HUD proposes new rule recognizing additional building codes and standards to encourage more housing development
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a proposed rule that would recognize additional sets of standards and model building code editions that, when followed in the design and construction of new multifamily housing, will ensure compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
The Fair Housing Act requires that multifamily housing built after March 1991 contain accessible features for people with disabilities. Requirements include accessible common areas in buildings and developments, usable bathrooms and kitchens, wider doors, and environmental controls that can be reached by persons who use wheelchairs. The failure to include these features in buildings constructed after March 1991 violates federal law and makes a property difficult or impossible for persons with disabilities to use.
Under the proposed rule, HUD will incorporate more recent editions of currently recognized safe harbor standards and model building codes. HUD will amend its regulations to include the 2009 edition standards of the American National Standards Institute, as well as the 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018 editions of the International Building Code, as safe harbors for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
States and local communities across the nation often adopt or adapt model building codes for enforcement within their jurisdictions to ensure up-to-date, sound standards for construction. When fully adopting one of HUD’s “safe harbors,” state and local communities are assured that their building codes incorporate the requirements for accessible features in new multifamily housing buildings under the Fair Housing Act.
Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Requirements; Adoption of Additional Safe Harbors
Summary: This rule proposes to amend HUD’s Fair Housing Act design and construction regulations by incorporating by reference the 2009 edition of International Code Council Accessible and Usable Building and Facilities (ICC A117.1–2009) standard, as a safe harbor. The Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities standard is a technical standard for the design of facilities that are accessible to persons with disabilities. HUD proposes to determine that compliance with ICC A117.1–2009 satisfies the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act and its amendments. This rule also proposes to designate the 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) as safe harbors under the Fair Housing Act. The IBC is a model building code and not law, but it has been adopted as law by various states and localities. The IBC provides minimum standards for public safety, health, and welfare as they are affected by building construction.
Comments are due by March 16, 2020.
More information available at the Federal Register.
Click here to read the full release.
The International Code Council encourages interested parties to submit comments to HUD. For reference, please see the draft comments that the Code Council is circulating on the proposed rule. Organizations or governmental bodies interested in co-signing these comments should contact International Code Council Vice President of Federal Relations Gabriel Maser by March 9, 2020.