Accessibility under the
Americans with Disabilities Act
JAN’S ACCOMMODATION FACT SHEET SERIES
ACCESSIBILITY UNDER THE
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
; Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines
; Written and enforced by the U.S. Access Board
; Adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice as the design standards
to be used for new construction and renovations under the ADA
What is the ADAAG?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes design requirements for the construction and alteration of facilities in the private and public sectors. These requirements are known as the ADA Accessibility Guidelines or "ADAAG." ADAAG contains requirements for new construction and alterations. The Access Board develops the requirements as "guidelines" to serve as a basis for "standards" enforced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). ADAAG derives from an earlier Federal standard, the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS).
Where can I get a copy of the ADAAG?
The Access Board provides free copies of the ADAAG on its Web site at http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm or call the Access Board at (800) 872-2253 to order a free copy.
Where does the ADAAG apply?
Regulations issued by DOJ and DOT contain enforceable standards based on ADAAG. These regulations spell out what facilities are subject to the standards. It is important that the regulations be used along with the design standards they contain or reference because they provide important information on coverage. These regulations address different types of facilities:
; Title III: Places of public accommodation and commercial facilities are
addressed by a DOJ regulation (28 CFR Part 36) that contains standards
based on ADAAG.
; Title II: State and local government facilities are subject to a DOJ
regulation (28 CFR Part 35) that currently allows use of the ADAAG-based
standards issued for the private sector (with some exceptions) or UFAS.
The regulation references, but does not contain, these standards.
; Title II: Public transportation facilities are addressed by a DOT regulation
(49 CFR Part 37) that contains standards based on ADAAG.
For a copy of the regulations referenced above, see DOJ’s ADA Handbook at http://askjan.org/media/adahandbook/handbook.html.
Is my copy of the ADAAG current?
A copy of the original ADAAG-based standard as issued by DOJ is still pretty much usable as only two limited changes have been made to the standards to date:
; suspension of requirements in ADAAG 4.29 for detectable warnings at
curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools; and
; revision of ATM specifications for clear floor space and control heights in
The Board has issued supplements to ADAAG, but they are not yet part of the standards and thus are not enforceable at this time. These supplements cover:
; recreation facilities, including amusement rides, boating facilities, fishing
piers and platforms, golf courses, miniature golf courses, sports facilities,
swimming and wading pools, and spas;
; play areas, including play structures and equipment;
; building elements designed for children’s use, including drinking fountains,
toilets, lavatories and sinks, and fixed seating and tables; and
; state and local government facilities, including courthouses and prisons.
While not yet enforceable, these guidelines can provide helpful guidance in the design of children’s environments and play areas, courthouses, correctional facilities, and various types of recreation facilities.
What is the status of the “new” ADAAG?
In July 2004, the Board completed a comprehensive update of the ADAAG, along with an update of its guidelines for federally funded facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). However, these new guidelines are not enforceable or mandatory until the DOJ adopts them as ADA standards. To check the status of the new guidelines, visit http://www.access-board.gov/ada-aba/standards-update.htm. In the meantime, you must follow the original ADAAG.
What other guidelines is the Access Board developing?
The Board is developing new guidelines under the ADA that will cover outdoor developed areas and public rights-of-way.
Where can I get more information about the ADAAG?
The Access Board provides technical assistance at (800) 872-2253 or by e-mail at email@example.com or visit the Web site at: