The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to publish ADA design standards that are consistent with the guidelines published by the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board). The DOJ has adopted revised ADA design standards that include the relevant chapters of the Access Board’s 2004 ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines as modified by specific provisions of the DOJ’s revised rules implementing Title II and Title III of the ADA. To minimize compliance burdens on entities subject to more than one legal standard, these design standards have been harmonized with the Federal standards implementing the Architectural Barriers Act and with the private sector model codes adopted by most states. The changes to the design guidelines were adopted by the Access Board as a series of separate rules that were combined in the 2004 ADA/ABA guidelines. These rules addressed a variety of facilities and the revision of the Access Board’s 1991 guidelines. These changes have been adopted, with some modifications, as the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.
On March 15, 2012, compliance with the 2010 Standards will be required for new construction and alterations. In the period between September 15, 2010 and March 15, 2012, covered entities may choose between the 1991 Standards or the 2010 Standards. Note: Title II entities can also choose the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). Under the “safe harbor” provision, facilities that were built or altered in compliance with the 1991 Standards or the UFAS do not have to be brought into compliance with 2010 Standards unless the facility undergoes an alteration on or after March 15, 2012. Elements for which there were no 1991 standards are not eligible for safe harbor.
The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design contain more than incremental changes. These changes are addressed in detail in Appendix B to the Title III regulations and in the DOJ’s regulatory impact analysis. A few examples of areas impacted by these changes are:
The contents of this factsheet were developed under a grant from the Department of Education (DOE), NIDRR grant # H133A110017. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the DOE, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
Visit adata.org or call 1-800-949-4232 V/TTY to contact your regional ADA Center.