Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968

The ABA requires facilities designed, built, altered, or leased by, for or on behalf of a Federal agency, or with Federal funds, comply with the applicable accessibility guidelines / standards.  Passed by Congress in 1968, it marks one of the first efforts to ensure access to the built environment.

The U.S. Access Board develops and maintains accessibility guidelines under this law. These guidelines serve as the basis for the standards used to enforce the law. The current guidelines under the ABA are the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards (ABAAS).

Any Federal agency may develop and complete rule making with accessibility guidelines that apply to their own agency provided they are equal to or more stringent than the guidelines finalized by the U.S. Access Board.   The U.S. Forest Service has guidelines that are more stringent than those of the Access Board: Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Accessibility Guidelines and Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines both are legally enforceable with the National Forest System

Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, as amended
42 U.S.C. 4151 et seq.

4151. "Building" defined

As used in this chapter, the term "building" means any building or facility (other than (A) a privately owned residential structure not leased by the Government for subsidized housing programs and (B) any building or facility on a military installation designed and constructed primarily for use by able bodied military personnel) the intended use for which either will require that such building or facility be accessible to the public, or may result in the employment or residence therein of persons with disabilities, which building or facility is--

(1) to be constructed or altered by or on behalf of the United States;

(2) to be leased in whole or in part by the United States after August 12, 1968;1

(3) to be financed in whole or in part by a grant or a loan made by the United States after August 12, 1968, if such building or facility is subject to standards for design, construction, or alteration issued under authority of the law authorizing such grant or loan; or

(4) to be constructed under authority of the National Capital Transportation Act of 1960, the National Capital Transportation Act of 1965, or title III of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Regulation Compact.