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AUG 8 1997

The Honorable Richard Burr


Member, U.S. House of Representatives
2000 West First Street
Suite 508
Piedmont Plaza Two
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27104

Dear Congressman Burr:

I am responding to your inquiry on behalf of


XXX of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who wrote
to you about the architectural design standards of the Americans
with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). XXX seeks information
about the standards of the ADA as they pertain to accessibility
to "private buildings" that serve the public, such as
restaurants, banks, grocery stores. XXX also asks whether
the standards that apply to covered buildings differ depending on
when the building was constructed. Please excuse our delay in
responding.

Title III of the ADA applies to "places of public


accommodation," which are defined to include private facilities
that house operations that affect commerce and fall within at
least one of the 12 categories of business or service
establishments, such as places of lodging, recreation,
entertainment, and so forth, that are identified in the ADA.
The definition of public accommodation encompasses most private
sector business establishments that routinely operate in our
country.

Under title III, all newly constructed places of public


accommodation (and those undergoing alterations), as well as
commercial facilities (factories, warehouses), must comply with
the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. A building is covered
under the new construction requirements only if it was first
occupied after January 26, 1993, and its last application for a
building permit or permit extension was certified as complete
after January 26, 1992. Public accommodations in buildings
occupied before January 26, 1993, that are not otherwise being
altered, are required to remove architectural barriers where such
removal is "readily achievable." The concept of readily
achievable incorporates the common sense notion of removing
architectural barriers where it is both easy and inexpensive to
accomplish. Barrier removal under the readily achievable

cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, McDowney, Talian, FOIA


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standard is never required to exceed the requirements for new


construction.

XXX specific concern apparently was prompted by his


belief that the ADA requires the installation of automatic doors,
while his local building code does not. The ADA design standards
specify requirements for particular elements of a building. The
requirements pertaining to doors are found in section 4.13 of the
Appendix to the enclosed regulation. These technical provisions
permit, but do not require, the use of automatic doors and doors
that swing open in either direction. Doors that pull open are
permitted, but appropriate maneuvering space also must be
provided.

If Winston-Salem local codes require a particular type of


exterior door opening, such a requirement does not necessarily
conflict with the ADA because the ADA does not preempt all State
and local regulations in the area of accessible design. States
and localities are free to enact and enforce code provisions that
provide equal or greater access than the ADA standards. To the
extent possible, covered entities must comply with both the State
or local code and the Federal requirement. If the State or local
code provisions differ, however, from the ADA requirements in a
way that results in less accessibility, then an entity subject to
title III of the ADA is required to comply with the Federal
standard.

The design standards of the ADA are described in full in the


enclosed title III regulation and interpretative manual. I hope
this information is helpful to respond to XXX He also may
seek additional advice on the architectural barrier removal and
design standards from several informational hotlines described on
the enclosed summary of ADA telephone information services. Most
of the hotlines are toll-free and have operators to answer
questions on specific ADA subjects.

I hope this information is useful in responding to your


constituent.
Sincerely,

Isabelle Katz Pinzler


Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

Enclosures

WASHINGTON OFFICE:
RICHARD BURR 1513 Longworth HOB
5th District, North Carolina Washington, DC 20515
COMMITTEE (202) 225-2071
COMMERCE Fax (202) 225-2995
SUBCOMMITTEES DC INFO LINE:
HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT (202) 226-0320
ENERGY AND POWER E-
MAIL:Richard.BurrNC05@mail.house.gov
OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS
WWW.http://www.house.gov/burr/
Congress of the United States DISTRICT OFFICE
2000 West First Street
House of Representatives Suite 508
Piedmont Plaza Two
May 5, 1997 Washington, DC 20515-3305 Winston-Salem, NC 27104
(910) 631-5125
Fax (910) 725-4493

Ms. Sally Conway


Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Post Office Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035

Dear Ms. Conway:

My constituent, XXX recently contacted my office regarding a problem he is


having with some buildings in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that he believes do
not address the accessibility statutes of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

XXX has cited several buildings in Winston-Salem that he says have exterior
doors that only open to the outside (pull open). These are standards the city of
Winston-Salem has set, but he understands that the Americans with Disabilities Act
requires any building to either have doors that swing open both ways, or can be
opened automatically. I would appreciate any information that will address the
following concerns: What are the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act
as they pertain to accessibility to private buildings that serve the public (restaurants,
banks, grocery stores, etc.), and are the statutes different for buildings that were
built before the act was signed into law, as opposed to those built after the law was
enacted. Please mail your response to my Winston-Salem office.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to hearing from you
soon.

Sincerely,

Richard Burr
Member of Congress

RB:bv