Accessibility for the Disabled:

Standards for Access to State Department-Designed Buildings Overseas

NSIAD-91-170: Published: Apr 3, 1991. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of State's procedures and guidelines for constructing or renovating facilities abroad to provide appropriate accessibility to disabled persons.

GAO found that: (1) the federal government established uniform federal accessibility standards in 1984 to ensure that disabled people had full access to and use of federal facilities; (2) State was subject to those guidelines when constructing or renovating facilities in other countries, but did not adopt those standards until March 1990, since it believed that its previous standards were equivalent to the 1984 standards; (3) from 1984 through 1990, State completed designs for 23 buildings, but designed only 3 after it adopted the 1984 standards; and (4) State believed that it incorporated appropriate accessibility features, such as ramps and appropriately designed rest rooms, in its designs prior to 1990.