Skip to main content
U.S.Flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

ADA Standards for Accessible Design

The ADA Standards for Accessible Design—along with the Title II and Title III regulations—say what is required for a building or facility to be physically accessible to people with disabilities.

The ADA Standards for Accessible Design (“ADA Standards”) cover:

  • Newly constructed buildings and facilities;
  • Alterations—such as, renovations and other changes that affect usability—made to buildings and facilities;
  • Making architectural changes in existing state and local government buildings to provide “program access”; and
  • Removing architectural barriers that are easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense in existing buildings of businesses.
What are architectural barriers?

Architectural barriers are physical elements of a building that prevent movement or access for people with disabilities. For example, if the only way to get to the entrance of a business is by using stairs, those stairs are a barrier for wheelchair users.

What does readily achievable mean?

Readily achievable means easy to do without much difficulty or expense. This is based on the Title III business’s size and resources. So, a business with more resources is expected to remove more barriers than a business with fewer resources. The ADA strikes a careful balance between increasing access for people with disabilities and understanding the financial challenges of many small businesses.

What does program access mean?

State and local governments are required by Title II to provide program access. The program access requirement makes sure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from any program, service, or activity provided by the state or local government because existing buildings and facilities are inaccessible. State and local governments must look at their programs, services and activities in their entirety or as a whole to ensure that they are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Versions of the ADA Standards

There are two versions of the ADA Standards:

Knowing when the 1991 or the 2010 ADA Standards apply to buildings and facilities is important in determining if your building or facility complies with the ADA. The ADA Requirements: Effective Date and Compliance Date guide helps to explain which version of the ADA Standards to use and when.