Actions Needed by the Compliance Board To Make Buildings Accessible to the Handicapped

FPCD-79-87: Published: Oct 1, 1979. Publicly Released: Oct 1, 1979.

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As a followup to a 1975 Human Resources Division report, operations at the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Board) and several executive agencies were reviewed to determine what has been done to make buildings constructed or leased with federal funds accessible to the physically handicapped. The major problem in 1975 was a lack of specific standards to be followed in making buildings accessible to the handicapped.

A contract awarded by the Board to provide the necessary services to help the federal government coordinate efforts to develop effective design criteria was not successful. Specific agencies required by legislation to establish building accessibility standards have done so, but these standards did not comprise a definitive nationwide standard. Although legislation has directed the Board to establish minimum guidelines and requirements for agencies to use in establishing standards, these guidelines and requirements have not been established. The Board entered into a three phase agreement with the Bureau of Standards to develop the guidelines and requirements. The first phase of the agreement will be completed in October 1979, the second in April 1981, and the third will be a continuing effort. GAO has expressed concern as to whether this present effort will achieve the legislative requirements. Progress over the last 4 years has been limited, and there is no assurance of success in the near future. GAO believes that uniform guidelines could be issued at the end of Phase I if the Board, agencies, and states combined and directed their efforts to using the information they have already developed.

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