Most FMs would agree that compliance with code is the bare minimum, whether we're talking about green building or fire safety. In the case of the Americans With Disabilities Act, at least one FM thinks there's room to move far beyond what's mandated in that law.
Really, says John D'Angelo, vice president of facilities management at Northwestern University, universal design - that is, designing so that all people can use a facility equally - is about dignity. But what's more, including universal design in initial planning is also more cost effective. Instead of having to build an expensive wheelchair ramp off to the side, D'Angelo advocates for taking buildings off the "pedestals" that are so common, and making it easier to enter at grade. You don't have to lose the majestic aesthetic some designers believe the "pedestal" effect gives - but you do make a building more universally accessible.
Read our January cover story about John D'Angelo to learn about how he's become adept at combining complementary disciplines to create efficiencies all over both his facilities management operation and the campus at large.
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