DOJ Updates ADA Guidelines

ADA, accessibility   August 12, 2010

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, updated ADA guidelines.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in July 2010 issued updated guidelines regarding accessibility for institutional and commercial facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The regulations update ADA standards, including the ADA standards for accessible design, that govern the construction and alteration of facilities covered by the ADA, including places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities.

Managers in institutional and commercial facilities should be aware of several important highlights of the updated guidelines:

First, the regulations allow covered entities the choice of following either the updated standards or the original standards during the first 18 months after publication. After this period, the 2010 standards are mandatory. In setting the effective dates, the department sought to allow enough time for a transition to the updated standards to avoid disrupting design and construction projects underway.

Second, the new rules also revise or supplement other sections of its ADA regulations, including those covering existing facilities, service animals, policies and programs, maintenance of accessible features, auxiliary aids and services, and effective communication.

Finally, the rule includes a general safe harbor, under which elements in covered facilities built or altered in compliance with the 1991 standards would not have to be brought into compliance with the 2010 standards until the elements were subject to a planned alteration. A similar safe harbor applies to elements associated with the path of travel to an altered area. More information is available at www.access-board.gov.


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