CHAPTER 2:  METHODOLOGY

2.0  Baseline

 

Regulatory actions are compared to a baseline to evaluate their potential impacts.  The baseline is a reasonable forecast of what would happen in the absence of the regulatory action.  As explained below, the final revised guidelines are compared to the current guidelines and the International Building Code.  In addition, the final revised guidelines concerning common use circulation paths in employee work areas, accessible means of egress, and visible alarms in hotel guest rooms with communication features are compared to the model fire and life safety codes.

 

Current Guidelines

 

 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.[34]  Newly constructed, altered, and leased facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act that are subject to standards issued by the General Services Administration are also required to comply with ADAAG, where it provides a greater level of access compared to UFAS. [35] 

 

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 facilities, or present design challenges compared to ADAAG.[36]  The codes expert identified 27 revisions that are expected to have minimal impacts on the new construction and alterations of facilities, which are discussed in Chapter 6; and 14 revisions that are expected to have monetary impacts on the new construction and alterations of facilities, which are discussed in Chapter 7. 

 

Comparing the final revised guidelines to the current guidelines represents the upper bound of the range of potential impacts, and assumes that facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or Architectural Barriers Act are not required to also comply with equivalent requirements in the International Building Code. 

International Building Code

 

The International Building Code was first issued in 2000 and revised in 2003.  The 2000 and 2003 editions of the International Building Code reference the 1998 edition of the ICC/ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities for technical requirements. 

 

In the absence of the final revised guidelines, newly constructed and altered facilities would have to comply with the International Building Code in jurisdictions where the code has been adopted.  As shown in Table 2.1, the International Building Code has been adopted statewide in 28 States and by local governments in 15 States.[37]  The District of Columbia, the Department of Defense, and the National Park Service have also adopted the International Building Code.  

 

Table 2.1 – State and Local Government Adoption of International Building Code (text version)

 

State

Adopted

Statewide

Adopted by Local Government*

 

State

Adopted

Statewide

Adopted by Local

Government*

Alabama

 

X (20)

Montana

X

 

Alaska

X

 

Nebraska

 

X (10)

Arizona

 

X (33)

Nevada

 

X (5)

Arkansas

X

 

New Hampshire

X

 

California

 

 

New Jersey

X

 

Colorado

 

X (100)

New Mexico

 

X (6)

Connecticut

 

 

New York

X

 

Delaware

 

X (3)

North Carolina

X

 

Florida

 

 

North Dakota

X

 

Georgia

X

 

Ohio

X

 

Hawaii

 

 

Oklahoma

X

 

Idaho

X

 

Oregon

 

 

Illinois

 

X (41)

Pennsylvania

X

 

Indiana

X

 

Rhode Island

 

 

Iowa

 

X (16)

South Carolina

X

 

Kansas

 

X (17)

South Dakota

X

 

Kentucky

X

 

Tennessee

 

X (3)

Louisiana

X

 

Texas

 

X (117)

Maine

 

X (21)

Utah

X

 

Maryland

X

 

Vermont

 

 

Massachusetts

X

 

Virginia

X

 

Michigan

X

 

Washington

X

 

Minnesota

X

 

West Virginia

X

 

Mississippi

 

X (12)

Wisconsin

X

 

Missouri

 

X (39)

Wyoming

X

 

* Number of local governments that have adopted the International Building Code is shown in parenthesis

 

The final revised guidelines are compared to the 2000 and 2003 editions of the International Building Code to identify whether the codes contain equivalent requirements.  Comparing the final revised guidelines to the International Building Code represents the lower bound of the range of potential impacts, and assumes that facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or Architectural Barriers Act are required to also comply with equivalent requirements in the International Building Code.  The actual impacts will be between the lower and upper bound of the range.

 

Model Fire and Life Safety Codes

 

The final revised guidelines concerning common use circulation paths in employee work areas, accessible means of egress, and visible alarms in hotel guest rooms with communication features are also compared to relevant requirements in the 2003 editions of the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code; NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code; and International Fire Code.  As shown in Table 2.2, these model codes have been adopted statewide by 48 States.[38]  The other two States, New Jersey and Ohio, have adopted the International Building Code, which contains equivalent requirements to the International Fire Code for means of egress and visible alarms.

 

Table 2.2 - Statewide Adoption of Model Fire and Life Safety Codes (text version)

State

NFPA 101

Life Safety Code

NFPA 1

Uniform Fire Code

International Fire Code

Alabama

X

X

 

Alaska

 

 

X

Arizona

 

X

 

Arkansas

X

 

X

California

 

X

 

Colorado

X

X

 

Connecticut

X

 

 

Delaware

X

 

 

Florida

X

X

 

Georgia

X

 

X

Hawaii

 

X

 

Idaho

 

 

X

Illinois

X

 

 

Indiana

 

X

X

Iowa

X

 

 

Kansas

X

 

 

Kentucky

X

X

 

Louisiana

X

X

 

Maine

X

X

 

Maryland

X

X

 

Massachusetts

X

 

 

Michigan

X

X

X

Minnesota

X

 

X

Mississippi

X

 

 

Missouri

X

 

 

Montana

 

X

 

Nebraska

X

X

 

Nevada

X

X

 

New Hampshire

X

X

 

New Jersey

 

 

 

New Mexico

X

X

 

New York

X

 

X

North Carolina

 

 

X

North Dakota

X

X

 

Ohio

 

 

 

Oklahoma

X

 

X

Oregon

 

X

X

Pennsylvania

 

 

X

Rhode Island

X

X

 

South Carolina

X

 

X

South Dakota

X

X

X

Tennessee

X

X

 

Texas

X

 

 

Utah

X

 

X

Vermont

X

X

 

Virginia

X

 

X

Washington

X

X

X

West Virginia

X

X

 

Wisconsin

X

X

 

Wyoming

X

X

X

2.1  Timing of Impacts

 

The final revised guidelines are not enforceable and will not have any impacts until they are adopted as enforceable standards by the following agencies:

 

  • Department of Justice for State and local government facilities, places of public accommodation, and commercial facilities.

 

  • Department of Transportation for public transportation facilities owned or operated by State and local governments, and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

 

  • Department of Housing and Urban Development for federally financed residential facilities.

 

  • Department of Defense for military facilities.

 

  • United States Postal Service for postal facilities.

 

  • General Services Administration for all other federally financed facilities.

 

The Department of Justice, Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and General Services Administration will have to conduct notice and comment rulemaking to adopt the final revised guidelines as enforceable standards.[39]  More State and local governments are expected to adopt the International Building Code by the time the final revised guidelines are adopted as enforceable standards by the above agencies, which will further reduce the potential impacts toward the lower bound of the range.

 

2.2  Benefits

 

The Access Board worked collaboratively with the International Code Council and the ANSI A117 Committee to harmonize the final revised guidelines with the 2000 and 2003 editions of the International Building Code and the 1998 and 2003 editions of the ICC/ANSI A117.1 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.  Harmonization will benefit State and local governments, businesses, architects, and individuals with disabilities.  These benefits are discussed in Chapter 3.  The Access Board also revised some of the scoping and technical requirements in ADAAG to reduce the impacts on facilities.  These revisions are discussed in Chapter 5.

 

2.3  Alternatives

 

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 Access Board adopted alternatives in the final revised guidelines that eliminate these costs.  These alternatives are discussed in Chapter 4.

2.4  New Construction

 

Designing facilities to be accessible from the beginning generally has minimal impacts on the total construction costs.  Most of the scoping and technical requirements do not add new features or space to facilities, but rather require that features commonly provided meet certain specifications so individuals with disabilities are included.  Most designs are produced today with the assistance of computers.  Designers can simply incorporate the specifications into their computer assisted design (CAD) programs.  This assessment focuses on revisions in the final revised guidelines that either add new features or space to facilities, or present design challenges.

 

2.5  Alterations to Existing Facilities

 

There are two general requirements and an exception that apply to alterations to existing facilities:

 

Element or Space Altered – When an element or space is altered, the altered element or space is required to meet the requirements for new construction.[40]  If the circulation path to the altered element or space is not altered, an accessible route is not required to the altered element or space, unless the altered area contains a primary function.

 

Alterations Affecting Primary Function Areas – If the alterations affect or could affect the usability of or access to an area containing a primary function, the Department of Justice and Department of Transportation regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act require the “path of travel” serving the altered area to be made accessible to the extent that the costs do not exceed 20 percent of the costs of the alterations to the primary function area.[41]  A primary function is a major activity for which the facility is intended.[42]  The “path of travel” includes an accessible route that connects the altered area with an exterior approach, and the toilet rooms, public telephones, and drinking fountains serving the altered primary function area.[43]  When the Department of Justice and Department of Transportation adopt the final revised guidelines as enforceable standards, they will address what an entity’s obligations are when elements that are part of the “path of travel” serving an altered primary function area meet earlier standards, and the revised standards change the requirements for the elements.

 

Technical Infeasibility – If it is not technically feasible to comply with a requirement because existing structural conditions would require removing or altering a load-bearing member that is an essential part of the structural frame or because of other existing physical or site constraints, the alteration is required to meet the requirement to the maximum extent feasible.[44]

 

The impacts of the revisions on alterations to existing facilities will be facility specific, and will depend on the elements and spaces that are altered.  For revisions that have monetary impacts, this assessment examines the impacts of the revisions on alterations to existing facilities by answering three questions:

 

  • Is the element or space typically altered?

 

  • Is the element or space part of the “path of travel” serving a primary function area?[45]

 

  • Does alteration of the element or space involve technical infeasibility?

 

This assessment also includes alterations projects when estimating the national costs of the final revised guidelines for office buildings, hotels, hospitals and nursing homes, and Federal, State, and local government housing.  

 

2.6  Readily Achievable Barrier Removal

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires places of public accommodation to remove architectural and communication barriers that are structural in nature in existing facilities, where it is readily achievable.[46]  Readily achievable is defined as actions that are “easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.”[47]  The Department of Justice is responsible for issuing regulations to implement the readily achievable “barrier removal” requirement.  When the Department of Justice adopts the final revised guidelines as enforceable standards, it will address what an entity’s obligations are when an element in an existing facility meets earlier standards, and the revised standards change the requirements for the element.  This assessment does not address the impacts of the final revised guidelines on readily achievable “barrier removal” in existing facilities since the Department of Justice will address this issue when it adopts the final revised guidelines as enforceable standards.