|I Heard a Rumor…|
|By Kimberly Paarlberg
Senior Staff Architect
The U.S. Department of Justice has adopted the 2004 ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines and, with a few minor revisions, has renamed it the 2010 Standard for Accessible Design. Starting March 15, when a building is constructed new or being altered there is the alternative of using either the 1991 or 1994 ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) or the 2010 ADA Standard for compliance. After March 15, 2012, the 2010 Standard will be the required.
|Plan 1A Pair: 1991 Standards with out-swinging doors
Two 5'-0" x 7'-3" rooms | 72.50 sq.ft. total
|Plan-1B Pair: 2010 Standards with out-swinging doors
Two 7'-0" x 5'-0" Rooms | 70.00 sq.ft. total
|There are several areas in the 2010 ADA Standard regulations that are not covered in the 1994 ADAAG, mainly residential and recreational. Although these items are not covered by the "safe harbor" provisions, it is not intended to require immediate mandatory compliance with the new provisions. For example: If my school has a swimming pool, as a Title II entity I am obligated to continually look at program access for classes/activities offered in the pool. (Any Title III building needs to maintain barrier removal.) If I have program access, I do not have to do anything. If I do not have program access and I decide to perform alterations to fix that, or if I just make alterations to the pool, I must follow the new requirements for pools in the 2010 ADA Standard. If I build a new pool, I must follow the new requirements for pools in the 2010 Standard. For swimming pools there a different entry options offered, such as zero level entry, transfer steps, ramps or mechanical chair lifts. The number of entry points and options depends on the pool size and the type of pool. Large swimming pools may require two entry points, while lazy river pools may only need one entry point. Pools that are catchments for slides are exempted from providing accessible entry points: for that matter, water slides and diving boards are also exempted from accessibility.
These are just simple examples and I am sure there are a lot of "what ifs" that are not addressed, but there is not a mandate to totally retrofit by March 15, 2012. The idea is that over time existing buildings will become as accessible as technically feasible. With an aging population that is where the largest market will be, so take advantage of those alterations, additions and new construction to make buildings more accessible for everyone.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division has posted a new technical assistance document, ADA 2010 Revised Requirements: Effective Date, Compliance Date on its website. The document is available in HTML format and in PDF format.
On another note, the Code Council is very proud that the International Building Code (IBC) is referenced in the 2010 ADA Standard for accessible means of egress. Also, the 2010 ADA Standard and the IBC and ICC A117.1 are extensively coordinated. Coordination of the requirements in the codes and the federal accessibility provisions makes compliance easier for architects and contractors. After all, we are all aiming for the same goal.
Note: Kim Paarlberg can be reached by email at email@example.com or by calling 888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233), extension 4306.