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ADA Standards Delayed




I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is accessibility.
Facility managers and owners awaiting the arrival of updated regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will have to wait a little longer.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced in January it has delayed publication of updated ADA regulations due to the new Obama administration. In early December 2008, the department had submitted new regulations to the Office of Management and Budget for approval but withdrew its submission in response to a memorandum from the new administration.
According to a statement on the department’s web site, “No final action will be taken by the department with respect to these rules until the incoming officials have had the opportunity to review the rulemaking record… Withdrawal of the draft final rules does not affect existing ADA regulations.”
The department’s rulemaking will update regulations for state and local governments under title II of the ADA and regulations for places of public accommodation and commercial facilities covered by title III. Last June, the department published proposed changes to these regulations for public comment. As part of this update, the department intends to adopt new accessibility standards based on guidelines issued by the U.S. Access Board.
The department also proposed updates to sections of the regulations covering existing facilities, service animals, policies and programs, maintenance of accessible features, auxiliary aids and services, and effective communication. The department has not yet indicated a timeframe for resubmitting the final rules.
 More information on the status of standards is available on the Access Board’s website at www.access-board.gov.

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