Brad, I attended your program in Tulsa last June. I had a question of where is it documented that buildings used by active duty military personnel do not have to be ADA compliant? I need to quote chapter and verse to convince the State of Arkansas that it is not required to build ramps into buildings that only active personnel will use. Thank you for your help.

— Mark E.

ANSWER: There are several issues at play here.

1st.  If it is a DOD building on a military base the State of AR should have no role to play in this issue.  DOD buildings on military bases are not subject to state or local requirements.

2nd. Federal government buildings by definition do not have to comply with the ADA.  They are required to comply with the Architectural Barriers Act and the associated Section 504 regulations as adopted by the DOD.  The DOD has adopted the 2004 ADAABA Accessibility Guidelines as their standards to be followed.

3rd.  There is no exemption that buildings used by active duty military personal do not have to comply with the Architectural Barriers Act therefore you will not find any such exemption in the ABA or Standards.  There is an opinion letter issued by, we believe, the Secretary of Defense stating that buildings ONLY accessed by active duty military do not have to be compliant with the Architectural Barriers Act.  We do not believe that there is authority to grant this exemption under the law based upon conversations with the United States Access Board.  As we are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice we would suggest that you contact the USAB to get their opinion on this legal interpretation.

It is our opinion that there is no exemption and the building in question should be compliant with the applicable accessibility law and Standards.

Thank you!

– Brad

Brad Gaskins