The Americans with Disabilities Act Celebrates
Nearly a Quarter Century of Accessibility
International Code Council proud of the role it has played in this landmark legislationToday’s buildings and community venues are far more accommodating of occupants needs and accessible to a greater segment of the population – all thanks to something that happened 24 years ago.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), was signed into law July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA provides civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications. The purpose of the law is to make sure people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
The U.S. Access Board has revised the original 1990 ADA Accessibility Guidelines, and the new regulations are known as the 2010 ADA Standard for Accessible Design. The 2010 ADA Standard references the International Building Code (IBC) for accessible means of egress. Many provisions in the 2010 ADA Standard, IBC and ICC A117.1 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities have been extensively coordinated to simplify compliance for builders and code officials.
“The International Code Council (ICC) has a history of expertise in addressing issues of public health and safety,” said Dominic Sims, CBO, and CEO of the ICC. “We are exceedingly proud of the role ICC has played, in creating opportunities for full participation and access for people with disabilities to public and private accommodations.”
Marsha Mazz, Director of the U.S. Access Board’s Office of Technical and Information Services, said they appreciate the willingness of ICC and the ICC A117.1 Committee to work with them to coordinate accessibility requirements in our codes, standards and guidelines. “I believe the combination of the unique perspectives of each organization results in better and more carefully considered accessibility requirements in all of our documents,” Mazz said.
The ICC A117.1 is a nationally recognized standard of technical requirements for making buildings accessible. In 1987, at the request of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), ICC assumed secretariat responsibility for the ICC A117.1 and has been responsible for the standard ever since.
The ICC develops the standard through a transparent consensus process with meetings open to the public. The 46-member ICC A117.1 Development Committee has representatives from various accessibility organizations. ICC’s goal is to meet or exceed the accessibility requirements found in the 2010 ADA Standard in agreement with its mission to provide the highest quality codes, standards, products and services for all concerned with the safety and performance of the built environment.
“The ICC A117.1 Committee has worked consistently to incorporate provisions that are consistent with the 2010 ADA Standard,” said Ken Schoonover, chair of ICC A117.1 Committee. “The marriage of ICC A117.1 and the I-Codes enables code officials, designers and builders to work together during plan review and through construction to build in compliance with current accessibility standards, including the 2010 ADA Standards. When the code official, designers and builders get it right in the first place, buildings are accessible, construction is cost effective, and the entire community benefits.”
“Even before the ADA was enacted, the ICC and its founding members worked to address disability needs through changes to building and fire safety codes,” said Stephen D. Jones, CBO, President of the ICC Board of Directors. “The Code Council’s model codes began to address accessibility as early as 1975, 15 years before the ADA was enacted. By using this expertise for accessible means of egress, the 2010 ADA Standard avoided reinventing the wheel and potential conflicts between federal requirements and nationally recognized building construction requirements in the model codes.”
“BOMA International has been a leader in educating owners and managers of commercial properties about the laws and regulations for ADA compliance since its passage in 1990; most recently with its ‘Guide to the 2010 ADA Standards,'” said BOMA International Chair John G. Oliver, BOMA Fellow, managing principal for Oliver & Company. “Working closely with organizations such as the ICC has improved ADA compliance for office buildings and other commercial properties and enabled persons with disabilities to have access and opportunity across all work spaces.”
For more information about the current 2009 edition of the ICC A117.1, there are two publications available from ICC: Significant Changes to the A117.1 Accessibility Standard, 2009 Edition, and the ICC A117.1-2009 Standard and Commentary: Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. The latter publication contains the complete text of the ICC A117.1-2009, accompanied by corresponding graphics and commentary. This tool will help users of the ICC A117.1 understand the application and intent of the accessibility technical criteria.
About us: The International Code Council is a member-focused association. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.