DOJ Mulls a New, Improved ADA

The Landmark Accessibility Law Undergoes Fine-Tuning

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 impact analysis.”
    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 (