ADA Certification Question of the Month

July 2003


Question

Which authority listed below can architects, builders and building owners in your jurisdiction rely upon in order to design and construct buildings and facilities that are accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities as required by title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

(a) The title III ADA accessibility requirements for new construction and alterations of buildings and facilities, which include the ADA Standards for Accessible Design at 28 C FR Part 36, Appendix A.

(b) A state/local building code with accessibility requirements that have been certified by the Department of Justice as meeting or exceeding the title III ADA requirements for the accessibility of buildings and facilities.

(c) A state/local building code with accessibility requirements that have not been certified by the Department of Justice as meeting or exceeding the title III ADA requirements for accessibility of buildings and facilities.

(d) either a or b.




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Answer

:

Answer: d.

In jurisdictions that have received certification from the Department of Justice, design and construction professionals, and building owners can generally refer to the accessibility requirements of the certified code to determine what is required in order to comply with the accessible design standards of the ADA.

In those jurisdictions that do not have a code that has been certified as ADA equivalent by the Department of Justice, reference must be made to the federal ADA accessibility requirements, which include the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, to determine what is required to comply with the ADA.

Design and construction professionals, and building owners who rely solely on the accessibility provisions of an uncertified state/local building code, i.e., one that has not been certified by the Department of Justice to be equivalent with the ADA accessibility standards, risk noncompliance with the ADA.

The bottom line: Designing and constructing buildings and facilities in compliance with ADA certified state/local codes will result in greater compliance with the ADA and significantly fewer ADA lawsuits. And, should someone file an ADA lawsuit, compliance with a certified code is rebuttable evidence of compliance with the ADA. BACK TO QUESTION




July 25, 2003