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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE USA ADA
(AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT)

Concerns regarding accessibility were addressed by the US Government back in the 1960s. In 1968, Congress enacted the Architectural Barriers Act to make Federal buildings accessible for those in wheelchairs. In 1973, a federal agency was created to develop design standards and enforce compliance in Federal buildings - the Access Board. The Access Board's responsibilities grew over the years to include removal of communication barriers as well as physical barriers for the disabled.

With the passage of the ADA civil rights law in 1990, the Access Board's duties were expanded to develop accessibility guidelines for public as well as commercial facilities, provide technical assistance and training on these guidelines, and conduct research to support and maintain the guidelines. In 1991, the Access Board published the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). The Department of Justice quickly adopted ADAAG as the standard for construction of public accommodations and commercial facilities. These guidelines were the basis for what we commonly refer to as the 1992 Federal ADA Law when we discuss signage regulations.

Over the years, the Access Board has worked with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to update and clarify the original accessibility guidelines. In June of 2004, the Access Board approved a new set of guidelines based on the ICC/ANSI A117.1 -2003 Accessibility Standard. This new document overhauls the existing ADA Accessibility Guidelines. It incorporates many significant changes, both large and small, as well as including the ABA guidelines for federal facilities. It marks the first full-scale update of the guidelines since the original ADA law was adopted over 14 years ago.

2010 ADA Standards Cover In September 2010, the Department of Justice published revised and enforceable standards called the "2010 Standards for Accessible Design". These standards combine the existing Standards for State and Local Government Facilities Title II and the 2004 ADAAG Guidelines. The new standards are effective as of March 15, 2012 for public accommodations and commercial facilities. As of the effective date, the 2010 Standards are required for all new construction, alteration and barrier removal projects.



FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT:

ADA Home Page: www.ada.gov

Access Board: www.access-board.gov

Department of Justice: www.justice.gov

ABA
(Architectural Barriers Act) guidelines to make federal buildings wheelchair accessible.

ADA
(Americans with Disabilities Act) a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a disability.

ADAAG
(ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities) published by the Access Board.

Access Board
The federal agency charged with developing ADA Accessibility Standards. The Access Board actively participates in ICC and ANSI code revisions.

ANSI
(American National Standards Institute). ANSI serves as administrator and coordinator of the US private sector voluntary standardization system.

ICC / IIBC
International Code Council (ICC) whose mission is to bring uniformity to building codes by developing an International Building Code (IBC).

DOJ
(Department of Justice) whose job is to enforce the ADA law.