Access Information
United States Access Board
United States Department of Justice
Center for Universal Design
DREDF (Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund)
ADA Consultants / ADAAG Experts

Accessible Product
Specified Construction Products
Architects' First Source
The Architects Catalog
Construction Net
AEC InfoCenter

Accessible Housing
Special Housing

Building Codes and Standards
BOCA (Building Officials & Code Admin.)
ICC (International Code Conference)
SBCCI (Southern Building Code Congress Intl.)
ICBO (International Conf. of Building Officials)

Harmonization of Building Codes & Standards and Federal Rules

To this point in time, the national Building Codes and Standards, as well as, Federal Rules have been different in scope and their coverage of building design as they relate to accessibility. The differences are not just between the Federal Rules and the Codes but, between all of the Federal Rules and all of the Codes and Standards. In 1995, The Access Board appointed the ADAAG Review Federal Advisory Committee to make recommendations for a new ADAAG. The Committee¹s membership was a mix of industry, code and agency staff and the process was apply labeled "reg-neg". Short for regulatory negotiation. Typically, federal agencies make rules from behind closed doors with influence provided by lobby to individual federal staffers or to legislators. The "reg-neg" benefited from the broad range of contributors and the "New ADAAG" is in fact, a pretty clear document written in code style language and without the previous commentary language of it¹s predecessor. It was published on September 30th, 1996 as a draft public review document without a proposed rule. It then went promptly behind closed doors for final rule making. Near the completion of the "New ADAAG", the ANSI A117.1 re-development cycle began. Many of the members of the ADAAG Review Committee already were or soon became members of the A117.1 Committee. The ANSI A117.1 has always been developed by a consensus process with a very broad spectrum of membership a process which the "reg-neg" system mimicked. The final draft of the 1998 ICC/ANSI A117.1 was published in October of this year. It contains the same format as the "New ADAAG". The new A117.1 contains no scoping language in the main body but, fully scopes dwelling units ­ both Type A (fully accessible) and Type B (adaptable). It's technical requirements are based on the "New ADAAG" and it's dwellings' scoping is based on the Fair Housing Act. In other words, the basis of an ADA and Fair Housing equivalent building standard resulted. Chapter 11 of the International Building Code 2000, uses the 1998 ICC/ANSI A117.1 as it's design reference and the scoping provisions are being based on the "New ADAAG". It is being drafted to be an ADA equivalent building code. The Feds have been busy in the mean time. In the July/August 1998 issue of the Access Board¹s "Access Currents" the Access Board announced that they were going a step further in harmonization. Currently, the ADAAG is a sub-set of the ADA and it covers Places of Public Accommodation and Commercial Facilities, Public Transpiration Facilities and State and Local Government Facilities. The UFAS is a sub-set of the ABA (Architectural Barriers Act) and covers facilities designed, constructed, altered, or leased with federal funds. Housing is under the UFAS. The Access Board has combined all of the accessibility requirements into one document to be called {rumored anyway} the (ADA)AG/(ABA)AG. The final rule should be out for public review with it's DOJ pre-amble in the early spring of 1999. Further, as rumor only, the Feds will in the spring of 1999, adopt the 1998 ICC/ANSI A117.1 as Rule in order to streamline the technical requirements of the ADAAG/ABAAG and to facilitate harmonization with the International Building Code 2000. Accessible design should become easier over the next couple of years. Access Rules are now out for children's facilities, legislative facilities and correctional facilities. The IBC, International Building Code) will be published and available in January of 2000. With it the work began at the request of the American Institute of Architects 20 years ago will complete. A design or product in California will then work in Georgia. One Building Official, David Mann in Tucson, Arizona, has already started using the IBC. "We will only be using it on an appeal basis until 2000, but we want to start familiarizing ourselves with the new code. We also feel this is a great service to our local architects, and designers, as they can begin acquainting themselves with the new code before it becomes mandatory."