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HUD Issues Guidance on Accessibility Requirements


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Washington/June 8

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced yesterday that multifamily builders can rest assured they are complying with all applicable accessibility requirements when following the 2006 edition of the International Building Code (IBC) and the 2003 edition of the International Code Council (ICC) A117.1 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. HUD's safe harbor endorsement was announced by Kim Kendrick, HUD's assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Spring Board of Directors meeting.

"This latest endorsement is a result of HUD and NAHB's ongoing commitment to providing accessible housing," said Brian Catalde, NAHB president and a home builder from El Segundo, Calif. "By building to these codes, multifamily builders are assured they are providing accessible housing while complying with HUD's Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines."

NAHB has long advocated for Fair Housing accessibility requirements for apartments and condos to be included in the building code because HUD's guidelines were unclear and unenforceable by state and local jurisdictions. In March, NAHB met with Kendrick to express concern that the 2006 IBC was being adopted by state and local jurisdictions without the safe harbor endorsement, and urged the agency to expedite the process.

This critical compliance tool first came about with the 2000 edition of the IBC, after years of cooperative efforts by NAHB, ICC, HUD, and other industry groups. Most multifamily construction is built to some edition of the IBC, which is why the safe harbor endorsement is crucial, Catalde explained.

NAHB championed the incorporation of federal accessibility requirements into the building codes as a way to ease the confusion that surrounded HUD's original guidelines and as a way to ensure compliance.

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ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 235,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. Known as "the voice of the housing industry," NAHB is affiliated with more than 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members will construct 80 percent of the more than 1.56 million new housing units projected for 2007.

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