New ABA standards
January 14, 2009 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions. Today’s topic is, accessibility.
The U.S. Department of Defense recently adopted new accessibility standards under the Architectural Barriers Act, or ABA, which requires access to federally funded facilities. The standards apply to military and other facilities under the department’s jurisdiction.
The new standards take effect immediately for projects and leasing actions, though projects started before the 2010 fiscal year must comply to the maximum extent feasible. The memorandum addresses exclusions and requests for modifications and provides supplementary information on certain requirements in the standards.
These new standards specify requirements for new construction, alterations and leased facilities, which now must be designed and constructed to be accessible to persons with disabilities. The types of facilities to which these standards apply include but are not limited to the following:
• all housing, including military family housing and unaccompanied-personnel housing.
• all hospitals and facilities for the care or rehabilitation of persons who are sick or injured.
• all relocatable facilities, including those acquired as personal property. Relocatable facilities, including those acquired as personal property, shall be evaluated, for purposes of applying these standards, as though they are permanent facilities.
• all administrative facilities, educational facilities, and any other facilities where civilian workers might be employed.
The department is the third agency to refresh its ABA standards based on updated guidelines issued by the Access Board. The General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service previously adopted similar standards.
The new ABA standards replace the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards and are consistent with standards being adopted under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, for non-federal facilities.