Online Guide to ADA & ABA Standards published by US Access Board

This is such great news for Architects and designers that I just had to share the announcement as written by

The U.S. Access Board has launched new online guides on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Standards and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards. This web-based material features illustrated technical guides that explain and clarify requirements of the ADA and ABA standards, answer common questions, and offer best practice recommendations. It also includes a series of animations on various subjects covered by the standards.

“The Board is very excited to offer this series of technical guides and animations to help users understand the requirements of the ADA and ABA Standards and how they can be met,” states Access Board Member Michael Graves, FAIA. “As a practicing architect, I know from experience how valuable this type of guidance is in following the standards and ensuring accessibility.”

The initial installment of the guide covers the first three chapters of the standards, including application and use of the standards (Chapter 1), scoping in new construction, alterations, and additions (Chapter 2), and basic “building block” technical provisions (Chapter 3). Guides covering other sections of the standards will be released at a later date. The supplementary animations, which range in length from 6 to 10 minutes, address wheelchair maneuvering, doors and entrances, and accessible toilet and bathing facilities.

“These new resources not only explain requirements in the standards but also demonstrate their rationale,” notes Graves. “Knowing the ‘whys’ behind various provisions is key to understanding what accessibility means and how best to achieve it.”

The Guide to the ADA Standards covers design requirements that apply to places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities subject to the ADA in new construction, alterations, and additions. The Guide to the ABA Standards addresses similar standards that apply under the ABA to facilities that are designed, constructed, altered, or leased with federal funds.

Future installments to the guides will be published as they become available. Users can sign-up to receive email updates on the release of new technical guides in the series.


Upcoming presentations and trainings, Spring 2013

I cordially invite you to join me at some great conferences coming in the next few months…. I will be presenting on the following days and topics.

UD Summit #5, St. Louis, MO

May 7, 2013

More Than Accessible: A Case Study with Resources & Ideas.

ACHUO-I 2013 Annual Conference and Exposition, Minneapolis, MN

June 16, 2013

Housing for Everyone: Promoting Universal Design in Residential Environments

AIA National Conference, Denver, CO?

June 19, 2013

Half-Day Preconvention Workshop: Prevent the Most Common Accessibility Errors in Multifamily Housing under FHA, ICC, and CBC

June 20, 2013

Compliance Under the 2010 ADA for K-12 Schools and Housing for Places of Education

Universally Accessible, Independently Active

PWD (People with disabilities) in Phoenix have no excuse to sit still. The Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center, known as SpoFit, has fitness equipment, classes, sport gyms, a climbing wall and aquatics programs for every ability. As the mother of a competitive swimmer who happens to ride a wheelchair, I know how hard it is to find pools and locker room facilities that really work for all abilities. This center has the best pool layout I’ve seen.

There are two pools and a hot tub, each with at least two means of transfer into the water.  The warm water therapy pool has steps, a transfer wall, a lift with a chair seat (including head and foot rest) and a in-water platform lift (first one’s I’ve seen).

Steps, platform lift and pool seat lift at warm water therapy pool.

Platform lift with mesh door lowers into pool. Traditional chair lift is beyond.

Platform lift with mesh door lowers into pool. Traditional chair lift is beyond.

(Sorry about the rotated image of the platform lift. My techie skills are failing me tonight.)

The lap pool has a transfer platform, a lift and a pool platform lift.  The transfer platform is aligned with gradual steps in the water to aid in transferring back out of the pool. SpoFit provides cushions for those who need butt protection during the transfer process.

Transfer platform into lap pool with hot tub beyond.

Transfer platform into lap pool with hot tub beyond.

I am so excited to know there are models of great fitness facilities that are inclusive of all abilities. My city needs our fitness facility to follow SpoFit’s motto, “Universally Accessible, Independently Active!”

Braitmayer elected as Chair, US Access Board

Seattle, WA (March 20, 2013) – Architect Karen Braitmayer was unanimously elected Chair of the United States Access Board at the March 13 meeting in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama appointed Braitmayer to the Board in 2010. The Access Board is an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities.

“I’m honored to be elected Chair and look forward to working with this talented Board to increase accessibility in our communities for all citizens,” says Braitmayer.

Braitmayer is the founder of Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, Seattle, WA, an architectural consulting firm specializing in accessibility and accessible design.  She advises state agencies, local governments, school districts, developers and architects on accessibility for housing, commercial, retail, institutional and educational projects. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and served on the Advisory Board of the Northwest ADA Center and on the Board of the Northwest Center (for people with Developmental Disabilities). Braitmayer received a BA from Rice University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Houston.

Previously, Braitmayer served as Vice Chair of the Access Board and succeeds past Chair, Susan Brita, Deputy Administrator for the US General Services Administration, who will now serve as Vice Chair. Board members serve four-year terms and officers serve one-year terms.

Created in 1973, the Access Board ensures access to federally funded facilities and is a leading source of information on accessible design.  The Board develops and maintains design criteria for the built environment, transit vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and for electronic and information technology.  The Board provides technical assistance and training on these requirements, accessible design and enforces accessibility standards that cover federally funded facilities. To learn more, visit