Hello. Please sign in!

36 CFR Parts 1190 and 1191 ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines - Preamble (Discussion of Comments and Changes)

F203 General Exceptions

Section F203.2 establishes a general exception for elements complying with earlier standards issued pursuant to the ABA or to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This exception, or "grandfather clause," applies only to individual elements and applies only to the extent that earlier standards contain specific provisions for the required element. For example, UFAS Section 4.17 contains provisions for wheelchair accessible toilet compartments, but does not contain provisions for ambulatory accessible toilet compartments. The technical criteria for wheelchair accessible toilet compartments in these guidelines at section 604.8.1 differ from UFAS 4.17; however, if an existing wheelchair accessible toilet compartment complies with UFAS 4.17 it need not comply with 604.8.1. On the other hand, where a Federal facility is altered, the toilet room may be subject to new accessibility requirements. In such cases, elements that were not addressed in earlier standards, such as the ambulatory accessible toilet stall, must be provided, unless it is technically infeasible to comply or a waiver or modification of the standards is obtained.

The Board has added the exception at F203.2 because Federal agencies raised concerns that these guidelines contain provisions for leasing at section 202.6 that could require alterations to elements that would have been deemed accessible under UFAS. For example, when a new lease is negotiated, certain elements within the space must comply with 202.6 even if the space was previously occupied by the Federal agency. UFAS Section 4.1.6(1) (f) contains a provision that exempts elements in both federally owned and leased facilities from any new requirements for accessibility unless altered. These guidelines require leased facilities to provide certain accessible elements such as accessible routes, toilets, drinking fountains, and telephones. Where these elements comply with earlier standards, they need not comply with these guidelines. For example, section 602.2 of these guidelines requires drinking fountains to provide a forward approach while UFAS 4.15.5 permits either a forward or parallel approach. Therefore, an existing drinking fountain providing a parallel approach and complying with UFAS 4.15.5 need not comply with section 602.2. An advisory note further clarifies that this exception does not effect a Federal agency’s responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act.

The ADA guidelines specify a limited degree of access within employee work areas (203.9). The level of access is not similarly limited in ABA facilities, consistent with the ABA’s statutory language. Consequently, there are specifications for work areas that apply to ADA facilities but not to ABA facilities. These provisions address circulation paths (206.2.8) and visual alarms (215.3), and include exceptions concerning technical specifications for accessible routes (403.5) and ramp handrails (405.8). Also, ADA scoping provisions for work surfaces are clarified in the final rule as not applying to those provided for use by employees (226.1). However, an exception is provided in the ABA guidelines for laundry equipment used only by employees (F214.1).


*You must sign in to view [MORE INFO...]