Architectural Barriers Frequently Asked Questions

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) receives many inquiries regarding the Architectural Barriers Act and the technical requirements of the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS). In an effort to address these inquiries, a major goal of the Department is to provide technical assistance and make general information readily available. Below is a listing of some of the more frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers. Some of the answers may provide additional links within the Architectural Barriers web site.

NOTE: Any comments and/or suggestions regarding the Frequently Asked Questions page are welcomed and may be directed via e-mail to techinfo.ab@tdlr.texas.gov.


Licensing FAQs:
  1. How do I become a Registered Accessibility Specialist (RAS)?
  2. What documents do I send in with my Registered Accessibility Specialist application?
  3. How long do I have to renew my Registered Accessibility Specialist (RAS) license?
  4. How much does it cost to renew?
  5. How many Continuing Education Units are required to renew a RAS License?
Licensing FAQs:

1. How do I become a Registered Accessibility Specialist (RAS)?

Submit a completed registered accessibility specialist application with $300 fee. The applicant must attend and satisfactorily complete the Texas Accessibility Academy, meet the application requirements, and satisfactorily pass the Registered Accessibility Specialist examination, no later than one year after the date of the application is filed.

2. What documents do I send in with my Registered Accessibility Specialist application?

An applicant must submit the following documents:

  • A copy of Texas Accessibility Academy Certificate
  • Resume to demonstrate experience requirements

NOTE: You may be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative penalties and sanctions, for operating with an expired license (expired less than 18 months) or operating without a license (expired 18 months or more).

3. How long do I have to renew my Registered Accessibility Specialist (RAS) license?

Your license may be renewed up to 18 months after the license expiration date.

  • If your RAS License has been expired for more than 18 months but less than three years, you may submit a "Request to Executive Director for Expired License Renewal" form with the required renewal fee.
  • If your RAS License has been expired for more than three years you may not renew your license. You must apply for a new license.

4. How much does it cost to renew?

License renewal fees vary according to when you renew your license.

  • On or before your expiration date - $250
  • 1 to 90 days late - $375
  • 90 days to 18 months late - $500

NOTE: You may be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative penalties and sanctions, for operating with an expired license (expired less than 18 months) or operating without a license (expired 18 months or more).

5. How many Continuing Education Units are required to renew a RAS License?

A total of 8 of continuing education hours per renewal period are required, with 4 hours of instruction in courses approved by the department and 4 hours of self-reported instruction in courses related to accessibility. For a complete explanation of the continuing education requirements, refer to 16 Texas Administrative Code, Section 68.74.

General FAQs:
  1. How can I get a copy of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards?
  2. How do I get technical assistance with the requirements of the Architectural Barriers Act and/or the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS)?
  3. How can I get a copy of the Technical Memoranda?
  4. Is there training available to help me understand the requirements of the Architectural Barriers Act and the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standard?
  5. Do I have to submit plans for an accessibility plan review?
  6. Is my building/facility subject to the Texas Architectural Barriers Act?
  7. Can a Variance Application be prepared by a RAS?
  8. Is a RAS required to prepare a Variance Application for a project on which they have provided review or inspection services?
  9. If a RAS prepares the Variance Application, can they sign the application?
  10. Can a RAS submit the Variance Application?
  11. Does the RAS need to be the designated agent in order to prepare a Variance Application?
  12. If a Variance Application requires supporting documentation that requires preparation by a design professional, can the RAS provide this documentation?
  13. If a Variance Application is disapproved, who is responsible for paying for the correction of the TAS violation?
  14. Will the Variance Application have a space to indicate who prepared the form?
General FAQs:

1. How can I get a copy of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards?

The 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards are available on-line at http://www.tdlr.texas.gov/AB/abtas.htm.

2. How do I get technical assistance with the requirements of the Architectural Barriers Act and/or the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS)?

You may contact our Technical Information Specialist by phone at (877) 278-0999 or by e-mail at techinfo.ab@tdlr.texas.gov. In addition, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) publishes technical memoranda responding to some common TAS questions and/or to clarify specific technical requirements. These memoranda do not address every technical requirement, however, they do provide consistent answers to some of the more complex issues and lessen the time the technical information specialists spend on the phone with individual callers. These memoranda are published in accordance with Administrative Rule, Chapter 68.100 (b).

3. How can I get a copy of the Technical Memoranda?

The Technical Memoranda are available on-line at http://www.tdlr.texas.gov/AB/Techmemos.htm

4.  Is there training available to help me understand the requirements of the Architectural Barriers Act and the Texas Accessibility Standards?

Yes. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation's Architectural Barriers section offers a training course in Austin, Texas. The Texas Accessibility Academy is offered several times a year and is open to the public. There is a fee for this course which includes several days instruction and a tabbed copy of the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards. The information is also available on-line at http://www.tdlr.texas.gov/AB/taa.htm.

5.  Do I have to submit plans for an accessibility plan review?

If your project's total estimated cost is less than $50,000.00, you are not required to submit the project to the Department for registration and review, however, the project is still required to comply with TAS. Projects with costs of $50,000 or more are required to submit a full set of construction documents in accordance with Administrative Rule 68.20. For questions or further information, contact a technical information specialist by calling toll free at (877) 278-0999 or by sending your inquiry via e-mail to techinfo.ab@tdlr.texas.gov.

6. Is my building/facility subject to the Texas Architectural Barriers Act (Article 9102)?

For determinations on whether a facility is subject to the Architectural Barriers Act, reference Chapter 469, Government Code, Section 469.003, and Chapter 68, Administrative Rules, Sections 68.20 and 68.30 or contact a technical information specialist by calling toll free at (877) 278-0999 or by sending your inquiry via e-mail to techinfo.ab@tdlr.texas.gov.

7. Can a Variance Application be prepared by a RAS?

A RAS can assist with the preparation of a Variance Application and the supporting documentation for the owner or designated agent. However, the application must be signed by the owner or designated agent.

8.Is a RAS required to prepare a Variance Application for a project on which they have provided review or inspection services?

No, a RAS is not required to prepare or assist in the preparation of a Variance Application or to supply supporting documentation unless they agree to do so for the owner.

9. If a RAS prepares the Variance Application, can they sign the application?

No, the owner or designated agent must sign the application.

10. Can a RAS submit the Variance Application?

No, the application must be submitted by the owner or designated agent.

11. Does the RAS need to be the designated agent in order to prepare a Variance Application?

No, the owner may use an architect, a designer, a RAS or some other person to prepare the Variance Application form, but the owner or designated agent still must sign the form and be responsible for its content.

12. If a Variance Application requires supporting documentation that requires preparation by a design professional, can the RAS provide this documentation?

No, unless the preparation of the supporting documentation will not violate the trade practice regulations governing architects, engineers, designers, or landscape architects. Confirmation of what constitutes a violation shall be determined by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners or the Texas Board of Professional Engineers, whichever has jurisdiction.

13. If a Variance Application is disapproved, who is responsible for paying for the correction of the TAS violation?

The owner is responsible for all corrections and the cost of corrections.

14. Will the Variance Application have a space to indicate who prepared the form?

No, it is not relevant who prepares the application or the supporting documentation only that the application is signed by the owner or designated agent.

Technical FAQs:

FAQ’s pertaining to 2012 TAS effective date

  1. When will the new 2012 TAS become effective?
  2. If I have a project that was designed before March 15, 2012, will I have to revise it to comply with the 2012 TAS if construction starts after March 15, 2012?
  3. If I register my project before March 15, 2012, which accessibility standard do I use?
  4. If I already have a valid building permit for a project that was designed according to the 1994 TAS requirements but construction will not start until after March 15, 2012, does my project have to comply with the 2012 TAS?

FAQ’s pertaining to the 2012 TAS

  1. What is “Safe Harbor”?
  2. If a renovation to a tenant space occurs and the tenant pays for the renovations, are there any requirements for the owner to provide accessibility?
  3. Are there any elements in existing facilities that are not covered under safe harbor?
  4. Is an accessible route required to luxury suites and other boxes that provide fixed seating?
  5. Is the team/player seating in an assembly area exempted from providing accessible routes and accessible seating?
  6. At least 5% of the total number of aisle seats provided shall comply with 802.4 and shall be the aisle seats located closest to accessible routes?
  7. Are press boxes in an assembly area required to be on an accessible route?
  8. If there are two press boxes at sports field and both are 300 square feet in size, are they required to be on an accessible route?

FAQ’s pertaining to 2012 TAS effective date

1. When will the new 2012 TAS become effective?

The Commission in their November 1, 2011 meeting approved the 2012 TAS with an effective date of March 15, 2012.

2. If I have a project that was designed before March 15, 2012, will I have to revise it to comply with the 2012 TAS if construction starts after March 15, 2012?

Yes, projects that are registered, permitted or constructed on or after March 15, 2012 will be required to comply with the 2012 TAS.

3. If I register my project before March 15, 2012, which accessibility standard do I use?

For compliance with the Texas Architectural Barriers Act, you could use either the 1994 TAS or the 2012 TAS. However, compliance with the 2012 TAS will be required after March 15, 2012. As project registration is only a requirement under the Texas Architectural Barriers Act, confirmation with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) cannot be determined.  For information regarding the ADA, you may contact the U.S. Department of Justice ADA Technical Assistance Program at 1-800-514-0301 (voice) or 1-800-514-0383 (ADD).

4. If I already have a valid building permit for a project that was designed according to the 1994 TAS requirements but construction will not start until after March 15, 2012, does my project have to comply with the 2012 TAS ?

If your project meets the requirements of Safe Harbor in the 2012 TAS, only the scope of work not covered under the 1994 TAS would have to be made compliant with the 2012 TAS.

FAQ’s pertaining to the 2012 TAS

1. What is “Safe Harbor”?

Safe harbor is defined in TAS 106.5.57. When the scope of work for a project involves alterations to an area of primary function and the path of travel elements (parking, accessible route, toilet rooms, drinking fountains and public telephones) that serve the altered area already comply with the 1994 TAS they are not required to reflect the requirements of the 2012 TAS, unless those elements of the path of travel are being altered.

2. If a renovation to a tenant space occurs and the tenant pays for the renovations, are there any requirements for the owner to provide accessibility?

No, if those alterations were being made by the tenant in areas that only the tenant occupies, unless those path of travel elements are also being altered. This question is also addressed in RAS Bulletin 2012-02.

3. Are there any elements in existing facilities that are not covered under safe harbor?

Yes, elements that were never scoped under the 1994 TAS such as residential facilities and dwelling units; amusement rides; recreational boating facilities; exercise machines and equipment; fishing piers and platforms; golf facilities; miniature golf facilities; play areas; saunas and steam rooms; swimming pools; wading pools; spas; shooting facilities with firing positions; and some miscellaneous elements including team or player seating, accessible routes to bowling lanes and in sports facilities.

4. Is an accessible route required to luxury suites and other boxes that provide fixed seating?

Yes, based on TAS 221.2.1.2 and TAS 201.1 accessible routes are required to ALL suites/boxes regardless of whether or not fixed seating is provided.  All suites/boxes are public accommodations and common use and are required to be on an accessible route.

5. Is the team/player seating in an assembly area exempted from providing accessible routes and accessible seating?

No, based on TAS 221.2.1.4 and TAS 201.1 an accessible route is required to team/player seating and where fixed seats are provided, at least one wheelchair space shall be provided in team/player seating serving areas of sport activity.

6. At least 5% of the total number of aisle seats provided shall comply with 802.4 and shall be the aisle seats located closest to accessible routes?

True, 5% of aisle seats provided per 221.4 (not total number of assembly seating)

7. Are press boxes in an assembly area required to be on an accessible route?

Yes, unless the press boxes meet the exception criteria of 206.2.7.

8. If there are two press boxes at sports field and both are 300 square feet in size, are they required to be on an accessible route?

Yes, if multiple press boxes are located at the same sports field, the aggregate square footage is used to calculate the size. The aggregate square footage of these press boxes would be 600 square feet which exceeds the 500 square foot limit, requiring each to have an accessible route.