July 2004

This assessment has been developed and reviewed in accordance with the Access Board’s information quality guidelines (www.access-board.gov/infoquality.htm).


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Access Board prepared this assessment of the final revised accessibility guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act pursuant to Executive Order 12866.  The Americans with Disabilities Act requires newly constructed and altered State and local government facilities, places of public accommodation, and commercial facilities to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.  The Architectural Barriers Act requires federally financed facilities to be accessible, including facilities leased by Federal agencies. 

The Access Board is required to establish and maintain accessibility guidelines for facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act.  The guidelines serve as the basis for enforceable standards issued by other agencies under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act.  The Access Board initially issued the Minimum Guidelines and Requirements for Accessible Design (MGRAD) for the Architectural Barriers Act in 1982, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) in 1991. 

Since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, accessibility requirements have been increasingly incorporated in the model codes.  The Access Board worked collaboratively with the International Code Council (ICC) and the ANSI A117 Committee to harmonize the final revised guidelines with the International Building Code, which was first published in 2000, and the ICC/ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, which is referenced in the International Building Code.  The International Building Code has been adopted statewide by 28 States and by local governments in another 15 States. 

Harmonizing the accessibility guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act with the International Building Code and the ICC/ANSI A117.1 standard promotes increased compliance, efficiency, and economic growth.  It is difficult and time consuming for business owners, builders, developers, and architects to deal with different accessibility requirements at the Federal, State, and local government levels.  Differing requirements can contribute to mistakes resulting in litigation and costly retrofitting of facilities after they are constructed.  The Americans with Disabilities Act authorizes the Department of Justice to certify State or local codes that meet or exceed Federal accessibility requirements.  State and local governments that adopt the International Building Code will find it easier to have their codes certified, and more State and local governments are expected to submit their codes to the Department of Justice for certification.  In jurisdictions where codes have been certified by the Department of Justice, business owners, builders, developers, and architects can rely on their State or local government building plan approval and inspection processes as a “check-point” for ensuring that their facilities comply with Federal accessibility requirements.  Potential mistakes can be corrected early in the construction process when adjustments can be made easily and inexpensively compared to costly retrofitting after a facility is constructed.  Compliance with a certified code is also evidence of compliance with Federal accessibility requirements in litigation to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Access Board also revised some requirements in the current guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act to reduce the impacts on facilities, including lowering the number of wheelchair spaces and assistive listening systems required in large sports facilities; exempting small raised press boxes in sports facilities from the accessible route requirements; exempting parking lots with a few parking spaces from signage requirements for accessible parking spaces; and reducing the number of toilet rooms required to be accessible where multiple single user toilet rooms are clustered at the same location.

The regulatory assessment for the proposed rule estimated that the national costs of the rule would be $87.5 million annually for newly constructed office buildings, hotels, and sports stadiums and arenas.  The Board adopted alternatives in the final revised guidelines that eliminate these costs as shown in Table ES.1.

Table ES.1 – Alternatives That Eliminate Costs Estimated for the Proposed Rule (text version)

 

Proposed Rule

Final Revised Guidelines

Visible alarms required in all employee work areas, including individual offices.  Estimated cost:  $16 million annually.

Visible alarms required in public and common use areas, which is consistent with current guidelines.  Where employee work areas have audible alarm coverage, wiring system required to be designed so that visible alarms can be added to the system as needed.

Communication features required in 50 percent of hotel guest rooms.   Estimated cost:  $31 million annually.

No change from current guidelines, which require substantially less than 50 percent of hotel guest rooms to provide communication features.

Elevators and platform lifts required to be provided in sufficient number, capacity, and speed so that persons using wheelchair spaces and designated aisle seats have equivalent level of service as persons in the same seating area who can use stairs.  Estimated cost:  $1.5 million annually.

No change from current guidelines, which require at least one accessible route to connect each story and mezzanine in multi-story facilities.

Wheelchair spaces and designated aisle seats required to be dispersed vertically on each accessible level.  Estimated cost:  $33.5 million annually.

Wheelchair spaces required to be dispersed vertically at varying distances from the screen, performance area, or playing field, which is consistent with current guidelines.

Companion seats required to be readily removable and to provide additional wheelchair spaces.  Estimated cost:  $4 million annually.

Companion seats permitted to be removable, but not required to provide additional wheelchair spaces.

One percent of seats required to be designated aisle seats; 25 percent of designated aisle seats required to be on an accessible route; and rest of designated aisle seats required to be not more than two rows from an accessible route.  Estimated cost:  $1.5 million annually.

Five percent of aisle seats required to be designated aisle seats and to be aisle seats closest to accessible routes.


This assessment compares the final revised guidelines to the current guidelines and the International Building Code in order to evaluate the potential impacts of the revisions.  In the absence of the final revised guidelines, newly constructed and altered facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act would have to comply with ADAAG as initially issued in 1991, which has been adopted as enforceable standards by the Department of Justice and Department of Transportation.  Many newly constructed and altered facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act are also required to comply with ADAAG when it provides a greater level of accessibility compared to the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS).  Comparing the final revised guidelines to the current guidelines is the upper bound of the range of potential impacts.  The International Building Code has been adopted statewide by 28 States and by local governments in another 15 States.  In the absence of the final revised guidelines, newly constructed and altered facilities are required to comply with the International Building Code in jurisdictions that have adopted the model code.  Comparing the final revised guidelines to the International Building Code is the lower bound of the range of potential impacts, and assumes that facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act are also required to comply with equivalent requirements in the International Building Code.  The actual impacts will be between the lower and upper bound of the range.

The final revised guidelines reorganize and renumber ADAAG, and rewrite the text to be clearer and easier to understand.  Most of the scoping and technical requirements in ADAAG have not been changed.  An independent codes expert compared the final revised guidelines and ADAAG to identify revisions that add new features or space to a facility, or present design challenges compared to ADAAG.  The codes expert identified 27 revisions that are expected to have minimal impacts on the new construction and alterations of facilities, including adding scoping requirements and exceptions for  common use circulation paths in employee work areas; revising scoping requirements for public entrances; referencing the International Building Code for accessible means of egress; adding scoping requirements for dwelling units with mobility features in Federal, State, and local government housing; lowering the high side reach; and adding technical requirements for automated teller machines and fare machines.

The codes expert also identified 14 revisions that are expected to have monetary impacts on the new construction and alterations of facilities.  An independent cost estimator prepared cost estimates for these revisions using standard industry procedures.  The revisions that are expected to have monetary impacts on the new construction and alterations of facilities are summarized in Table ES.2. 

Table ES.2 - Revisions with Monetary Impacts on New Construction and Alterations (text version)

 

 

 

Final Revised Guidelines

 

 

Current Guidelines

 

International Building Code

 

 

Unit Cost

Where circulation path directly connects assembly seating area and performing area, accessible route required to directly connect both areas.

Accessible route required to connect assembly seating area and performing area.

IBC 2000 & 2003 have equivalent requirement to final revised guidelines.

Will vary from $0 to $15,674 depending on specific design of facility.

Where platform lift serves as part of accessible means of egress, standby power required.

No requirement.

IBC 2003 has equivalent requirement to final revised guidelines.

Will vary from $0 to $2,353 depending on specific design of facility.

One in every 6 accessible parking spaces required to be van accessible.

One in every 8 accessible parking spaces required to be van accessible.

IBC 2003 has equivalent requirement to final revised guidelines.

$75 to $344

 

 

Toilet rooms with 6 or more toilet compartments, or combination of 6 or more water closets and urinals, required to provide ambulatory accessible toilet compartment with grab bars.

Toilet rooms with 6 or more toilet compartments required to provide ambulatory accessible toilet compartment with grab bars.

IBC 2000 & 2003 have equivalent requirement to final revised guidelines.

$145

 

Private facilities required to provide public TTY in building with 4 or more public telephones, and on floor with 4 or more public telephones.

 

Government facilities required to provide public TTY in building with public telephone, and on floor with public telephone.

 

Private and government facilities required to provide public TTY in bank of 4 or more public telephones.  Banks of public telephones located within 200 feet of, and on same floor as, another bank of telephones with public TTY exempt.

 

Private and government facilities required to provide public TTY on exterior site with 4 or more public telephones.

 

Bus or rail stations with public telephone at entrance required to provide public TTY.

 

Public rest stops with public telephone required to provide public TTY.

Private facilities with 4 or more public telephones required to provide public TTY.

 

Government facilities with public telephone in public use area of building required to provide public TTY.

 

Rail stations with 4 or more public telephones at entrance required to provide public TTY.

IBC 2000 (Appendix E) has equivalent requirement to final revised guidelines for private facilities.

 

IBC 2003 (Appendix E) has equivalent requirement to final revised guidelines for private facilities and government facilities.

$2,320

At least one operable window in accessible rooms required to comply with technical requirements for operable parts.  Hotel guest rooms that are not required to provide mobility features and dwelling units are exempt.

No requirement.

IBC2000 & 2003 have equivalent requirement to final revised guidelines for certain occupancies.

$505

Two-way communication systems at entrances required to provide audible and visual signals.

No requirement.

 

 

$1,392

Automatic doors serving accessible means of egress required to provide maneuvering clearance or to have standby power.

No requirement.

 

$2,353

Doors on platform lifts required to be power operated.  Platform lifts serving only 2 landings and with self-closing doors on opposite sides exempt.

Doors required to provide maneuvering clearance or to be power operated.

IBC 2000 & 2003 have equivalent requirement to final revised guidelines.

Will vary from $0 to $569 depending on specific design of facility.

Minimum clearance at water closet in accessible single user toilet rooms: 60 x 56 inches.

Minimum clearance at water closet in accessible single user toilet rooms based on approach:

Forward: 48 x 60 inches;

Parallel: 48 X 56 inches;

Both forward and parallel: 60 x 56 inches.

IBC 2000 & 2003 have equivalent requirement to final revised guidelines, except for dwelling units.

$286 for dwelling units

 

$667 for other facilities

Shower spray unit with on-off control required in bathtubs and shower compartments in accessible toilet and bathing rooms.

Shower spray unit required in bathtubs and shower compartments in accessible toilet and bathing rooms.

 

$161

Minimum clearance between opposing base cabinets, counter tops, appliances, or walls in accessible galley kitchens where two entries not provided: 60 inches.  Kitchens without cooktop or conventional range exempt.

Minimum clearance between opposing base cabinets, counter tops, appliances, or walls in accessible galley kitchens: 40 inches.

 

$993

Comparable vanity counter top space required in hotel guest rooms with mobility features.

No requirement.

 

$752

Two percent of dwelling units in Federal, State, and local government housing required to provide communication features.

No requirement.

 

$96 for visual signal if door bell and peephole provided.

 

$322 for doorbell with visual signal and peephole.

 

$353 for TTY connection if voice communication system provided at entrance.

Office buildings, hotels, hospitals and nursing homes, and Federal, State, and local government housing will be affected by many of the revisions in Table ES.2, and are likely to experience relatively higher costs than other facilities.  The assessment estimates the national costs of the revisions for the construction of these facilities. The national costs are summarized in Table ES.3.   

Table ES.3 – National Costs for Facilities Likely to Experience Relatively Higher Costs (text version)

 

 

Facility

 

National Costs Compared To

Current Guidelines

Upper Bound

International Building Code

Lower Bound

Office Buildings

$1.5 million

$0.7 million

Hotels

$6.2 million

$4.1 million

Hospitals & Nursing Homes

$13.6 million

$2.4 – $2.9 million

Government Housing

$5.4 million

$5.4 million

Total

$26.7 million

$12.6 - $13.1 million

The assessment also estimates the additional costs of the revisions for individual facilities as a percentage of total construction costs as shown in Table ES.4.

Table ES.4 – Additional Costs for Individual Facilities (text version)

 

 

 

Facility

Additional Costs as Percentage of Total Construction Costs Compared to

Current Guidelines

Upper Bound

International Building Code

Lower Bound

Office Buildings

0.02 to 0.10   %

0.01 to 0.08  %

Hotels

0.06 to 0.50   %

0.04 to 0.30  %

Hospitals & Nursing Homes

0.02   %

0.00  %

Government Housing

0.01  %

0.01 %

The final revised guidelines will affect the new construction and alterations of other types of facilities.  Industry reports estimate $152 billion of non-residential building construction projects were started in 2002; and government reports estimate $264 billion of non-residential building construction work and $6 billion of Federal, State and local government housing construction work was installed in 2002.  In order to be considered an economically significant regulatory action with an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, the final revised guidelines would need to have impacts ranging from 0.04 percent to 0.07 percent of industry and government construction estimates.  The final revised guidelines will have impacts within or above this range on office buildings and hotels, and it is likely that the impacts on some other facilities will be within or above this range.   Although the impacts are not significant for an individual facility, when added together across the economy the impacts can be economically significant.  Because an extremely low threshold of impacts on individual facilities can render the final revised guidelines economically significant, and because the benefits of the final revised guidelines are unquantifiable but substantial, the Board has classified the final revised guidelines as an economically significant regulatory action.

The final revised guidelines will also affect leased postal facilities. When the United States Postal Service enters into a new lease for a postal facility, including previously occupied space, it will have to comply with the accessibility requirements in the final revised guidelines for facilities leased by Federal agencies, including providing accessible customer service counters and van accessible parking spaces.  The United States Postal Service leases 27,000 postal facilities, and estimates that it will cost $9,234 per facility to comply with the final revised guidelines.  The United States Postal Service enters into an average of 1,661 new leases per year for postal facilities, and estimates it will cost $15.3 million annually for leased postal facilities to comply with the final revised guidelines.

On the basis of this assessment, the Access Board certifies that the final revised guidelines are not expected to have a significant economic impact on the new construction and alterations of facilities by a substantial number of small entities for purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.  The final revised guidelines will add 0.01 to 0.5 percent to the total construction costs of facilities compared to the current guidelines; and 0.00 to 0.3 percent to the total construction costs of facilities compared to the International Building Code.  These impacts are not significant for an individual facility.