May 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio May 1999 Current Issue
May 1999 ChecklistPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:



Site Inspection for Accessibility

This checklist was reprinted from Accessible Meetings and Conventions by Jane E. Jarrow, Ph.D., CAE, and Ciritta B. Park. For a copy of the book, contact the Association on Higher Education and Disability, P.O. Box 21192, Columbus, Ohio 43221


  • How many available guest rooms have been adapted for persons with disabilities?
  • Does the hotel have a space on its registration form where those with disabilities can identify themselves?
  • Are guest rooms numbered in consecutive sequence and identified in Braille?
  • Are room keys easy to handle?
  • If key cards are used instead of keys, does theangle of insertion or the speed/dexterity required to use the system make it difficult for those with limited upper-body mobility?
  • Do entry, bathroom and closet doors have a clear opening of 32" with maximum threshold height of 1/2"?
  • Is there a minimum 32" opening by one side of the bed(s)?
  • Do guest rooms and bathrooms allow sufficient turning space for a wheelchair to move about (60" diameter preferred)?
  • Are mirrors mounted within 40" of the floor?
  • Is the sink mounted at least 29" from the floor to allow for knee clearance for those in wheelchairs? Is the drain pipe at least 9" above the floor for toe clearance?
  • Is insulation or a protective covering used on bathroom hot-water pipes under the sink to prevent burning persons in wheelchairs?
  • Is the toilet seat between 17" and 19" high?
  • Are sink and tub controls easy to operate with a closed fist?
  • Are showers and tubs equipped with curtains or glass doors? (Curtains are easier to open and close for a person with limited upper-body mobility.)
  • Are grab bars of sufficient length mounted by the toilet and in the tub and shower
  • Are shower benches or chairs available for use?
  • Is a flexible hose with a handheld shower head available?
  • Is a telephone accessible from the bed?
  • Are amplified phones and/or TDDs (Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf, allowing those with hearing impairments to use a standard phone) available for use in guest rooms?
  • Is a visual alert system available in guest rooms?
  • Are rooms free of wall-mounted protruding objects (such as televisions, hanging lamps, etc.)?
  • Are light switches, heating and cooling controls, drapery and shade controls within reach for use by someone in a wheelchair?
  • Are towel and closet racks positioned at a height below 54"?

  • Is the meeting room centrally located to prevent problems for persons with mobility limitations?
  • Do hallways and corridors have a clearance of 36" to allow for wheelchair passage?
  • Do the doors to meeting rooms have a clear opening of 32"?
  • Do thresholds of interior doors have a maximum height of 1/2"?
  • Are meeting room floors nonslip, level and independently negotiable by persons in wheelchairs?
  • Are temporary ramps available for use with all raised podiums or head tables?
  • Are microphones available that can be easily adjusted and are flexible for use?
  • Is the lighting nonglare, nonreflecting and nonblinking? (Proper lighting helps those watching an interpreter. Also note that bright or blinking lights can cause a seizure in those with epilepsy.)

  • Do entrances have a door with a 32" opening, single-effort door pull and negotiable thresholds?
  • Are tables accessible (27" clearance under the table and 30" in width)?
  • Are cafeteria/buffet lines accessible (at least 36" wide with adequate turning space at corners)?
  • Does the restaurant have menus in Braille and large print?
  • Is the restaurant staff able and willing to make reasonable accommodations (minor menu changes, reading menus to attendees, assisting with trays)?
  • Are all lounges accessible (including tables, aisles, game room and dance floor)?

  • Are parking spaces for persons with disabilities identified by the international access symbol?
  • How many accessible parking spaces are there?
  • Are reserved spaces on the shortest possible route to an accessible building entrance?
  • Does the passenger loading zone have curb cuts and an accessible area at least 48" wide?
  • If the facility has a parking garage, are there designated spaces available with a minimum 96" ceiling clearance to accommodate adapted vehicles?

  • Are grounds, walks and floor surfaces nonslip?
  • re sidewalks from reserved parking areas to the facility entrance free of abrupt changes in surface level?
  • Do sidewalks and ramps have a 36" clear opening with an occasional allowance for turning and passing?
  • Do temporary ramps meet standard ramp requirements, and are they securely anchored?
  • Are handrails mounted 32" above the ramp surface, no more than 1 1/2" from the wall and extending 12" beyond the top and bottom of the ramp?

  • Is at least one accessible route from the parking area to the facility entrance clearly marked?
  • Is a primary entrance accessible with a clear opening of 32" or more?
  • Are doors easy to open, requiring no more than 8.5 lbs. for push and pull and 5 lbs. for sliding doors?
  • Are handles, pulls, latches and locks on accessible doors easily grasped, and can they be operated with a closed fist?
  • Is an accessible door next to all revolving doors?
  • Do thresholds have a maximum edge height of 1/2"?
  • Are there handrails on both sides of all stairs? Do they extend 12" beyond the top rise and 12" plus the width of one step beyond the bottom step?
  • In corridors, do objects protrude no more than 4" in the path of travel?

  • Are accessible rest rooms for each gender clearly marked with the international access symbol?
  • Do rest room entrances have an opening of at least 32"?
  • Is the sink mounted at least 29" from the floor for wheelchair knee clearance, and is the drain pipe at least 9" from the floor for toe clearance?
  • Is insulation or a protective covering used on bathroom hot-water pipes to prevent burns?
  • Is there a clear space in front of the sink for forward approach of a wheelchair?
  • Is there at least one rest room stall with a clear opening of 32"?
  • Are there grab bars along the side and back of the toilet to ease wheelchair transfers?

  • Are any floors not accessible by elevator?
  • Are visual and audible signals used to identify direction of elevator travel (sound once for up, twice for down)?
  • Are call buttons in lobbies and halls 42" above the floor with Braille floor designations?
  • Are controls inside the elevator positioned 42" from the floor with Braille designations?
  • Are raised numbers on both elevator door jambs 60" from the floor?
  • Does the elevator have inside dimensions no less than 54" by 68" and a clear door opening of 36"?

  • Has the facility‚Äôs staff received special instruction on the needs of people with disabilities, particularly in emergency procedures?
  • Are emergency exit doors clearly marked, with a 32" clear opening and equipped with a crash (panic) bar?
  • Are doors leading to potentially dangerous areas identifiable to the touch by a textured surface on the handle, knob or pull?
  • Are all audible alarms accompanied by simultaneous visual signals?

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