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The intent of the proposed regulation is to “to provide persons with disabilities full, free and safe use of all buildings and facilities so that all such persons may have the educational, employment, living and recreational opportunities necessary to be as self-sufficient as possible and to assume full responsibilities as citizens.”
AAB staff worked with the Board and its Subcommittee on Regulations, and staff from multiple sister agencies in order to review the text and propose amendments to meet the general objectives prescribed in M.G.L. c. 22 § 13A. The proposed regulation is the culmination of eight (8) years of collaboration and debate in the an effort to provide the citizens and businesses of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with a high-quality state building code that is fully compliant with the AAB’s charge. This process has also taken into account submittals from the general public over the last eight (8) years, along with any consistent and commonly requested variances. Furthermore, this re-write of the code strives to achieve substantial equivalency with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, which will create a safe harbor with respect to lawsuits brought under the ADA by creating one code book that ensures compliance with both state and federal requirements. More specific aspects of the proposed regulations in order to align with existing codes and guidelines are as follows:
View the proposed amendments to 521 CMR
On February 17, 2016, the Board voted to clarify the requirement for the illuminated International Symbol of Accessibility. The Board unanimously voted that all emergency egress signs that are required to be illuminated (per the International Building Code – 2009, Chapter 10, Section 1011 et seq. with Massachusetts amendments, per 780 CMR), and are part of an accessible means of emergency egress (as defined in 521 CMR, Section 5), shall be required to include the illuminated International Symbol of Accessibility.
On January 27, 2014, the Board voted to clarify the definition of “townhouse” to be consistent with all State Building Codes, thereby incorporating the definition of “townhouse” from 780 CMR. Therefore, "townhouses" shall be defined as "a single-family dwelling unit constructed in a group of three or more attached units in which each unit extends from foundation to roof and with a yard or public way on not less than two sides."
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The Architectural Access Board is aware of the difficulty in complying with the literal language of Section 10.3 when it is not known who the occupants of dwelling units will be prior to construction. Therefore, it is the Board's opinion that when designing and laying out parking lots reserved for tenants of multiple dwellings, when fifteen or more spaces are provided the number of accessible parking spaces provided shall be determined by Section 23.2.1 (Formula for Required Minimum Number of Accessible Spaces) of 521 CMR at the time of initial construction. When less than fifteen spaces are provided, a minimum of one accessible parking space must be capable of being provided. The AAB will be amending its regulations in the future, however, in the interim, compliance with Section 23.2.1 will satisfy Section 10.3 of 521 CMR in regards to the number of accessible parking spaces to be allotted for dwelling unit occupants.
This interpretation was unanimously accepted by the Board Members on April 8, 2006.
Notice Regarding 521 CMR 39.4: Location of Control, viz Location of Light Switches within the 18 inch Latch Pull-Side of the Door
The Architectural Access Board now has an information kiosk within the office, which is available to review any cases that have been scanned. The system can be searched by the following fields: type of docket (complaint or variance), docket number, year, and the building name, address, and/or city/town. For a fee of $5.00, a disk can be made available to you to copy any information to. Use of the kiosk will have to be scheduled, so please make sure to call or e-mail the AAB Staff to schedule a time to come to the office to utilize the kiosk.
You may file complaints with the AAB electronically.
Microsoft WORD versions of AAB complaint forms are available for download in the Complaint Process section on this page, and can be completed on your PC and returned by E-mail to the AAB.
Completed forms are to be returned to Thomas P. Hopkins, AAB Director.
Due to staffing limitations the AAB is no longer able to conduct plan reviews of buildings or parts of a building or facility.