Effective date of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) recently announced adoption of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards. These new Standards are modeled on the 2010 ADA Standards and are mostly identical except for some minor changes.

Unlike the 2010 ADA Standards, TDLR did not allow for a grace period in which compliance is optional. Prior to March 15, 2012 compliance with the 1994 Texas Standards is required. After March 15, 2012 compliance with the 2012 Texas Standards is required.

As we approach the deadline, many architects have been inquiring about specific permit and construction start dates. Here are the specifics from the ADA Standards:

Compliance Date for Title II

If the start date for construction is on or after March 15, 2012, all newly constructed or altered State and local government facilities must comply with the 2010 Standards.  Before that date, the 1991 Standards (without the elevator exemption), the UFAS, or the 2010 Standards may be used for such projects when the start of construction commences on or after September 15, 2010.

Compliance Date for Title III

The compliance date for the 2010 Standards for new construction and alterations is determined by:

  • the date the last application for a building permit or permit extension is certified to be complete by a State, county, or local government;
  • the date the last application for a building permit or permit extension is received by a State, county, or local government, where the government does not certify the completion of applications; or 
  • the start of physical construction or alteration, if no permit is required. 

If that date is on or after March 15, 2012, then new construction and alterations must comply with the 2010 Standards.  If that date is on or after September 15, 2010, and before March 15, 2012, then new construction and alterations must comply with either the 1991 or the 2010 Standards.

The specifics for the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards are bit different. First, they do not differentiate between Title II and Title III facilities. Secondly, they left off the bit about “if no permit is required”. From the TDLR website:

Compliance with the 2012 TAS will be required on all buildings and facilities subject to Chapter 469.003 when:

  • the construction project is registered with the Department on or after March 15, 2012 ; or
  • the application for a building permit is issued by a state, county, or local government on or after March 15, 2012; or
  • the commencement of construction begins on or after March 15, 2012.

This would mean that even if a project was permitted prior to March 15, 2012, compliance with the new Standards would be required if construction began after March 15, 2012.  BUT DON”T STOP READING.

I submitted a request to Tech Info for clarification. This was their response:

TDLR RESPONSE TO RAS:  The third bullet point addresses projects that are not required to be registered (such as those that have a construction cost of less than $50,000) or those located in municipalities or cities that do not issue building permits.

Therefore, the 3rd bullet point is only applicable when the project is not being permitted.

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