Saturday, October 28, 2017

How much can it cost to make a hotel that is adapted for people with disabilities, or to convert a hotel to suit people with disabilities (estimation)?

For a newly-built class A select service property, the going rate is about $10 million, give or take.

How can I give you a figure off the top of my head like that? It's because every new hotel is required to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are very few people who are able to travel at all, who cannot be accommodated, somehow, in any hotel built to current codes. And if one of those people calls ahead, we'll think of something.

Is every room in a hotel built to current codes fully accessible to people with disabilities? No. There's just not the demand. You would incur vastly increased construction and furnishings costs per room if you made every room in the hotel fully accessible, and for most people who show up, a standard hotel room is quite adequate.

We have accessible rooms cross-sectioned by room type (at least one of each type -- doubles, kings, etc.), and cross-sectioned by floor (at least one on each floor). We have TDD devices for the hearing impaired, electronic strobe lights to supplement the alarm system, and a lift to assist people into and out of the pool. Much of this added equipment is rarely used. And our accessible rooms are not rented nearly as often as we'd like: we are required by law to not rent them to anyone other than people with disabilities until all other rooms in the hotel have been rented, to ensure their availability to any disabled individual who shows up and has need of one of them.

Most any hotel built in the last fifteen years or so is going to come close to current codes and isn't going to need a whole lot of conversion to accommodate anyone with a disability who might show up. You have to go back in time prior to the passage of the ADA itself where a property built that year is going to have serious deficiencies that would now be grandfathered in. Many franchise organizations would require the owners of those properties to do upgrades and updates.

We don't mind taking extra care to accommodate people with disabilities, but the requirements of the law as it is now in place are quite ample. A few years back we were invited to submit a proposal for development of a new hotel next to a large orthopedic clinic, whose patients would be registered as guests for several days, perhaps a week or two at a time, and accessible to their attending physicians from the clinic. (It's part of a trend that we would like to see expanded, and I would be happy for the opportunities involved. Insurance companies are asking medical professionals, don't put anybody in the hospital that you could put in a skilled nursing facility instead, and don't put anyone in a skilled nursing facility that you can put in a hotel instead. By all means, Doctor, we'll be happy and honored to develop and manage a new hotel for you.)

But that's the only type of situation I've ever seen where exceeding the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act would be appropriate from a standpoint of need, and something to think about doing. Even in such a situation we would have a higher number of accessible rooms, but not all of the rooms would have to be accessible. And rooms would be available to rent to anyone, not just patients of the clinic. The clinic would actually make money on the venture.

Originally appeared on Quora

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