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The Department of Veterans Affairs has played a major role in formulating architectural accessibility policy in the United States. In 1968 VA was a major advocate for The Architectural Barriers Act, Public Law 90-480, which insured that buildings financed with federal funds were so designed and constructed as to be accessible to everyone. This law required all construction, renovation, or leasing with federal funds meet Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). These standards brought all Federal agencies under a common accessibility guideline for the first time. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 set accessibility requirements for state and local government, as well as private sector projects, similar to the requirements set for Federal projects through the Architectural Barriers Act. The ADA guidelines are called the ADAAG Standards. Today, VA follows GSA and other standard-setting agencies in replacing UFAS with the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard (ABAAS) for Federal Facilities. In addition, VA uses the Barrier Free Design Guide to meet the needs of the Department of Veterans Affairs in its health care facilities.
The Office of Construction & Facilities Management directs the Architectural Accessibility Program for VA. This program complies with the provisions of all national standards, represents VA at various accessibility Committee/Board meetings, and provides liaison and technical staff to the Secretary of the Department concerning accessibility complaints against VA facilities. The Secretary, or his designee, is a member of the Access Board, an agency of the Federal government that oversees compliance with accessibility standards.
Department of Veterans Affairs Architectural Accessibility Program
Dennis Hancher, Architect
Office of Construction & Facilities Management
425 I Street NW (003C2B)
Washington, DC 20001