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Guidance on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Aisle Stairs and Ramps in Assembly Areas. Sections 4.1.3 and 4.1.3(4) of the 1991 Standards require that interior and exterior stairs connecting levels that are not connected by an elevator, ramp, or other accessible means of vertical access must comply with the technical requirements for stairs set out in section 4.9 of the 1991 Standards. Section 210.1 of the 2010 Standards requires that stairs that are part of a means of egress shall comply with section 504’s technical requirements for stairs. The 1991 Standards do not contain any exceptions for aisle stairs in assembly areas. Section 210.1, Exception 3 of the 2010 Standards adds a new exception that exempts aisle stairs in assembly areas from section 504’s technical requirements for stairs, including section 505’s technical requirements for handrails.

Section 4.8.5 of the 1991 Standards exempts aisle ramps that are part of an accessible route from providing handrails on the side adjacent to seating. The 2010 Standards, at section 405.1, exempt aisle ramps adjacent to seating in assembly areas and not serving elements required to be on an accessible route, from complying with all of section 405’s technical requirements for ramps. Where aisle ramps in assembly areas serve elements required to be on an accessible route, the 2010 Standards require that the aisle ramps comply with section 405’s technical requirements for ramps. Sections 505.2 and 505.3 of the 2010 Standards provide exceptions for aisle ramp handrails. Section 505.2 states that in assembly areas, a handrail may be provided at either side or within the aisle width when handrails are not provided on both sides of aisle ramps. Section 505.3 states that, in assembly areas, handrails need not be continuous in aisles serving seating.


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