On Feb. 22, 2018, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) released a joint statement strongly opposing the 2017 “[Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)] Education and Reform Act” (H.R. 620).
In Section III of the act, the bill states that before litigation can occur on the behalf of a person with disabilities against properties which do not have accommodations, the aggrieved person must provide a written notice and documentation of the specific barrier to the owner or operators of the establishment before seeking legal aid. If changes aren’t made, the aggrieved person must first provide documentation regarding:
- The address of the property
- The specific ADA sections alleged to have been violated
- Whether a request for assistance in removing the barrier was made
- Whether the barrier was permanent or temporary
As of publishing, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 has passed the House and is heading to the Senate. From there, the president will need to sign the bill so it can be enacted into law. It was passed by the House on Jan. 30, 2018 without changes.
In a joint statement, ASID and IIDA write, “It is our belief that design—residential or commercial, for private or public intent—truly affects everyone. This is why we unwaveringly advocate for universal design, a practice that seeks to create environments that can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible regardless of age, sex, size or ability.”
It continues, “We oppose any effort that disincentives businesses to build or update spaces according to these principles.”
When interiors+sources inquired about the impact of H.R. 620 for the purpose of this article, the Department of Justice declined to comment.
The full statement from ASID and IIDA is below:
The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) strongly oppose H.R. 620, entitled the "ADA Education and Reform Act," which amends the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to require persons with a disability to provide written documentation of an ADA violation to a business before seeking legal remedies.
As the organizations that represent the interior design industry at large, we continually examine cultural, societal, and economic shifts and consider how design impacts and is impacted by these movements. It is our belief that design – residential or commercial, for private or public intent – truly affects everyone. This is why we unwaveringly advocate for universal design, a practice that seeks to create environments that can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible regardless of age, sex, size, or ability. As designers, it is our job to think about design with people and purpose in mind, so that no one person has to bear the weight or responsibility of access, which is as fundamental to human rights as it is to good design. We oppose any effort that disincentives businesses to build or update spaces according to these principles.
“Universal design was a matter of practice before it was a matter of law,” says IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP. “IIDA believes that access and equity are inherent in what designers do, despite what might be articulated by this pending legislation.”
“The ADA is a guideline to ensuring accessible spaces, and we support legislation that strengthens the Act, not weakens it,” states ASID CEO Randy Fiser, Hon. FASID. “ASID believes that design impacts lives – this includes using the principles of universal design to ensure buildings and spaces are created for all people.”
IIDA and ASID will be closely monitoring H.R. 620 as it makes its way to the Senate.
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