Good afternoon and welcome to the ADA Distance Learning series, this November session is concentrated on the status of rulemaking with the U.S. Access Board. And we have about 75 sites calling in today, as part of the audio conference and it looks like right now we have another 15 to 20 participants on line in the Great Lakes chat room to view the captioning. A note to people that they can also log into the Great Lakes web site at www.adagreatlakes.org. and follow the links to realtime captioning. You will also be able to submit questions through the chat room as well. I would like to welcome David Capozzi from the U.S. Access Board. David is the Director of Technical and Information Services at the U.S. Access Board and this is kind of an encore presentation. We have had David here with us before and we are thrilled to have you back to give us an update on the status of rulemaking with the Access Board. David, welcome.
Thank you, Jennifer. First of all I have to apologize about a couple of things. One you may hear the phone ringing in the background. We have had problems with our phone system and so every phone call that comes into the agency rings on every desk. So if I get a lot of phone calls it is because we are all getting a lot of phone calls. Sorry for the interruption. Secondly, I also want to apologize in advance I may go a little faster than I would like to normally, because today is a very busy day, we are trying to get a rule out by tomorrow and I will talk about that in a few minutes. What I would like to talk about is our rulemaking that we have-which is ongoing as well as one rule that was recently released, and also some new information that is up on our web site. The rules that I want to talk about include our final rule to update and revise the ADA and Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines, a final rule for recreation facilities, a proposed rule for outdoor developed areas, passenger vessel accessibility, a final rule for electronic and information technology, and public rights-of-way access. And then in addition, a play areas final rule. Let me first start with play areas final rule. Hopefully you have seen our final rule. We issued it on October 18th in the Federal Register. It is on our web site, the first link on our web site, www.access-board.gov. And if you go to our web site you will see that there is a little warning at the top saying the phone system is screwed up today as it was yesterday. We encourage people to send us e-mail if they have questions. It is easier to get through. The next link is our play areas guidelines final rule that was published October 18th. Related-a couple of points I want to make about the play areas rule. One it is a final rule that the Board issued. As with all of our rulemaking under the ADA, as well as the Architectural Barriers Act which will I will talk about in a few minutes, our rules, are guidelines to other federal agencies. So we issue guidelines which are really intended for under the ADA, to two primary audiences, the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation, and under the Architectural Barriers Act to four principal audiences, Department of Defense, General Services Administration, Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Postal Service. So the guidelines that we issued on October 18th for play areas have not yet been adopted as the enforceable standards under the ADA by the Department of Justice and I don''t know when that will happen. That is a big caveat. We always encourage people to follow our final rules, even though they may not yet have been adopted by DOJ, since we believe that it is best practice, the best technical assistance available, courts generally will point to the work of the board, if it is a final rule and not yet been adopted by DOJ. But you still need to have that warning, that little caveat, that that rule as well as two others have not yet been adopted by DOJ. The two others are children''s elements, those were issued back January of 1998 and our state and local government facilities final rule, which was also issued January of 1998. So both of those rules as well as the play rule are not yet enforceable under the ADA since they have not been adopted by the Department of Justice. That is an important thing to remember. Related to the play areas rule, I wanted to highlight one issue. Let me also just preface by saying I am going to try to give you a snapshot of what is upcoming and some of the general issues, I''m not going to go into the technical details of the rule or any of the rules. You know, I will try to answer any of your questions related to process and time frame, but I''m not going to try to answer any technical questions that you may have. Related to the play rule, I understand Peggy Greenwell, our training coordinator is going to be in Chicago, I believe Monday, giving a training on the play rule. So those of you that are in Chicago, you should be able to take advantage of that. There is one issue related to the play rule that I wanted to let people know about. There was an appendix note, appendix note 15.6.3, regarding elevated play components, which has caused some concern and we are going to be changing that appendix note. The way it currently reads is that an individual in assessing a play facility can count-it is essentially a counting game-you have to count elevated play components and ground level play components. And some play components just because of their nature, we said may be considered ground level or elevated, but that you can only count it once. For example, a climber which is maybe like a curved stair or curved ladder that goes from the ground level to a deck on a composite play structure might be considered, depending on who is looking at it, either a ground level play component or elevated. And what we said in the appendix note was which ever way you classify it you can only count it once. That makes a big difference in terms of what level of ramp access you have, as well as how many additional ground level play components might be required. And so it is important because if everything gets counted as ground level, then it is hard to invoke ramp access. And so you have to have more elements before you actually would require ramp access. The way we wrote the appendix note, again 15.6.3 caused some confusion because we said people had the choice of counting it as one or the other, ground level or elevated. But you couldn''t count it twice. And as a result, what we have heard from industry groups is that some industry groups are interpreting that to mean that, for example, a climber could always be a ground level component and therefore probably never triggering ramp access. We never really meant that to be the case. So we are publishing in the Federal Register within the next two weeks a clarification, a change to that appendix note. Which essentially says some play components may be considered ground level, some may be considered elevated. If, for example, a climber is attached to a deck, anything that is attached to a deck is then considered elevated. That was our original intent, that things that are attached to a compose sit play structure are elevated. It is more the stand alone things all by themselves not at tams to any composite play structure which we intended to be considered ground level. We are publishing a note to clarify that point so that everything doesn''t get considered ground level and not then trigger ramp access. Which is how we intended it to be in the first place but the note caused some confusion. So look for that in the Federal Register within the next two weeks. As with all Federal Register notices, that will be up on our web site the day that it gets published in the federal register. If you don''t get the Federal Register and most people don''t, just click on our web site and you will see the clarification when it gets published.
David, just a point of clarification there, too, you are only going to be printing the revised appendix note, right?
It will be a very short notice, yes.
So people that have a copy of the final rule, their best practice would be to print off the new appendix note and kind of tape over, add that in to the existing document that they have.
Thank you for asking that. Actually what we are going to be doing is publishing three pages of camera ready federal register pages because the change in the note shortens the rule. So it affects the layout of the final rule. We are going to be republishing, appendix page 22, appendix page 23 and 24. We will be republishing those but essentially the only thing that will change is appendix note 15.6.3. The reason that we are publishing the other pages is because the text gets moved up, so the pages change. But there is no other substantive changes on the two other pages.
If someone has the final rule, all they would need to do is take those three pages, rip them out, throw them away and replace them with the three new pages and then they you would have the correct version. That is play areas. The other six rules I would like to talk about, let me go in the order of electronic and information technology first. This is a final rule for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998 which applies to electronic and information technology that is either procured, developed, used or maintained by federal agencies. It doesn''t apply to the private sector, it applies to the states only to the extent that the Department of Education applies it through other laws like the Assistive Technology Act. Its primary purpose, though, is federal agencies. The Board was given the responsibility of developing standards for access to electronic and information technology. Those standards are just about to be issued. In fact that is why I''m a little frazzled today, we are trying to get that out to the Federal Register this week. It is out for a Board vote, actually, today. We are putting it out for a notational vote. The administration has identified this as one of their top ten regulations that they want to see published within this administration. And the administration is intent on seeing this published before the end of the administration. And effective before the end of this administration, which means it will be published in the Federal Register before the end of this month, probably before Thanksgiving. It is a major rule. It affects a huge amount of technology from computers to software to web pages that the federal government puts up on its web sites, interactive transaction machines that the federal government may have, kiosks, etc, fax machines, copiers, printers, all types of electronic and information technology. We are about to publish a final rule. The rule will be effective 60 days after it gets published in the federal register and then six months after it gets published in the federal register, individuals with disabilities can file complaints against federal agencies if they feel that something was procured that didn''t comply with the standards. Or in addition they can file lawsuits against a federal agency alleging that products were not procured according to the standards and products are broadly defined again, meaning things like web pages, software, computers, kiosks, printers, copiers, etc. So it is a major rule. It is one that has gotten a lot of attention in the press, it has gotten a lot of attention by the administration. OMB is very intent on seeing this rule is published as well as the White House is intent on seeing this rule is published. And as I said, it is out for a vote to our Board today and we are trying to get it to the federal register for publication before Thanksgiving. Probably Nov 21 is when you would see it in the Federal Register if everything goes smoothly, and I hope it will. Also just like play, that will be up on our web site the day it gets published. If you don''t get the Federal Register you can download it from our web site. This rule is a standard as opposed to guidelines. In this case the standards are self-enforcing. They will also be rolled into what is called the Federal Acquisition Regulations but that will just be a straight reference and there won''t be any changes made to our standards. The Federal Acquisition Regulations are what federal agencies use when they procure products, usually large purchases and people don''t deviate from it. So it is viewed as the "bible of procurement" within the federal government. It is a good thing that our standards will be referenced in the Federal Acquisition Regulations and it will become more mainstream for procurement people to think about accessibility because of the fact that it will be rolled into the Federal Acquisition Regulations. One thing that I want to clarify is some people view Section 508 and our standards as applying only to assistive technology. That is not true at all. The law and our standards are meant to apply to mainstream technology. So any product that the federal government buys whether they have a disabled employee or not, has to comply with the standards. In addition to that, if even after buying something that was compliant with the standards, an individual employee needed a reasonable accommodation to accommodate their disability, that would be layered on top of it. So this doesn''t effect an individual''s right to a reasonable accommodation at all. The goal is that it will make reasonable accommodations much easier because more accessibility will be built into products and less accommodation will have to take place after the fact. That is Section 508 and again we are looking at publication around November 21st. Sometime that week is a very good guess. The other five rules let me just take care of the easy ones first then I will get to the others. Two of the rulemakings are as a result of advisory committees that are just winding up. One is on access to passenger vessels. That is an advisory committee that the Board had convened back in 1998. The committee has finished their work and they are going to be giving their report to the Board this Friday, Nov 17 in Miami Beach. Once the Board then receives the committee''s report, we will then start the actual rulemaking process, which I would anticipate will take at least a year to year and a half or so. That one is much further away. You won''t see a proposed rule for at least a year and a half. Then depending on what kind of administration we see, it may be longer, it may be shorter. But that one is a little bit further away and it will be a proposed rule. The other one that is as a result of an advisory committee is work on access to public rights-of-wa-treets, sidewalk, street crossings, intersections, etc. We created an advisory committee back in 1999 that has been meeting for just about a year now. They finished their work and they will be presenting their report on January 10th to the Board in a joint session of the Board and the Transportation Research Board here in Washington. Like passenger vessels, we would then take that work and turn it into a proposed rule. Again, that one is a little further away. It is at least a year, year and a half away before we would issue a proposed rule and then seek public comment and we would go to the final rule stage. We are certainly away away from a final rule but probably a year and a half away from a proposed rule on both of those issues. The next rule making that we have scheduled after Section 508 is a proposed rule on access to outdoor developed area-that would include beaches, picnic areas, campgrounds and trails, which is has also been a fairly controversial rule. We expect to be sending it to the Office of Management and Budget for clearance sometime next month. This one is going to be a major rule because of the cost associated with it. It is a fairly costly rulemaking. And as a result we are expecting it is going to get a lot of attention. I don''t know when or if at this point it would be cleared because again, it does have a very big price tag. It is really going to depends, I think, on what type of administration we see coming in in January as to the level of scrutiny that the rule will get and when it would be cleared. So I don''t want to really make any predictions with that one. But it is at the proposed rule making stage. That is what we have drafted, that is what we will be sending to OMB next month. We will have to see what happens with that. The other two are final rule. One is a final rule to update and revise the ADA Accessibility Guidelines as well as the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines. This was a rule that we had issued as proposed rule on November 16th, 1999. We got about 2,500 comments on the proposed rule. We held a couple of hearings, one in January, one in March, and in addition to that, we also held a series of information meetings on October 24th and 25th on a couple of issues: access to ATM machines, reach range issues and captioning in movie theaters. Those three issues we felt we needed some additional information that we didn''t get from the public comment. So we held a series of information meetings here in Washington where we heard from industry, we heard from disability organizations on specific questions that we had, and as a result of those information meetings we now think we have enough information to proceed with a final rule on those areas. That was sort of an information gathering exercise that we went through to collect some additional information that we didn''t get from the public comment period or from the public hearings that we held. This rulemaking also is going to be fairly controversial, it is not going to be as costly as outdoor developed areas. It has gotten a lot of attention, I expect it will get a lot more attention when we are ready for the final rule, which at this point we are scheduled for a vote on a final rule at the May 2001 board meeting. Now that is a vote on the final rule. We would then submit it to OMB for clearance. Subsequent to that, and then hopefully publish it as a final rule sometime before the end of 2001. In addition, on the same time frame as our final rule for recreation facilities, and that addresses sports facilities, places of amusement, amusement parks and attractions, including the ride devices, golf, miniature golf, and boating and fishing facilities. This has been a long rulemaking. We issued a proposed rule back in July 1999. We got several hundred comments. As a result of those comments, we wanted to check in with disability groups and industry as to the direction that we were taking before we issued a final rule. So we did something a little creative and we published a summary sort of an executive summary, of the final rule. We published that on our web site and we announced its availability through the Federal Register. We did that on July 21, 2000. We then put that out for feedback until the middle of September. We got about 60 comments on the executive summary, if you will. In addition we held some information meetings, one in Washington, one in San Francisco, during August and September to give people an opportunity to give us feedback in person. So we not only heard from 60 people in writing, but we also heard from about that same number at these two information meetings during August and September. We think from the information that we got during the meetings and the comments that we received, we have enough information now. We have gauged the public support or lack there of for various provisions, and we are ready for a final rule. That one we have scheduled for the same time frame as the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines, so that will be voted on also at the May 2001 board meeting, which sounds like it is a long way away but it is not really that long away. Then we would publish those, the plan is to publish both of those rules on the same day in the federal register according to the new format that we will be using for our new ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines. Any of you who have seen the proposed rule for that will know there is a new numbering format, a new page layout, new figures, etc, so the recreation rulemaking, although it was proposed in existing ADAAG numbering system page layout and figures, will use the new layout, the new numbering system and the new figures to be consistent. It is going to appear the same day in the federal register, but it will be two separate rulemakings. Let me just explain why we are doing it that way. It may seem a little confusing to do it that way, but we have a good reason. To the extent that a rulemaking exceeds $100 million affect on the national economy per year, the rule goes through a higher level of scrutiny at the office of management and budget. Because it exceeds $100 million, it would be subject to congressional review under the Congressional Review Act meaning that congress could pass a resolution saying that the agency needs to start all over. That only affects major rules that exceed $100 million. Combining these two rules would exceed $100 million. Keeping them separate would not. We are keeping them separate so that we don''t invoke either the higher level of scrutiny at OMB or the Congressional Review Act. So you will see these published separately in the federal register on the same day. They will both have the same new format, under the format that we proposed for the revisions to the ADA and ABA guidelines. When you take the two documents and piece them together, you will then have a complete rule. And that is how we will distribute it also. So those people who don''t get the Federal Register don''t need to worry about it, because when they ask for the latest guidelines from the Board, we will send everything integrated and so all of this that I just explained won''t even be relevant to them. But if you do get the Federal Register and you pick it up and see two different rules, and you are wondering how to piece it together, that is why we did it. All you would have to do is take the two rules and combine them, then you would have a finished product. Now in addition to that, we will be folding in the play areas rule to that. That also would be in the new format and within the new numbering system because the final rule that we just issued in October is under the new numbering system. Eventually all this is going to get a little simpler once we have a new ADAAG but now it is a little confusing. The last thing that I wanted to talk about is a new addition to our web site, an on-line course that we did with the American Institute of Architects. It is an on-line training course on our guidelines for access to courthouses, prisons, and children''s environments. It is a very nice on-line course which is free. If you go to the AIA site and you are an architect you can get continuing education credits for taking the on-line course. If you don''t care about that, we have the same course on our web site, and you can access it for free and take the course and it has a series of questions and answers and photographs. By going through the course and answering the questions, one would have a better understanding of the final rules for prisons and courthouses and for children''s elements. That is a new addition to our web site and hopefully it is one that people will take advantage of. I think that is all I have.
Great, thanks David. A couple things while the questions start to queue in. David you did mention that Peggy Greenwell is going to be in Chicago with the Great Lakes Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center. I think she is going to be talking about play and some of the other pending rules with ADAAG. If people are interested, if they are in the Chicago area and are interested in attending that, that is next Monday from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. they can call the Great Lakes Center at 312-413-1407. And while we are waiting for the next question, I''m going to ask you another question. You mentioned the final rules that have been publish so far: Chapters 11 and 12 on state and local government facilities, children''s facilities and now the final rule for play areas. I know it is really not fair to ask you a question that DOJ still needs to move on because they are ultimately right now the last step in the process is adoption of the final rules. Can you tell us, has there been any any dialogue or indication that you have received from DOJ as to where they are in that process?
My understanding regarding state, local, and children''s is they don''t intends to adopt those now because those have been included in the revisions to the ADA and ABA guidelines. Instead of doing it twice, they intend to do it once. They are going to wait for the final rule on ADA and ABA guidelines. On play, I don''t know. We have had conversations with them, I have seen drafts of a rule that would adopt our play rule. But I don''t know and I wouldn''t want to speak for them as to where they are at. My predictions are always off.
Okay, thanks, though. Our first question?
I''m from the local center of independent living. My question is more of a comment. The way I understood this training, I expected a more detailed training on what each rulemaking was. What it was going to entail and how to apply it once it was passed.
Okay, thanks for your call there. Certainly in this short time frame we can''t get into every technical detail. But basically today with David here we wanted to give you an update of where we were in the rulemaking process as for each individual rule, as it does tend to be a quite extensive process. Can we go to our next question?
I do have an e-mail question here, David, I think there might be some confusion. When you talk about the revisions to accessibility guidelines, between the ADA and the ABA, the Architectural Barriers Act, and the person that I got the e-mail from earlier in the week asked how does that apply to UFAS ? Does UFAS get adopted in there? Can you kind of clarify that?
Sure. UFAS was based on guidelines that the Board issued back in 1982. Then UFAS was issued in 1984. UFAS is the standard for federal facility accessibility and it is also the standard that all of the Section 504 regs use to measure compliance. When the Board issues its final rule to update the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines the plan is that the two standard agencies under the ADA will adopt-it is a three part rule. They will adopt the scoping provisions for the ADA and the technical provisions and that will be the new enforceable standard under the ADA. The four standard setting agencies under the Architectural Barriers Act will take the scoping provisions for the ABA, the technical provisions that are common to this rulemaking and then that would be the new UFAS . So again, the Board''s work under the ADA and the Board''s work under the ABA are guidelines which require an additional step by the standard setting agencies, so in this case there are six standard setting agencies to require two new standards, one set of standard under the ADA and then a newly revised UFAS under the Architectural Barriers Act.
Great, thanks David. We have another on-line question here this goes to the areas of access to places of amusement. And the question is: Are Disney and other large amusement groups agreeing to the need for access but dispute how it is laid out by the Access Board or are they arguing something different? Can you give us a little background on the issue there?
I will try to. When we issued our proposed rule there was a great deal of debate and unhappiness on the part of the large amusement park operators and the trade associations. They felt we were too prescriptive, they felt we didn''t listen well enough to our advisory committee''s recommendations. They raised a great level of concern and they submitted comments. They interacted with our Board members. They found contacts with board members dating back to kindergarten, so they would have an excuse to talk with them. There was the potential for congressional hearing on our proposed rule. The House Judiciary Committee got excited because the amusement industry wasn''t enamored with our proposed rule. The amusement industry talked with staff on the House Judiciary Committee and they were about to do an oversight hearing on the rulemaking. All of that is sort of a backdrop for why we did that executive summary. One of the reasons that we did the executive summary of the final rule was to gauge whether or not we hit the mark on the policy decisions that we were making, specifically regarding amusement attractions, but also regarding some other issues like fishing platforms and guard rails. I guess-and boating facilities also which has been a fairly complicated part of this rulemaking, where there is a floating pier and how you provide access when you have great tidal fluctuations. Those were areas with controversy, but the biggest area of controversy was access to rides and devices and the level of specificity we had in the proposed rule. As a result we did an executive summary which in our estimation doesn''t change the level of access. In fact we think it ratchets it up because it applies to every single amusement attraction, not just new ones, but provides a wide degree of flexibility as to how access is provided: as a roll-on transfer, or roll-on access, transfer access, or some transfer system which could be independent of the ride device-meaning it could be station-based or facility-based or some mechanical means of lifting the person into and out of a ride device. So we came up with a flexible way of providing choices of how to provide access, but now to each ride device, and the industry seems to be in support of that. There is still a couple of lingering issues, not so much about amusement that seems to be taken care of, they seem to be happy. The lingering issues are how to provide access at miniature golf courses, how many holes need to be accessible in the technical provisions and still some remaining issues regarding access to floating boating piers that we have large tidal fluctuation. I think we have settled the amusement stuff. We still have some nagging issues left to handle. But I think the amusement issues are pretty well handled. I think the industry will be satisfied with that. And I think the level of access will be good as well.
Great, thanks David. Our next question? David, not that I would like to bring up the fact that this is an election year, but you do have members that are appointed. Will you be looking to new appointments with the start of the new administration?
Let me just explain a little bit about how the board is organized. We have 25 board members, 13 of whom are appointed by the President, 12 of whom are federal agency representatives who are appointed to their job and part of their job is serving on the board, so the reason they are appointed is not necessarily to serve on the board, it is to be the assistant secretary at transportation or the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice and it just so happens that part of their job is working with the Access Board. As far as the public members, the 13 public members, those are people from the public who are appointed by the president for a four-year term. Our board member, there are dates for when they would expire from the board are staggered. So not every board member''s term is scheduled to expire at the end of this administration. We only have two that are going to expire in December. And in fact we have already had one new appointment that has already been-actually we have one new appointment and one reappointment for that. So it is really a year from now that we would have some new board members. Then in that year it is not going to be all new board members, it is a staggered. So it is usually about three or four a year, so we wouldn''t see a total turn over in public board members for at least three years.
Great, thanks. Our next question?
Hi, thank you for taking the question. I''m curious about how we are going to be working on inclusion of people with electrical and chemical sensitivities to make up for the committees having left them out for the last decade. I think we are in need of some catch up assistance. And I don''t know how to propose doing that to people with these kinds of disabilities in order to get caught up in time to have an impact on the regs. Thank you.
Let me go back to the previous question, also and just clarify something because it is something that comes up time and time again. The board itself doesn''t pick the board members. The president appoints them. Sometimes there is criticism that the board doesn''t have representation of X, Y or Z disability organization. That is nothing that the staff or the board itself can do anything about. It is really the administration that selects board members. So I wanted to dispel any notion that we go out and hand pick people or that they should apply here for inclusion on the board. If you want to get appointed to the board, you have to know the President or someone else in the White House. As far as people with multiple chemical sensitivities or other similar disabilities, a couple of points to note. One thing if you visit our web site you will see that we have instituted a new fragrance-free policy that applies to each of our board meetings and public events. That is something that the vast majority of other federal agencies do not do. We are one of the first to have such a policy. That is a fairly new development for the board. We put that notice in each of our announcements for board meetings and public events. In addition to that, we are going to be doing a research project on identifying ways that the Board could look at ways to improve access for people with MCS and other similar disabilities. Whether that means the board issues guidelines or whether that means other agencies do similar work, we are not sure. At this point we are collecting information, looking at options, and seeing what the best way to proceed is. It is a complicated issue. I know there has been a lot of frustration. But it is a very complicated issue not only from a jurisdictional standpoint, do we have jurisdiction to address issues that oftentimes tends to be procedural or programmatic issues as opposed to the built environment. Even assuming we did have jurisdiction over some issues involving the built environment, then there is a host of technical issues associated with that as well. We are obviously aware of the issue. We are looking at it seriously.
Thanks David. We have time for one or two other questions.
I''m just curious. Will there be a standard for play area surfaces or is it a local preference or what?
In the play areas rule there is a standard for play surfaces. That was a big part of the rulemaking. It didn''t just address the play components but a big part of the rulemaking was the surface requirements. Essentially what we do is we require that the surfaces meet an ASTM, American Society of Testing and Materials standard, which addresses accessibility as well as resiliency, meaning if someone falls off a piece of play equipment, that they wouldn''t hurt themselves. Which is required for safety reasons, in an area where you are likely to fall from a piece of play equipment, it is required to be resilient. What we have said in addition to that the surface needs to be accessible, meaning stable, firm and slip resistant. Now we also reference an ASTM standard which has a fairly measurable way of measuring the usability of a play surface which could mean rubberized mat, a poured in place rubber, it could mean other surfaces which have passed this ASTM test. So there is a measurable way of determining accessibility. We are aware there are products out there that require more maintenance than others, like engineered wood fiber. If that surface passed the ASTM standard it would comply with our rule, but we also indicate in our rulemaking that if you choose a surface like that, then there is maintenance issues that are associated with that choice, because it requires more maintenance than would say a rubberized surface. We require that the surface be regularly inspected and maintained so that it continues to comply with the ASTM standard. If someone chooses to use a surface that requires a lot of tamping down and rolling and continued maintenance, that is part of the choice they make.
So essentially David, when playground owners are installing new surfaces, the requirement now requires that they look for surfaces that meet that ASTM standard. Is that correct?
That is right.
Now, because this is probably the closest that our test for accessible surfaces being firm, stable, slip resistant, because this is probably the closest this has gotten to an actual objective measurement, do you see this type of technical provision carrying on through in other rules? Later on down the line?
Potentially, but only in terms of outdoor environments, because this issue is going to come up again when we get to trails, what is an accessible surface in the outdoors? It is easy in a building, but it gets a little bit more difficult in the outdoor setting. So potentially, although that is certainly something that we haven''t addressed yet. One other thing that I wanted to mention while we are on this subject, is both in ADAAG and in this play area rules, we reference some standards and what brought it up was we referenced the ASTM standards. There is a new page that we put on our web site that describes each of the standards that we referenced, including the new ones we reference in the play rule and how you can get a copy of those, sort of a general description of those referenced standards. The way to get to it is by going to our technical assistance page, and it is technical assistance, training and research, if you click on technical assistance page you will see a link that says "references standards in ADAAG." That is another new addition to the web site, something that the DBTAC''s asked for an in a previous project director''s meeting.
Thanks David. I will throw it back to you in a second. If you have any final closing comments for us. But I''m going to preface it to start with one other question and that is do you see, especially as more new rules come out, more technical assistance materials like the technical assistance manual and so forth? Do you see more of those types of resource products coming out from the Access Board?
Absolutely. In fact, we are currently working on finishing up technical assistance for the play rule, which will also be provided on-line and as well as in print. That is almost finished. Probably another month or so before we completely finish it up. It will be a series of slides, you know, more interactive so that you can use that on your computer, you can look at the training, remotely, you know, over the Internet. In addition the same material will be available in print. We do that for each of our final rules, we also have recently awarded a contract to a local group to work with us to develop technical assistance materials for Section 508 standards. We always build in money into our budget for technical assistance documents for final rules. Section 508 is the next one that is coming out and we already have awarded a contract for that. And play has already been issued and those technical assistance materials are just months away. So absolutely.
Great. Well, we will look for a final rule, I guess, on Section 508 coming out next week, then.
Thanks for joining us this afternoon, taking time out of your busy day. I''m sure it is very busy around there getting the final rule out. But thank you and hello to everyone at the Access Board for us. Just a reminder for folks that if you still have questions about any of the technical provisions you can call the Access Board technical assistance number or you can also call your regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center at (800) 949-4232. We will have some sessions coming up in the new year more specific to some of the technical provisions and so forth. Our next session we have a special session for November actually two for November, the next session November 28th is on Title II and constitutionality question currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. We will have Kurt Decker and Sharon Masling of the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems here to talk about the Title II question and how that will impact with the Supreme Court decision. December 12 we have a special session for our employment track, on the best practices of organizations utilizing disability management strategies and we are very excited to have joining us for that session Bruce Flynn, a consultant with the Watson Wyatt Worldwide systems, an international human resource consulting firm. We are very excited to have Bruce joining us. Please do feel free to visit the Great Lakes web site for the complete schedule of sessions in the coming year. We are happy to have had you joining us this afternoon, and hope to have you back again next month.