PART II: ABA Application and Scoping

This part provides application and scoping requirements for facilities covered by the ABA. The Board develops and maintains minimum guidelines for buildings and facilities covered by the ABA (10). These guidelines serve as the basis for standards issued by four standard-setting Federal agencies: the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Representatives of these agencies, as well as those of other departments, serve as Federal members of the Board. In this capacity, these agencies have coordinated closely with the Board in updating the ABA accessibility guidelines.

The Board has based the ABA scoping and application sections on the revised ADA scoping and application sections of Part I. This will ensure greater consistency between both scoping documents and will serve to establish greater uniformity in the level of access among facilities covered by the ADA or the ABA. The Board previously adopted a resolution introduced by GSA to ensure that the level of accessibility established for federally funded facilities in this rulemaking meets or exceeds that proposed for the private sector and State and local government sectors under the ADA. To this end, differences or departures from the ADA scoping and application sections have been minimized. Most changes are necessary due to differences between the ABA and ADA statutes and regulations issued under them. For example, the ABA covers facilities leased by Federal agencies and the guidelines for the ABA reflect this statutory difference. The guidelines for the ADA and ABA are being consolidated in one part of the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR Part 1191). The following discussion explains substantive differences from the application and scoping requirements for facilities covered by the ADA as discussed in Part I.

F103 Modifications and Waivers

The ABA recognizes a process under which covered entities may request a modification or waiver of the applicable standard. The standard-setting agencies may grant a modification or waiver upon a case-by-case determination that it is clearly necessary. This modification and waiver process is recognized in section F103 as a substitute to the provision for "equivalent facilitation" in section 103 provided for facilities subject to the ADA.

F106 Definitions

Several defined terms in section F106.5 differ from those in the ADA application section. These include "dwelling unit" and "transient lodging" which have been simplified and made mutually exclusive. Definitions for "joint use" and "lease" are included that pertain to provisions specific to the ABA covering leased facilities. Definitions of "private building or facility" and "public building or facility" are not included because these terms are used to distinguish between places of public accommodation and commercial facilities covered by title III of the ADA (private) and State and local government facilities covered by title II of the ADA (public).

F202 Existing Buildings and Facilities

F202.2 Additions

Section F202.2 addresses additions to existing facilities and provides specific criteria for accessible routes, entrances, and toilet and bathing facilities that derive from the current standard, UFAS. These provisions have been retained but are not provided in the ADA scoping document. Provisions in this section for public pay telephones and drinking fountains have been included for consistency with a requirement in the ADA scoping document for an accessible path of travel for certain additions (202.2).

F202.6 Leases

The ABA requires access to facilities leased by Federal agencies. Section F202.6 contains scoping requirements for facilities that are newly leased by the Federal government, including new leases for facilities previously occupied by the Federal government. The negotiation of a new lease occurs when (1) the Federal government leases a facility that it did not occupy previously; or (2) an existing term ends and a new lease is negotiated for continued occupancy. The unilateral exercise of an option which is included as one o f the terms of a preexisting lease is not considered the negotiation of a new lease. Negotiations which do not result in a lease agreement are not covered by this section. Provisions in this section address joint-use areas, accessible routes, toilet and bathing facilities, parking, and other elements and spaces. Corresponding changes concerning coverage of leased facilities appear in the sections stating the purpose (F101) and the overall scope of the guidelines (F201.1).

F234 Housing

The proposed scoping provisions for dwelling units covered by the ABA are identical to those proposed for the ADA. However, UFAS 4.1.4(3) effectively allows the Department of Defense the option to modify units when the need arises as opposed to providing accessible units at the time of construction and to do so on an installation-by-installation basis. This flexibility allows the military departments to leave families without disabilities in accessible units and to modify units to suit the needs of families with disabilities.

Question 17: Should a similar exception be included in the revised guidelines that would permit accessible dwelling units under control of the Department of Defense to be designed to be readily and easily modifiable to be accessible provided that modifications are accomplished on a first priority basis when a requirement is identified? Also, should a similar exception be provided that permits provision of access on an installation-by-installation basis?

Other Differences from ADAAG

Certain provisions or exceptions in the ADA scoping section applicable only to the private sector (i.e., places of public accommodation and commercial facilities) or recognized only by the ADA are not included in the ABA scoping section. These include:

  • an exception that permits a limited level of access to work areas for approach, entry and exit and that does not otherwise require the area itself to be accessible (203.3);
  • an exception from the requirement for an accessible route in private multi-level buildings and facilities that are less than three stories or that have less than 3,000 square feet per floor (206.2.3, Exception 1);
  • TTY scoping provisions specific to private buildings ( and; and
  • an ADA exception from the requirement for accessible guest rooms for certain places of lodging that have five or fewer rooms for rent or hire (224.1, Exception).