February 28, 2005
HUD APPROVES CONDITIONAL USE OF 2003 IBC FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACCESSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT
WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that it has approved the conditional use of the 2003 International Building Code (IBC), published by the International Code Council (ICC), as a safe harbor for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
The announcement came in a final report issued in the Federal Register on February 28, 2005, where HUD allowed the 2003 IBC to be used as a safe harbor on the condition that the ICC will clarify its interpretation of one of the accessibility provisions in a manner that will require an accessible route. The report requires the ICC to publicize this interpretation by publishing and distributing the following statement to jurisdictions and past and future purchasers of the IBC:
ICC interprets Section 1104.1, and specifically, the exception to Section 1104.1, to be read together with Section 1107.4, and that the Code requires an accessible pedestrian route from site arrival points to accessible building entrances, unless site impracticality applies. Exception 1 to Section 1107.4 is not applicable to site arrival points for any Type B dwelling units because site impracticality is addressed under Section 1107.7.
The final report outlines several additional ways the ICC may relay this information. In addition, the final report states that in order for the 2006 edition of the IBC to be declared a safe harbor during the next code change cycle, the IBC must be modified to clearly state that an accessible pedestrian route must be provided from site arrival points to accessible entrances of buildings required to comply with the Fair Housing Act's design and construction requirements.
HUD believes that its recognition of the most recent edition of the IBC as a safe harbor will make it easier for those involved in the design and construction of covered multifamily dwellings to comply with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
"HUD expects that its provision for the use of the 2003 IBC as a safe harbor will result in the design and construction of more units of accessible housing for persons with disabilities," said Carolyn Peoples, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
HUD reviewed the 2003 IBC at the request of the ICC for the purpose of determining whether it could be recognized as a safe harbor for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act, the regulations implementing the Act, and the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines. The conclusions in its final report are intended to provide technical assistance to the ICC and other interested parties. The report does not contain any new technical requirements or standards nor is this final report an endorsement of a model building code.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly amongst minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.