UPDATE: The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design now reference Section 1007 of the 2003 IBC, Accessible Means of Egress.
I cannot be more clear about this. ALL GRADE LEVEL EXITS IN NEW CONSTRUCTION MUST BE ACCESSIBLE with a few exceptions.
From TAS Section 4.1.3( 8 )
In new construction, at a minimum, the requirements in 4.1.3(8)(a) and 4.1.3(8)(b) below shall be satisfied independently: (ii)* Accessible entrances and exits must be provided in a number and at locations at least equivalent to the total number and locations of exits required by the applicable building/fire codes1, including accessible routes. Refer to 4.1.3(9) where conditions preclude accessible exits.
This requirement is for Texas only. The revised ADA/ABA Guidelines references section 1007 of the IBC 2003.
I am often asked if an area of rescue assistance (ARA) can be provided in lieu of an accessible route to grade at a means of egress. An ARA is permissible, but only when “conditions preclude accessible exits”. A few steps would not be considered a condition precluding accessible exits.
There is one unusual exception. Technical Memorandum 00-03 permits the use of an ARA in lieu of a ramp if the ramp would interfere with trucks at a loadig dock area. And if the building is fully sprinklered, the ARA is not required.