CHAPTER 10 SMALL ENTITIES

10.0     Introduction

 

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to analyze the impacts of proposed and final rules on small entities, and alternatives to minimize any significant economic impacts on small entities.[266] The analysis may be performed in conjunction with the regulatory assessment required by Executive Order 12866.  If an agency determines after preliminary analysis that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, the agency is not required to analyze alternatives to minimize any significant economic impacts on small entities.  The agency must certify that the rule has no significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, and explain the factual basis for the determination.

10.1     Certification of No Significant Economic Impact

 

The Access Board prepared a regulatory assessment for the proposed rule.[267]  The regulatory assessment analyzed the impacts of the revisions in the proposed rule on the new construction and alterations of facilities by comparing the revisions to the current guidelines; the 1998 edition of the ICC/ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities; and the new International Building Code, which was under development and was expected to be widely adopted by State and local governments.  The revisions in the proposed rule added less than 0.5 percent to the total construction costs of the facilities examined, with the exception of large sports stadiums and arenas.  Based on this analysis, the Access Board certified that the proposed rule was not expected to have a significant economic impact on the new construction and alterations of facilities by a substantial number of small entities when the proposed rule was published in November 1999.[268] 

 

The Small Business Administration objected to the certification of no significant economic impact.[269]  The Small Business Administration noted that the ICC/ANSI A117.1 standard is a voluntary consensus standard, and there was no factual information presented in the regulatory assessment for the proposed rule showing the 1998 edition of the ICC/ANSI A117.1 standard had actually been adopted by State and local governments.  Since the proposed rule was published in November 1999, the new International Building Code has been published.  The International Building Code references the 1998 edition of the ICC/ANSI A117.1 standard for technical requirements.  The International Building Code has been adopted statewide by 28 States and by local governments in another 15 States.[270]

 

This assessment analyzes the impacts of the final revised guidelines by separately comparing the revisions to the current guidelines and to the International Building Code.[271]  The additional costs of the revisions for facilities that are likely to experience higher costs than other facilities are estimated in Chapter 8 with separate columns for the current guidelines and the International Building Code.  The costs listed under the current guidelines column are the upper bound, and assume that the facilities are not required to comply with equivalent requirements in the International Building Code.  The costs listed under the International Building Code column are the lower bound, and assume that the facilities are required to comply with equivalent requirements in the International Building Code.  As shown in Table 10.1, the final revised guidelines add 0.01 to 0.5 percent to the total construction costs of the facilities compared to the current guidelines; and 0.00 to 0.3 percent to the total construction costs of the facilities compared to the International Building Code.

 

Table 10.1 – Costs of Final Revised Guidelines  (text version)

 

 

Facility

Costs as Percentage of Total Construction

 Costs Compared to

Current  Guidelines

(Upper Bound)

IBC

(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 and Nursing Homes

0.02   %

0.00  %

Federal, State, and Local Government Housing

 

0.01  %

 

0.01 %

 

As discussed in Chapter 4, the Access Board has adopted alternatives in the final revised guidelines that eliminate costs that were estimated in the regulatory assessment for the proposed rule by:

 

  • Adding a new scoping requirement for visible alarms in employee work areas that allows for such alarms to be provided as needed;

 

  • Not increasing the scoping requirement for hotel guest rooms with communication features;

 

  • Clarifying the scoping requirement for vertical dispersion of wheelchair spaces and modifying the scoping requirement for designated aisle seats in assembly areas; and

 

  • Not adding new scoping requirements for equivalent vertical access and companion seats in assembly areas.

 

As discussed in Chapter 5, the final revised guidelines also reduce some existing scoping requirements and add new exceptions to some existing scoping and technical requirements that will benefit small entities.  For example, small entities with four or fewer parking spaces are not required to provide signs identifying accessible parking spaces.  Doctor’s offices with clustered toilet rooms are not required to make each one accessible.  High schools are not required to provide accessible routes to small press boxes.

 

The Small Business Administration requested the Access Board to analyze the impacts of the final revised guidelines on alterations to existing facilities.[272]  The impacts will be facility specific and will depend on the elements and spaces that are altered in an existing facility.  Chapter 7 analyzes the impacts of the revisions that have monetary impacts on alterations to existing facilities by answering a series of questions about whether the element or space is typically altered; whether the element or space is part of the “path of travel” serving a primary function area; and whether the general exception for technical infeasibility may apply to alterations of the element or space.  Chapter 8 includes alteration projects in the estimates of the national costs of the revisions for facilities that are likely to experience relatively higher costs than other facilities.

 

Finally, the Small Business Administration requested the Access Board to analyze the impacts of the final revised guidelines on the obligation of entities under the Americans with Disabilities Act to remove architectural and communication barriers in existing facilities, where it is readily achievable.  As discussed in Chapter 2.6, the Department of Justice will revise the accessibility standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act after the Access Board publishes the final revised guidelines, and will address the effect of the revised standards on existing facilities subject to the barrier removal requirement.  A statement has been added to the final revised guidelines to clarify that any determination to apply the revised scoping and technical requirements to existing facilities subject to the barrier removal requirement is solely with the discretion of the Department of Justice and is effective only to the extent required by regulations issued by the Department of Justice.[273]

 

For the reasons stated above, 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.