The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International has submitted extensive comments on proposed modifications to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to maintain a broad grandfather clause to protect existing facilities already in compliance with the current ADAAG. The changes to the Guidelines, including the critical grandfathering provisions, reflect the revisions proposed by the U.S. Access Board as a result of their deliberations over the past several years.
BOMA commended the DOJ for including broad “safe harbor” clauses for existing buildings and elements in compliance with the current standards for barrier removal and path of travel obligations, but emphasized that it is critical to maintain safe harbors in the final rules so that existing facilities in compliance with current ADAAG are not forced to undergo extensive upgrades to comply simply with the new changes to the standards.
In its comments, BOMA made suggestions to several additions and deletions relating to key areas of accessibility, including: stairs, elevators, new construction, side reach, water closet clearance, and door hardware.
BOMA expects the final guidelines to be published before year-end. Read the full comments.
In other ADA news, President Bush is expected to sign a new Americans with Disabilities Act intended to restore protections that were limited by two Supreme Court cases.
The new ADA would now require that a disability must “materially limit” (a broader definition than the original “substantially limit”) a “major life activity” to make a person qualified to be classified as a disabled person, eligible for accommodation. “Thinking” and “concentration” have been added to the list of major life activities, although “learning,” which includes both, was already included in the law.
The legislation was introduced in response to Supreme Court decisions in 1999 and 2002, which ruled that individuals who could compensate for their disabilities with medications, medical devices, or prosthetics did not qualify for protection under ADAIf you have an interesting news story, please submit it here.
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