MAINE BUILDING CODE FOUND TO BE

MAINE BUILDING CODE FOUND TO BE

EQUIVALENT TO FEDERAL ACCESS REQUIREMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A decision made today by the Justice

Department will make it easier for building owners, contractors,

and architects in Maine to comply with a federal law requiring

access for people with disabilities.

Today, the Justice Department certified that Maine’s state

building code–the Maine Human Rights Act, as implemented by the

Maine Accessibility Regulations–is compatible with the federal

requirements under the new construction and alterations provisions

of title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Title III of the ADA requires newly built public

accommodations and commercial facilities, including those that are

altered, to be built in accordance with the ADA’s Standards for

Accessible Design. To better coordinate the ADA construction

requirements with established state and local building inspection

procedures, the Justice Department may certify that a building code

is equivalent to the ADA requirements.

“The result of certification is greater voluntary compliance,

less need for ADA lawsuits, and more fully accessible buildings,”

said Isabelle Katz Pinzler, Acting Assistant Attorney General.

“The ultimate benefit of certification is its effect on the lives

of people with disabilities.”

Maine is only the third state in the country to have a

certified building code. The Justice Department previously

certified codes in Washington and Texas.

“Now building inspectors will be able to check compliance

early in the process, when mistakes can be easily corrected,” added

Pinzler.

In addition, because certification provides rebuttable

evidence of ADA compliance, builders in Maine will have some

additional legal protection if they build in compliance with the

certified code but are sued under the ADA.”

For further information, members of the public can call the

Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line. The hotline

was established by Attorney General Janet Reno as part of a

nationwide campaign to educate the public about the ADA. The

number is 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD). The Justice

Department also has established an ADA home page on the World Wide

Web at:

http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm

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