Deb Construction Staff Spend a Day in Wheelchairs to Get a Deeper Perspective on ADA Compliance
DEB Construction, a long-time vendor of Hoag, recently donated nine wheelchairs after staff spent a day in them experiencing life from a different perspective. For Giovanni Cangelosi, senior project manager of the healthcare division, it was the daily activities of opening doors, turning in hallways and getting to his desk that made the most impact. The experience not only left him with sore arms and scrapped knuckles, but also a deeper understanding of what life is like for wheelchair users.
“It’s given me a new way of looking at ADA requirements,” he said. “Now we understand why you need so much space for turning radius. I was delivering some paperwork when my wheel got stuck. It made me think if we had an extra foot or six inches, it would be a little easier.”
Inspired to Understand
The idea came to Chief Executive Officer Adam Vali two years ago when he met a basketball athlete who competed in a wheelchair. Not only did the experience change the personal perceptions of employees, it has also shifted their corporate culture. Vali will keep three wheelchairs which they can use for ADA certifications so that designers and construction managers can experience what challenges people may face. Adam donated the extra wheelchairs to Hoag.
For Giovanni, he now sees sidewalk slopes and ramps with a much more compassionate eye by recognizing the potential dangers and challenges. He wants to be more thoughtful when designing and constructing new projects going forward.
DEB Construction’s projects at Hoag include remodeling of the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living, Hoag Hospital Foundation offices at the Coufos Family Center for Philanthropy, Hoag Newport Beach CT Scan installation and the current remodel of two operating rooms at Hoag Hospital Newport Beach.