HUD Endorses Accessibility Requirement Safe Harbor
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on June 7 that multifamily builders can be assured that they are complying with all applicable accessibility requirements when they follow the 2006 edition of the International Building Code (IBC) and the 2003 edition of the International Code Council (ICC) A117.1 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.
The safe harbor endorsement was announced during NAHB’s spring board of directors meeting in Washington by Kim Kendrick, HUD's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity.
"This latest endorsement is a result of the ongoing commitment of HUD and NAHB to providing accessible housing," said NAHB President Brian Catalde. "By building to these codes, multifamily builders are assured they are providing accessible housing while complying with HUD's Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines."
NAHB has long advocated the inclusion of fair housing accessibility requirements for apartments and condos in the building code because HUD's guidelines were unclear and unenforceable by state and local jurisdictions.
In March, NAHB met with Kendrick to express concern that the 2006 IBC was being adopted by state and local jurisdictions without the safe harbor endorsement, and urged the agency to expedite the process.
This critical compliance tool first came about with the 2000 edition of the IBC, after years of cooperative efforts by NAHB, ICC, HUD and other industry groups. Most multifamily construction is built to some edition of the the IBC, which is why the safe harbor endorsement is crucial, Catalde explained.
NAHB championed the incorporation of federal accessibility requirements into the building codes as a way to ease the confusion that surrounded HUD's original guidelines and as a way to ensure compliance.
For more information, e-mail Laura Zaner at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8563.