The New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) is committed to making NYC public school buildings and facilities accessible to all students, staff, and members of the school community. Excellence in design, development, and construction necessitates a commitment to accessibility. The SCA is dedicated to meeting or exceeding federal, state, and local accessibility standards to ensure the full integration of individuals with disabilities who use NYC public school facilities.
The Accessibility Unit works with all departments on all aspects of accessibility to ensure all schools are built to the requirements in the NYC Building Code and ADAAG Guidelines.
We are pleased to announce that the Accessibility Unit has taken measures to enhance our accessibility and ADA compliance efforts. Additional guidelines, informative documents, and various accessibility and ADA requirements have been compiled and included for ease of access to consultants and the general public.
To ensure compliance, consistency, and effective communication throughout our organization, we stress the importance of accessibility and ADA compliance to the public and consultants who leverage our website. Clear guidelines outlining accessibility and ADA compliance processes are essential to avoid inefficiencies, poor communication, and compliance issues.
The following documents contain applicable ADA, ICC, and NYC Building codes, including local laws, as well as details on accessibility standards, common errors, and misconceptions.
Our goal is to help other departments throughout our organization understand the roles and responsibilities of the Accessibility Unit and their necessary interactions and touchpoints throughout a project. By doing so, we can work together to ensure that accessibility and ADA compliance are a priority at every step of the way.
If the project alters any element that is covered by ADA standards, it most likely require an accessibility review by our unit. Based on the accessibility risk level, certain projects that fall under a certain capital category will be automatically checked for accessibility review when A&E Design Project Manager initiate the review request. For more information, please refer to "Accessibility Review Memo" or contact our unit.
If the project construct or reconstruct any assembly area with the total cost exceeds 950K, it has a big chance triggering local law 51/2017 for installing induction loop. Refer to "Local Law 51-2017 Memo" for more information on the requirements and exceptions.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life -- to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services.
The Accessibility Unit (AU), under the leadership of the Chief Design & Construction Innovation Officer in the Department of Design and Construction Innovation Management (DCIM), is responsible for ensuring that SCA commitments to accessibility are met. These commitments include:
- Creating guidelines, procedure manuals, and documents pertaining to accessibility;
- Reviewing scope, design, and construction documents to ensure compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local accessibility laws and regulations, including SCA Design Requirements and related guidelines;
- Coordinating accessibility-related guidelines and standard updates across SCA departments;
- Providing accessibility trainings to various SCA departments and divisions that are involved in the design and construction processes;
- Maintaining and gathering data on accessibility features such as Path of Travel (PoT) analysis, assistive listening systems, accessible entrances, accessible ramps, accessible restrooms, accessible drinking fountains, etc.; and
-Researching and applying new technology, processes, and methods linked to accessibility innovation.
The Accessibility Unit works with almost every department within the SCA, as well as The NYC Department of Education.
Per Local Law 51/2017, assistive listening system information shall be updated annually. SCA is obligated to report the information to DOE.
Construction tolerances are especially important when considering for compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Too often, when the reality of tolerances are ignored, the results can include costly field modifications, delays, or even legal dispute. To provide enough room to allow for construction errors, we require all design drawings to follow "construction tolerance" design requirements.
Variation in dimensions, construction limits, or physical characteristics of a material. Under ADA, all dimensions are subject to conventional industry tolerances except where the requirement is stated as a range with specific minimum and maximum end points.
Business unit under the Design and Construction Innovation Management (DCIM) Department that ensures compliance with accessibility laws and regulations for all SCA projects.
A change to a building or facility that affects or could affect the usability of the building or facility or portion thereof. Alterations include, but are not limited to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, resurfacing of circulation paths or vehicular ways, changes or rearrangement of the structural parts or elements, and changes or rearrangement in the plan configuration of walls and full-height partitions. Normal maintenance, reroofing, painting or wallpapering, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the building or facility.
A civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
A project that triggers Path of Travel requirements, including but not limited to auditorium upgrade, gymnasium upgrade, playground redevelopment, and others that alter a primary function area (PFA).
A continuous, unobstructed way of pedestrian passage by means of which an altered area may be approached, entered, and exited, and which connects the altered area with an exterior approach (including sidewalks, streets, and parking areas), an entrance to the facility and other parts of the facility.
Any area where people carry out one or more of the major activities for which a facility is used.
A fundamental principle of Title II of the ADA; requires "A public entity shall operate each service, program, or activity so that the service, program, or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities."
Full Program Accessibility (FPA) (Project based) – Allowing students with disabilities the ability to participate in all typical and/or unique programs that a school offers, in accordance with federal law and SCA scoping guidelines.
Partial Program Accessibility (Project based) – To improve accessibility for a particular school, based on existing conditions, DOE identifies elements to be made accessible. To be distinguished from Full Program Accessibility, this work may or may not bring the existing building to full program accessibility