New construction and alterations

Public entities must ensure that newly constructed buildings and facilities are free of architectural and communication barriers that restrict access or use by individuals with disabilities.

When a public entity undertakes alterations to an existing building, it must also ensure that the altered portions are accessible.

The ADA does not require retrofitting of existing buildings to eliminate barriers, but does establish a high standard of accessibility for new buildings. Public entities may choose between two technical standards for accessible design: The Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard (UFAS), established under the Architectural Barriers Act, or the Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines, adopted by the Department of Justice for places of public accommodation and commercial facilities covered by title III of the ADA. The elevator exemption for small buildings under ADA Accessibility Guidelines would not apply to public entities covered by Title II.