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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Q: Where can I find a complete set of ADA Standards for Accessible Design?

A: A downloadable copy of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design can be found at resources page or a hard copy can be purchased for a small fee from our web store, along with the Guidance on the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design and the revised 2010 Titles II and III regulations.

Q: How does the ADA affect existing state and local building codes?

A: It doesn’t – existing codes remain in effect. Therefore, one must design element by element to the most stringent standard. The good news – chapters three through nine of ANSI A117.1-2003 are almost identical to chapters three through nine of the 2010 ADA Standards.

Q: What is the major difference between ANSI A117.1-2003 and the 2010 ADA Standards?

A: Chapter 10 of the 2010 ADA Standards. This chapter is all about recreation, which includes standards for amusement rides, recreational boating facilities, exercise machines and equipment, fishing piers and platforms, golf facilities, miniature golf facilities, play areas, swimming pools, wading pools, and spas, and shooting facilities with firing positions.

Q: Is my building “grandfathered in” under the older ADA Standards or do I need to comply with the new 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design?

A: The ADA does not have a provision to “grandfather” a facility but it does have a provision called “safe harbor” in the revised ADA regulations for businesses and state and local governments.  A safe harbor means that you do not have to make modifications to elements in an existing building that comply with the 1991 Standards, even if the new 2010 Standards have different requirements for them. This provision is applied on an element-by-element basis.  However, if you choose to alter elements, the safe harbor no longer applies so the altered elements must comply with the 2010 ADA Standards. A safe harbor does not apply to elements in existing facilities that were NOT addressed in the original 1991 Standards but ARE addressed in the 2010 ADA Standards. These elements include recreation facilities such as swimming pools, play areas, exercise machines, miniature golf facilities, and bowling alleys.

Q: What are the compliance dates mandated by the new 2010 ADA Standards?

A: For businesses that are covered under title III, the compliance date for the 2010 ADA Standards for new construction and alterations is determined by: the date the last application for a building permit or permit extension is certified to be complete by a State, county, or local government; the date the last application for a building permit or permit extension is received by a State, county, or local government, where the government does not certify the completion of applications; or the start date of physical construction or alteration, if no permit is required. If that date is on or after March 15, 2012, then new construction and alterations must comply with the 2010 ADA Standards.

Q: I’m designing a new privately owned apartment complex. What section of the new 2010 ADA Standards should I use?

A: If there is a rental office, then elements associated with the office will need to comply with the 2010 ADA Standards.  Generally, housing units within the apartment complex will only have to comply with the Fair Housing Act and not the 2010 ADA Standards, unless the apartments or townhouses are provided by or on behalf of a place of education.

See specific requirements at 28 CFR 35.151(e) and 28 CFR 35.151(f) and 28 CFR 36.406(d) and 28 CFR 36.406(e).

Q: I’ve been asked by my home owners’ association if we need to add a lift to our pool to comply with the new 2010 ADA Standards. Do we?

A: If the swimming pool/club located in your residential community is made available to the public for rental or use, then your HOA will have ADA obligations; however, if the pool and/or club house is only open to residents and their guests, they have no ADA requirement to install a lift.

Q: I have specific questions I would like answered. Who should I talk to?

A: Please contact one of our architectural information specialists through our Technical Assistance Form or call 800-949-4232.

Q: I need a consultant to do an accessibility audit of a facility. Who should I contact?

A: There are several organizations that offer consulting services. Meeting the Challenge, Inc. is one of the premier consulting services for the Rocky Mountain region. The Rocky Mountain ADA Center may be able to direct you toward other services as well. Complete the Technical Assistance Form or contact the Rocky Mountain ADA Center for more information.

For possible additional resources, please see our resources page or contact the Rocky Mountain ADA Center through our Technical Assistance Form or call us directly at 800-949-4232.

The Rocky Mountain ADA Center is not an enforcement agency, nor does it provide advocacy services. The information and materials provided by the center are intended solely as informal guidance and are not a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities. All communication with the center is strictly confidential.

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