The ABA has required accessibility for over 50 years

The passage of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968 marked the first federal law requiring accessibility to the built environment. The facilities covered by the ABA include federal facilities and those built or leased with federal funding.

ABA Standards provide accessibility guidelines for covered facilities

With guidelines issued by the U.S. Access Board, there are four agencies that establish the ABA Standards: the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

The ABA Standards have been adopted to replace the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) by the GSA, DOD, and USPS. According to the U.S. Accord Board, HUD is yet to formally adopt the ABA Standards and continues to apply the Uniform Federal Accessibility Guidelines to the facilities under its authority.

Accessibility specifications for ramps, parking, signs, doors, elevators, restrooms, stairways, and more must meet these standards.

ABA Standards and resources

The full text of the ABA Standards can be found here

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Helpful resources

How do ABA and ADA Standards differ?

The U.S. Access Board also maintains the accessibility guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which are very similar to the guidelines that pertain to the ABA; however, there are some important differences.

The ABA and ADA Standards are different in these areas, according to the Access Board: modifications and waivers (§F103), work areas, additions (§F202.2), leased facilities (§F202.6), exceptions for vertical access/elevators (§F206.2.3), emergency transportable housing (§F233, §809), and outdoor developed areas (§F244 - §F248, §1011 – §1019).

Additionally, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have provisions in their specific ADA Standards that are not found in ABA Standards.

Need to file an ABA complaint?

Visit the filing an ABA complaint page, or:

Compliance and Enforcement Section
Office of the General Counsel
U.S. Access Board
1331 F Street, NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111