November 5, 2018

The Access Board was created in part to enforce the first federal law to address accessibility, the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968. This law requires access to buildings or facilities that were designed, built, or altered with federal dollars or leased by federal agencies. The Board also maintains the guidelines upon which the ABA Standards are based.

With passage of other laws, including the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Board’s mission has expanded significantly. It is now responsible for developing and keeping up to date accessibility requirements for the wide array of facilities covered by the ADA, as well as for transportation vehicles and systems. It also issues standards for information and communication technology and for medical diagnostic equipment.

Despite these other duties, the Board continues the important work of enforcing the ABA. We do this through the investigation of complaints from the public. Filing a complaint with the Board is easy to do and can be done through an online form. Complaints should include the name and address of the facility and a brief description of the access barriers or issues. Complaints can be filed anonymously.

The first step of an investigation is to determine whether the facility at issue is covered by the ABA. If so, the next step is to determine whether the facility meets the applicable accessibility standard. If the facility is not subject to the ABA or if it meets the appropriate accessibility standard, the Board will advise the complainant of its findings. Some facilities are not covered by the ABA but by other laws such as the ADA, which is enforced by other agencies and the courts.

If the facility does not meet the applicable standard, the Board will work with the responsible entities to develop a plan to bring the facility into compliance. Complaints are typically resolved amicably with the responsible agencies or departments. Cases remain open until all necessary corrective action is completed. In FY 2018, the Board resolved 43 cases through corrective action.

ABA Cases Resolved Through Corrective Action
(October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018)

U.S. Postal Facilities

Military and Veterans Affairs Facilities

Parks and Historic Sites

Internal Revenue Service

Other Facilities