GSA To Incorporate New Accessibility Standard in Leased Facilities
February 22, 2007
Contact: Maryanne Beatty (202) 501-1231
Washington, DC —Today the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced that as new leases are signed and existing leased space altered, it will incorporate a new accessibility standard at its over 7,100 leased locations to increase access to facilities designed, built, altered or leased with federal funds. These new standards will apply to all buildings that will be leased as a result of solicitations for offers on or after February 7th, 2007.
“GSA has been at the forefront of removing architectural barriers in our public buildings,” said David L. Winstead, Commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service. “By adopting the new standard in our leased facilities, we are demonstrating a continuous commitment to provide accessible facilities to federal agencies that use GSA as their workplace providers; as well as a responsibility to ensure public buildings remain accessible to the American public.”
The new Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard is a result of a recent evaluation by the U.S. Access Board of the various standards and its decision to merge them into a single standard for federal buildings. The standard addresses access to joint-use areas, accessible routes to primary function areas, restrooms, and other space and elements. GSA typically handles over one thousand leases in a year that will be affected and estimates in the next 10 years the new standard will encompass most of the leased inventory.
GSA introduced the new standard last December to Washington, D.C., real estate companies at an industry roundtable. The real estate companies indicated this is a positive and realistic step for implementation in new leases, especially since the standard will require few modifications unless alterations are necessary under a new lease. GSA has recently created a checklist tool owners may use to evaluate their compliance with the new accessibility standard. Information on these requirements and the checklist are available on GSA’s Web site at http://www.gsa.gov/leasing under Realty Policy and Tools.
Founded in 1949, GSA serves as a centralized procurement and property management agency for the federal government. GSA manages more than one-fourth of the government’s total procurement dollars and influences the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including over 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 170,000 vehicles. GSA helps preserve our past and define our future, acting as a steward of more than 420 historic properties, and as manager of USA.gov, the official portal to federal government information and services. GSA’s mission to provide superior workplaces, expert technology solutions, acquisition services, purchasing and e-travel solutions and management policies, at best value, allows federal agencies to focus on their core missions.
Did you know? GSA’s total inventory includes over 8,600 buildings with a total of 347 million rentable square feet of space. Its leasing space makes up almost half of this number over 7,100 leased facilities encompassing 172 million rentable square feet.