Update on revising the Texas Accessibility Standards

September 30, 2010

If you are not subscribed to the TDLR List Server, do so now to keep up to date with the latest on revising the Texas Accessibility Standards.  Here is the link: http://www.license.state.tx.us/newsletters/TDLRnotificationLists.asp

Here is the latest from the Architectural Barrier List Server:

New Federal Accessibility Standards – The U. S. Department of Justice published the final rule which revises the regulations that implement the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with an enforcement date of March 15, 2012. The new federal accessibility standards will be known as the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (SAD). For more information about the new ADA final rule, visit the U.S. Department of Justice website or the U. S. Access Board’s website.
Plans to Update State Accessibility Standards – TDLR plans to hold an Architectural Barriers Advisory Board meeting on November 5, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss adopting new state standards based on the federal 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (SAD). The meeting will be broadcast and available to view live with RealPlayer. If you are interested in keeping apprized of these matters, you may wish to monitor TDLR’s Architectural Barriers web page or subscribe to TDLR’s E-mail Notification List for future updates.
Applicable State Accessibility Standards – In accordance with the Texas Architectural Barriers Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 469, the applicable state standards are still the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS) which became effective April 1, 1994. TAS will remain effective until new state standards are adopted.
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HB 1055 gives you more time to forget to submit.

June 5, 2009

The Texas Legislature did accomplish a few things.  One of those is HB 1055 that is headed to the Governor’s desk.

This bill that should go into affect September 1, 2009, changes the deadline for submitting construction documents for TAS review to 20 days after the issue date.  Currently, documents must be submitted to a Registered Accessibility Specialist or TDLR within 5 days of the issue date.

68.50. Submission of Construction Documents. (New rule section effective November 5, 2001, 26 TexReg 8807; amended effective February 1, 2005, 30 TexReg 382; amended effective March 1, 2007, 32 TexReg 884)

(a) An architect, interior designer, landscape architect, or engineer with overall responsibility for the design of a building or facility subject to §469.101 of the Act, shall mail, ship, or hand-deliver the construction documents along with a Proof of Submission form to the department, a registered accessibility specialist, or a contract provider not later than the fifth day after the plans and specifications are issued. In computing time under this subsection, a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday is not included.

Many design professionals have gotten confused by the definition of “issue“.

(15) Issue–To mail, deliver, transmit, or otherwise release plans or specifications to an owner, lessee, contractor, subcontractor, or any other person acting for an owner or lessee for the purpose of construction, applying for a building permit, or obtaining regulatory approval after such plans have been sealed by an architect, interior designer, landscape architect, or engineer. In the case of a state-funded or other public works project, it is the time at which plans or specifications are publicly posted for bids, after such plans or specifications have been sealed by an architect, interior designer, landscape architect, or engineer.

This definition really has nothing to do with the dates that appear on your drawings.  You can sign, seal and label your documents, “Issued for Permit and Construction June 5, 2009” then stick those drawings under your desk for 6 months.  December 5, 2009 you pull those drawings out and take them to the City for permit.  Even though the documents have an old date, the issue date is December 5, 2009, the date the documents left your control.  If you forget to submit for review, it does not help to change the date on your drawings.

This change in the submission time probably won’t help that many designers.  If you forget to do it in the first week, you will probably forget in the next three weeks.

Don’t forget to send in your Proof of Submission to record that issue date.