Accessibility as a Customer–Oriented Culture

2011 Update to the Technical Assistance Manual

Description: A collage of four images: the exterior of a building, two men working at a large computer monitor, a man entering a door assited by a service animal, and a young woman working as a lab technician.


Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission

State ADA Coordinator’s Office

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Table of Contents



Acknowledgements ....................................................................................................................................................4

Foreword........................................................................................................................................................................ 5

A Note on this Updated and Expanded Edition ..............................................................................................6

Chapter 1: Introduction .............................................................................................................. 7

I. Federal laws and regulations ...................................................................................................................8

II. Best practices in accessible design........................................................................................................9

III. Application .................................................................................................................................................10

Chapter 2: Overview of Federal Laws ....................................................................................... 11

I. The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 ...............................................................................................12

II. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ...............................................................................12

III. Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 ...........................................................................................13

IV. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ..........................................................................................14

V. Apply the correct ADA Design Standards ...................................................................................... 17

VI. Putting it all together...............................................................................................................................19

Chapter 3: The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design - and Beyond .............................23

I. The 2010 DOJ Standards ..........................................................................................................................24

II. Program access in existing correctional facilities ............................................................................28

III. Pending federal guidelines and standards ......................................................................................28

IV. Georgia’s mandate for nondiscrimination in employment and services ............................30

V. Universal design .........................................................................................................................................31

Chapter 4: Procurement Considerations .................................................................................. 35

I. Architectural and engineering services ...............................................................................................36

II. Consulting services .....................................................................................................................................37

III. Property lease proposals ........................................................................................................................37

IV. Building products .....................................................................................................................................38

V. Public facility equipment .........................................................................................................................38

VI. Audio-visual equipment .........................................................................................................................39

VII. Printing and signage services ..............................................................................................................39

VIII. IT equipment ............................................................................................................................................39

Chapter 5: Common Errors and Omissions ................................................................................ 41

I. Design and plan review ..............................................................................................................................42

II. 2010 ADA Standards for State and local government. .................................................................44

III. Construction practices ..............................................................................................................................46

Chapter 6: Existing Buildings ..................................................................................................... 49

I. Maintaining accessibility ............................................................................................................................50

II. General alteration requirements ............................................................................................................51

III. Increasing accessibility .............................................................................................................................52

IV. Egress and life safety concerns .............................................................................................................53

V. Historic facilities ...........................................................................................................................................54

Chapter 7: Resources and Appendices ..................................................................................... 57

I. Federal resources ..........................................................................................................................................58

II. State resources .............................................................................................................................................59

III. Other resources ..........................................................................................................................................59

Checklist for Maintaining Accessible Facilities .................................................................................................60

Test Your Knowledge: Answers...............................................................................................................................62


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Production, Layout and Editing

United Spinal Association:

Dominic Marinelli - Vice President, Accessibility Services

Kleo J. King - Senior Vice President, Accessibility Services

Andrea Dimech - Senior Graphic Designer


Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission:

Brian Black, BD Black Codes, Inc. - Principal Author

Katy Pando - Director of Communications



University of Georgia Disability Resource Center:

Dr. Karen Kalivoda - Director

David Anderson - Disability Specialist


United Spinal Association:

Andrea Dimech - Senior Graphic Designer


2011 Revision and Update


Irene Bowen, J.D. - President, ADA One, LLC (Silver Spring, MD)

John H. Catlin, FAIA - Partner, LCM Architects (Chicago, IL)


Koncept Design Studio:

Megan Isom - Senior Account Executive (Production, Layout and Editing)

Michelle Ashman - Graphic Designer (Production, Layout and Editing)


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More than 1.4 million individuals with disabilities live and work in Georgia. These citizens may

come into contact with our state government in many different ways: as students at any State of

Georgia university, college or technical college; as visitors to any state-operated career center; as

applicants for or recipients of any required licensing or certification; as applicants for employment

with the State of Georgia; or as visitors to any state park or state facility.


As increasing numbers of people with disabilities participate in civic life, the accessibility of our

state government’s facilities, and specific project activities, is critically important. The goal is

equal opportunity, and access in an integrated setting. Everyone who qualifies to use our state

government’s resources or participate in sponsored activities should be able to do so comfortably

and efficiently. To achieve this goal, our office has developed this manual. Its purpose is two-fold:


(1) Provide design and construction professionals with accurate information about accessibility

requirements to ensure consistent interpretation and application of those requirements in State

building projects.


Accessibility is a mandate covered in state codes, standards, and regulations. State government

agencies are required to design and build facilities in a manner in which people with disabilities can

access those programs, services, and activities offered. It is critical that design professionals, state

department and agency administrators, construction compliance specialists, procurement officers,

and facility operators understand these basic requirements.


(2) Encourage design and construction professionals to consider ways the built environment can be

designed or adapted with the widest range of users in mind.


Accessibility laws and standards, however, only set minimum standards for accessibility

and accommodations.


We ask design and construction professionals to rethink accessibility - not as a legal requirement

or unwanted mandate, but as the direct route to creating a customer-oriented culture that includes

individuals with disabilities and promotes full participation and equal opportunity for everyone.

We challenge designers and builders to move beyond the minimum requirements - and embrace a

concept of universal design that serves everyone’s needs and ensures designed environments that

are functional, safe, and accommodating, while still meeting the highest aesthetic standards.


We hope this manual serves as a helpful tool towards these ends. Our office is ready to work with

you as we build Georgia’s future for everyone.


Thank you,

State ADA Coordinator’s Office, Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission

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A Note on this Updated & Expanded Edition


The first edition of this Technical Assistance Manual was published in July 2009. On September 15,

2010, the U.S. Department of Justice published its revised regulation for Title II of the Americans

with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”). This regulation adopted revised, enforceable accessibility

standards called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (“2010 Standards” or “Standards”).

The 2010 Standards set minimum requirements - both scoping and technical - for newly designed

and constructed or altered state government facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by

individuals with disabilities. Adoption of the 2010 Standards also establishes a revised reference

point for state government agencies that choose to make physical changes to existing facilities to

meet their program accessibility requirements.


This updated edition includes information on the new ADA standards, as well as an expanded

section on the ADA’s “program access” requirements applicable to state government.


The State ADA Coordinator’s Office


·  Serves as a technical resource to state agencies for the ADA’s Title II general

nondiscrimination requirements, program accessibility, communications and

employment (including the reasonable accommodation process);

·  Operates the statewide ADA facility improvements program;

·  Assists state agencies in updating, strengthening and enhancing the scope of

self-evaluations and transition plans to ensure compliance with the ADA mandate;

·  Conducts general and customized training on ADA topics for state agencies;

·  Provides informal technical assistance about the ADA to the general public,

collaborates with local ADA support systems; and

·  Increases the visibility of the ADA to help more citizens understand the letter

and the spirit of the law.


The State ADA Coordinator’s Office is a section of the

Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.


State ADA Coordinator’s Office

c/o Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission

270 Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Suite 2140

Atlanta, GA 30334-9007


Phone: 404-657-7313 (General Information & Technical


Fax: 404-463-5650

TTY: 404-657-9993

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Chapter 1: Introduction

Our goal is not just to meet - but to exceed - our federal

and state obligations to provide an accessible environment

in state-owned and operated facilities and, in doing so,

to maintain Georgia’s role as a leader in serving the needs

of individuals with disabilities and all people living in or

visiting our state.


Chapter 1: Introduction

The State of Georgia has a long-standing policy to encourage and enable persons with disabilities

to participate fully in the social and economic life of Georgia. Critical to this objective is ensuring

the accessibility of our built environment, a goal first established in our Georgia Accessibility Code.


In 2007, the Georgia State Financing and

Investment Commission (GSFIC) and the

Description: Woman in wheelchair utlizing automatic door opener.State ADA Coordinator’s Office initiated

the Statewide Facilities Accessibility Project.

Recognizing the state’s leadership role in

ensuring accessible design throughout

Georgia’s public and private sectors, the

State established a comprehensive

Accessibility plan for state-owned and

operated facilities, in order to increase the

accessibility and usability of these facilities

for persons with disabilities.


This Technical Assistance Manual was developed to support and help implement this important

project. This update reflects the 2010 changes to federal regulations under Title II of the ADA,

including the 2010 ADA Accessibility Standards. It also provides an overview of other parts of the

ADA, as well as other statutes, that may apply to or intersect with state buildings and facilities

or services provided in them. It is critical that all parties involved in the design, construction,

alteration, and maintenance of our state facilities understand not only the minimum guidelines and

requirements of our federal and state accessibility mandates, but how those mandates interrelate.

Department and agency administrators, construction compliance specialists, procurement officers,

and facility operators should also understand where and why these minimums can be exceeded

to benefit not only persons with disabilities but all building users—a concept known as “Universal

Design.” Finally, the Accessibility Project and this manual are intended to ensure a consistent

level and quality of accessible design in all state facilities, from our service offices to our historic

attractions, and from our universities to our state parks.


Please note that this manual is a supplement to federal accessibility laws and regulations, Georgia

accessibility law, and the Georgia Accessibility Code. It is not a comprehensive design manual

or legal document, and should not be considered as such. It includes advice and suggestions for

effective implementation of the law and offers information about why access features are needed,

and how these features benefit everyone. This manual has been developed to provide important

information to assist state construction compliance specialists, procurement officials and facility

maintenance personnel in making appropriate and cost-effective decisions.

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I. Federal laws and regulations

Facilities constructed, owned, leased, and/or operated by the State of Georgia are subject to the

requirements of Title II of the ADA. The ADA generally states that covered entities are prohibited

from discriminating against persons on the basis of disability, and Title II requires that state and

local governments ensure that their programs, activities, and services, when “viewed in the entirety,”

be accessible to, and usable by, persons with disabilities. The ADA regulations require that

facilities built or altered after March 15, 2012, meet the DOJ 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible

Design, which consist of the 2004 ADAAG and additional provisions. There are other federal

laws, however, that dictate accessible design that are just as important and just as applicable to

state buildings. Understanding those laws and how their nondiscrimination mandates overlay the

requirements of the ADA and our Georgia Accessibility Code is critical to complying with federal

law and — more importantly — making our state facilities usable by all persons and accessible to

those with disabilities.


In addition to the laws passed by Congress, federal agencies have established regulations and

guidelines that are applied in a variety of ways to different state projects. This manual explains

where and when to use the accessibility criteria established by the federal Departments of Justice,

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and others.


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II. Best practices in accessible design

The “science of accessibility” is a growing and changing field. The federal Architectural and

Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (known as the “Access Board”) establishes the

“baseline” accessibility guidelines that ultimately find their way into enforceable regulations. For

more than three decades, the Access Board has been adding to our knowledge base on how

to make facilities, and the individual components of those facilities, usable by individuals with

disabilities. Design criteria for accessible judges’ benches in a state courtroom, housing units in a

correctional facility, playgrounds in a state park, swimming pools on a state university campus — all

of these and more have been established and must now be followed when designing, constructing,

and altering state facilities, depending on the dates of construction or alteration. Other elements

and facilities are undergoing review by the Access Board, as it develops guidelines for rights of

way (including streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, and parking), outdoor developed areas, shared use

paths, and medical equipment. They should be reviewed and at least considered during the design,

construction, or alteration of state facilities.1


The private sector model building codes and standards also contain a wealth of accessible design

provisions that can prove invaluable to designers of state facilities. For example, the ADA and

Georgia Accessibility Code require assembly areas to have wheelchair locations that provide lines

of sight “comparable to those for members of the general public,” and the federal government

has interpreted this to include sight lines over standing spectators. How to provide a comparable

line of sight has been specified in the ICC/ANSI A117.1-2003 (International Code Council/American

National Standards Institute) accessibility standard that is referenced in the 2006 ICC International

Building Code. Designers of assembly areas to be owned or operated by the state would benefit

from this resource.


This manual also explores how accessibility codes and regulations should be considered minimum

specifications, and how exceeding the minimums can benefit not only persons with disabilities but

the public as a whole—again, under the concept of “Universal Design.”


Supplemental guidance is also available from the Access Board at

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III. Application

The Georgia Statewide Facilities Accessibility Project applies not only to new construction and

additions, but to alterations of existing buildings, renovations of historic facilities, maintenance

of accessible features, and modifications to bring the state into compliance with the “program

accessibility” requirements of the ADA or other laws. In addition, this manual reviews state

procurement policies as they relate to accessibility, from establishing a quality design team to

identifying acceptable products to be used in a building. It also looks at on-site construction and

operation practices, from maintaining accessibility during construction and renovation work, and

after work is completed, to identifying common mistakes made in the field that adversely impact

accessible design.


IV. Results

The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission is dedicated to its mission of Building

Georgia’s Future for all Georgians, including our citizens with disabilities. Our Statewide Facilities

Accessibility Project and this Technical Assistance Manual are designed to assist and provide

the necessary resources to those in our state agencies responsible for building and maintaining

Georgia’s infrastructure — from university campuses to service offices and from passenger rail

systems to state parks and historic sites. Our goal is not just to meet - but to exceed - our federal

and state obligations to provide an accessible environment in state-owned and operated facilities

and, in doing so, to maintain Georgia’s role as a leader in serving the needs of individuals with

disabilities and all people living in or visiting our state.


Description: Georgia State Capital Building












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Chapter 2:  Overview of Federal Laws

In the building code world, a single version of a code or

standard generally applies to a facility. But when accessibility

is involved, a combination of federal laws and standards may

apply to one project.


Chapter 2: Overview of Federal Laws


Accessibility is one of the few topics in both our Georgia Building Code and the nation’s model

building codes that has an overlay of federal non-discrimination requirements and standards that

must be considered when designing and constructing a building. Unlike other federal mandates

related to energy conservation, safety glazing, or designing flood elevations, accessibility is unique

in its civil rights implications, particularly those reflected by the ADA.


The ADA is only one law to reference when addressing our federal accessibility mandates. In fact,

there are a number of federal laws that include accessible design provisions, all of which must be

considered in the design and construction of state buildings. Some of these also address access to

existing facilities, as well as state services and programs.

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I. The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968

The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) generally requires that if federal money is spent to

design, construct, or alter a building, the building must meet certain minimum accessibility

requirements. Additionally, if a federal agency designs, constructs, alters, or leases a building,

it must meet ADA requirements.


The 1968 law referenced the original 1961 ANSI A117.1 standard for the technical requirements

for accessibility. Later, the federal Access Board developed the guidelines which became the 1984

Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) when they were adopted by the federal departments

that issue standards for the ABA:


·  Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

·  Department of Defense (DOD)

·  General Services Administration (GSA)

·  United States Postal Service (USPS)


While HUD continues to use UFAS as its ABA standards, the other three agencies have adopted the

Access Board’s 2004 Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines (2004 ABAAG).


II. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that if an entity receives federal funds it cannot

discriminate against persons with disabilities.


Unlike the ABA, section 504 does not cover just situations where the federal dollar is spent on

construction activity. If a state agency receives federal funds, its programs, activities, and services

are covered by Section 504, even though the federal funds are not being directed to building

construction. For example, a Georgia college or university that receives federal funds must ensure

that, when viewed in their entirety, its programs and activities are usable by persons with disabilities.

This is true even if the federal funds that the college receives are used only for student loans and

grant programs. Note that the programs provided by a federal recipient must be accessible. In other

words, a recipient must ensure that no one is subjected to discrimination because its facilities are

inaccessible to or unusable by people with disabilities. This does not necessarily translate to making

all parts of all of the recipient’s existing facilities fully accessible. For example, if a state agency

has offices in an old building with an inaccessible second floor, the agency can arrange to provide

the services offered on that floor in an alternate accessible location as needed, and as appropriate

to the situation. An elevator to that floor is not automatically required. This concept of “program

accessibility” also applies under Title II of the ADA, as further explained in the next section of this



In addition to these program accessibility requirements, all new construction and alterations by

recipients must be accessible. The current regulations, most of which were issued prior to the

1991 ADA Standards and have not yet been modified, say that compliance with UFAS meets those

requirements. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued guidance to federal agencies with section

504 responsibilities urging them to consider the 2010 Standards as an acceptable alternative to


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III. Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) was amended in 1988 to add people with disabilities to the categories of

individuals protected by its comprehensive ban on discrimination in the housing market. The HUD

regulations establish certain minimum accessibility standards for new construction of “qualified

multifamily housing.” Qualified multifamily housing is defined as buildings with four or more

housing units and includes the common use areas that serve the covered units. The FHA applies to

all public and private housing providers, including rental as well as condominium units, irrespective

of federal funding.


For these housing units, Congress specified that compliance with the 1986 ANSI A117.1 standard would

constitute compliance with the new construction requirements of the FHA, but that something less

than the 1986 A117.1 standards would also be permitted. The Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines,

published by HUD on March 6, 1991, are intended to define this minimum level of compliance.

As a result, a HUD Fair Housing unit could have interior unit doors that provide no maneuvering

space for someone using a wheelchair and less than the 32-inch clear opening required by the 1986

A117.1. These technical provisions are also less restrictive than the residential access requirements

of Title 30 (30-3-4).


Technical requirements aside, the greatest impact of the FHA is on how these units are scoped (i.e.,

where the technical requirements apply). Generally, within covered buildings served by elevators,

all dwelling units must comply with the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines. In covered buildings

without elevators, all ground floor units must comply. The guidelines also apply to long-term

shelters for people who are homeless, most nursing homes and group homes, and dormitories and

residence halls.

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IV. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or ADA, is the most comprehensive civil rights law

passed by Congress. It is a broad ban on discrimination against people with disabilities in the public

and private sectors.


Everyone in the design and code enforcement communities knows about the ADA. However, many

may not be aware that the ADA is has several parts, or “Titles.” They are:


I. Employment

II. State and Local Government Activities (including


III. Public Accommodations (including construction

and alterations by private entities)

IV. Telecommunication Relay Services

V. Miscellaneous Provisions


Of these, Titles II and III address building design and construction, and Titles I and II apply to

departments in state government.


The law protects those who are “individuals with disabilities.” An individual with a disability is

defined as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more

major life activities. Such an impairment can include seeing, walking, hearing, feeding oneself,

living independently, or working. Additionally, a person who has a history or record of such an

impairment, or a person who is perceived by others to have such an impairment, is protected by

the ADA. The ADA Amendments Act, which was effective January 1, 2009, makes clear that this

definition has a broad sweep.


Title I

Title I prohibits discrimination in employment by entities with 15 or more employees, and all state

and local employers, and requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to an

otherwise qualified employee or applicant. An accommodation may include installing visible alarm

notification appliances for a deaf employee, widening an office doorway for an employee using a

wheelchair, or assisting a blind job applicant with filling out an application. The “reasonableness”

component of Title I has an “undue burden” test that is case-specific and budget-sensitive. For

example, providing a ramp at the employee entrance may be an undue burden for a small employer

with very limited resources, whereas installing an elevator for an employee using a wheelchair could

be reasonable for larger employers with greater financial resources. (Modifications of procedures,

policies, job descriptions, etc. are separate matters not addressed by this manual.)


The decision to make physical modifications for an employee with a disability may not be based

on judgments regarding the value or importance of an employee’s work. For example, the State

Attorney General’s office could not decide that it will modify a bathroom for a staff attorney who

uses a wheelchair, but not for a secretary who uses a wheelchair. Additionally, Title I protects

qualified applicants for employment; a state agency may not make employment decisions regarding

a prospective employee based on the fact that the applicant’s disability may involve accessibility

modifications to the place of employment.


Title I is enforced by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


Title II


Title II applies to the services and facilities of the state and its political subdivisions. All new

construction and alterations must meet accessibility standards. The State of Georgia is required to

ensure that its programs, activities, and services, when viewed in their entirety, do not discriminate

against individuals with disabilities. In existing buildings, this may involve moving programs or

activities to an accessible level or area, or may involve making alterations to existing facilities,

including modifications to toilet rooms, adding Braille signs to rooms and spaces, or installing an

elevator or platform lift to an inaccessible level or story.


Title II’s “program accessibility” requirement is very similar to that requirement under section

504, as mentioned in the preceding section. Each service, program, or activity of the state, when

viewed in its entirety, must be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities

unless a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program, or undue financial and administrative

burdens, would otherwise result. Because programs and services are evaluated “in their entirety,”


From the Department of Justice Title II Technical Assistance Manual and 1994 Supplement:


Relationship to Title III. Public entities are not subject to Title III of the ADA, which

covers only private entities. In many situations, however, public entities have a close

relationship to private entities that are covered by Title III, with the result that certain

activities may be at least indirectly affected by both Title II and III.


ILLUSTRATIONS: A privately owned restaurant in a state park operates for the

convenience of park users under a concession agreement with a State department of

parks. As a public accommodation, the restaurant is subject to Title III and must meet

those obligations. The State Department of Parks, a public entity, is subject to Title II.

The parks department is obligated to ensure by contract that the restaurant is operated

in a manner that enables the parks department to meet its Title II obligations, even

though the restaurant is not directly subject to Title II.


The State Highway Authority leases a facility in one of its highway rest areas to a privately

owned restaurant. Because the restaurant is part of the state’s program of providing

services to the motoring public, the state would be responsible for making the space

accessible. The private entity operating the restaurant would have an independent

obligation to meet the requirements of Title III.


public entities have flexibility in addressing accessibility issues. For example, it may not be

necessary to make each of the offices of the Department of Driver Services or the Department of

Family and Children’s Services - or every state library - accessible, if the services offered are, as

a whole, accessible to people with disabilities. Determining which offices to make accessible and

how many should be accessible requires evaluating a number of factors, including the distance

between sites, travel time between sites, the types of services available at each site, available

amenities such as parking and restrooms, translation and interpreter services, business hours, the

characteristics of the community or geographic area served by the office, and public transportation

to the sites. In some instances it may be possible to make the services accessible through means

other than modifications to a facility, such as home visits, moving the services to accessible locations,

or delivery of services elsewhere. The key is providing services, programs, and activities that are

“readily accessible,” that offer an equal and comparable opportunity for persons with disabilities,

and that are carried out in an integrated setting.


Other factors may dictate that all facilities of a certain type are accessible. For example, all facilities

that may be used as emergency shelters should be accessible because of the reality of a disaster or

emergency: People go to a designated shelter for their area, and the shelter that might be expected

to be used may be damaged during the emergency. All state rest areas should also be accessible,

so that people with disabilities traveling the state’s roads and highways are offered equal access to

the restroom, food and drink, and travel information services provided.


The expansion of community health services that began in Georgia in 2011 due to a federal settlement

agreement may also require increased accessibility of certain facilities used in providing a variety of

services to individuals with developmental disabilities. The state will be transitioning all individuals

with developmental disabilities from the state hospitals to community settings and increasing crisis,

respite, family and housing support services to serve individuals with developmental disabilities

in community settings. Because of the higher frequency of physical disabilities among individuals

with developmental disabilities, and because these individuals are more likely to acquire physical

disabilities as they age, the state may be required to ensure that an increased number of the types

of facilities used to provide these services are accessible, under program accessibility requirements.


If a state agency contracts with a private organization (including a nonprofit) to provide services,

the state agency retains the responsibility for ensuring that its program is accessible. For example,

a private, nonprofit corporation may operate a number of group homes under contract with a state

agency for the benefit of individuals with mental disabilities. The state agency must ensure that

its contracts are carried out in accordance with Title II and that the state’s program as a whole is

accessible. (As suggested in the prior paragraph, this does not mean that all the group homes must

be accessible.) Similarly, if a state agency has another type of close business relationship with a

private entity such as a restaurant, as described in the illustration on this page, it must ensure that

the private entity acts in a way that is consistent with the state’s responsibilities.


Keep in mind that these “program accessibility” requirements are separate from the new construction

and alterations requirements, which must also be met for those facilities to which they apply.


Title III

Title III contains accessibility requirements that apply to design and construction in the private

sector, and thus is not generally applicable to the State of Georgia. While its technical criteria are

generally the same as those applied to Title II facilities, Title III includes exceptions for religious

entities and private clubs, as well as an “elevator exception” for most two story buildings. (Note that

the Georgia Accessibility Code does not exempt religious entities like churches and synagogues.)


State officials should be aware of the Title III requirements for two reasons:


1. Designers are most familiar with these provisions, and may rely on the Title III elevator

exception2 when developing plans for state facilities. This is not appropriate in Title II

construction, and a two-story office building that may not need an elevator when built for

a private sector insurance company would most likely require an elevator when built for a

State agency. It is the state agency’s responsibility to ensure that the Title II requirements

are satisfied.

2. State agencies may lease space in their Title II properties to businesses that are regulated

by Title III. For example, a student union at a state university may include space leased

to a private concessionaire or restaurant chain; the operator of this facility is subject to

the Title III accessibility requirements (as well as the Georgia Accessibility Code). In such

cases, the responsibility for providing accessible elements and spaces may be allocated

in the lease. The lease may say that the restaurant chain is responsible for installing

accessible countertops and dining surfaces, and that the university is responsible for

providing an accessible route to the leased space and accessible toilet rooms serving that

portion of the building. Regardless of the lease provisions, a state (Title II) entity cannot

obviate its responsibility to comply with the law and regulations.


Page 17

V. Apply the correct ADA Design Standards

The federal Access Board develops and publishes the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility

Guidelines, and the binding regulations that DOJ and DOT issue must be at least as stringent as the

guidelines. Congress specified that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would establish the Standards

for Accessible Design that apply to the vast majority of public and private sector buildings and

facilities designed, constructed, and altered under the act. DOJ did so in 1991 by adopting the 1991

ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) published by the federal Access Board. DOJ made a number

of amendments to the Standards in 1994, based on changes to ADAAG, mostly with respect to

reach ranges for accessible automated teller machines.


The Georgia Accessibility Code is based on, and generally consistent with, the 1991/1994 DOJ

Standards for Accessible Design.


As stated above, in 2004 the Access Board published a new ADAAG (2004 ADAAG) that is similar to

the accessibility requirements of the International Code Council (ICC) model building codes (IBC)



DOJ elevator exceptions are as follows: ADA Title III Regulations 36.401(d), 1991 Standards 4.1.3(5), exception 1, 2010 Standards 206.2.3 Exception 1.

For more information, see footnote 3 on page 18.

and the ICC/ANSI A117.1-2003 standard for accessible

buildings and facilities.


In 2010, DOJ issued the first major revisions to the

Description: Handrails along a sidewalk leading to the entrance of a building.1991/1994 Title II and Title III regulations, with new

accessibility standards - the “2010 Standards.” As

required by law, the 2010 Standards are consistent

with the Access Board’s guidelines; in fact, the 2010

Standards include the Access Board’s 2004 ADAAG in

its entirety. Compared to the 2004 ADAAG, some of the

2010 technical provisions are more restrictive and some

of the scoping provisions are broader. Some areas (e.g., courthouses, corrections, and recreation

facilities) are covered by specific and detailed standards for the first time. DOJ also included

additional technical and scoping provisions as part of the 2010 Standards. As of March 15, 2012,

new construction of, and alterations to, buildings owned and operated by the State of Georgia

must comply with DOJ’s 2010 Standards.3


Congress also specified, however, that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) had regulatory

authority under the ADA, including the responsibility to establish accessibility standards for entities

under its purview. DOT regulations have technical specifications for rail stations and accessible

busses and rail cars, but the DOT regulations also apply to transit stations and other transportation

facilities. In late 2006, DOT also adopted 2004 ADAAG as its standards.


In some respects, the DOT accessibility standards

Description: Entrance to a building with handrails along the steps leading to the entrance.are different from those of DOJ and the Georgia

Accessibility Code. The result is that state departments

and agencies subject to the DOT regulations for the

ADA (like the Georgia Department of Transportation)

have to meet an accessibility standard that is different

in some ways from the standard that applies to State

agencies regulated by DOJ.4 (see page 19 for footnote 4)


Most significantly, the DOT standards and DOJ’s 2010 Standards are often more restrictive than the

requirements of the Georgia Accessibility Code, and reliance on our code can result in violations of

the DOT and DOJ regulations. For example, while DOJ’s 1991/1994 Standards and the state code

permit accessible controls and operating mechanisms to be located 54 inches above the floor, the

2010 Standards limit the reach to 48 inches maximum. Elevator controls in some buildings will need

audible indicators to signal floor locations. Fire alarms will have to comply with the 1999 or 2002

edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 72, with some exceptions. Accessible

means of egress will need to comply with the ICC’s International Building Code.


Prior to September 15, 2010, the DOJ required compliance with either the 1984 Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) or its 1991/1994

Standards, except that the elevator exception that the Standards provide for Title III public accommodations does not apply to state facilities. (The

Georgia Accessibility Code implicitly reflects this in 120-3-20.08, exception 1 by stating the elevator exception does not apply to “...another type of

facility as determined by the U.S. Attorney General.” The U.S. Attorney General does not provide an elevator exception for state facilities regulated by

Title II.) New construction and alterations carried out between September 15, 2010, and March 15, 2012, can be consistent with either of these two

standards (with the same exception) or the 2010 Standards


The federal Access Board published on its website a comparative analysis of the 2004 ADAAG,

the 1991/1994 DOJ Standards for Accessible Design, and the 2003 International Building Code

and 2004 Supplement ( Additionally, the State ADA Coordinator’s Office

has completed a comparative analysis of the Georgia Accessibility Code with the 1991 ADA

Standards and 2010 ADA Standards, which can be found at



The state anticipates updating the Georgia State Accessibility Code to encompass DOJ’s 2010

ADA Standards prior to March 15, 2012. Until the changes are adopted, Georgia departments

and agencies subject to those regulations should review the new DOJ Standards (1) to determine

which of the new more restrictive provisions must be applied to a project and (2) to understand the

new scoping and technical requirements for facilities and elements not covered by the 1991/1994

Standards or the Georgia Accessibility Code.5 For example, state office buildings should be

constructed with controls and operating mechanisms no higher than 48 inches (2010 Standards)

even though 54-inch-high controls were permitted under the 1991/1994 federal standards (and

under the Georgia code). Access to swimming pools must be provided using the new 2010 criteria,

even though the 1991/1994 Standards do not address this issue. Making these careful decisions

will allow the state to avoid having to retrofit its facilities to provide the program accessibility and

reasonable accommodations requirements of the ADA for Title II entities at a later date.


Page 19

VI. Putting it all together

In the building code world, a single version of a code or standard generally applies to a facility.

But when accessibility is involved, a combination of federal laws and standards may apply to one

project. For example, in a jurisdiction that has adopted the 2006 International Building Code, the

requirements in the 2000 edition of the code are no longer in effect. With federal law, all federal

standards and requirements must be considered, and the most restrictive provisions of each must

be applied to a particular project. Fortunately, with adoption of the 2004 ADAAG as part of DOJ’s

2010 Standards, and adoption by GSA of 2004 ABAAG, which has closely similar technical and

scoping provisions, it is less complicated to apply the correct provisions as of March 15, 2012.


As an example, a married students’ housing project with 12 housing units is being constructed

at a state university after March 14, 2012, using funds from the U.S. Department of Education. A

private entity will provide day care (not limited to children of residents) at the site. (The applicable

accessibility provisions are indicated in parentheses).


·  The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) applies because federal dollars are being spent

on construction of the project. (For the housing units and common areas provided for

residents’ use, the HUD ABA Standards, which are currently UFAS. For the areas that are


DOT’s ADA standards, unlike the 2010 DOJ Standards and 2004 ADAAG, include (1) a requirement for detectable warnings on curb ramps (406.8),

(2) language about minimizing travel distance along accessible routes for people who use wheelchairs and other persons who cannot negotiate

steps, compared to the general public, (3) at bus boarding and alighting areas, a requirement to comply with dimensions to the extent construction

specifications are within a public entity’s control, and (4) as to rail station platforms, reinstatement of language from the original standards concerning

platform and vehicle floor coordination.


Some of the scoping and technical provisions in the 2010 Standards are less restrictive or less stringent than those in the 1991/1994 Standards

and the Georgia Code


not solely for residents, such as the day care center, the 2006 ABA Accessibility Standards

adopted by the General Services Administration, incorporating 2004 ABAAG.)

·  The Department of Education’s (D.Ed.) Section 504 regulations will also apply because of

federal funding. Section 504 will apply to the entire project, including the housing facilities

and the common use building used to house a federally-funded day care program, not

limited to residents. (UFAS or 1991/1994 ADA Standards, until D.Ed. adopts the 2010


·  The Fair Housing Act (FHA) accessibility requirements will apply to the design and

construction of the multifamily dwellings, including the common areas, because each

building contains more than four units. (Fair Housing Act.)

·  Because the project is to be owned and operated by the state, the ADA will impose

additional requirements on the common areas and on a percentage of the apartment

units. Five percent of the units must comply with the mobility accessibility requirements

and two percent must comply with the communication accessibility requirements. (2010

ADA Standards.)

·  Title II of the ADA will cover the facility and the private entity that provides the day

care program because the center is a place of public accommodation that is available to

parents in the community and is operated by a private entity or nonprofit. (2010 ADA



In this case, five separate federal accessibility laws would apply to this project. Additionally, the

Georgia Accessibility Code is applicable.

Test Your Knowledge*


1. A university dormitory project funded solely by the

state is not subject to      .

A. The Georgia Accessibility Code

B. The Architectural Barriers Act

C. The Fair Housing Amendments Act

D. The Americans with Disabilities Act


2. The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 applies to multifamily

construction      .

A. built with federal funds

B. built by recipients of federal funds

C. built with private sector funds

D. all of the above


3. Title II of the ADA applies to

A. private sector employees

B. state governments

C. public accommodations

D. commercial facilities


4. A national fast food chain operating in space leased in a state facility

is subject to Title      of the Americans with Disabilities Act.




D. V


5. The ADA Accessibility Standards are enforced by

A. local code officials

B. the federal Access Board

C. the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

D. the U.S. Department of Justice



6. Title II requires program access

A. to services for all state departments

B. to services carried out by contractors on behalf of the state

C. that offers equal opportunity in an integrated setting

D. all of the above


Answers can be found on page 62.

Page 23

Chapter 3: The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and Beyond

In publishing the 2004 ADA and ABA Accessibility

Guidelines, the federal Access Board advanced almost

a quarter of a century in the “science of accessibility.”

The federal ABA and ADA Standards, now revised to

incorporate the 2004 Guidelines, have been substantially

harmonized with the access provisions developed by

the International Code Council’s International Building

Code (IBC) and ANSI A117.1, 2003.


Chapter 3: The ADA Standards for Accessible Design and Beyond


This chapter offers further details about the changes from the 1991/1994 ADA Standards to the

2010 ADA Standards, in light of the need to comply with both the ADA Standards and the Georgia

Code (pending the updates to the current state standards, 120-3-20, to meet and encompass the

new federal requirements). It also suggests ways in which it may sometimes be necessary or good

practice to “go beyond” what is specified in the Georgia Code or the federal Standards.

Page 24

I. The 2010 DOJ Standards

The DOJ 2010 Standards include two types of provisions: those

from the Access Board’s 2004 ADAAG, and those that DOJ added

Description: Push to Open button for automatic door address specific types of facilities and to explain how the

specifications in ADAAG otherwise apply to buildings and

facilities subject to the ADA. It is important to understand both

types of provisions.


Provisions from 2004 ADAAG

In publishing the 2004 ADAAG, the federal Access Board

Advanced almost a quarter of a century in the “science of

accessibility.” The federal ABA and ADA Standards, now revised

to incorporate the 2004 Guidelines, have been substantially

harmonized with the access provisions developed by the

International Code Council’s International Building Code (IBC)

and ANSI A117.1, 2003.


Buildings and facilities that are owned and operated by the State of Georgia should reflect these

advances in order to ensure compliance with the ADA Standards, even before they are included in

the Georgia Code.


As one of the examples of the significant changes to some technical provisions, the 1991/1994

ADAAG and ADA Standards (and the Georgia Accessibility Code) permit accessible controls

and operating mechanisms to be located as high as 54 inches maximum above finished floor in

some situations. 2004 ADAAG and the 2010 Standards reduce the maximum height to 48 inches.

This requirement is identified as a “building block” in the new ADAAG because it is referenced

throughout the document and applies to everything from elevator controls to storage facilities, light

switches to telephones.


Using this one provision of 2004 ADAAG not only makes a building more usable for persons

with disabilities, it may prevent expensive retrofits ten years from now when an employee needs

lowered controls as a reasonable accommodation.


It is not possible to review all of the technical changes between the old and new ADAAG requirements

in this manual; a complete analysis would be hundreds of pages long.6 However, major changes

were made to the following:


A side-by-side comparison of 2004 ADAAG and the 1991/1994 DOJ Standards for Accessible Design (including old ADAAG) is available at or

·  Reach ranges

·  Doors

·  Elevators

·  Platform (wheelchair) lifts

·  Accessible means of egress

·  Parking spaces

·  Drinking fountains

·  Water closet clearances

·  Water closet location

·  Shower compartments

·  Alarm systems

·  Automatic teller machines

·  Assembly areas

·  Kitchens

·  Residential units

·  Children’s environments.7


Please note an important change between 1991 and 2004 ADAAG: 2004 ADAAG includes some

instances — particularly in its scoping provisions (Chapter 2) — where the accessibility requirements

have been revised or lowered. For example, the new ADAAG lowers the number of wheelchair

locations required in large assembly areas, but only because it would not affect the usability of

the space by persons with disabilities. It effectively “tweaked” the requirements in the 1991/1994

guidelines that are now considered to exceed demand. Examples include:


·  Wheelchair location requirements are reduced in assembly areas with capacities over

3,000, from 1 location for every 100 seats to 1 for every 150; after 5,000 seats, the

ratio drops to 1:200;

·  The requirement for assistive listening devices at a constant 4 percent of the capacity of

an assembly occupancy was changed to a “sliding scale” approach, similar to the way that

wheelchair spaces are regulated;

·  Where toilet rooms are clustered in a single location (e.g., in a doctor’s office or a drug

testing facility) only 50 percent, instead of 100 percent, of the rooms are required to

be accessible.


The Georgia Accessibility Code includes requirements for accessible children’s environments that are based on a draft amendment to 1991/1994

ADAAG. Those provisions underwent numerous revisions before they were included in the 2004 ADAAG.

It is anticipated that these “reductions” will be incorporated into the Georgia Code; until that time,

those subject to the Code are not permitted to avail themselves of these “reductions” even though

they are included in the 2010 Standards.


In addition to changes to some of the 1991/1994 technical provisions, the 2004 ADAAG and/or 2010

DOJ Standards include more specific provisions for courtrooms and detention and correctional

facilities, and they cover recreational facilities for the first time. Following are some examples of the

types of new provisions.




·  Each courtroom must be accessible. Jury boxes, witness stands, and jury deliberation

areas must be accessible.


·  Raised areas must have wheelchair turning spaces [808.2];


·  At least one clear floor space that can accommodate a wheelchair must be provided in

jury boxes and witness stands [808.3];


·  An assistive listening system must be provided, regardless of whether an audio

amplification system is provided [219.2].


Correctional Facilities


For many years, Georgia’s state correctional

facilities have been subject to the Uniform Federal

Description: Interior view of correctional facility with barred doorways.Accessibility Standards (UFAS), which require all

common use spaces to be accessible and five

percent of the residential units to be accessible.

Description: Metal toilet and sink.The 2010 Standards, however, specify a number

of different or additional requirements for

the design, construction, and alteration of

correctional facilities:



·  In new construction, at least three percent of cells must be accessible for persons with

mobility disabilities [DOJ Title II regulation, 28 C.F.R. §35.151(k)] (and two percent must

be accessible for those with communication impairments (e.g., deaf or hard-of-hearing

inmates) [ADAAG 232.2.2];


·  Where special holding cells or special housing cells are provided, at least one of each type

provided must be accessible [232.3];


·  Accessible bedrooms or cells must be provided in prison health care facilities [232.4].


Recreation Facilities

Description: Playground equipment.The following are now covered, with specific scoping

and technical provisions [234-243 and Chapter 10]:


·  Amusement rides

·  Boating facilities

·  Fishing piers and platforms

·  Exercise machines and equipment

·  Golf and miniature golf facilities

·  Play areas

·  Saunas and steam rooms

·  Swimming and wading pools

·  Recreational shooting facilities


DOJ Standards provisions not found in 2004 ADAAG

As mentioned above, the 2010 Standards include more than the provisions in 2004 ADAAG. It

is important to read ADAAG with the provisions that DOJ added, to address specific types of

facilities and to explain how the specifications in ADAAG otherwise apply to buildings and facilities

subject to the ADA. The following are some examples of the provisions in the DOJ sections on new

construction and alterations that must be examined in conjunction with 2004 ADAAG.


Alterations: Path of travel

The “path of travel” provisions that have applied to Title III of the ADA since 1991 now apply to

Title II facilities as well. This means that when a public entity alters a primary function area, such

as a courtroom, hearing room, or assembly area, it must also ensure that, to the maximum extent

feasible, the path of travel to the altered area and the restrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains

serving the area are accessible. DOJ specifies that the costs of providing the additional accessibility

on the path of travel need not exceed 20 percent of the cost of the alterations to the primary

function area, and adds further detail about how the costs are calculated. 28 C.F.R. § 35.151(b)

(4)(i). These provisions do not apply if alterations are undertaken solely for purposes of program



Residential housing offered for sale to individual owners

For the first time, the Title II Standard establishes design requirements for residential dwelling units

built by or on behalf of public entities with the intent that the finished units will be sold to individual

owners. 28 C.F.R. § 35.151(j).


Other significant changes by DOJ

The Department of Justice has also for the first time addressed how the standards apply to

dormitories and other types of residential housing provided in an educational setting (28 C.F.R. §

35.151(f)). The DOJ regulations also include more details than are included in 2004 ADAAG about

wheelchair and companion seating in assembly areas (28 C.F.R. § 35.151(g)), as well as additional

provisions about medical care facilities (§ 35.151(h)).


Page 28

II. Program access in existing correctional facilities

As explained in Chapter 2, Section IV, (pages 21-23) title II of the ADA applies not only to new

construction and alterations but also to existing facilities in which programs or activities are offered.

In its 2010 regulations, DOJ for the first time imposes specific requirements for program access

in existing correctional facilities. These include community correctional facilities and those that

are operated through arrangements with private entities. For example, public entities are to make

physical changes to cells according to the 2010 Standards, in order to ensure that each inmate

with a disability is housed in a cell with the accessible elements necessary to afford the inmate

access to safe, appropriate housing. In addition, inmates or detainees are to be housed in the most

integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individuals, with attention to such factors as

security classifications and the opportunity for visitation with family member.


III. Pending federal guidelines and standards

The Georgia Accessibility Code specifies that its purpose is to provide “….the minimum standard

for Accessibility to buildings and facilities….” Too often, this concept of “minimum” may get lost,

if designers approach our state and federal accessibility requirements with the goal of simply

complying with the requirements found on the page — ramps designed with a slope of 1:12 and

not 1:14, accessible parking spaces at the exact number specified in a table and no more, or only

one accessible lavatory per toilet room, regardless of the number of people the facility is designed

to serve.


At best, this approach can lead to buildings and facilities that may technically comply with the

applicable accessibility requirements but are unusable8 or dysfunctional for persons with disabilities.

At worst, it can result in a violation of the ADA or create future problems for building owners like

the State of Georgia that are subject to Title II of the ADA and other nondiscrimination laws. For

example, a building not equipped with automatic doors may technically comply with the ADA

Standards, but if persons with disabilities can’t open the door and enter the building, a violation

of Title II’s program accessibility requirements will result if people need access to the building to

benefit from the programs or access the services offered there.


In addition to these established guidelines, the reports and guidelines under development by the

Access Board and DOJ should be consulted about various types of facilities. The Board’s proposed


For example, state and federal requirements permit an accessible ramp with an 8.33 percent slope and with a maximum rise of 30 inches per ramp

run. Research indicates that over 40 percent of persons in a study using a manual wheelchair could not negotiate the resulting 30 foot incline.

Moreover, there is no limit on the total vertical rise that can be served by a ramp system with a series of compliant ramp runs and landings. A ramp

serving the second story of a building may comply with the regulations, but would be unusable by virtually all people who use manual wheelchair


guidelines for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, issued in July 2011, are discussed

below. The Access Board is also developing guidelines for shared use paths, medical equipment,

and federal trails and other outdoor areas such as campsites. The Department of Justice has begun

preliminary development of standards for equipment and furniture, ranging from accessible medical

exam tables and golf cars to “talking” ATM’s and interactive kiosks.


Accessible public right-of-way

Proposed accessibility guidelines for pedestrian

Description: Ramped sidewalk access with handrails.facilities in the public right-of-way were published

by the Access Board in the Federal Register in July

2011. Once issued as final guidelines, they would

then become the ABA and/or ADA standards if

adopted by a federal standard-setting agency.

Pending the Board’s issuance of its final guidelines,

the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in

2006 recommended use of the Board’s 2005

draft guidelines as best practices, even though

some of the proposals remain controversial

(e.g., providing pedestrian signals in a roundabout).



The Georgia Department of Transportation is the  agency in our state most directly affected by the

proposed requirements and the FHWA decision to treat the 2005 draft as “best practices.” Some of the

elements addressed, however, can also be found at facilities controlled by other state agencies. Most

state offices have curb ramps connecting accessible parking with building entrances. Pedestrian signals

are located at intersections on university campuses. Consistency in the construction of state buildings

and properties should compel designers to review the draft and proposed guidelines and apply the

technical criteria they deem appropriate.


The 2011 proposed public rights-of-way guidelines

include the following:


·  Pedestrian routes

·  Maintaining access during construction

·  Pedestrian crossings

·  Signs

Description: Individuals in wheelchairs using crosswalk to cross a street.·  On-street parking

·  Curb ramps

·  Detectable warnings

·  Accessible pedestrian signals

·  Crossings at roundabouts

·  Street furniture (drinking fountains, toilets,

tables, benches)


From the DOJ Title II Technical

Assistance Manual, 1994 Supplement:


Q: What if neither ADAAG nor UFAS contain specific standards for a

particular type of facility?


A: In such cases the technical requirements of the chosen standard should be applied to the

extent possible. If no standard exists for a particular feature, those features need not comply

with a particular design standard. However, the facility must still be designed and operated to

meet other Title II requirements, including program accessibility.

Page 30

IV. Georgia’s mandate for nondiscrimination in employment and services

There is a common misconception about the ADA (and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of

1973) among designers and operators of state and local government facilities. Many believe that

compliance with the appropriate new construction standards at the time of construction means

that the property and its owner will remain in compliance with the law as long as the minimum

accessibility required by the standards/guidelines is maintained. This is not the case.


Simply stated, the State of Georgia and its agencies are obligated to provide reasonable

accommodations to employees and access to persons with disabilities using state programs and

services. (See more about this above, in sections II and IV of Chapter 2.) Additionally, the state is

required to accommodate employees and prospective employees with disabilities. Doing so may

mean incorporating building features that exceed the minimum requirements of the standards.

Here are two examples:


·  An employee of the Georgia Department of Agriculture finds she cannot open the heavy

exterior door to her new office building. The building was constructed to comply with

the ADA Standards, which do not require automatic doors. Nonetheless, the Department

would be required to install an automatic door on a building entrance to accommodate

this employee. Installing automatic doors may also be required where members of the

general public with disabilities need to access a program or service provided by the state

in a building equipped with heavy entrance doors.

·  Similarly, a state inmate with a mobility disability may require a trapeze or grab bars in

order to transfer between his wheelchair and a bed, which is necessary to accessibility

of the prison’s housing program. This equipment must be provided under the program

accessibility and equal opportunity requirements of Title II, even if there are no specific

standards requiring it in new construction or alterations. (This example also highlights the

importance of equipment in accessing a program or facility.)


In other words, compliance with the minimum federal accessibility requirements does not constitute

a defense against subsequent complaints or requests for accessibility modifications. The fact that

the current federal standards do not require automatic doors, for example, does not indemnify the

state from having to make further access alterations to its facilities.



When it adopted 2004 ADAAG as part of its ADA Standards, the U.S. Department of Transportation added requirements for detectable warnings at

curb ramps that permitted the use of truncated dome patterns that complied with the draft public right-of-way provisions.


To the extent that designers improve on the minimum accessibility requirements of federal law by

adding automatic doors, increasing the number of accessible building entrances, or providing more

space in an employee break or toilet room, future alterations and accessibility modifications may

be avoided.

Page 31

V. Universal design

Universal design (UD) is often defined as the

design of products and environments to be

Description: Covered walk way adjacent to building exterior.usable by all people, to the greatest extent

possible, without the need for adaptation or

specialized design. It is generally accepted

that this concept was developed by Ron

Mace, FAIA at North Carolina State University

during the 1980’s. Universal design is not a

code or standard but seeks to incorporate

the ideas of barrier-free design into the

mainstream of construction practices. For

example, minimum accessibility requirements state that a person using a wheelchair must be able

to enter a building. That entrance could be served by a set of stairs and a ramp. Universal design

seeks to integrate building elements and users so that all people use the same element the same

way. A universally designed entrance would be designed in such a way that the steps would not be



Here is another example: The State of Maryland constructed a new Visitors’ Center and rest stop

near its border with Pennsylvania. While the ADA (and state building code) required one lavatory in

the men’s and women’s toilet rooms to be accessible, the state and designer opted to make all eight

lavatories accessible. Installed in a single counter, each had the requisite height, knee space, and

accessible controls. The result was not only aesthetically pleasing, but easier to maintain because

there were no “special” faucets on an accessible fixture and the entire counter was a single piece

at an accessible height.


Universal Design not only simplifies design and construction by making accessibility the norm, it

also benefits building owners and operators once the facility is occupied. For example, because

everyone enters the building the same way, there is no need to worry that the accessible entrance

is maintained and remains unlocked.


Of course, the immediate benefit of Universal Design is for persons with disabilities, but the concept

is that all building occupants benefit. Delivery personnel and office workers carrying boxes of files

enter a building through accessible doors with automatic door openers without having to struggle

with inaccessible revolving doors. Parents pushing strollers use the accessible entrances to state

buildings and the accessible routes in our state parks. Levered hardware on all doors - and not just

those required to be accessible - is more usable for everyone.


There are no codes, standards, or legal requirements that stipulate what constitutes Universal

Design. Rather, it is an approach or philosophy that should be incorporated in the design of state



Conversely, Universal Design is not a substitute for accessibility as prescribed by our state and

federal laws. Visible notification appliances on building fire alarm systems serve only that minority

of persons who cannot hear the audible alarms, and Grade 2 Braille (contracted Braille) on building

signs can only be read by a minority of persons who are blind or visually impaired. These features

alone are not “universal,” but they are nonetheless required to ensure that Georgia does not

discriminate against persons with disabilities.


Universal Design should be used as an overlay on the design of buildings that already comply with

the basic accessibility requirements of the ADA and Georgia Accessibility Code. If 50 percent of a

facility’s entrances are required to be accessible and their features make the building more “user

friendly” for everyone, perhaps every entrance should be accessible if it can be accomplished.10 If a

wheelchair accessible water closet compartment in a public toilet room benefits a parent assisting

a small child or a traveler with suitcases in an airport, it may make sense to have more of the

accessible compartments than just the one required by law. Owners and operators of buildings in

the State of Georgia, and the professionals who design these facilities, should incorporate this “best

practice” concept in our properties.

The Georgia Accessibility Code, Section 120-3-20.08(8) requires all primary entrances to be accessible.

Test Your Knowledge*


7. The 2010 ADA Standards

A. include the 2004 ADAAG (ADA Accessibility Guidelines)

B. include provisions developed and issued by DOJ

C. apply to new construction beginning March 15, 2012, or after

D. all the above


8. The 2010 ADA Standards specify that

percent of correctional facility cells

must be accessible for people with communication impairments.

A. 2

B. 4

C. 5

D. 10


9. The Access Board has established final accessibility guidelines for all

of the following except

A. amusement rides

B. camping facilities

C. miniature golf facilities

D. swimming pools


10. Prior to March 15, 2012, and pending state updates to the Georgia code,
Georgia departments and agencies subject to DOJ’s regulations should follow
DOJ’s 2010 regulations

A. unless they allow “reductions” in accessibility from Georgia’s code

B. where they provide new requirements for types of facilities

C. along with other applicable requirements

D. all of the above.


11. Universal Design should be applied to

A. historic properties

B. medical facilities

C. state university buildings

D. all of the above


Answers can be found on page 62.



Page 35

Chapter 4: Procurement Considerations

Procurement of equipment and services prior to

and during the construction process is a key aspect

of ensuring that buildings and facilities owned and

operated by the State of Georgia are accessible to

persons with disabilities.


Chapter 4: Procurement Considerations


Procurement of equipment and services prior to and during the construction process is a key aspect

of ensuring that buildings and facilities owned and operated by the State of Georgia are accessible

to persons with disabilities. The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission and its

Procurement Services Department have identified a number of goods and services that need to be

procured from vendors and contractors when developing and maintaining state properties, some

of which are critical in the field of barrier-free design. The GSFIC Procurement Services Division is

available to serve as a resource providing technical assistance and support on matters related to the

procurement of goods and services.

Page 36

I. Architectural and engineering services

Choosing an appropriate design team is essential to the success of a project, and finding a team

that has competence in accessible design is just as important as having architects, engineers,

and interior designers that can adequately address means of egress, structural integrity, and fire

prevention issues.


When considering design professionals, procurement officials should base their selection on

the design professionals demonstrated competence and qualifications and should consider the



·  Has the team demonstrated proficiency in applying the Georgia Accessibility Code?

·  Does the team demonstrate an understanding of those federal laws that regulate

accessibility and apply to the project?

·  Can the designers articulate where federal laws may impose more restrictive

requirements than those in the state code?

·  Are the designers aware of proposed guidelines or requirements that may apply to the

particular aspects of the project (e.g., accessibility provisions for an outdoor developed

area such as a camp ground, or curb ramps in public rights of way)?

·  Do team members have a basic understanding of the technical changes found in the 2004

ADAAG (now part of the 2010 ADA Standards) and how they may affect the design of a

state project?

·  For Georgia projects subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation ADA regulations,

are the designers proficient in DOT’s 2006 accessibility requirements that will apply to the


·  Have the design professionals demonstrated instances where they have exceeded the

minimum state or federal accessibility requirements in a facility design?

·  Has any member of the design team been subject to an investigation or lawsuit for

violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act, section 504, or the

Architectural Barriers Act?


If the cost of the project or the costs of professional design services to be provided in conjunction

with the project exceed the amounts established by law requiring the services of a consultant (i.e.,

architect, professional engineer, landscape architect, land surveyor, interior designer), a registered

consultant shall be engaged to provide design services. Selection of the consultant shall be in

accordance with the selection process in Section 50-22 of the Code of Georgia.

Page 37

II. Consulting services

There are some projects where hiring an accessibility consultant may be warranted. Large assembly

areas, state residential facilities, state prisons, performing arts spaces, and recreational facilities are

projects that may demand a detailed understanding of accessibility requirements that design firms

may not bring to the table.


Accessibility consultation includes different types of expertise. One type is use-group based. There

are specialists in the design of apartment complexes or dormitories, and experts in assembly spaces

who can make sure that a theater or outdoor performing arts center has appropriate locations

for persons who use wheelchairs. Conversely, some accessibility consultants are proficient in

determining whether a facility complies with applicable state and federal codes and regulations but

cannot design buildings, and other design specialists are registered architects or engineers who can

meet the technical specifications for a fantastic playground complex for children with disabilities

but are less conversant in the safety aspects of the code. It is important to determine what type of

expertise is needed in a given project before contracting with a consultant who lists accessibility as

an area of expertise.


Retaining an accessibility consultant demands just as much diligence as is given to contracting for

other services. There is no such thing as a “Certified ADA Consultant.” The International Code

Council (ICC), however, does have a certification for “Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner” that

indicates proficiency in the accessibility requirements of the International Building Code (IBC) and

the ICC/ANSI A117.1-2003 accessibility standard.


III. Property lease proposals

The State of Georgia and its agencies are obligated under Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of

the Rehabilitation Act to ensure that their programs, activities, and services, “when viewed in their

entirety,” are accessible to persons with disabilities. Property lease proposals must be weighed

with this in mind, and agencies are encouraged to look for the most accessible space available.

Specifically, agencies should attempt to find space that at least complies with the standards the

federal government applies to its own leases. The space should have (1) an accessible route from

an accessible entrance to the areas where the primary activities for which the building was leased

take place; (2) accessible toilet facilities; and (3) accessible parking facilities, if parking is included

within the lease.


Keep in mind that access must be provided to programs conducted in leased space. Thus the

more accessible the space is when it is leased, the easier and less costly it will be to make those

programs available to individuals with disabilities (and to ensure reasonable accommodations for

employees who made need them, if the accommodations involve physical access). If the space is

not accessible, the services provided there must be available at a nearby accessible property. This is

especially critical in our state’s rural areas, where an accessible state service may be miles and not

blocks away. Traveling thirty miles to the closest accessible state agency office may be inconvenient

to some in our rural counties but impossible for some people with disabilities. Because of this, the

accessibility of a building being considered for leasing by the state should be a high priority, if not

a mandate.

Page 38

IV. Building products

Those involved in the procurement process should understand that there are no federal agencies

that evaluate building products for compliance with the ADA accessibility standards, despite some

manufacturers’ claims to the contrary. In the model code world, there is no evaluation service that

examines or test products for compliance with the ICC/ANSI A117.1-2003 accessibility standard.

Determining whether a product complies is the responsibility of the design professional and the

state agency having enforcement authority.


Another fallacy is that the International Symbol of Accessibility indicates that a product is accessible

when it appears on a brochure or data sheet. Again, no agency regulates the use of this symbol.


V. Public facility equipment

As with building materials, building equipment must

be reviewed for compliance with the applicable

accessibility requirements and the standards referenced

Description: Wheelchair the regulations. A label of “accessible” or “complies

with the ADA” does not necessarily mean that the

equipment complies with the requirements.11


For example,  a platform (wheelchair) lift that is

marketed nationwide as a compliant lift for use as a

witness stand and for access to a judge’s bench may

not meet the applicable suspension and safety requirements of the ASME A17.1 Elevator Safety

Code referenced by the ADA regulations. Beyond the question of whether this equipment can

meet the technical requirements of these referenced standards, the State of Georgia should not risk

exposure to possible liability by permitting the use of equipment that violates nationally-recognized

consensus safety standards and codes.


Evacuation chairs are another product that deserves particular attention. While neither federal nor

state regulations require the use of these devices, many facility owners will include them as part of

a life safety/evacuation plan.


Unfortunately, there are currently no safety or performance standards for evacuation chairs, and

some on the market are little better than folding lawn chairs with wheels. Procurement officials


Generally, only “fixed” equipment is covered by the 2010 Standards. The Department of Justice has proposed to issue standards for furniture and

other equipment. See its notice at

should look for devices with brake systems and rolling tracks or treads that allow the operator to

safely guide the device down or up the stairs. Some have seats in which to strap the person being

evacuated, while some will carry a person while he or she remains in the wheelchair. For more

information on this topic, please contact the State ADA Coordinator’s Office.

Page 39

Description: Sign directing person who are hearing impaired to "Please see Room 324 for Assistance.VI. Audio-visual equipment

The Georgia Accessibility Code, ADA, Section 504 and Architectural

Barriers Act require assistive listening systems for hard-of-hearing

persons in certain assembly applications. Contracts for the

installation of audiovisual equipment should include these systems

where warranted, and the contractor should be able to demonstrate

an understanding of the different types of systems and which type

would be appropriate.


VII. Printing and signage services

State and federal accessibility requirements include provisions for building signs that are accessible

to persons who are blind or visually impaired. The requirements include visible signs that meet

certain size, contrast and font requirements. Signs that identify permanent rooms or spaces have

an additional requirement of providing tactile characters, e.g., raised letters and Braille.


Contracted Braille (Grade 2) is essentially a short-hand version of spelling out each word that appears

visually on a sign. Sometimes entire words are represented by a combination of raised dots in a

six-dot cell, sometimes groups of letters (‘th’, ‘sh’, ‘st’) are replicated by a single six-dot Braille cell.


Few if any state construction officials can determine whether a sign contractor has provided signs

that comply with the contracted Braille accessibility requirements. Contacting a local disability

organization or organization of blind persons with expertise in this area for assistance may be the

best way to ensure that the state has actually purchased what was specified in the contract.


A number of the design and construction errors noted in the next chapter are attributable to procuring

non-compliant goods or equipment for a project. Non-compliant signs or prefabricated shower

compartments, or drinking fountains with inaccessible controls and improper knee clearances, will,

once ordered and installed, cause violations when a facility is complete and occupied.


VIII. IT equipment

Accessibility in state-owned and operated facilities has traditionally meant design and construction:

door widths, accessible parking, and the like. Society’s progression into the virtual world of emails,

web sites, web casts, and similar technological innovations, however, poses new barriers and

challenges for some persons with disabilities. For example, how does someone use an interactive

computer screen at a state Visitors’ Center if he is blind and cannot see the screen?


Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act

requires federal departments and

agencies that develop, procure, maintain,

or use electronic and information

Description: A man and a woman working at a computer. The an is holding a book and the woman is wearing to ensure that federal

employees and members of the public

with disabilities have access to, and use

of, information and data, comparable to

that of the employees and members of

the public without disabilities—unless

complying is an undue burden. The

Section 508 standards developed by the

Access Board are technical specifications

and performance-based requirements which

focus on the functional capabilities covered by



The standards are organized into six sections:


Description: A man and a woman are working at a computer. The text on the monitor is magnified.·  Software applications and

operating systems

·  Web-based intranet and internet

information and applications

·  Telecommunications products

·  Video and multimedia products

·  Self-contained, closed products

·  Desktop and portable computers


While these provisions currently apply to federal departments and agencies, and entities that contract

with the federal government to provide services, the State of Georgia procures and uses the types

of information technologies covered by these standards, and therefore, Section 508 should be used

as supplemental guidance when IT services and equipment are procured by the State.

Page 41

Chapter 5: Common Errors and Omissions

For state and local governmental facilities, the designer must

be careful to apply all parts of the 2010 Standards, not just

2004 ADAAG as developed by the Access Board.


Even where construction documents indicate that a facility

will meet all of the applicable state and federal accessibility

requirements, translating that into compliance once a

building is constructed can be frustrated by errors that

occur during construction.


Chapter 5: Common Errors and Omissions


“An eraser is easier to use than a jackhammer.”


While predating the era of Computer Assisted Design (CAD),

this “eraser” adage concerning the importance of designing

and constructing in accordance with applicable codes, standards,

and laws is particularly true when it comes to accessibility

for persons with disabilities, given the federal civil rights implications for buildings owned and

operated by the State of Georgia. The point is to catch mistakes in the preliminary stages and

prevent problems that occur in the construction process to avoid accessibility problems or

complaints once a facility is occupied.

Page 42

I. Design and plan review

It is becoming more and more common for developers, builders, architects and engineers to retain

the services of qualified accessibility consultants to assist them in understanding the complex

requirements of federal, state and local accessibility codes and standards. Although efforts have

been made to harmonize the federal standards with state and local codes it can still be difficult to

understand exactly what is required when different regulations address the same building elements.


The following is a list of areas that may require particular attention during plan review.


Not applying the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) accessibility requirements.12

While compliance with the ADA Standards for public accommodations and state and local

government has been the focus of accessibility for the past 20 years, violations of the FHAA may

be more common. Sometimes perceived as applying only to apartment buildings, FHAA access

requirements also apply to a variety of projects constructed by or for the State of Georgia such

as some group homes, shelters and university dormitories. Specifically, the FHAA accessibility

guidelines are applicable to all dormitories, group homes and shelters that provide a long term stay

and that are constructed for state universities and many state-owned institutional facilities.


Missing more restrictive federal requirements.

As noted in previous chapters, both the federal Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) and Section 504 of

the Rehabilitation Act may apply different or more restrictive requirements to a project owned and

operated by the state. The biggest mistake is assuming an “either/or,” “one or the other” approach to

the federal requirements for state construction. State dormitories are subject to the ADA Standards,

the FHAA, the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards and perhaps the Architectural Barriers Act.

In all projects, all federal requirements need to be considered and the most restrictive requirements

of each must be applied. As discussed in Chapter 2, no one federal document can provide a single

source for all federal accessibility mandates.


Employee work areas.

Title II of the ADA requires buildings housing employees to be designed and constructed so that


It should be noted that while the Georgia Accessibility Code reflects most of the requirements of the 1991/1994 ADA Accessibility Guidelines

(ADAAG), it does not provide similar protection for compliance with the Fair Housing Amendments Act. For example, it applies the ADA accessibility

requirements to dormitories, requiring a certain number of rooms to be usable by mobility impaired or hearing impaired students, but does not

specify that all other dormitory rooms may be subject to the minimal “adaptability” provisions of the Fair Housing Act


the common areas are accessible to and useable by people with disabilities. Common areas include

entrances, corridors, kitchenettes, toilets, etc. Employee work areas must be designed so that a

person with a disability can approach, enter and exit the work area. In addition, the 2010 ADA

Standards include a requirement for common use circulation paths within employee work areas to

be accessible.


Connecting facilities with all site arrival points.

The 2010 ADA Standards require an accessible route to connect site arrive points to an accessible

entrance(s). When a pedestrian route is planned to connect the public right of way to the building

or facility, at least one of those routes must be accessible. While these routes are typically provided

for urban properties, they may be missed for facilities like parks and historic sites where a public

sidewalk or bus stop is remote from the building or structure.


The 2010 standards differ from the 1991 standards in that they only require an accessible route if a

pedestrian route is being provided.


Protruding objects.

A common error is applying the proscriptions against protruding objects only to accessible routes.

The 2010 ADA Standards and the Georgia Accessibility Code prohibit protruding objects located on

all circulation paths (e.g., where anyone may walk), which may include spaces that are not a part of

a required accessible route. Objects located between 27 and 80 inches above the finished floor are

not permitted to protrude more than 4 inches into a circulation path, even in a 10 foot wide corridor

or 10,000 square foot convention space.


Door maneuvering spaces.

The door maneuvering clearance requirements of the ADA Standards and the Georgia Accessibility

Code can be very complicated, as they are dependent on approach to the pull or push side of the

door, side approach to the hinge or latch side of the door, etc.13 Each door needs to be assessed

individually to determine whether it complies with the accessibility requirements.


Common errors include:


·  Not providing a minimum 12-inch clearance at the latch side/ push side of a door

equipped with both a closer and a latch.

·  Not providing at least 18 inches at the latch side of a door that must be pulled open.


Curb ramps and parking.

Accessible parking spaces and their adjacent access aisles must be level (with a maximum slope of 2

percent in any direction for water drainage). Since access aisles must be level for their entire width


There are no maneuvering clearance requirements for interior doors in dwelling units and sleeping units covered only by the Fair Housing

Amendments Act.


and length, curb ramps may not protrude into the access aisle.


Shower compartments.

The dimensions of a standard roll-in shower are minimums: 60 inches minimum long and 30

Description: A walk-in shower.inches deep. This is not true for transfer showers. The 36-

inch by 36-inch required dimensions are absolute.14 There are

many shower units on the market that do not comply with this,

either exceeding the 36-inch dimension in length or depth, or

providing a 34” by 34” compartment that fits into a 36” by 36”

rough-in space.


Another common violation is specifying shower units that have

thresholds exceeding the maximum height specified by state

Description: Seats in a theatre with no wheelchair access visible.and federal regulations. This is often done because of a concern

over water from the shower spilling onto the bathroom floor.15


Assembly areas.

Common design mistakes may include:


·  Placing all of the required wheelchair locations at floor level in tiered theaters16

·  Grouping all of the wheelchair locations in

segregated areas in an arena

·  Not designing wheelchair location elevations that

provide sightlines over standing spectators

·  Not providing the requisite companion seats next to

wheelchair locations

·  Not providing the required number of receivers for

assistive listening systems


Page 44

II. 2010 ADA Standards for State and Local Government.

For state and local governmental facilities, the designer must be careful to apply all parts of the

2010 Standards, not just 2004 ADAAG as developed by the Access Board. The Standards also

include the provisions developed by the Department of Justice that address effective dates and

compliance dates, definitions, and additional scoping and other details. The Title II regulations are

found at 28 CFR 35.151 and include, through incorporation, the 2004 ADAAG (found at 36 CFR part


Because molded shower compartments do not have squared corners at the floor, the 2004 ADAAG specifies that the dimensions are measured mid-

point at the walls and compartment opening.


Some product manufacturers have attempted to solve this issue by designing flexible thresholds that can be rolled over by someone using a



1991/1994 ADAAG (and the Georgia Accessibility Code) permits viewing positions to be clustered where sight lines require slopes greater than 5

percent. The clustered locations are not permitted to provide inferior sight lines. The cluster exception is not included in the 2010 Standards.


1191, appendices B and D). In the few places where the requirements of these two documents may

be different, the requirements of 28 CFR 35.151 will prevail.


Where the start date for construction is on or after March 15, 2012, the requirements of the 2010

Standards apply. For any Title II facility with a start date before March 15, 2012, the entity has

the choice of following the 1991 ADA Standards (without the elevator exemption), the Uniform

Accessibility Standards (UFAS), or the 2010 Standards.


Examples of requirements that are part of the 2010 DOJ Standards but are not found in

ADAAG include:


·  Alterations and Path of Travel

The path of travel requirement that formerly was included only in the Title III Standards

now applies to Title II as well. An alteration that affects or could affect the usability of or

access to an area that contains a primary function must, to the maximum extent feasible,

provide an accessible path of travel to the altered area unless the cost and scope of the

path of travel is disproportionate to the cost of the overall alteration.

·  Social Service Center Establishments

Group homes, halfway houses, shelters, etc. subject to this section must comply with the

residential requirements (Section 233 and 809) of the 2010 Standards.

·  Housing at a Place of Education

The 2010 Standards differentiate between (1) dormitories or residence halls and (2)

apartments or townhouses that are leased to graduate students or faculty on a year-round

basis. Different scoping and technical provisions will apply to the different building types.

·  Assembly Areas

The 2010 ADA Standards includes substantial changes to the requirements for assembly

areas. For example, in large venues, the requirement for the number of wheelchair spaces

has been reduced. In addition, the 2010 Standards provide much more detail regarding

the horizontal and vertical dispersion requirements of the accessible seating as well as

the requirement for comparable lines of sight. The 1991 requirement for the provision

of a companion seat is still in the 2010 Standards but the companion seat is no longer

required to be fixed as long as movable seating is provided that is comparable to the fixed

seating provided in the section where the accessible seating is located. For example, if the

fixed seating provides a cushioned seat and a cup holder, then the movable companion

seating must provide the same amenities. There is also a new requirement that was not

in the 1991 Standards: each team seating area must be served by an accessible route and

provide a least one wheelchair seating space.

·  Facilities with Residential Dwelling Units for Sale to Individual Owners

Title II entities that offer residential units for sale must now include accessible units.

Section 233 and 809 contain the scoping and technical provisions that would apply to this

type of housing.

·  Detention and Correction Facilities

In addition to most public and common areas in a jail, prison or other detention and

correction facilities, 3 percent of the cells, but no fewer than one, must be accessible for

people with mobility impairments and 2 percent for people with hearing impairments.

These cells must be dispersed throughout each classification level.

·  Medical Care Facilities

Medical care facilities are required to comply with the 2010 Standards including, but not

limited to, sections 223 and 809. In addition, medical care facilities that do not specialize

in the treatment of conditions that affect mobility are required to disperse the accessible

patient rooms proportionate to the type of medical specialty.

Page 46

III. Construction practices

Even where construction documents indicate that a facility will meet all of the applicable state and

federal accessibility requirements, translating that into compliance once a building is constructed

can be frustrated by errors that occur during construction.


Site grading and development.

All federal accessibility regulations apply to the entire facility or project site, not just what occurs within

the four walls of a building. As sites expand and add additional accessible elements (transportation

stops, outdoor telephones and drinking fountains, additional buildings and structures), creating

accessible routes to connect all of these elements is essential. Proper grading is essential to ensure

that connections like sidewalks maintain proper running and cross slopes.


Parking is also a concern. As previously discussed, accessible parking spaces and their access aisles

need to be essentially level (maximum 2 percent slope in all directions). This is sometimes missed

during site development, with the result being sloped surfaces that make it extremely difficult to

transfer from a car to a wheelchair.


Change orders.

Dozens of changes occur throughout the construction process, from redesign of spaces to changing

Description: A group of people meet around a conference table.products installed in a facility due to lack of availability

of a specified item. When this occurs, the impact on the

accessibility of the facility must be considered.


For example, kitchen cabinetry may be replaced when

specified products or cabinet sizes are not available.

This can lead to shifting kitchen fixtures and appliances

to compensate for the new dimensions. Changing the

location of a sink or a refrigerator, however, may mean a

loss of the accessible clear floor space that is required to

be centered on the element by the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines. The resulting shift creates

a violation of federal regulations.


Changing specified drinking fountains, accessible signs, shower compartments, even wall tiles can

affect the accessibility of a completed facility. These types of changes need to be reviewed and

approved to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements.


Misapplying construction tolerances.

The 2010 ADA Standards state, “All dimensions are subject to conventional building industry

tolerances except where the requirement is stated in a range with specific minimum and maximum

end points.”17 This provision is often misunderstood to permit conditions that result in noncompliant

facilities. For example, a 3 percent cross slope on a sidewalk serving as an accessible route may be

beyond industry tolerances.


Industry and construction tolerances remain a confusing and contentious issue. In 2007 the Access

Board announced a research project with the Construction Specification Institute (CSI) to develop

guidance on construction tolerances. The results of that research project, addressing dimensional

tolerances for accessible surfaces such as routes and ramps were published on the Access Board

website in February 2011.18


The location of plumbing supply and waste lines during construction will have an impact on whether

a completed facility will comply with applicable accessibility requirements. For example, water

closet drain lines must be placed so that the centerline of the fixture is located between 16 inches

and 18 inches from the finished side wall. According to the 2010 Standards, since the water closet

centerline dimension is stated as a range, deviation from the 16 inches to 18 inches dimension will

not be allowed.


Mounting heights for accessible drinking fountains, and maintaining required clear floor spaces at

bathing fixtures are other problem areas where inexact work by contractors can lead to problems

at the end of construction.



This provision is replicated in the Georgia Accessibility Code at 120-3-20-.05(b).

18 (need consistent fonts on all footnotes)

Test Your Knowledge*


12. Protruding objects are prohibited by the ADA Standards on

A. accessible routes

B. circulation paths

C. walking surfaces

D. all the above


13. Accessible routes are required to

A. NBA locker rooms

B. attendant booths in surface parking lots

C. court room witness stands

D. all of the above


14. Grade 2 Braille is

A. taught in second grade

B. taller than Grade 1 Braille

C. a short-hand version of spelling

D. a letter-by-letter translation of print



15. The ADA Standards require all of the following employee spaces to be accessible except

A. break rooms

B. shower facilities

C. work stations

D. toilet rooms



16. Accessible transfer shower compartments are required to be

A. 36 inches by 36 inches

B. 36 inches minimum by 36 inches minimum

C. 36 inches minimum by 48 inches

D. 30 inches minimum by 60 inches minimum



17. On the push side of a door with a closer but no latch, the minimum latch side

clearance is

A. 0

B. 12

C. 18

D. 24



Answers can be found on page 62.

Page 49

Chapter 6: Existing Buildings

Georgians recognize the important role that historic

places play in their social and economic lives. Georgia’s

state historic sites, ranging across time from Native American

settlements and Colonial America, to the Antebellum South

and American Civil War period, and through the Civil Rights

era, offer many enriching experiences for their visitors.

These opportunities should be available to everyone,

including grandparents using walkers and school children

using wheelchairs.


Chapter 6: Existing Buildings


At any given time, new construction constitutes a small percentage of the state’s building stock.

As explained in Sections II and IV of chapter 2 with respect to “program accessibility,” accessibility

in our existing facilities is critical to Georgia meeting its social and legal obligations to create an

environment that provides equal access to persons with disabilities.

Page 50

I. Maintaining accessibility

Even in a brand new, fully accessible building, maintaining accessibility is an important and

ongoing responsibility. Placement of office furniture, display cases, waste receptacles, and other

miscellaneous items needs to be planned so that these do not reduce the width of accessible

routes, maneuvering spaces at doors, or clear floor spaces at accessible elements like telephones

or elevator lobby buttons.


On the exterior, accessible routes, entrances, and ramps are a concern. All should be kept clear of

dirt and debris. Sidewalks and ramps at beach parks should be swept of drifting sand. Landscape

features adjoining walkways need to be trimmed so as not to obstruct an accessible route and

not to become protruding objects that are hazardous to people who are blind or have low vision.

Walkways must be repaired and replaced when tree roots grow and heave or break the concrete.


Accessible elements, spaces, and equipment need to be

maintained in a safe and operable condition. Periodic

Description: An individual with a service animal.shutdowns for toilet room fixture repairs or elevator

maintenance and inspection are permitted, but down-

time should be kept to a minimum, and alternative

accessible elements or spaces, with signage indicating

their location, should be provided wherever possible.

Particular attention should be given to accessibility

equipment that may be infrequently used: assistive

listening receivers in assembly areas, TTY telephones,

platform (wheelchair) lifts. Establishing a regular

inspection schedule for these items will ensure that

they are available and operable when they are needed.


Property owners need to establish and enforce policies

and procedures that maintain the accessibility of the

physical plant. Do not permit vehicles to obstruct curb ramps, sidewalks or passenger loading zones.

Maintenance and delivery vehicles should not block accessible entrances or circulation paths. And

employees or delivery personnel should never be permitted to misuse accessible parking spaces

because they are more conveniently located.


Maintenance of accessible features during construction projects

Maintaining existing accessibility can be particularly challenging during construction projects. In

building renovations, corridors can become blocked or cluttered, toilet rooms unavailable, entrances

closed or moved. Every building alteration must be analyzed to determine how accessibility may

be affected and how the impact on building usability can be minimized prior to starting the work.


Construction of new buildings and facilities or demolitions of old ones often impact circulation

routes on or near the building site. Public sidewalks can be blocked or removed, and entire parking

lots can be taken over by construction trailers and equipment. Again, planning must include

maintaining or relocating accessible features throughout the project.


The 2005 draft proposed ADA Public Rights-of-Way Guidelines and 2003 Manual on Uniform

Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) include requirements for alternate pedestrian access routes

where pedestrian access routes are blocked by construction, alteration, maintenance or other

temporary conditions. While clearly useful for Georgia Department of Transportation projects,

these documents also provide guidance for maintaining access where work on a state agency

building affects a public sidewalk, or where accessible routes within a site are disrupted during

construction. Plans should:


·  Provide the alternate route in the same general location as the disrupted route (e.g., on

the same side of a street if possible)

·  Maintain a 48-inch wide accessible circulation path wherever possible

·  Protect circulation paths with pedestrian barricades or channelizing devices when

adjacent to excavation drop-offs, traffic or other hazards

·  Include appropriate signage to indicate where the temporary accessible route is located

·  Provide adequate illumination and reflectors

·  Ensure that construction materials are not stored on circulation paths

·  Construction barricades, scaffolding and other temporary fixtures must not contain or

create protruding objects.

Page 51

II. General alteration requirements

The Georgia State Minimum Standard Building Code specifies that alterations to existing buildings

must comply with the new construction requirements of the code.19 A similar provision of the

Georgia Accessibility Code defines an alteration as “...a change...that affects or could affect the

usability of the building or facility, or part thereof.” The ADA Standards impose similar requirements.


Some changes can be made to a building that do not rise to the level of constituting an alteration

under the building code but do constitute alterations as defined by the ADA and Georgia Accessibility

Code. Changing room signs in an existing building may not be regulated by the building code

but it is an alteration for accessibility purposes because the ADA and Georgia Accessibility Code

regulate room signs. Installing a carpet is not typically regulated by the building code, but State and

federal accessibility requirements regulate carpets, and installing a thick carpet could adversely

impact an accessible route. Building owners and operators and contractors should review planned


The Georgia Code references the ICC 2006 International Building Code, Section 3403.1.


changes to a property to determine whether the accessibility/usability of a facility will be affected

and accordingly ensure compliance with applicable accessibility requirements, irrespective of how

the building code may regulate a project.


Remember, the 2010 ADA Standards require that in addition to providing accessibility in an alteration

of a primary function area, a Title II entity must provide an accessible path of travel to the altered area.

See language above in “DOJ Standards provisions not found in ADAAG,” under Section I of Chapter 3.

Page 52

III. Increasing accessibility

Increasing the accessibility of Georgia’s buildings is an ongoing and inevitable process as they are

renovated, expanded, and maintained throughout their life spans. For example, a nonfunctioning

1960s drinking fountain is replaced by one that is compliant with the Georgia code as well as the

ADA Standards. A multi-story addition to an old office building includes accessible elevators that

provide vertical access to the upper floors of the existing structure.


Description: A ramped sidewalk at a park.The state also has the federal obligation to ensure that, when

viewed in their entirety, Georgia’s services and programs are

accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. (See more

about program access under the section on Title II of the ADA

in Chapter 2, Part IV.) Our state is committed to this goal. As

part of its commitment, the State ADA Coordinator’s Office

operates the Statewide ADA Facility Improvements Program.

Services of the program include:


·  Working with state agencies to develop budget requests and undertake ADA-related

construction projects. These projects concern accessible entrances, primary function

areas, restroom alterations, site modifications, automatic doors, curb cuts, ramps,

pathway renovation, door modification, and other accessibility elements and features to

meet the letter and spirit of the ADA.

·  Determining which specific projects are necessary and fundable under internally

developed criteria. In making this determination, the technical assistance team and

the State ADA Coordinator determine whether or not “nonstructural” solutions (e.g.,

relocating programs to another location, bringing the program to the individual, providing

adaptive equipment, and providing additional staff) provide the appropriate level of

program access for individuals with disabilities.

·  Receiving assistance from an ADA Screening Committee that provides fiscal oversight to

this program. Members include representatives from the Office of Planning and Budget,

Legislative Budget Office and Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.

Assistance includes training for agencies, judges, fire marshals and building code officials

on state and federal accessibility requirements; technical assistance for public officials on

the ADA, Fair Housing Act and other federal disability laws; and assistance in applying the

Georgia Accessibility Code.


Operators and managers of facilities owned or leased by the State of Georgia should not only

avail themselves of these services but watch for accessibility problems and possible solutions in the

day-to-day operation of their properties and plan for future capital projects accordingly.

Page 53

IV. Egress and life safety concerns


The Georgia Accessibility Code, ICC International Building Code, and the ADA Standards all contain

requirements for accessible means of egress in new construction, but all exempt existing buildings

from this requirement. Regardless, egress for persons with disabilities may remain an issue in

existing facilities under the program accessibility mandates of the ADA.


Establishing life safety and evacuation plans for existing structures is a program provided by Title

II entities and, as such, must be done in a manner that does not discriminate against persons with

disabilities. If a state office building has an evacuation plan for its occupants, that plan must also

include provisions for getting disabled employees out of the building. This is obviously a particular

concern for persons with mobility impairments who cannot use stairs and who have accessed the

upper stories of a building by elevator or lift.


While the technical requirements for accessible means of egress and areas of rescue assistance

(areas of refuge) and egress elevators are not applied to existing construction, the principles

and concepts on which these provisions are based can be applied to any evacuation strategy.

They include:


·  Elevator evacuation — Even where elevators are recalled and placed under the control

of firefighters, first responders can determine whether use of an elevator will be safe

and they can assist persons with mobility impairments to reach a level of exit discharge

in the building.


·  Evacuation by exit stairs — When the threat from fire or smoke is imminent and using

elevators is not an option, one option may be evacuation by stairways. This can be

accomplished by trained personnel using a three-person carry of someone in a

wheelchair or by using evacuation chairs.


·  Protect in place — On levels above or below a level of exit discharge, establish

staging or waiting areas where persons who cannot exit by the stairways can be

located by first responders. The areas should provide some protection from smoke

and provide a two-way communications system to let first responders know that

someone in the area needs assistance. (Note: Protect-in-place areas are common

in high-rise construction where zoned evacuation is implemented and everyone

on certain floors may be asked to remain in the building.)

Page 54

V. Historic facilities

Accessibility for persons with disabilities and the preservation of historic buildings and sites are

two important areas of social policy addressed by building codes as well as State and federal

regulations. At times, these goals may appear to be in conflict, and balancing the civil rights inherent

in barrier-free design while maintaining our centuries of heritage can be a challenge.


Fortunately, the era of historic preservation trumping any accessibility improvements is, in itself,

becoming “historic,” and designers and building owners are now considering both issues when

altering or maintaining historic facilities. State and federal regulations provide specific guidance in

this area.


The Georgia Accessibility Code and the ADA Standards state that alterations to historic facilities must

comply with the alteration requirements that apply to all buildings.20 Many historic structures are

retrofitted with sprinkler and fire alarm systems, additional accessible means of egress, accessible

toilet rooms, and other code-compliant systems, so that they can be used as offices or museums

or for other purposes.


However, both the Georgia Accessibility Code and the ADA regulations allow some latitude in

applying accessibility requirements in alterations to a “qualified historic facility.” Where the

State Historic Preservation Officer or Advisory Council on Historic Preservation determines that

compliance with the requirements for accessible routes, entrances, or toilet facilities would threaten

or destroy the historic significance of the building or facility, the exceptions for alterations to qualified

historic buildings or facilities for that element can be applied. Reductions in alteration requirements

to ensure sensitivity to historic facility features may include the following:


·  Steeper ramp slopes may be provided for very small rises in elevation.

·  If public toilets are provided and cannot be made accessible, a single accessible unisex

toilet facility may be sufficient.

·  An accessible route may not be required to levels above or below levels that have an

accessible entrance. If an accessible route is not provided consideration must be given to

providing an alternative method of providing access.

·  In limited cases, secondary or service entrances may serve as the accessible entrance.


Keep in mind that these “reductions” do not override the program access requirement. If alterations

required for program access to a program or service that is not related to historic preservation cannot

be undertaken without destroying the historic significance of a property, alternative methods of

achieving program access must be used. For example, if an office that provides services to the public

is located in an historic building that cannot be made accessible, it will be necessary to relocate the

program or service offered by that office or to ensure other means of making the services accessible.

On the other hand, if the program has as its purpose the preservation of a historic property - i.e., the

primary purpose is for visitors to experience the historic site itself, such as the 19th Century home


Georgia Accessibility Code, Section 120-3-20.12; 2010 ADA Standards, section 202.5, Alterations to Qualified Historic Buildings and Facilities


of a Georgia Statesman, the program cannot, of

Description: A ramped sidewalk entrance with handrails leading to the entrance of a wooden cabin.course, be relocated. In that case, other means

of enhancing appreciation of the property can

be used. For example, photographs or a video

of an inaccessible second floor would be one

means of depicting that portion of the building

for people with mobility disabilities.


Georgians recognize the important role that

historic places play in their social and economic

lives. Georgia’s state historic sites, ranging

across time from Native American settlements

and Colonial America, to the Antebellum South and American Civil War period, and through the

Civil Rights era, offer many enriching experiences for their visitors. These opportunities should be

available to everyone, including grandparents using walkers and school children using wheelchairs.


Test Your Knowledge*


18. The ADA accessibility requirements do not apply

to      of buildings.

A. alterations

B. renovations

C. changes of occupancy

D. additions


19. At a state historic building, all of the following are permitted in some

circumstances except      .

A. ramps steeper than 1:12

B. a 4-inch maximum step at an accessible entrance

C. only one accessible toilet room

D. no accessible route to a second story


20. When demolishing a building on a university campus, all of the following should

be considered except      .

A. prohibiting blind students near the demolition site

B. protecting circulation paths with channelizing devices

C. providing alternate routes close to the disrupted routes

D. posting signs indicating locations of accessible routes


Answers can be found on page 62.

Page 57

Chapter 7: Resources and Appendices


Chapter 7: Resources and Appendices

Page 58

I. Federal Resources

U.S. Access Board

The Access Board Web site includes all of the existing and new ADA Guidelines, proposed

guidelines, and advisory committee reports. Research papers on a variety of accessibility issues

can be viewed and downloaded. Additionally, information regarding the Architectural Barriers Act,

including enforcement issues, is located here.


U.S. Department of Justice ADA Home Page

The Department of Justice ADA Home Page is a valuable resource for both the Department’s ADA

requirements and for links to other federal departments and agencies that enforce accessibility

requirements and disability laws. It contains downloadable publications for businesses, non-profit

providers, and State and local governments.


A Guide to Disability Rights Laws

This Department of Justice publication provides an overview of all the federal laws that address the

rights of persons with disabilities.


U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Disability Rights Page

The HUD web page includes information on both the Fair Housing Act and the Department’s

regulations for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ADA Information

The EEOC enforces the Title I Employment provisions of the ADA. Its web site includes the applicable

regulations as well as information on reasonable accommodations, mediation and filing complaints.


U.S. Department of Transportation ADA Information

This link to the Federal Transit Administration Web site provides information on accessible

transportation facilities, as well as FTA compliance.


Please note that as of August 2011 many of these web sites, or documents found on

them, had not been updated to reflect changes in ADA regulations in 2010 and later.

Page 59

II. State Resources

State ADA Coordinator’s Office


Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office


Georgia Department of Community Affairs


III. Other Resources

International Code Council Home Page


ICC Accessibility Page

The ICC maintains a separate web page on accessibility issues. Included is valuable links to other

resources, information on the development of the A117.1 accessibility standard, and a side-by-side

comparison of the text of the 2006 IBC, 2004 ADAAG, and DOJ requirements for accessibility.


Southeast Disability & Business Technical Assistance Center

A federally funded regional center (DBTAC) that serves as a “one-stop” central, comprehensive

resource on ADA issues in employment, public services, public accommodations, and


Page 60

Checklist for Maintaining Accessible Facilities


There are continuing responsibilities for barrier removal in existing buildings. No alteration

or maintenance project can have the effect of decreasing accessibility or usability below the

requirements. Below are several key items to review for ongoing ADA maintenance:


Parking, Interior & Exterior Accessible Routes:


·  Make sure accessible parking spaces are occupied only by eligible users.

·  Keep accessible parking access aisles clear.

·  Ensure that drop-off areas and loading zones are not blocked by service and short term

delivery vehicles and vendors.

·  Keep curb ramps clear of obstructions, e.g. snow, pooling water, etc.

·  Keep walks, sidewalks and ramps that are part of the required accessible route free of

debris and abrupt level changes.

·  Keep landscape elements trimmed, e.g., low-hanging tree branches, bushes extending

into the required accessible route.

·  Maintain slip resistance of accessible routes at all times.

·  Check structural strength of handrails and guardrails at stairs & ramps periodically.

·  Maintain circulation paths that are free of protruding objects.

·  Maintain clear headroom of at least 80 inches in all circulation paths.

·  Maintain 36 inches min. wide clear accessible routes between furniture, boxes and other


·  Maintain accessible routes to stages and performing areas.

·  Do not block accessible routes or access aisles with maintenance vehicles, equipment or


·  Keep construction and maintenance projects from blocking accessible routes or make

provision for alternate routes.

·  Periodically check accessible doors for proper operating forces and closing speed.

·  Check door thresholds periodically to verify that they have not been damaged or have not

become tripping hazards.


Elevators and lifts:

·  Keep areas under call buttons free of obstructions.

·  Verify consistent voice-free operation of emergency communications devices.

·  Maintain automatic reopening devices in working order.

·  Periodically check cab arrival notification systems and door closure timing.

·  Ensure that the cab floor and building floor are flush.


Toilet rooms:

·  Make certain that the accessible toilets are available during all times that the facility is


·  Keep trash cans and other obstructions out of turning spaces and clear floor spaces at

accessible elements.

·  Keep coat hooks in accessible stalls in accessible locations.

·  Keep accessible toilet paper dispensers stocked and functional.

·  If paper towel or toilet paper is provided by a new vendor, new dispensers may be

provided and these must be located in keeping with accessibility standards, e.g., they

must be within reach range, must not block grab bars and must not protrude into

circulation areas

·  Keep accessible paper towel dispensers stocked and functional.

·  Keep all other accessible dispensers stocked and functional.

·  Maintain insulation on water supply and drain pipes under accessible lavatories.

·  Where self-closing faucets are used, maintain timers to keep water flowing for at least 10

seconds after activation.

·  Check structural strength of grab bars, tub and shower seats periodically.

·  Check shower heads in accessible showers to assure they stay operable and within

maximum reach ranges

Page 62

Test Your Knowledge Answers

1. B

2. D

3. B

4. B

5. D

6. D

7. D

8. A

9. B

10. D

11. D

12. D

13. D

14. C

15. C

16. A

17. A

18. C

19. B

20. A


For additional copies of this manual, please contact the:

State ADA Coordinator’s Office

Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission

2nd Floor

270 Washington Street

Atlanta, Georgia 30334


Phone: 404-657-7313

Fax: 404-463-5650

TTY: 404-657-9993