WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice today announced during a ceremony in Cary, North Carolina, that the state’s Accessibility Code has been awarded certification for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). North Carolina is the sixth state in the country to receive ADA certification.
Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division participated in the certification ceremony with several North Carolina officials and recognized the state for meeting or exceeding the ADA accessibility requirements for new construction and alterations.
“Securing ADA certification benefits both the citizens and businesses of North Carolina,” said Assistant Attorney General Kim. “Now individuals with disabilities can expect greater access to their community, while architects and builders will have more confidence that by following state law, they are also complying with federal ADA requirements.”
The Department issued its certification determination on November 28, 2005. The ADA requires newly-built and altered public accommodations and commercial facilities to be accessible to people with disabilities through compliance with the requirements of Title III of the ADA, including the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. To better coordinate the ADA construction requirements with established state and local building inspection procedures, the ADA authorizes the Justice Department to certify that submitted state or local accessibility codes are equivalent to the ADA requirements.
Builders in North Carolina will find it simpler to comply with the ADA because the ADA requirements for facility accessibility are included within the state’s code requirements. Local officials in North Carolina responsible for implementing state code requirements through plan review and building inspections will be able to check to determine compliance early in the design and construction process, when mistakes are more easily and inexpensively corrected.
In addition, because ADA certification provides rebuttable evidence of ADA compliance, builders in North Carolina will have some additional legal protection in ADA lawsuits if they build in compliance with the certified code. Certification cannot apply, however, to variances, waivers or exemptions from ADA requirements if granted under the certified code.
The Justice Department is committed to working with states to obtain certification for ADA-equivalent accessibility requirements. Previously, the Justice Department certified the accessibility codes of Texas, Maine, Florida, and Maryland. The Justice Department is currently working with several other states seeking ADA certification. These efforts work toward a fuller realization of President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative, which promotes increased access to daily community life for Americans with disabilities.
For further information, individuals can contact the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line. The hotline was established as part of a nationwide campaign to educate the public about the ADA. The number is 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY). The Justice Department also has established an ADA homepage on the Internet at http://www.ada.gov.