ADA Standards for Accessible Design and ADA Accessibility Guidelines

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

2010 ADA Standards Cover PageThe US Department of Justice published the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards) in a format which contains most all relevant information in one easy-to-access document. This document provides the scoping and technical requirements for new construction and alterations resulting from the adoption of revised 2010 Standards in the final ADA rules for Title II - State and Local Government and Title III – Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities.

The US Department of Justice has published a Fact Sheet containing a Summary of Changes in the 2010 Standards. The US Department of Justice has also published Guidance on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design which contains explanatory information from the regulations addresses the scoping and technical provisions of the 2010 Standards.

March 15, 2012, is the compliance date for using the 2010 Standards for new construction, alterations, program accessibility, and barrier removal. Although under certain circumstances, the revised regulations permit the use of the 2010 Standards before the compliance date of March 15, 2012, entities are not required to comply with the 2010 Standards until March 15, 2012. For more information on compliance date for using the 2010 Standards for new construction, alterations, program accessibility, and barrier removal see: ADA Revised Requirements – Effective Date and Compliance Dates. The US Access Board has published a related resource titled “Which Standard to Follow”.

The original ADA Standards for Accessible Design (1991) and Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards - UFAS (1984) can be found at:

The 2010 Standards include the relevant chapters of the US Access Board´s 2004 ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines as modified by specific provisions of the Department´s revised rules implementing title II and title III of the ADA. To minimize compliance burdens on entities subject to more than one legal standard, these design standards have been harmonized with the Federal standards implementing the Architectural Barriers Act and with the private sector model codes that are adopted by most States. These rules addressed recreation facilities, play areas, State and local government facilities (detention facilities and courthouses), and, finally, the revision of the Access Board´s 1991 guidelines.

The 2010 Standards are consistent with the US Access Board's updated guidelines (2004). However, DOJ's revised title II regulation and title III regulation implement additional provisions concerning:

  • Social Service Center Establishments (access to beds and roll-in showers)
  • Housing at Places of Education (application of provisions for transient lodging and for residential facilities, and kitchen access and accessible circulation within units)
  • Assembly Areas (additional criteria for the location and dispersion of wheelchair spaces and companion seats in assembly areas, including stadium-style movie theaters)
  • Medical Care Facilities (dispersion of accessible patient bedrooms)
  • Residential Dwelling Units (coverage of dwelling units designed, constructed, or altered by state and local governments for sale to individuals)
  • Detention and Correctional Facilities (enhanced scoping (3%) for accessible cells, dispersion, and coverage of altered cells)
  • Places of Lodging (application of scoping provisions to sites with multiple facilities, alterations, and exclusion of residential-only units)

Note: Transportation facilities, including bus stops and stations and rail stations, are subject to the US Department of Transportation’s ADA Standards and regulations. These facilities must meet the Department of Transportation's updated standards (2006). Federal facilities must comply with standards issued under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). The ABA applies to facilities designed, built, altered, or leased with Federal funds. Several agencies maintain standards under the ABA according to minimum guidelines established by the Access Board: the General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Though issued by different agencies, the ABA standards are virtually the same except that the update of HUD's standards for residential facilities is still pending.

ADA Accessibility Guidelines – US Access Board

The Access Board's ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) serve as the minimum baseline for the standards. The guidelines and standards are very similar, but only the standards have legal authority. We are providing links to these documents for reference purposes. Additional information on these guidelines, as well as many other topics related to accessible design, can be found on the US Access Board’s web site.

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