Fifteen years after
the Americans With
Disabilities Act became law, the U.S. Department of Justice is
considering revising the regulations.
The DOJ is working from new guidelines published last July by
the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board,
also known as the U.S. Access Board. The new rules are not
enforceable unless the DOJ revises the current ADA guidelines.
Among the changes being considered are enhancements to employee
work areas in offices and kitchen areas in hotel rooms, along with
measures insuring proper turning space and drinking fountains
placed at the proper height for people using wheelchairs.
A period of public comment on the proposed rules, during which
businesses can address the costs of compliance, will conclude on
May 31. At press time, no schedule had been set for when the new
guidelines might be adopted. According to the DOJ, “The length of
the process will be determined by the volume of the comments
received, as well as the department’s need to complete a regulatory
Facilities managers concerned that new rules will mean
expensive makeovers can rest easy: ADA regulations apply to new
construction and planned alterations. Existing structures must
comply only in the event of significant renovations. To find
updates on the proceedings, visit the Access Board’s website (www.access-board.gov