February 2004

The Board’s mission is to be “the catalyst for achieving an accessible America.” This statement recognizes that achieving an accessible America requires bringing together the public and private sectors. One of the Board’s long-range goals is to take a leadership role in the development of codes and standards for accessibility. The Board works with model code organizations and voluntary consensus standards groups that develop and periodically revise codes and standards affecting accessibility. The following is a list of the codes and standards that the Board actively works with.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A117 Committee. The Board has actively participated on the International Code Council (ICC)/ANSI A117 Committee in revising and maintaining its standard, “Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.” A major objective of the Board and the ANSI A117 Committee is to harmonize the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the ICC/ANSI A117.1 standard.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) A18 Platform Lift and Stairway Chairlift Committee. Standards for platform lifts which once were included in the ASME A17 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators are now part of the ASME A18 standard. This new Committee has already revised its standards to improve the quality and accessibility of platform lift and stairway lift devices. The new standard no longer includes provisions that require lifts to be key operated.

International Code Council (ICC), International Building Code (IBC). The International Building Code represents a cooperative effort on the part of national model codes to bring uniformity to building codes. Additionally, the ICC provides interested parties with a single agenda to which they may direct recommended code changes. The IBC includes numerous provisions affecting accessibility such as: scoping provisions for the ICC/ANSI A117.1 standard, provisions for mainstreamed accessible elements, and requirements for accessible means of egress. Adoption of the IBC by state and local code authorities provides a unique opportunity for principles of accessibility to be standardized and integrated in building codes. Board staff monitors and contributes to the on-going development of the IBC.

ANSI/NSPI-1 (Standard for Public Swimming Pools. The Access Board has actively participated on the ANSI/NSPI-1 Committee over the past few years to revise and update this standard. Based on our involvement, the standard presently includes scoping and technical provisions for access into the water.

NSPI/WWA-9 Standard for Aquatic Recreation Facilities. We actively participated in the development of this new standard which addresses water parks and water attractions. Previously, these facilities were considered under the ANSI/NSPI-1 (Standard for Public Swimming Pools). Operators and representatives from this industry promoted and supported the need for a new standard to more effectively address the unique features of these facilities.

Acoustical Society of America (ASA)/ANSI Working Group on Classroom Acoustics, Committee S-12, Noise. The parent of a child with a hearing loss petitioned the Board to include new provisions in ADAAG for acoustical accessibility for individuals who are hard of hearing because the acoustical environments found in many schools today are barriers to communication and therefore to learning for children with hearing impairments. The Board published a notice in the Federal Register in June 1998 requesting information on a variety of issues regarding acoustical environments including possible scoping and technical requirements. Rather than initiating rulemaking, the Board collaborated with an existing Acoustical Society of America (ASA)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Working Group on Classroom Acoustics to develop private sector technical and scoping standards. At the Board’s request, the working group membership was broadened to include other stakeholders, including representatives of school systems, school designers, disability organizations, and the Department of Education. The Board provided funding from its research budget to support administrative costs of the working group. The standard was recently adopted by ANSI. The approved standard, Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools (ANSI S12.60-2002), sets specific criteria for maximum background noise and reverberation.

National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The Board has provided comment on revisions to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which includes coverage of pedestrian signals, intersection design issues, pavement markings, signage, signalization, and other traffic control issues and was a member of a Signals Committee Task Force to develop a draft standard for accessible pedestrian signals.

The Board also closely monitors developments in other codes and standards including:

  • ANSI C63 subcommittee on medical devices to develop standards to measure hearing aid compatibility and accessibility to digital wireless telecommunications
  • Committee on Accessible Transportation Research/TRB
  • NFPA 1-1997, Fire Prevention Code
  • NFPA 72-1996, Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Protective Signaling Systems
  • NFPA 101-1997 Life Safety Code
  • NFPA 130-1997, Fixed Guideway Transit systems
  • The Board is a member of the following codes and standards organizations:

  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A117 Committee
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) A18 Platform Lift and Stairway Chairlift Lift Committee
  • ASTM, Committee F‑8 on Sports Equipment and Facilities
  • National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards
  • National Fire Protection Association