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Handicapped Access

Barrier-Free (Handicapped Access) Requirements

The Barrier-Free Subcode, N.J.A.C. 5:23 – 7.1, et seq. establishes the requirements for handicapped accessibility for all buildings, sites and facilities in the State of NJ. It is interpreted to require access for all people with disabilities, including: occupants, employees, customers, students, spectators, participants or visitors.

Many people confuse the Barrier-Free Subcode with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The barrier-free subcode is a state building code requirement enforced through the ICC. The ADA is federal civil rights legislation.

The barrier-free subcode establishes the scope of accessibility improvements for new buildings and changes to existing buildings. It also sets accessibility requirements for building sites and recreation facilities that may not require issuance of a construction permit.

Currently, the Barrier-Free Subcode references ICC/ANSI A117.1-2017, titled “Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities” for many of the technical design standards.

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