cited in publications focusing on disability access.
Finally, our first objective is to achieve full compliance, both for the benefit of your patrons, but also because we understand that token compliance is likely to invite further scrutiny, and frequently results in overall costs that are higher than doing it right in the first place. Our second objective is to achieve this compliance with aesthetics that complement and fit in with your current design. Our third objective is to achieve the first two objectives as economically as possible, and without undue disruption of your ongoing operations. We invite you to peruse some of the projects below to see how we have accomplished these objectives for other clients.
Design for everyone’s access.
Often there is more than one way to meet ADA compliance, so we seek the most robust design that serves the disabled and yet preserves the aesthetics and function for all others, as well.
Kealia Pond Boardwalk is an example where disabled visitors have access to the wetlands via the new boardwalk. But the boardwalk also gives better access for visitors who may not have been able to hike into the area before, including the elderly and children. And it provides this access while protecting wildlife and the nesting grounds.
Design for function and style.
In some situations aesthetics can be especially important, and our 30 years’ experience in conventional construction and design can play a larger role in integrating accessibility seamlessly into new or existing projects.
At Maui’s Kulamalu Town Center developers sought to preserve the rural, small town character of Kula. ADA compliant sidewalks and ramps give full access to the sports field and bleachers while carefully maintaining an upcountry town feel.
Coordinate ADA seamlessly.
We can coordinate the efforts of developers, architects, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers, general contractors, and other construction disciplines so ADA work is implemented effectively. We work with teams on-site to assure that ADA compliance is achieved.
At Central Kona Center the precise grade is being carefully monitored in real time to make sure the final product will meet ADA requirements.
Integrate ADA efficiently.
Accessibility reviews are a specialty. Management time can be saved and architect, engineer, and contractor fees reduced when our services are used interactively with these professionals. ADA regulations are complex and still evolving, so being up to the minute on current regulations can save both time and costs.
At Down to Earth general and ADA renovations have been integrated smoothly to minimize disruption and ultimately enhance customers’ shopping experiences.
Look for the simplest solution.
In renovations, many ADA requirements are based on finding “reasonable accommodation”. So there is some latitude in how an existing structure is brought into compliance. We make every effort to avoid expensive changes when simple revisions are feasible. We design around existing structures to harmonize well with your facility while avoiding undue expense.
At Mana Foods a small corner space was re-conceptualized and carved out to create an ADA restroom as well as two standard restrooms, thus avoiding more costly solutions.
Involve the disabled.
We often invite disabled individuals to visit our projects to give us critiques and suggestions. Such visits can provide new insight into both problems and solutions, and we carefully document each of these contacts to help establish something that is very important in ADA proceedings — your good faith efforts to comply.
At the USS Arizona Memorial participation was especially important by wounded veterans. With over 1.7 million worldwide visitors, ADA compliance was a key aspect in the recent renovation and expansion.
The location of the various professionals involved in projects can be on any island, on the mainland, or even be international. Space Options is a full partner in such efforts, and uses the same digital tools such as AutoCAD design software, Power Point and other Microsoft tools, digital photography, and high-speed internet to permit fast exchange of plans and materials.
At the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo we worked closely with mainland architects and San Jose city officials to make this California children’s park fully accessible. Distance is not a limitation.
Share our expertise.
We regularly share our experience in accessible design at seminars and conferences in Hawaii and on the mainland. Architects, engineers, developers, property managers, realtors and other professionals attend to discuss and exchange techniques in achieving accessibility compliance.
At DCAB’s 2007 Disability Access Conference Jean Tessmer led a workshop on meeting ADA regulations while preserving a site’s unique character. DCAB Private Residential and Commercial Design Awards were presented to Jean by Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle.