Whether it be new, an addition, or renovation, making your construction project accessible for people of all abilities is required by a Texas law called the Elimination of Architectural Barriers Act.
The Act has a set of standards that must be met, known as the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS).
and designated Registered Accessibility Specialists (RAS).
TDLR does not administer or enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
TAS compliance is generally a three step process:
2. Plan Review
Submission to the TDLR is required for any project with a construction cost of $50,000 or more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I register a project to you?
Choose RAS number 1445 in TABS, or fill out form AB005 and submit it to Texas Accessibility Group via email. Upload the drawings into TABS (if you’re able), or submit them via email. Texas Accessibility Group will contact the design firm or Owner for payment.
Will the same person do my plan review and my inspection?
Yes, Texas Accessibility Group employs a lone RAS. Meghan Simecek will review the drawings, and conduct the inspection.
Why can’t I upload my drawings into TABS?
If you don’t see the button to upload drawings, it is because only the design professional is able to upload the drawings, and it can only be done at the time of registration. If you are the design professional, and you haven’t logged out or closed the window since registering the project, try changing your file size (30 MB limit) or changing the title of the file (80 character limit). The TABS system only accepts PDF files.
How do I know if I need a RAS?
Sites, facilities, buildings, elements, spaces, and/or fixtures in Texas that are being newly constructed, renovated, and/or altered with a construction cost of at least $50,000 must use a RAS, submit drawings and specifications for review, and complete an inspection.
Projects under $50,000 must comply with the Texas Accessibility Standards, but do not need a RAS. These projects may use a RAS, request a plan review, and/or request an inspection at the discretion of the owner.
Is my project grandfathered?
Some elements of your project may qualify for “safe harbor”. Safe harbor is for any path of travel elements that comply with the 1994 Texas Accessibility Standards, and are not being altered otherwise. An accessible path of travel may consist of walks and sidewalks, curb ramps and other interior or exterior pedestrian ramps; clear floor paths through lobbies, corridors, rooms, and other improved areas; parking access aisles; elevators and lifts; or a combination of these elements. The term "path of travel" also includes the restrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving the altered area.
Why does TDLR ask for “type of funds” on the project registration?
If a tenant is making alterations to their space, with their money, it does not trigger a path of travel obligation upon the landlord, if those areas aren’t being altered.
Can you say that in plain English?
If the tenant is only spending tenant money (no TI, Landlord funds, etc), then it limits the scope of what the RAS can review to only the elements, spaces, and fixtures that the tenant is touching.
I found you because I received a warning letter from the State. Now what?
You came to the right place! Email me or call me and we can figure out how to proceed.
Making my project compliant is technically infeasible. How do I prove it?
Only the Architectural Barriers Department of TDLR can make the ruling that something is technically infeasible, and it can only be done through the Variance process.
I don’t know if my employee break room is a kitchen or not (under TAS). How do I find out?
Please refer to this chart
I met you at an industry event, but I’m still not clear on what it is that you do. Can you explain it one more time?
Most people have an idea of what ADA is. Texas has its own Standards, similar to the Elimination of Architectural Barriers portion of ADA, and a body of people like me that do plan reviews and inspections. I work with architects, registered interior designers, landscape architects, engineers, developers, landlords, building owners, etc to help ensure compliant spaces, projects, and buildings.
What other certifications do you hold?
Meghan Simecek is a Registered Interior Designer, as well as a LEED AP. Texas Accessibility Group is in the process of obtaining HUB certification from WBEA and the State of Texas, as well as DBE from the Texas Unified Certification Program, and City of Houston. TAG is a Woman Owned Business.
Do you have an AIA accredited CEU? How about IDCEC?
Yes. I currently offer one AIA accredited CEU; Texas Accessibility: Tips, Tricks, and TABS. I am working on a second presentation that focuses on the site: PROW, parking (new requirements coming in 2020), sidewalks, etc.
What is your RAS number?
Meghan Simecek is RAS 1445.
Besides TAS inspections and plan reviews, what other services do you offer?
Texas Accessibility Group offers various pre and post construction services. Meghan can provide services for prospective tenants or curious landlords about project needs based on future construction. Meghan can provide inspection services for any Texas based entity expecting an accessibility audit. Contact me for more information.
Are you willing to travel?
Yes. While most of my projects are in Houston and the surrounding areas, I work all over Texas. We’ve completed projects from Orla to McAllen to Beaumont.
What project sizes and types do you accept?
Texas Accessibility Group accepts projects of all types and sizes. Please visit our project page to learn more.
Do you know Micah Simecek?
This is honestly the second most frequently asked question, after “so what is it that you do?”, when meeting new people in the industry. I get it, CRE is a small industry, and it’s a unique last name. The answer is yes. We’ve been married since 2007, and he’s the one to be blamed for dragging me into CRE, and then convincing me to start a business. Most days, I’m grateful for him.