Revised ADA Regulations Affect Building
Attorney general Eric Holder has signed
final regulations revising the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, including its ADA Standards for
Accessible Design. A number of the changes relate directly to building
entrances which can include glass doors and windows.
The revised regulations will amend the DOJ’s Title II regulation, which
applies to public entities, and the Title III regulation, which applies
to public accommodations. Appendix B to the Title III regulation discusses
major changes in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design and responds
to public comments received on the proposed rules. According to Appendix
B, a new requirement says if operable windows are provided for building
users, then at least one window in an accessible space must be equipped
with controls that comply with section 309, which deals with operable
The appendix notes that “commenters generally supported this provision
but some … asked whether the maximum five-pounds of force requirement
of section 309 applies to the window latch itself or only to the force
required to open the window. Section 309 applies to all controls and operating
mechanisms, so the latch must comply with the requirement to operate with
no more than five pounds of force.”
The 1991 Standards required at least 50 percent of public entrances be
accessible. Section 206.4.1 of the 2010 Standards requires at least 60
percent of public entrances to be accessible. Under these revisions, when
two public entrances are planned in a newly constructed facility, both
entrances must be accessible.
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