New DOJ Accessibility Guidelines Reference IBC
The newest accessibility standards to be enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will include means of egress requirements from the International Building Code (IBC). DOJ has adopted the 2004 ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines, which will be called the 2010 Accessibility Standards. The 2010 Accessibility standard references the Accessible Means of Egress section of the IBC developed by the International Code Council.
The U.S. Attorney General signed documents that officially adopted the 2010 Accessibility Standard as the referenced standard for DOJ on July 23. The final step is publication of the new standard in the federal register. The new DOJ standards will take effect six months after publication of the register. Once implemented, designers will be able to use either the 1991 Standard or the 2010 Standard for about a year. In 2012, all facilities will have to comply with the 2010 Standards.
With the cooperation of the International Code Council, U.S. Access Board and other interested parties, the IBC and ICC A117.1-Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities are already extensively coordinated with the new federal regulations. A free comparison matrix of the 2006 IBC, 2003 A117.1, 1991 ADAAG and 2004 ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines is available on the ICC website.
The guidelines will be the enforceable DOJ standard for most buildings, including institutional, commercial, recreational, transportation and government facilities. The ABA/ADA standards are already adopted and used by the U.S. Government Service Administration, Postal Service, Department of Transportation and Department of Defense. New requirements in the regulations address recreation and detention facilities, social service programs, and university housing. A fact sheet provides a summary of key changes. Details are available in an analysis of the changes.
The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety, fire prevention and energy efficiency, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council. The International Codes also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world, and as a reference for many nations outside the United States.