Avoid Breaking the Law Regarding ADA Compliance
If your mobile office trailer is a place of business that is open to the public, you will need to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law was signed into effect on July 26, 1990, by George H.W. Bush to prohibit discrimination based on disability. A person’s disability does not have to be severe or permanent to be protected by the ADA. When you hear the term “ADA-accessible,” or “ADA,” that means that the building or structure complies with ADA law. For example, an ADA-accessible building will have a wheelchair ramp to make the business accessible for anyone in a wheelchair.
How do I know if my mobile office trailer needs to comply with ADA guidelines?
If your office trailer is open to the public, it must be ADA-compliant. A mobile office must meet ADA requirements if used as any of the following:
- Sales office
- School classroom
- Government facility
- Retail store
What makes an office trailer ADA-compliant?
To be considered ADA-compliant, your office trailer must be wheelchair accessible. Most office trailers are designed to sit 3 feet above the ground on a sturdy foundation. This design protects the structure from flooding or water damage if there’s moisture or snow on the ground. It also protects against intrusion from critters. The space between the structure and ground leaves plenty of crawlspace to connect utilities. But this height typically requires stairs to access the office entrance.
- Above Ground = Ramp
Stairs make it difficult, if not impossible, for someone with limited mobility to enter the mobile office without assistance. ADA compliancy requires an above-ground mobile office trailer include a ramp to make it accessible by wheelchair. Most mobile office trailer suppliers offer various ramp options. Be sure to let your supplier know if this is something you will need.
- Flush with Ground = No Ramp
Storage container offices, also known as Ground Level Offices, are becoming a popular alternative to the mobile office trailer for this very reason: they are already ADA-compliant. Because they are flush with the ground in a one-story container style, they are naturally accessible by wheelchair and do not need a ramp. Many businesses are moving this direction to avoid the extra cost of installing a ramp. If you are interested in learning more about ground level office options, you can read our article: Mobile Office vs. Ground Level Office: Which Way Do I Go?
If your mobile office has a bathroom that is open to the public, it will need to be an ADA-compliant bathroom. This means appropriate safety bars and/or support railings must be installed inside the bathroom. Some smaller mobile office trailers do not have an ADA bathroom option. Keep this in mind before renting or purchasing your office. Larger mobile office trailers almost always come with an ADA-compliant bathroom option. If you know you are going to need an ADA bathroom, ask your local mobile office trailer suppliers about their options.
Does ADA compliance for a mobile office trailer cost more?
In most cases, yes. But not always. An ADA-compliant mobile office trailer is usually more expensive, but the mobile office trailer industry is quickly adapting to make their prices competitive with the ground level office model. Many mobile office trailer suppliers will work with you to find an ADA-compliant office that isn’t out of your price range.