While sometimes blurred, ADA compliance and compliance with building code are not the same thing. When determining what access is required for your project, it is important to understand how they work together and what distinctions exist.
What is ADA Compliance?
All places of public accommodation in the U.S. built or altered after 1991 are required to be accessible. Although previous laws had passed, the American with Disabilities Act made it illegal to discriminate against a person with a disability. Among other things, this law mandates usable, accessible routes in commercial areas, and places of public accommodation.
Measures were developed in order to make the ADA enforceable. These regulations are the teeth to the ADA. Although there are many organizations that enforce this law, the primary enforcement agency is the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The original set of regulations was released as the Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), issued July 26, 1991. ADAAG was then replaced with the ICC/ANSI A117.1 “Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities,” which was later incorporated in DOJ 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. All of these documents, until superseded by the next, were to be considered the minimum standard for accessible design. This being said, DOJ 2010 Standards are not a building code.
What is Building Code?
Building code is a set of standards developed to ensure buildings are constructed in a safe manner. It is the code that inspectors will use to evaluate the quality and usability of a building. In the United States, building codes are adopted by local and state governments. These entities have the ability to enact a building code of their own, one already in existence, or modify an existing code to suit their needs. The International Building Code (IBC) created by the International Code Council (ICC) is the commonly accepted code within the US and other countries. A117.1, which is reviewed every three years, and modified as required to account for new technology, is incorporated into IBC by reference.
Questions about how building code and ADA compliance will apply to your project? Contact a local elevator company today. Trained professionals will assist you in navigating local requirements to ensure your project plans comply with local codes and the permitting authorities.