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ADA-CAT Toolkit

Click here to expand the ToolkitThe Americans With Disabilities Act – Compliance Assessment Kit (ADA-CAT) is conceived as a screening tool to allow individuals without advanced training to assess the architectural barriers of the built environment. As a screening tool, it is not intended to provide an absolute measure of the architectural features, but rather to provide simple, pass-fail assessments of the requirements of the ADA and other accessibility standards.

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ADA-CAT Toolkit Contents


The MultiTool is a multifunction tool that quickly allows the assessment of a number of environmental factors. Is an oval handrail too broad, or too close to the wall? Does that fire extinguisher extend too far from the wall? Does the water flow from this drinking fountain meet the standards? The MultiTool determines all of these using a simple, durable, pass-fail measurement.

Front guide

The ADA guidelines specify that accessible signage must use fonts that are between 5/8 and 2 inches tall, and with a width-to-height ratio between 55% and 110%. The spacing between lines of a sign can be from 135% to 170% of the font height. The lines of tactile fonts (those that can be read by touch) are to be 15% of the height of the font. Many people would find it very difficult to determine the accessibility of a sign with letters 1 3/4 inches tall and 7/8 inches wide. The ADA-CAT Font Guide allows an environmental assessor, without calculation, to quickly determine that the sign font size, width, line spacing, letter spacing, and stroke width do or do not, in fact, meet the standard. The guide is durable, easily used, and provides immediate assessment.

Magic slope block

The ADA specifies the maximum slopes of ramps, paths, and cross-slopes of both. These slopes are specified in grade ratios such as 1:12 or 1:48. Those with limited facility in mathematics may find assessing these slopes difficult to determine. The Magic Slope Block provides a simple, pass-fail test for all ADA-mandated slopes. In addition, it provides a test for the maximum gap between an elevator and the floor of a building, and the maximum gap in a grating that is part of an accessible path. The tool is durable, reliable, and easy to use.

Key torque

While the ADA provides limits to the forces required to open a door, many people with limited hand function find turning a key in a lock to be difficult. The ADA-CAT Key Torque Tool provides an objective measure of the ability of a person with limited hand function to turn a key in a lock.

Door force tool

ADA-CAT includes a simple tool to measure forces up to 7 pounds. This tool can be used to measure forces for accessible doors, for elevator calls, powered door openers, and many other aspects of the environment.

Light meter

As with the measurement of sounds, professional light levels meters are expensive, and often do not provide information in a way that is easily used by non-professionals. The ADA-CAT Measurement Kit includes a light meter which provides a quick assessment of the environmental lighting levels, with sufficient precision to identify accessibility barriers.

Sound Level Meter

In order to meet the needs of individuals with hearing limits, some sounds must be below certain levels, and others above set levels. Industrial sound meters are expensive, and provide measurements that are more precise than necessary. The ADA-CAT Measurement Kit includes a sound meter that has adequate range and precision to provide simple, pass-fail assessments of environmental sound levels.

Story Stick Collapsed

The Story Stick, like other components of the ADA-CAT Measurement Kit, assesses a range of features. First, it identifies barriers to wheeled accessibility along paths, in hallways, and within rooms. Barriers that an able-bodied assessor might not notice are reliably located by the Story Stick.

Story Stick Extended

In addition, the Story Stick provides an immediate means of measuring a wide range of heights required by the ADA. Is that wall-outlet too low? The Story Stick will tell you. Is that toilet seat to high? The Story Stick allows a simple determination. Using the Story Stick, the ADA-CAT assessor can determine that controls are within reach, that desks and tables have adequate knee clearance, or that there is adequate space for a wheelchair to turn around.

Stop Watch

The ADA provides provides numerous time based standards. Elevator doors and powered doors must stay open long enough to allow a person with mobility limitations to pass through. Echo in rooms must decay quickly to avoid interfering with communication. The toolkit includes a basic stopwatch to allow the user to measure all required times.

Tape measure

ADA-CAT includes a 25 foot measuring tape. Many of the features of the environment must meet size standards for accessibility. This includes the width of hallways and doors, height of signage and barriers, and clearances under desks and tables. The ADA Toolkit includes a professional quality measuring tape that allows measurement of all such features.

Spirit level

The ADA-CAT specifies four maximum slopes. Combined with the Magic Slope Block, the 24 inch level allows the user to quickly and easily determine compliance. In addition, the spirit level allows the user to make measurements such as the height of a grab bar above the floor of a bathtub, which is difficult without a way to extend a height to the center of the tub. The included spirit level is a high-quality and precise tool to make these measurements.