Guide to the ADA and ABA Standards

New standards are being issued under the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) according updated guidelines previously issued by the Board.  Several different agencies are responsible for updating these standards, and action is still pending in some cases.  This page explains which standards are in effect at this time according to facility type.  Direct links to the standards and related information are included.

ADA Standards

The ADA applies to facilities in the private sector (places of public accommodation and commercial facilities) and to state and local government facilities.  Standards issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) apply to all ADA facilities except transportation facilities, which are subject to standards maintained by the Department of Transportation (DOT).  DOJ is in the process of adopting new ADA standards, and further information on this update is available on DOJ’s website at  DOT has adopted new ADA standards which apply to bus stops, rail stations, airports, and other transportation facilities.

ADA Standards
Facility Standards to Follow
store Places of Public Accommodation and Commercial Facilities (private sector) DOJ’s ADA Standards (1991, reprinted 1993)
These standards are contained in DOJ’s title III regulation (28 CFR Part 36) as Appendix A
school State and Local Government Facilities (except transportation facilities) DOJ’s ADA Standards or UFAS
DOJ’s title II regulation (28 CFR Part 35) allows use of the original ADA standards (with some exceptions) or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS)
subway station Transportation Facilities DOT’s ADA Standards for Transportation Facilities (updated)
These standards took effect November 29, 2006, as indicated in a notice published by DOT

ABA Standards

The ABA applies to federally funded facilities.  The General Services Administration (GSA) updated its ABA standards, which apply to most facilities covered by the ABA.  The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has adopted similar standards which cover postal facilities.  The Department of Housing (HUD) and the Department of Defense are in the processing of adopting updated ABA standards.  HUD’s standards apply to federally funded residential facilities, and DOD’s standards cover military facilities.

ABA Standards
Facility Standards to Follow
Federal building Federal Facilities (other than postal, housing, and military facilities) GSA’s ABA Accessibility Standard (updated)
Effective May 8, 2006 (February 6, 2007 for leased facilities) as indicated in GSA’s Facility Management Regulation (subpart c)
post office Postal Facilities USPS’s ABA Accessibility Standard (updated, also known as the RE-4 Standards)       PDF version
Effective October 1, 2005 as indicated in a notice issued by USPS
house Housing UFAS
HUD to replace UFAS with updated ABA standards
the Pentagon Military Facilities UFAS
DOD to replace UFAS with updated ABA standards


Technical Assistance

Technical assistance on the ADA and ABA standards is available from the Board:

phone:  800-872-2253 (voice) or 800-993-2822 (TTY), weekdays 10 – 5:30 EST (Wed. 10 – 2)
fax:  202-272-0081