2012 International Building Code Expands to Recreation Facility Access

Access Today: October 2011

(From NCAonline.org)

Submitted by Anonymous on October 17, 2011 – 4:17pm.

2012 International Building Code Expands to Recreation Facility Access

While the US Department of Justice has been garnering headlines over the last year for adoption of the new 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, the 2012 International Building Code has quietly come on the scene as The new accessibility standard. In many ways, the new 2012 IBC may have far more reach for making recreation facilities accessible. For the first time in the IBC history, the model code includes technical provisions for recreation facilities.   

According to International Code Council Senior Staff Architect, Kim Paarlberg, “Recreational scoping requirements (i.e., what, where and how many) have been in the IBC since its inception in 2000. What is new is that the technical criteria (i.e., how to) provide access to specific recreational facilities (i.e., pools, playgrounds, etc.) has been added.” This means that any new construction or renovation of existing recreation facilities are now required to be accessible  where state and local code authorities reference the 2012 International Building Code (in addition to the DOJ 201 ADA Standards). While the 2010 ADA Standards are only part of a civil rights law that requires a complaint to be filed for enforcement to ensue, accessibility as part of a model building code would fall to enforcement by local building code officials. In reality, any entity required by the local authority to gain a building permit, have drawings reviewed, or be inspected prior to occupancy would have to follow the accessibility requirements for recreation facilities set forth in the 2012 IBC. As a result, a local building code official might also be inspecting a new golf course, sports field, fitness center, amusement park, swimming pool or playground for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the 2012 IBC.

Enveloping the revisions from the ADA accessibility guidelines into the IBC is yet one more step the International Code Council and US Access Board have taken to achieve harmonization between the two standard-writing agencies. Paarlberg works closely with the Access Board to continually track areas requiring revision and clarification between the two documents. Paarlberg further comments on the advantage of the ADA accessibility standards combined into the 2012 IBC, “DOJ has limited staff and resources to enforce ADA compliance. Code officials see plans before the project is even started, and are inspecting during construction. This is a more cost effective time to make corrections rather than after construction is completed.”

Scoping provisions for recreational facilities are in the 2012 IBC, Section 1109.14. Technical provisions for recreational facilities are located in the 2009 ICC A117.1 Chapter 11. Both the 2009 A117.1 and 2012 IBC documents are available for purchase through ICC, www.iccsafe.org.