[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 94 (Tuesday, May 17, 2005)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 28213-28215]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-9745]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 254


USPS Standards for Facility Accessibility

AGENCY: Postal Service

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 
4151 et. seq. (2000), the United States Postal Service is revising its 
standards for facility accessibility and adding them to the CFR. These 
revisions are made in response to the Americans with Disabilities Act/
Architectural Barriers Act Guidelines (ADAAG/ABAAG) recently published 
by the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 
(US Access Board).

DATES: Effective: October 1, 2005, with applicability dates as follows:
     For owned facilities, these standards are applicable 
effective on October 1, 2005 for all Postal Service facility designs 
that have not reached 30% design completion by October 1, 2005 and for 
all design/build contracts for which the solicitation is issued after 
October 1, 2005.
     For leased facilities, these standards are applicable 
effective on October 1, 2005 for new construction, additions, and 
alterations and alternate quarters with designs that have not reached 
30% completion by October 1, 2005.
     For all existing leased facilities, these standards are 
applicable effective on October 1, 2005 for all new leases

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signed on or after October 1, 2005. The unilateral exercise of a 
previously negotiated lease option is not considered a new lease for 
purposes of these standards.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Koetting, Attorney, U.S. Postal 
Service, (202) 268-4818.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The US Access Board recently adopted 
Guidelines to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 
Architectural Barriers Act at 69 FR 44084, July 23, 2004, codified at 
36 CFR part 1191. It is the Postal Service's intent to adopt the 
Guidelines pertaining to the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (42 
U.S.C. 4151 et seq.), which are found in 36 CFR Part 1191, with the 
exception of the Advisory Notes. As a matter of policy, the Advisory 
Notes will be included in the Postal Service's revised Handbook RE-4, 
``Standards for Facility Accessibility,'' which is an internal guidance 
document published for the benefit of Postal Service employees.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 254

    Buildings and Facilities, Individuals with Disabilities, Postal 
Service

0
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Postal Service amends 39 
CFR chapter 1 by adding a new part 254 to read as follows:

PART 254--POSTAL SERVICE STANDARDS FOR FACILITY ACCESSIBILITY 
PURSUANT TO THE ARCHITECTURAL BARRIERS ACT

Sec.
254.1 Adoption of U.S. Access Board Standards as Postal Service 
Standards of Facility Accessibility
254.2 Definition of primary function area and criteria used to 
determine whether an alteration has an effect on an area containing 
a primary function that is disproportionate to the overall 
alterations.

    Authority: 39 U.S.C 101, 401, 403; 29 U.S.C. 792(b)(3) and 42 
U.S.C. 12204.


Sec.  254.1  Adoption of U.S. Access Board Standards as Postal Service 
Standards of Facility Accessibility.

    (a) The United States Postal Service adopts as its Architectural 
Barriers Act (ABA) ``Standards for Facility Accessibility,'' the 
following sections of 36 CFR part 1191:
    Appendix A to Part 1191, Table of Contents for apps. C, D, and E.
    Appendix C to Part 1191, Architectural Barriers Act, Scoping (which 
contains ABA Chapter 1, Application and Administration, and ABA Chapter 
2, Scoping requirements); pertinent parts of Appendix D to Part 1191, 
Technical (which includes Chapters 3 through 10).
    Appendix E to Part 1191, List of Figures and Index.
    (b) These sections listed in paragraph (a) of this section are 
adopted verbatim, with the exception of the Advisory Notes, which are 
expressly excluded.


Sec.  254.2  Definition of primary function area and criteria used to 
determine whether an alteration has an effect on an area containing a 
primary function that is disproportionate to the overall alterations.

    (a) Terminology. The new accessibility guidelines require that 
certain terms be defined by the participating federal agencies. In the 
U.S. Access Board's 36 CFR part 1191, Appendix C, ABA chapter 2, 
section F202.6.2 requires that ``primary function areas'' be defined 
and Section F202.4 contains requirements for alterations affecting 
``primary function areas'' stating, ``* * *an alteration that affects 
or could affect the usability of or access to an area containing a 
primary function shall be made so as to ensure that, to the maximum 
extent feasible, the path of travel to the altered area, including the 
rest rooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving the altered 
area, are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with 
disabilities, unless such alterations are disproportionate to the 
overall alterations in terms of cost and scope as determined under 
criteria established by the Administrator of * * * the United States 
Postal Service.''
    (b) Primary function areas. For purposes of this part, the primary 
function of the Postal Service is to provide mail service for its 
customers, that is to accept, distribute, transport and deliver the 
mail. Two essential facilities for fulfilling these functions are 
customer lobby areas where customers conduct their retail transactions, 
access mail depositories and post office boxes and work room areas 
where postal employees distribute the mail and perform other core 
postal operations. Therefore, for purposes of the accessibility 
guidelines applicable to the Postal Service under the Architectural 
Barriers Act, two primary function areas are identified: Customer 
Lobbies and Workroom Areas.
    (c) Disproportionality. (1) According to Section F202.6.2, 
``alteration'' of elements in a primary function area can trigger a 
requirement to make accessibility improvements along the path of travel 
to the area and improvements to rest rooms, telephones, and drinking 
fountains that serve the altered area if the alteration ``affects or 
could affect the usability of or access to an area containing a primary 
function.'' It is conceivable that almost any repair or alteration 
project in a ``primary function area'' could affect the usability of 
the area. Therefore a literal interpretation of this provision could 
require an expansion of the scope of virtually any alteration in a 
primary function area, regardless of the size and scope of the original 
project. According to Section F202.6.2, accessibility improvements must 
be made to the path of travel to the altered area and to rest rooms, 
telephones, and drinking fountains that serve the altered area ``unless 
such alterations are disproportionate to the overall alterations in 
terms of cost and scope''. (2) For purposes of the accessibility 
guidelines applicable to the Postal Service under the Architectural 
Barriers Act, two criteria must be considered in making a determination 
whether accessibility improvements are disproportionate to the cost and 
scope of the original alteration: a magnitude threshold for the 
original alteration and a maximum ``percentage threshold'' for the 
accessibility alteration.
    (d) Magnitude threshold. It is anticipated that, in most cases, a 
significant additional effort would be required to assess physical 
conditions along the path of travel and for rest rooms, telephones, and 
drinking fountains that serve the altered area, and to determine the 
scope, budget and appropriate design requirements for any corrective 
alterations. Unless the original alteration is of substantial 
magnitude, a disproportionate effort would be devoted to such 
investigation, design, and administration leaving few, if any funds to 
accomplish corrective work. Accordingly, a ``magnitude threshold'' is 
established such that no accessibility improvements to the path of 
travel, nor to any associated facilities, shall be required under 
F202.6.2 for alterations that have an estimated total cost less than 20 
percent of the fair market value of the facility.
    (e) Percentage threshold. For alterations subject to F202.6.2 that 
meet or exceed the ``magnitude threshold,'' the maximum cost for 
accessibility improvements to the path of travel, including all costs 
for accessibility improvements to rest rooms, telephones, and drinking 
fountains that serve the altered area, shall not exceed 20 percent of 
the total cost of the original alteration. Costs for accessibility 
improvements in excess of the 20

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percent threshold shall be deemed ``disproportionate.''

Neva Watson,
Attorney, Legislative.
[FR Doc. 05-9745 Filed 5-16-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P