December 17, 2008  

The Department of Defense (DOD) recently adopted new accessibility standards under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), which requires access to federally funded facilities. The standards apply to military and other facilities under DOD’s jurisdiction. According to a department memorandum issued on October 31, 2008, the new standards take effect immediately for projects and leasing actions, though projects before FY 2010 are required to comply to the maximum extent feasible. The memorandum details which facilities are covered by the policy, addresses exclusions and requests for modifications, and provides supplementary information on certain requirements in the standards.

DOD is the third agency to refresh its ABA standards based on updated guidelines issued by the Board. The General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service previously adopted similar standards. As a result, updated standards are now in place for all federally funded facilities covered by the ABA except housing. Updated ABA standards for housing from the Department of Housing and Urban Development are expected at a future date. The new ABA standards, which replace the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, are highly consistent with those being adopted under the ADA for non-federal facilities. A guide on the Board's website provides additional information on the ABA and ADA standards.

For further information, contact Clarence A. Johnson of DOD at (703) 571-9321.