ICC, Americans with Disabilities Act Celebrate 25 Years of Accessibility

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Public comments being accepted for the 2015 edition of ICC A117.1 Standard

We are exceedingly proud of the role ICC continues to play in creating opportunities for full participation and access for people with disabilities to public and private accommodations.

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush. The ADA has expanded opportunities for persons with disabilities by reducing barriers in places of employment, state and local government services, transportation and the built environment. The law allows equal access to buildings and facilities where people live, work, play and go to school.

“Even before the ADA was enacted, the International Code Council (ICC) and its founding organizations addressed the needs of persons with disabilities through changes to building and fire safety codes,” explains ICC Board of Directors President Guy Tomberlin, CBO. “Accessibility provisions date back to the mid-1970s. We are exceedingly proud of the role ICC continues to play in creating opportunities for full participation and access for people with disabilities to public and private accommodations.”

Public comments are being accepted on the third review draft for the 2015 edition of ICC A.117.1 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. ICC A117.1 is a nationally recognized standard of technical requirements for making buildings accessible. In 1987, at the request of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ICC assumed secretariat responsibility for the standard. ICC develops the standard through an open, transparent consensus process with a 46-member committee including representatives from various accessibility organizations. The deadline for public comments is Aug. 17.

“A117.1 has served as the basis for national accessibility standards for over 50 years, and is the common link in the extraordinary harmonization that we now enjoy between the ICC and the ADA accessibility standards," said Ken Schoonover, Chair of the ICC A117.1 Development Committee and a nationally recognized expert on accessibility in the built environment. “The continued relationship between ICC codes and standards with national accessibility standards allows code officials, designers and builders to work together during plan review and through construction to build in compliance with accessibility standards. When buildings are accessible and all applicable standards are met, the entire community benefits.”

The 2010 ADA Standard for Accessible Design references the 2000 and 2003 International Building Code (IBC), published by ICC, for accessible means of egress. Many provisions in the 2010 ADA Standard, IBC and ICC A117.1 have been coordinated to simplify compliance for architects, builders and code officials. In continuing its coordination with federal accessibility guidelines, ICC’s 2015 IBC includes revised requirements for dormitories serving places of education.

ICC was a co-sponsor of this year’s National ADA Symposium in Atlanta. The annual event offers training and networking opportunities pertaining to all aspects of the ADA and this year attracted more than 850 attendees including representatives from all 50 states. ICC technical staff gave presentations during the training portion of the symposium.

For more information on the 25th anniversary celebration of the ADA Act, including the ADA Legacy Bus Tour that continues this month across the country, go to http://www.ada.gov/.


About us: The International Code Council is a member-focused association. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.

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Steve Daggers
International Code Council
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