Accessible Design in Public Housing: NYCHA Staff Training Program

Version 4.0 July 9, 2001

  introduction | instructions | home

Federal Laws and Regulations and Public Housing
2.  New Construction

Technically, all new construction since 1968 should have been designed to be accessible in accordance with the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Until the 1980's, the ABA referenced the ANSI A117 (1961/71) Standard that was used as a national consensus standard for accessible design. This standard was only 7 pages long and focused only on public spaces like building entries and public toilet rooms. In the '80's, the referenced standard was changed to the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard (UFAS). Recently, the referenced standard was changed again to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Since the latter does not have requirements on dwelling units, the application of the ABA to newly constructed public housing today is a little  cloudy. The advent of the ADA in 1990 meant that all new construction of public housing had to comply with the ADAAG or UFAS. UFAS was the defacto standard for public housing since the ADAAG does not include requirements for dwelling units. The Fair Housing Act technically covers public housing but the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines are less stringent than UFAS so that they actually have no impact.