In 1968, the Rules and Regulations of the Board to Facilitate the Use of Public Buildings by the Physically Handicapped (521 CMR) were promulgated under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 22, Section 13A. At that time, 521 CMR consisted of 15 pages and only had 18 sections of regulations requiring accessible features in public buildings. This first step set the Commonwealth on path as a standard bearer in the development of a specialized building code that required building access for persons with disabilities. The regulations were amended in 1975 to include more specified sections and subsections, resulting in the code expanding to a 48 page document. The Board jurisdiction also expanded at that time to include all buildings, public and private that were open to the public. The Board's name changed to the Architectural Barriers Board. The code was amended in 1977, 1982, 1987 and the Board name changed to Architectural Access Board. Code changes also occurred in 1996, 1998, 2002, and most recently in 2006. The current code, became in full force and effect on July 27, 2006, and now consists of 47 sections and 181 pages, a long way from the original 15 page edition of 521 CMR.

In 2008, the Board established a Subcommittee on Regulations, which is made up of members of the Board and eight volunteer members. Specifically, the membership includes two design professionals, one graphics designer/specialist and his assistant, two industry and/or government professionals, and two advocates. . The Board is currently reviewing and comparing its regulations to the old ADA, the new ADA, IBC, and Fair Housing and is reworking all of the existing code graphics for the future edition of 521 CMR. During this review period, architects, building officials, advocates and industry professionals are encouraged to submit proposed language changes, graphic illustration suggestions etc, to the subcommittee for analysis.

During the entire 40 year history of the Board, the intent of 521 CMR has remained the same, "to provide persons with disabilities full, free and safe use of all buildings and facilities, so that all such persons may have the educational, living and recreational opportunities necessary to be as self-sufficient as possible and to assume full responsibilities as citizens." The Board and the staff pride themselves on up holding its mission, and continue to assist designers, advocates, building inspectors and property owners of the Commonwealth in creating and maintaining accessibility that is fair and balanced throughout the State.

AAB Subcommittee on Regulations - 2008

Members back row -Diane McLeod, Andrew Bedar, Kevin Hastings, Scott Landgren, Joe Murray, Ann Schairo, Donald Lang, chairman, Kate Sutton, Nancy Angney and Myra Berloff Members front row-Michael Kennedy, John Kelly, Thomas P. Hopkins