Using the ADA and ABA Standards Series: Chapter 7: Communication Elements and Features

Thursday, August 6, 2020
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Time Zone


This session will review scoping and technical provisions for communication elements and features in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards (Chapter 7). These requirements ensure access communication in building elements and systems and cover fire alarm systems, signs, telephones, detectable warnings, assistive listening systems, ATMs and fare machines, and two-way communication systems. Presenters will clarify common sources of confusion and address frequently asked questions about these provisions.

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours
California Architects Board 1.5
Certificate of Attendance 1.5
ICC 1.5


Bill Botten, Training Coordinator, Senior Accessibility Specialist, Office of Technical and Information Services, U.S. Access Board

Sarah Presley, Accessibility Specialist, US Access Board

Bobby Stinnette, Accessibility Specialist, U.S. Access Board

Questions for presenters:

1 How about signage on pedestrian bridges; braille, tactile way-finding, interactive (audible) signage?
2 Are the communications provisions of the ADA applicable to Public Housing programs?
3 Please talk about Assistive Listening Systems and new technology. How well do the phone apps work? I have found that assistive listening devices often not work well and/or do not have good sound. Either the device is faulty or the system is not installed in the best way possible.
4 Three questions: What are the best methods for providing listening systems for indoor facilities and outdoor tours? Should a state park agency provide listening systems and/or rely on the methods that users will bring? Can you comment on the best plan for use of listening equipment during the pandemic?
5 Where are detectable warnings required?
6 My question #1: Do the 2010 ADA Standards allow for portable communication devices to be supplied by the hotel (in the quantity required by 224.4) or must the notification devices be permanently installed? I've noticed that many hotels are installing permanent door bells that will scare the living daylights out of you audibly and include a visual strobe. It seems to be overkill without an option to override it as a guest. But the phone alert is almost always lacking. I miss the days of plugging in a lamp to alert of an incoming phone call.
7 My Question #2: regarding hotel room Communication Features: What would be your best-practice advice to hotel owners (and to us who advise them) as to what combination of equipment options meet not only the technical requirements of the Standards, but also the very practical and helpful Intent of the requirements?
8 Should truncated dome detectable warnings be used to delineate the pedestrian and bicycle sides of a separated bikeway at sidewalk level? If not, what should be used?
9 How many accessibility features are fee machines required to have at a state park?
10 What type of features should self-registration kiosks provide at a state park?
11 How does Wifi affect receiver counts when using the IEC standards guidelines for public venues -- (Wifi assisted Listening was not around when ADA was re written in 2010, and many venues want to use WiFi as an augment to traditional FM, IR, or Loop systems for assisted listening . Yet Wifi 802.11 is a radio frequency, and should be covered under the FM guidelines... ) How does Covid-19 need for a "Bring your own device" method, now factor in for contactless ADA compliance - where individuals do not want to take a potentially contaminated device from the venue for assisted Listening?? Can Wifi "bring your own device" be added as an acceptable modality for ADA compliance for public venues in addition to FM, IR and Loop? Please speak to all of this.
12 Curious how many other participants are implementing 2017 ANSI's new dimensions for circular & T-shape turning spaces?
13 Rooms with public gatherings should be LOOPED so that hard of hearing people can activate the telecoil in their hearing aid to hear presentations over the microphone. eg courtrooms, auditoriums, theatres, public transport areas, etc This technology is used widely in Europe and Australia but he US has not caught up making this accomodation for the hard of hearing community. Please comment on whether this has become more of a priority in recent times to bring the US up with the rest of the world.
14 What is the difference between ADA and ABAAS?
15 Many museums, theaters, and attractions are rushing to install "contactless" ticket scanners at entry points. What accessibility issues are being overlooked as this transition is being implemented?
16 Why is there inconsistency for hotels when making a reservation that you are hearing impaired that you do not get a strobe device even though it is identified as a room for a hearing impaired.
17 708. Two-Way Communication systems. How are Two-way communication systems to be accessible for the hard of hearing? example: fire drill/bomb threat drill at state office building uses two way communication systems that hard of hearing staff and members of public cannot hear. What should the state office do instead?
18 702 Fire Alarm Systems. Does this section, or any section, include or exclude other alarm systems? Example: carbon monoxide alarm systems are fixed on walls in state office building. Bomb and shooter threat alarm systems (not fixed to wall) are in place in state office building. Do these other types of alarm systems have to be accessible to the hard of hearing public and staff occupants?
19 706.3 Receiver Hearing-Aid Compatibility. Is it required that neckloops be charged and able to work at all venues that rely on them?
20 706.3 Receiver Hearing-Aid Compatibility. Neckloops typically are compatible only with hearing aids programmed with telecoil. What hearing aid compatible recievers are required for users without telecoil, such as those with Bluetooth only hearing aids?
21 706.4, .5 and .6 Sound Pressure Level, Signal to Noise Ratio, and Peak Clipping Level for assistive listening systems. Who measures this? How often should it be checked? How is this compliance checked--is it never checked after installation?
22 708 Two-Way Communication Systems. Why is captioning not specifically mentioned; it would be more "equal access" than a blinking light. What would be the standards of accuracy of captioning if it were mentioned? Why aren't symbols specifically mentioned; it would be more "equal access" than a blinking light.
23 704.3 volume control telephones. this is outdated. What is the plan to update to include smartphones? How are you working with the FCC to remedy this? Why are smartphones, which is the current norm, excluded? There are no volume control smartphones for those with hearing loss in the US but a few are available in the UK.
24 704.3 volume control telephones. this is outdated. Pay phones are largely obsolete. TTYs are pretty close to being obsolete. What public access to communication will replace TTY/payphones? Why is this section so badly out of date and what is being done to fix it? Instead, people use smartphones. But smartphones are not volume enabled. certain flip phones are but this relegates the hard of hearing as unable to text which means some people won't communicate with them as they only text (out of preference or full deafness).
25 702 fire alarm systems. Is every single enclosed room (conference call rooms, lactation rooms, shower rooms, storage rooms) in a state office building required to be fitted with flashing fire alarm systems? where is the specific location of the guidance specifying the equal accessibility of fire (and other) alarm systems spatially throughout a public building?
26 702 references NFPA. NFPA discusses mass notification systems. Many mass notification systems rely on people owning smartphones. In the US, there are no smartphones with sufficient volume boosting for moderate/severely hard of hearing. Is this then a violation of 702? What is an equal access alternative for hard of hearing to mass notification systems? What about hard of hearing people in rural areas (example: most of Maine and Vermont) with no access to cellular service, no broadband, little television--what is their equal access to MSN?

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