Individuals with disabilities need to be able to physically access the buildings and businesses in their community, just as any other citizen and customer is able to do. The ADA requires entities, particularly state and local government entities open to the public (covered under Title II of the ADA) and private businesses that serve the public (covered under Title III of ADA) to comply with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design when engaging in new construction or renovating/altering existing construction. Examples of places that may need to comply with this requirement include restaurants, stores, schools, recreational facilities, fitness centers, theaters, city government buildings, law enforcement and correctional facilities, commercial offices (i.e. medical offices, attorney offices, insurance offices), transportation facilities, libraries, and many more. This page consists of numerous resources to aid business owners, architects, ADA Coordinators, public works, and others to learn about and understand how to make their establishment more accessible and welcoming to their patrons and consumers with physical disabilities.

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Federal ADA Accessibility Requirements

(mandatory throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands)

The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Design and construction requirements under the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design became mandatory for new construction, alterations and barrier removal on March 15, 2012. These are the federal guidelines for accessibility in technical detail. Please note that aspects of states' building codes may be more onerous, therefore we encourage you to consult state building codes as well before beginning construction or renovations.

Please note that when engaging in new construction, alterations and barrier removal, entities must comply with both the local/state building code and applicable federal accessibility requirements (i.e. ADA, The Fair Housing Act, Section 504, etc…). Given this, it is important to verify that you are applying the proper federal and state or local accessibility requirements to your project.

State and Local Building Code Information

New York building codes

2010 Building Code of New York State. Note that Chapter 11 contains most (but not all) scoping for accessibility requirements required by the building code.

Additional information about the Building Code of New York State is available from the Division of Code Enforcement and Administration website

2008 New York City Construction Code

The New York City Construction Code is available on line and can be accessed at the NYC.gov website

New Jersey Barrier Free Subcode

Enforceable accessibility codes and regulations required in New Jersey are available on the NJ Department of Community Affairs website

Most accessibility requirements enforceable in New Jersey are found in the NJ Barrier Free Subcode or the NJ Rehabilitation Subcode.

Puerto Rico Building Codes

The 2011 Puerto Rico Building Code adopts the 2009 edition of the International Building Code (with amendments). The amendments can be found on the Puerto Rico Building Codes Website. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Regulation and Permits Administration (ARPE) oversees enforcement of the building code.

Virgin Islands Building Code

The Department of Planning & Natural Resources (DPNR) of the Virgin Islands office of Building Permits oversees enforcement of the VI Building Codes. Accessibility requirements are primarily found in Title 29 of the Virgin Islands Code & the International Building Code as adopted by the Virgin Islands.Enforceable codes can be found at the Building Permits website.

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Voting Accessibility

The following Voting Accessibility Fact Sheet should help you understand what the various regulations and requirements are around the rights of voters with disabilities and the responsibilities of polling sites to provide physical and programmatic access to citizens with disabilities:

Download Voting Fact Sheets in English
PDF (142kb) | Voting Fact Sheets, PDF format
HTML | Voting Fact Sheets, HTML format


Descargue hojas informativas de voto en Español
PDF (142kb) | Fichas de Voto, en formato PDF
HTML | Fichas de Voto, en formato HTML

Physical Accessibility Archived Webinars:

The Northeast ADA Center has several archives of webinar presentations on this topic. All slides, transcripts, and audio/visual archives can be accessed free of charge by anyone. Examples of topics covered are building code and accessibility requirements for either NY, NJ, PR, or USVI; accessibility in hotels and resorts; swimming pool regulations; and accessibility in play areas. Access all archived webinars on building design and access in the Northeast ADA Center's webinar archives

Additional Resources

U.S. Access Board

http://www.access-board.gov
The Access Board is a federal agency that develops guidelines to ensure that buildings, transportation, and telecommunications technology are accessible to individuals with disabilities. The website contains federal guidelines and standards and information on making a complaint about inaccessible facilities.

ADA National Network Fact Sheets

Detention & Correctional Facilities (English)
Facilidades Correccionales (Español)
Places of Lodging (English)
Lugares de Alojamiento (Español)

Additional Technical Assistance Guidance from Department of Justice:

The Department of Justice, which enforces Title II and Title III, has produced numerous technical assistance documents to help you understand physical access requirements. Learn more at ada.gov.

To receive additional assistance with locating or understanding ADA design requirements, please contact the Northeast ADA Center Technical Assistance team!