Under the newly enacted Americans with Disabilities Act, companies must consider the disabled when making any decisions concerning office design and furniture purchase, says Christine H. Neldon, president of the International Facility Management Association in Houston.

Incorporating barrier-free designs into buildings will not only help the disabled, she says, but will also help attract and retain skilled workers. Barrier-free design will help reduce work absences caused by temporary physical impairments, she adds.Neldon says the Internal Revenue Service offers a business incentive tax that allows business operators to deduct some expenses incurred for making a facility more accessible.