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SWA’s Accessibility Services – Leading the Industry Forward

Being visionary is one of the things we do best here at SWA, and we strive to lead the industry forward by sharing our expertise. Recently, Peter Stratton, Senior VP and Managing Director, Accessibility Services and Mark Jackson, Accessibility Consulting Director did just that by presenting on accessibility related topics in Washington, DC and in New York City.

DESIGN DC 2018 – Peter Stratton

DesignDC 2018 kicked off on October 2, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. The theme this year was Constructing an Equitable Future and addressed the role of architects and other industry professionals in creating working, playing, and living spaces that are usable by all regardless of ability, income-level, or age. Topics this year ran the gamut, from affordable housing and project management, to designing for an aging population and creating healthier, more resilient environments. SWA had three of its staff on the agenda this year, including Peter Stratton who co-presented a session named Scatter-dd: Designing Deliberately – Accessible Scattered Site Public Housing in Baltimore City.

Peter speakingScatter-dd was a presentation concept developed by Kathleen Leichleiter, AIA, founder and Principal, k. lechleiter ARCHITECT LLC. Kathleen and Peter have worked together in the City of Baltimore for many years. Kathleen, as the architect for scattered site accessible homes, and Peter providing consulting to certify that the projects met accessible design and construction requirements of a consent decree entered into in 2004 by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) and the US Department of Justice. Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) was retained by the HABC as its certifying architect tasked to help the agency navigate the requirements of its consent decree that requires their properties be compliant with requirements for accessible design and construction included in federal laws, including Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The crux of Kathleen and Peter’s presentation focused on the integration of Kathleen’s architectural design process with Peter’s compliance certification process. Kathleen and Peter shared how architectural design and accessibility compliance can be seamless when both processes are implemented effectively. Lessons learned and best practices for designing accessible and compliant spaces were shared.

Americans with Disabilities Act – Accessibility Issues for Businesses – Mark Jackson

Mark speakingOn October 10, 2018, Mark Jackson participated in a panel titled Americans with Disabilities Act: Accessibility Issues for Businesses, held in New York City. Mark has extensive experience providing consulting services to landlords and tenants navigating ADA complaints and has served as an expert witness on many ADA cases. Mark was joined by Joseph Lockinger, an attorney with Tannenbaum, Helpern, Syracuse, & Hirschtritt, LLP, with whom SWA has worked on several ADA complaints. Andrew Singer, Partner at Tannenbaum, Helpern, Syracuse, & Hirschtritt, LLP, moderated the event. Attendees included business owners, landlords, attorneys, architects, and website designers. The goal was to provide a forum for representatives from various industries to ask questions related to accessibility compliance for areas of public accommodation. Topics included ways to reduce liability related to access for people with disabilities, how to navigate an ADA complaint, barrier removal, new construction and alterations, alternatives to barrier removal, website accessibility, and challenges related to historic buildings.

Mark and Joseph drew upon their combined experience to present examples of typical complaints and case scenarios, highlighting potential consequences in store for public accommodations that overlook accessibility compliance. They stressed the importance of being proactive when assessing the accessibility of a building, space, or website to minimize potential liability.

There are plans for Peter and Mark to take the show on the road, so to speak. Peter plans to present the same session next year at A’19, the AIA Convention planned for Las Vegas, NV; and, Mark is developing a more in-depth panel discussion on ADA compliance related to businesses to present in the near future. Stay on top of these presentations by subscribing to our mailing list so that we can let you know when we’re in your area!

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