ADA-ABA Accessibility Guidelines:  Background

The Board’s guidelines issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) have been completely updated and revised. The ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) cover the construction and alteration of facilities in the private sector (places of public accommodation and commercial facilities) and the public sector (state and local government facilities). The accessibility guidelines issued under the ABA primarily address facilities in the Federal sector and others designed, built, altered, or leased with Federal funds. The guidelines under both laws have been updated together in one rule that contains three parts: a scoping document for ADA facilities, a scoping document for ABA facilities, and a common set of technical criteria that the scoping sections will reference. As a result, the requirements for both ADA and ABA facilities will be made more consistent.

Current Status: On July 23, 2004, the Board published the guidelines in final form along with a regulatory assessment.

ADA standards and ABA standards maintained by other agencies have been updated based on these guidelines.

Background: The Board established an advisory committee to conduct a complete review of ADAAG and to recommend changes. The ADAAG Review Advisory Committee consisted of 22 members representing the design and construction industry, the building code community, State and local governments entities, and people with disabilities. The committee was charged with reviewing ADAAG in its entirety and making recommendations for updating ADAAG so that it remains consistent with technological developments and changes in model codes and national standards and continues to meet the needs of people with disabilities. The committee developed a comprehensive set of recommendations that address substantive changes to ADAAG scoping provisions and technical requirements as well as its format and numbering system. Cited as an outstanding example of reinventing government, the Committee and the Board received the Vice Presidential Hammer Award in July 1996. The Board’s proposal will be largely based on the committee’s final report, Recommendations for a New ADAAG.

On November 16, 1999, a proposed rule was published in the Federal Register for public comment for six months. Over 2,500 comments were received on the proposal.

Rulemaking History: