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ABA Accessibility Standard for GSA Facilities Pocket Guide

F106 Definitions

F106.1 General.

For the purpose of this document, the terms defined in F106.5 have the indicated meaning.

Advisory F106.1 General. Terms defined in F106.5 are italicized in the text of this document.

ETA Editor’s Note

Selected defined terms from the GSA Final Rule are double underlined in the text of this document.

F106.2 Terms Defined in Referenced Standards.

Terms not defined in F106.5 or in regulations issued by the Administrator of the General Services Administration, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, or the United States Postal Service to implement the Architectural Barriers Act but specifically defined in a referenced standard, shall have the specified meaning from the referenced standard unless otherwise stated.

F106.3 Undefined Terms.

The meaning of terms not specifically defined in F106.5 or in regulations issued by the Administrator of the General Services Administration, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, or the United States Postal Service to implement the Architectural Barriers Act or in referenced standards shall be as defined by collegiate dictionaries in the sense that the context implies.

F106.4 Interchangeability.

Words, terms and phrases used in the singular include the plural and those used in the plural include the singular.

F106.5 Defined Terms.


A site, building, facility, or portion thereof that complies with this part.

Accessible Means of Egress.

A continuous and unobstructed way of egress travel from any point in a building or facility that provides an accessible route to an area of refuge, a horizontal exit, or a public way.


An expansion, extension, or increase in the gross floor area or height of a building or facility.

Administrative Authority.

A governmental agency that adopts or enforces regulations and guidelines for the design, construction, or alteration of buildings and facilities.


A change to a building or facility that affects or could affect the usability of the building or facility or portion thereof. Alterations include, but are not limited to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, resurfacing of circulation paths or vehicular ways, changes or rearrangement of the structural parts or elements, and changes or rearrangement in the plan configuration of walls and full-height partitions. Normal maintenance, reroofing, painting or wallpapering, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the building or facility. [ECTCR UFAS 3.5]

Alteration. Remodeling, improving, extending, or making other changes to a facility, exclusive of maintenance repairs that are preventive in nature. The term includes planning, engineering, architectural work and other similar actions. (41 CFR, Chapter 102, Subchapter C, Part 102-71, Sec.  102-71.20  What definitions apply to GSA's real property policies?)

Amusement Attraction.

Any facility, or portion of a facility, located within an amusement park or theme park which provides amusement without the use of an amusement device. Amusement attractions include, but are not limited to, fun houses, barrels, and other attractions without seats.

Amusement Ride.

A system that moves persons through a fixed course within a defined area for the purpose of amusement.

Amusement Ride Seat.

A seat that is built-in or mechanically fastened to an amusement ride intended to be occupied by one or more passengers.

Area of Sport Activity.

That portion of a room or space where the play or practice of a sport occurs.

Assembly Area.

A building or facility, or portion thereof, used for the purpose of entertainment, educational or civic gatherings, or similar purposes. For the purposes of these requirements, assembly areas include, but are not limited to, classrooms, lecture halls, courtrooms, public meeting rooms, public hearing rooms, legislative chambers, motion picture houses, auditoria, theaters, playhouses, dinner theaters, concert halls, centers for the performing arts, amphitheaters, arenas, stadiums, grandstands, or convention centers.

Assistive Listening System (ALS).

An amplification system utilizing transmitters, receivers, and coupling devices to bypass the acoustical space between a sound source and a listener by means of induction loop, radio frequency, infrared, or direct-wired equipment.

Boarding Pier.

A portion of a pier where a boat is temporarily secured for the purpose of embarking or disembarking.


Boards include, but are not limited to, wood, plastic, metal, and composite products.

Boat Launch Ramp.

A sloped surface designed for launching and retrieving trailered boats and other water craft to and from a body of water.

Boat Slip.

That portion of a pier, main pier, finger pier, or float where a boat is moored for the purpose of berthing, embarking, or disembarking.


Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.

Camp Shelter.

A partially enclosed structure that provides campers and hikers cover from weather and that does not contain plumbing fixtures or kitchen appliances. Camp shelters are not transient lodging facilities or residential dwelling units.

Camping Facility.

A site, or portion of a site, developed for outdoor recreational purposes that contains camping units.

Camping Unit.

An outdoor space in a camping facility used for camping that contains outdoor constructed features, parking spaces for recreational vehicles or other vehicles, tent pads or tent platforms, or camp shelters.

Catch Pool.

A pool or designated section of a pool used as a terminus for water slide flumes.


Letters, numbers, punctuation marks and typographic symbols.

Children's Use.

Describes spaces and elements specifically designed for use primarily by people 12 years old and younger.

Circulation Path.

An exterior or interior way of passage provided for pedestrian travel, including but not limited to, walks, hallways, courtyards, elevators, platform lifts, ramps, stairways, and landings.

Closed-Circuit Telephone.

A telephone with a dedicated line such as a house phone, courtesy phone or phone that must be used to gain entry to a facility.

Common Use.

Interior or exterior circulation paths, rooms, spaces, or elements that are not for public use and are made available for the shared use of two or more people.  [ECTCR UFAS 3.5]

Cross Slope.

The slope that is perpendicular to the direction of travel (see running slope).

Curb Ramp.

A short ramp cutting through a curb or built up to it.

Detectable Warning.

A standardized surface feature built in or applied to walking surfaces or other elements to warn of hazards on a circulation path.


An architectural or mechanical component of a building, facility, space, or site.

Elevated Play Component.

A play component that is approached above or below grade and that is part of a composite play structure consisting of two or more play components attached or functionally linked to create an integrated unit providing more than one play activity.

Employee Work Area.

All or any portion of a space used only by employees and used only for work. Corridors, toilet rooms, kitchenettes and break rooms are not employee work areas.


Any access point to a building or portion of a building or facility used for the purpose of entering. An entrance includes the approach walk, the vertical access leading to the entrance platform, the entrance platform itself, vestibule if provided, the entry door or gate, and the hardware of the entry door or gate.


All or any portion of buildings, structures, site improvements, elements, and pedestrian routes or vehicular ways located on a site.

Federal Agency. Any Executive agency or any establishment in the legislative or judicial branch of the Government (except the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Architect of the Capitol and any activities under his or her direction). (41 CFR, Chapter 102, Subchapter C, Part 102-71, Sec. 102-71.20  What definitions apply to GSA's real property policies?)

Foot-candle. The illumination on a surface one square foot in area on which there is a uniformly distributed flux of one lumen, or the illuminance produced on a surface all points of which are at a distance of one foot from a directionally uniform point source of one candela. (41 CFR, Chapter 102, Subchapter C, Part 102-71, Sec.  102-71.20  What definitions apply to GSA's real property policies?)


A variable-sloped pedestrian walkway that links a fixed structure or land with a floating structure. Gangways that connect to vessels are not addressed by this document.

Golf Car Passage.

A continuous passage on which a motorized golf car can operate.

Ground Level Play Component.

A play component that is approached and exited at the ground level.

GSA. The U.S. General Services Administration, acting by or through the Administrator of General Services, or a designated official to whom functions under this part have been delegated by the Administrator of General Services. (41 CFR, Chapter 102, Subchapter C, Part 102-71, Sec.  102-71.20  What definitions apply to GSA's real property policies?)

Joint Use.

Interior or exterior rooms, spaces, or elements that are common space available for use by all occupants of the building. Joint use does not include mechanical or custodial rooms or areas occupied by other tenants.


Any agreement which establishes the relationship of landlord and tenant.

Mail Boxes.

Receptacles for the receipt of documents, packages, or other deliverable matter. Mail boxes include, but are not limited to, post office boxes and receptacles provided by commercial mail-receiving agencies, apartment facilities, or schools.

Marked Crossing.

A crosswalk or other identified path intended for pedestrian use in crossing a vehicular way.


An intermediate level or levels between the floor and ceiling of any story with an aggregate floor area of not more than one-third of the area of the room or space in which the level or levels are located. Mezzanines have sufficient elevation that space for human occupancy can be provided on the floor below.

Military Installation.

A base, camp, post, station, yard, center, homeport facility for any ship, or other activity or operation under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, including any leased facilityMilitary installation does not include any facility used primarily for civil works, rivers and harbors projects, or flood control projects.  Multiple, contiguous, or collocated bases, camps, posts, stations, yards, centers, or home ports shall not be considered as constituting a single military installation.

Occupant Load.

The number of persons for which the means of egress of a building or portion of a building is designed.

Operable Part.

A component of an element used to insert or withdraw objects, or to activate, deactivate, or adjust the element.

Outdoor Constructed Features.

Picnic tables, fire rings, grills, fireplaces, wood stoves, trash and recycling receptacles, water hydrants, utility and sewage hookups, outdoor rinsing showers, benches, and viewing scopes provided at outdoor recreation facilities.

Picnic Facility.

A site, or portion of a site, developed for outdoor recreational purposes that contains picnic units.

Picnic Unit.

An outdoor space in a picnic facility used for picnicking that contains outdoor constructed features.


A pictorial symbol that represents activities, facilities, or concepts.

Play Area.

A portion of a site containing play components designed and constructed for children.

Play Component.

An element intended to generate specific opportunities for play, socialization, or learning. Play components are manufactured or natural; and are stand-alone or part of a composite play structure.

Public Building. (1) Any building that is suitable for office and/or storage space for the use of one or more Federal agencies or mixed-ownership corporations, such as Federal office buildings, post offices, customhouses, courthouses, border inspection facilities, warehouses, and any such building designated by the President. It also includes buildings of this sort that are acquired by the Federal Government under the Administrator's installment-purchase, lease-purchase, and purchase-contract authorities.

(2) Public building does not include buildings:

    (i) On the public domain.

    (ii) In foreign countries.

    (iii) On Indian and native Eskimo properties held in trust by the United States.

    (iv) On lands used in connection with Federal programs for agricultural, recreational, and conservation purposes.

    (v) On or used in connection with river, harbor, flood control, reclamation or power projects, or for chemical manufacturing or development projects, or for nuclear production, research, or development projects.

    (vi) On or used in connection with housing and residential projects.

    (vii) On military installations.

    (viii) On Department of Veterans Affairs installations used for hospital or domiciliary purposes.

    (ix) Excluded by the President. (41 CFR, Chapter 102, Subchapter C, Part 102-71, Sec.  102-71.20  What definitions apply to GSA's real property policies?)

Public Entrance.

An entrance that is not a service entrance or a restricted entrance.

Public Use.

Interior or exterior rooms, spaces, or elements that are made available to the public. Public use may be provided at a building or facility that is privately or publicly owned.

Public Way.

Any street, alley or other parcel of land open to the outside air leading to a public street, which has been deeded, dedicated or otherwise permanently appropriated to the public for public use and which has a clear width and height of not less than 10 feet (3050 mm).

Qualified Historic Building or Facility.

A building or facility that is listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or designated as historic under an appropriate State or local law.


A walking surface that has a running slope steeper than 1:20.

Repairs. Those additions or changes that are necessary for the protection and maintenance of property to deter or prevent excessive or rapid deterioration or obsolescence, and to restore property damaged by storm, flood, fire, accident, or earthquake. (41 CFR, Chapter 102, Subchapter C, Part 102-71, Sec.  102-71.20  What definitions apply to GSA's real property policies?)

Residential Dwelling Unit.

A unit intended to be used as a residence that is primarily long-term in nature. Residential dwelling units do not include transient lodging, inpatient medical care, licensed long-term care, and detention or correctional facilities.

Restricted Entrance.

An entrance that is made available for common use on a controlled basis but not public use and that is not a service entrance.

Running Slope.

The slope that is parallel to the direction of travel (see cross slope).

Self-Service Storage.

Building or facility designed and used for the purpose of renting or leasing individual storage spaces to customers for the purpose of storing and removing personal property on a self-service basis.

Service Entrance.

An entrance intended primarily for delivery of goods or services.


A parcel of land bounded by a property line or a designated portion of a public right-of-way.

Soft Contained Play Structure.

A play structure made up of one or more play components where the user enters a fully enclosed play environment that utilizes pliable materials, such as plastic, netting, or fabric.


A definable area, such as a room, toilet room, hall, assembly area, entrance, storage room, alcove, courtyard, or lobby.

State. The fifty States, political subdivisions thereof, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and Guam, and the territories and possessions of the United States. (41 CFR, Chapter 102, Subchapter C, Part 102-71, Sec.  102-71.20  What definitions apply to GSA's real property policies?)


That portion of a building or facility designed for human occupancy included between the upper surface of a floor and upper surface of the floor or roof next above. A story containing one or more mezzanines has more than one floor level.

Structural Frame.

The columns and the girders, beams, and trusses having direct connections to the columns and all other members that are essential to the stability of the building or facility as a whole.


An object that can be perceived using the sense of touch.

Technically Infeasible.

With respect to an alteration of a building or a facility, something that has little likelihood of being accomplished because existing structural conditions would require removing or altering a load-bearing member that is an essential part of the structural frame; or because other existing physical or site constraints prohibit modification or addition of elements, spaces, or features that are in full and strict compliance with the minimum requirements.

Teeing Ground.

In golf, the starting place for the hole to be played.


A pedestrian route developed primarily for outdoor recreational purposes.  A pedestrian route developed primarily to connect elements, spaces, or facilities within a site is not a trail.


An outdoor space that is designated by an entity responsible for administering or maintaining a trail to serve as an access point to the trail.  The junction of two or more trails or the undeveloped junction of a trail and a road is not a trailhead.

Transfer Device.

Equipment designed to facilitate the transfer of a person from a wheelchair or other mobility aid to and from an amusement ride seat.

Transient Lodging.

A building or facility containing one or more guest room(s) for sleeping that provides accommodations that are primarily short-term in nature. Transient lodging does not include residential dwelling units intended to be used as a residence, inpatient medical care facilities, licensed long-term care facilities, detention or correctional facilities, or private buildings or facilities that contain not more than five rooms for rent or hire and that are actually occupied by the proprietor as the residence of such proprietor.

Transition Plate.

A sloping pedestrian walking surface located at the end(s) of a gangway.


An abbreviation for teletypewriter. Machinery that employs interactive text-based communication through the transmission of coded signals across the telephone network. TTYs may include, for example, devices known as TDDs (telecommunication display devices or telecommunication devices for deaf persons) or computers with special modems. TTYs are also called text telephones

Use Zone.

The ground level area beneath and immediately adjacent to a play structure or play equipment that is designated by ASTM F 1487 (incorporated by reference, see "Referenced Standards" in Chapter 1) for unrestricted circulation around the play equipment and where it is predicted that a user would land when falling from or exiting the play equipment.

Vehicular Way.

A route provided for vehicular traffic, such as in a street, driveway, or parking facility.

Viewing Area.

An outdoor space developed for viewing landscapes, wildlife, or other points of interest.


An exterior prepared surface for pedestrian use, including pedestrian areas such as plazas and courts.

Wheelchair Space.

Space for a single wheelchair and its occupant.

Work Area Equipment.

Any machine, instrument, engine, motor, pump, conveyor, or other apparatus used to perform work. As used in this document, this term shall apply only to equipment that is permanently installed or built-in in employee work areas subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Work area equipment does not include passenger elevators and other accessible means of vertical transportation.


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