The Division of the State Architect has announced the adoption of updated accessibility standards for the 2013 California Building Code that—for the first time ever—align existing California and federal access regulations for everything ranging from parking spaces and hand rails to housing. The result is a single set of requirements which meet both state and federal accessibility requirements and enhance accessibility for all Californians.
The Division of the State Architect develops and maintains accessibility and historical buildings standards and codes utilized in public and private buildings throughout California. In addition, the group also has oversight responsibility for design and construction of K-12 schools and community colleges.
“Adoption of the 2013 California Building Code provides clarity and consistency for both the general public and code users such as architects, contractors and building officials,” said State Architect Chet Widom.
The new regulations were developed by Division of the State Architect and integrate existing state building code provisions with those from the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. The regulations were recently adopted by the California Building Standards Commission for the 2013 California Building Code.
Forty years ago, California led the nation by enacting laws to establish accessibility standards. Twenty years later, in 1990, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. Since that time, Californians have struggled with compliance of both state and federal access laws and standards since the two have never been completely aligned.
During the development of the 2013 state building code, more than 2,500 items from the 2010 state and federal codes were analyzed to determine which provisions provided greater accessibility. Items studied varied from parking spaces, handrails, drinking fountains, and signs, to transportation facilities, housing, and correctional facilities. Provisions for recreational facilities have also been incorporated in the 2013 state building code, including amusement rides, playgrounds, golf courses and fishing piers.