Monday, June 21, 2010

What guidelines do I follow?

One of my clients asked me yesterday why isn't there just one accessibility standard rather than having so many to follow....If I knew the answer to that I could probably cause Peace on earth....
But alas, since there are so many all I can do is help you to figure out which standard to use when.

ADA Standards

The ADA applies to facilities in the private sector (places of public accommodation and commercial facilities) and to state and local government facilities. Standards issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) apply to all ADA facilities except transportation facilities, which are subject to standards maintained by the Department of Transportation (DOT). DOJ is in the process of adopting new ADA standards, and further information on this update is available on DOJ’s website . DOT has adopted new ADA standards which apply to bus stops, rail stations, and other transportation facilities.

For commercial facilities and places of public accommodations in the private sector use The ADAAG 1991 version

For State and Local Government Facilities (except transportation facilities) use the ADAAG 1991 version or The Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS)

The ADA Standards for Transportation Facilities deal with Transportation Facilities

ABA Accessibility Standards

The ABA applies to federally funded facilities. The General Services Administration (GSA) updated its ABA standards, which apply to most facilities covered by the ABA. Similar standards have been adopted by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for postal facilities and by the Department of Defense for military facilities. The Department of Housing (HUD) is in the processing of updating its ABA standards, which apply to federally funded residential facilities.

For Federal Facilities (other than postal, housing, and military facilities)  use the GSA's AB Standards

For Postal Services facilities use the USPS ABA Accessibility Standards (also known as the RE-4 Standards)

For Military facilities use the Department of Defense ABA Accessibility Standards

Federally funding Housing use  UFAS (but in the new standards this will be replaced by HUD's standards)

State and Local  Accessibility Standards
Even though the ADAAG is a Federal law, each State and local municipality is allowed to adopt this or any other accessibility standard also.  The Access Board has a list of all the States and what Accessibility Standards they adopted

Note: A few friends on LinkedIn have sent me these corrections:

The Connecticut information listed is obsolete. The correct information is as follows:
Access Code- 2003 International Building Code Portion of the 2005 State Building Code of Connecticut- as amended on 2009 )

Washington State's code listing on the Access Board site is obsolete as well. WA has adopted the 2006 IBC/2003 ANSI and will shift to 2009 IBC/2003 ANSI in late July.

Multi-Family housing
The Housing and Urban Development office of the Federal Government has developed the Fair Housing Act Section 504 that deals with the discrimination of people with disabilities as it pertains to their renting or owning an apartment or dwellling unit.  There is a great handbook that they created that shows you graphically how to apply the Fair Housing Act Section 504
Public Rights of Way

Sidewalks, street crossings, and other elements of the public rights-of-ways present unique challenges to accessibility for which specific guidance is considered essential. The Board is developing new guidelines for public rights-of-way that will address various issues, including access for blind pedestrians at street crossings, wheelchair access to on-street parking, and various constraints posed by space limitations, roadway design practices, slope, and terrain. The new guidelines will cover pedestrian access to sidewalks and streets, including crosswalks, curb ramps, street furnishings, pedestrian signals, parking, and other components of public rights-of-way. Here is the draft of those standards Public Rights-of-way

There are others that are covered by the guidelines like parks, outdoor recreation facilities, prisons and more.  Check out the Access Board's website  and the ADA's website for more information


Melissa Brumback said...

Great post! Complicating things further is the concept of "universal design". I'm on the board of the RL Mace Universal Design Institute ( and there is a new push to make buildings not just meet ADA but also be universal. A set of global UD code is being worked on, in fact.

Wally Tirado said...

I did not know there was a UD code being developed. Very interesting. Would like to see what that looks like.

Who would enforce that?

KLB said...

Washington State's code listing on the Access Board site is obsolete as well. WA has adopted the 2006 IBC/2003 ANSI and will shift to 2009 IBC/2003 ANSI in late July.

by Marcela Abadi Rhoads said...

This Blog is now outdated since the new Standards of Accessibility Design was adopted by the DOJ on July 23,2010.