1994 Architectural Barriers Texas Accessibility Standards (1994 TAS)

Please note: The 2012 TAS became effective March 15, 2012. The 1994 TAS appears below for your convenience.

Section 3 - Miscellaneous Instructions and Definitions
3.1 Graphic Conventions.

Graphic conventions are shown in Table 1. Dimensions that are not marked minimum or maximum are absolute, unless otherwise indicated in the text or captions.

Table 1: Graphic Conventions
Convention Description
U.S. customary units Typical dimension line showing U.S. customary units (in inches) above the line and SI units (in millmeters) below.
Dimensions for short distances Dimensions for short distances indicated on extended line.
Alternate dimensions Dimension line showing alternate dimensions required.
Direction of approach Direction of approach
Max Maximum
Min Minimum
Boundary Boundary of clear floor area
Centerline Centerline
3.2 Dimensional Tolerances.

All dimensions are subject to conventional building industry tolerances for field conditions.

3.3 Appendix.

Additional information, explanations, and advisory materials are located in the Appendix. Paragraphs within the text of these standards marked with an asterisk have related, nonmandatory material in the Appendix. In the Appendix, the corresponding paragraph numbers are preceded by an A.

3.4 General Terminology.

3.4.1 comply with. Meet one or more specifications of these standards.

3.4.2 if, if... then. Denotes a specification that applies only when the conditions described are present.

3.4.3 may. Denotes an option or alternative.

3.4.4 shall. Denotes a mandatory specification or requirement.

3.4.5 should. Denotes an advisory specification or recommendation.

3.5 Definitions.

3.5.1 Access Aisle.

An accessible pedestrian space between elements, such as parking spaces, seating, and desks, that provides clearances appropriate for use of the elements.

3.5.2 Accessible.

Describes a site, building, facility, or portion thereof that complies with these standards.

3.5.3 Accessible Element.

An element specified by these standards (for example, telephone, controls, and the like).

3.5.4 Accessible Route.

A continuous unobstructed path connecting all accessible elements and spaces of a building or facility. Interior accessible routes may include corridors, floors, ramps, elevators, lifts, and clear floor space at fixtures. Exterior accessible routes may include parking access aisles, curb ramps, crosswalks at vehicular ways, walks, ramps, and lifts.

3.5.5 Accessible Space.

Space that complies with these standards.

3.5.6 Adaptability.

The ability of certain building spaces and elements, such as kitchen counters, sinks, and grab bars, to be added or altered so as to accommodate the needs of individuals with or without disabilities or to accommodate the needs of persons with different types or degrees of disability.

3.5.7 Addition.

An expansion, extension, or increase in the gross floor area of a building or facility.

3.5.8 Administrative Authority.

A governmental agency that adopts or enforces regulations and guidelines for the design, construction, or alteration of buildings and facilities.

3.5.9 Alteration.

An alteration is a change to a building or facility made by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity, a lease to or occupancy by a state agency, a public accommodation or commercial facility, that affects or could affect the usability of the building or facility or part thereof. Alterations include, but are not limited to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, changes or rearrangement of the structural parts or elements, and changes or rearrangement in the plan configuration of walls and full-height partitions. Normal maintenance, reroofing, painting or wallpapering, or changes to mechanical and electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the building or facility.

3.5.10 Area of Rescue Assistance.

An area, which has direct access to an exit, where people who are unable to use stairs may remain temporarily in safety to await further instructions or assistance during emergency evacuation.

3.5.11 Assembly Area.

A room or space accommodating a group of individuals for recreational, educational, political, social, or amusement purposes, or for the consumption of food and drink, or awaiting transportation.

3.5.12 Automatic Door.

A door equipped with a power-operated mechanism and controls that open and close the door automatically upon receipt of a momentary actuating signal. The switch that begins the automatic cycle may be a photoelectric device, floor mat, or manual switch (see power-assisted door).

3.5.13 Balcony.

That portion of a seating space of an assembly room, auditorium, or theater that is raised at least four feet above the level of the main floor.

3.5.14 Building.

Any structure used and intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.

3.5.15 Commissioner.

The executive director of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

3.5.16 Component.

An element or space in a building or facility.

3.5.17 Circulation Path.

An exterior or interior way of passage from one place to another for pedestrians, including, but not limited to, walks, hallways, courtyards, stairways, and stair landings.

3.5.18 Clear. Unobstructed.

3.5.19 Clear Floor Space.

The minimum level and unobstructed floor or ground space required to accommodate a single, stationary wheelchair and occupant.

3.5.20 Closed Circuit Telephone.

A telephone with dedicated line(s) such as a house phone, courtesy phone or phone that must be used to gain entrance to a building or facility.

3.5.21 Common Use.

Refers to those interior and exterior rooms, spaces, or elements that are made available for the use of a restricted group of people (for example, occupants of a homeless shelter, the occupants of an office building, or the guests of such occupants).

3.5.22 Cross Slope.

The slope that is perpendicular to the direction of travel (see running slope).

3.5.23 Curb Ramp.

A short ramp cutting through a curb or built up to it.

3.5.24 Detectable Warning.

A standardized surface feature built in or applied to walking surfaces or other elements to warn visually impaired people of hazards on a circulation path or path of travel.

3.5.25 Dwelling Unit.

A single unit which provides a kitchen or food preparation area, in addition to rooms and spaces for living, bathing, sleeping, and the like. Dwelling units include a single family home or a townhouse used as a transient group home; an apartment building used as a shelter; guestrooms in a hotel that provide sleeping accommodations and food preparation areas; and other similar facilities used on a transient basis. For purposes of these standards, use of the term "Dwelling Unit" does not imply the unit is used as a residence.

3.5.26 Egress, Means of.

A continuous and unobstructed way of exit travel from any point in a building or facility to a public way. A means of egress comprises vertical and horizontal travel and may include intervening room spaces, doorways, hallways, corridors, passageways, balconies, ramps, stairs, enclosures, lobbies, horizontal exits, courts and yards. An accessible means of egress is one that complies with these standards and does not include stairs, steps, or escalators. Areas of rescue assistance or evacuation elevators may be included as part of accessible means of egress.

3.5.27 Element.

An architectural or mechanical component of a building, facility, space, or site, e.g., telephone, curb ramp, door, drinking fountain, seating, or water closet.

3.5.28 Entrance.

Any access point to a building or portion of a building or facility used for the purpose of entering. An entrance includes the approach walk, the vertical access leading to the entrance platform, the entrance platform itself, vestibules if provided, the entry door(s) or gate(s), and the hardware of the entry door(s) or gate(s).

3.5.29 Entrance Platform.

The clear floor or ground area at accessible entrances required by 4.13.6.

3.5.30 Essential Features.

Those supporting elements and spaces that make a building or facility usable by, or serve the needs of, its occupants or users. Essential features may include but are not limited to:

  1. EntrancesToilet RoomsDining AreasAccessible RoutesLaundry RoomsLoungesPlay AreasService AislesExercise or Weight RoomsLaboratoriesDarkroomsSwimming PoolsConcession StandsAtriumsFishing PiersBoat Docks Hike and Bike TrailsPicnic AreasCourtyards
  2. Plazas

Essential features do not include those spaces that house the major activities for which the building or facility is intended, such as classrooms and offices. See Functional Spaces.

3.5.31 Facility.

All or any portion of buildings, structures, site improvements, complexes, equipment, roads, walks, passageways, parking lots, or other real or personal property located on a site.

3.5.32 Functional Spaces.

The rooms and spaces in a building or facility that house the major activities for which the building or facility is intended. Also see Essential Features.

3.5.33 Ground Floor.

Any occupiable floor less than one story above or below grade with direct access to grade. A building or facility always has at least one ground floor and may have more than one ground floor as where a split level entrance has been provided or where a building is built into a hillside.

3.5.34 lbf.


3.5.35 Level.

A ground or floor surface or part of a surface having a slope of not more than 1:50 (2.0%) at any point, in any direction. Slopes expressed in terms of 1/4 inch per foot shall be considered 2.0% and shall be acceptable as level.

3.5.36 Marked Crossing.

A crosswalk or other identified path intended for pedestrian use in crossing a vehicular way.

3.5.37 Mezzanine or Mezzanine Floor.

That portion of a story which is an intermediate floor level placed within the story and having occupiable space above and below its floor. Any such area exceeding one-third of the total floor area of the room or space in which it is located shall be considered a full story.

3.5.38 Multifamily Dwelling.

Any building containing more than two dwelling units.

3.5.39 Occupiable.

A room or enclosed space designed for human occupancy in which individuals congregate for amusement, educational or similar purposes, or in which occupants are engaged at labor, and which is equipped with means of egress, light, and ventilation.

3.5.40 Operable Part.

A part of a piece of equipment or appliance used to insert or withdraw objects, or to activate, deactivate, or adjust the equipment or appliance (for example, coin slot, pushbutton, handle).

3.5.41 Path of Travel.


3.5.42 Performing Area.

See Stage.

3.5.43 Power-assisted Door.

A door used for human passage with a mechanism that helps to open the door, or relieves the opening resistance of a door, upon the activation of a switch or a continued force applied to the door itself.

3.5.44 Primary Function.

With respect to an alteration of a building or facility, the primary function is a major activity for which the facility is intended. Areas that contain a primary function include, but are not limited to, the customer services lobby of a bank, the dining area of a cafeteria, the meeting rooms in a conference center, as well as offices and other work areas in which the activities of the public accommodation, commercial facility, or other private entity using the facility are carried out. Mechanical rooms, boiler rooms, supply storage rooms, employee lounges or locker rooms, janitorial closets, entrances, corridors, and restrooms are not areas containing a primary function.

3.5.45 Principal or Primary Entrances.

Building and facility entrances that are recognized by the occupants and visitors as the main points of entry and exit and are used as such.

3.5.46 Public Funds (Publicly Funded).

Funds provided by any governmental entity including federal, state, county, city, or any other political subdivision of the state.

3.5.47 Public Use.

Describes interior or exterior rooms or spaces that are made available to the general public. Public use may be provided at a building or facility that is privately or publicly owned.

3.5.48 Ramp.

A walking surface which has a running slope greater than 1:20 (5.0%).

3.5.49 Running Slope.

The slope that is parallel to the direction of travel (see Cross Slope).

3.5.50 Service Entrance.

An entrance intended primarily for delivery of goods or services.

3.5.51 Signage.

Displayed verbal, symbolic, tactile, and pictorial information.

3.5.52 Site.

A parcel of land bounded by a property line or a designated portion of a public right-of-way.

3.5.53 Site Improvement.

Landscaping, paving for pedestrian and vehicular ways, outdoor lighting, recreational facilities, and the like, added to a site.

3.5.54 Sleeping Accommodations.

Rooms in which people sleep; for example, dormitory and hotel or motel guest rooms or suites.

3.5.55 Space.

A definable area, e.g., room, toilet room, hall, assembly area, entrance, storage room, alcove, courtyard, or lobby.

3.5.56 Stage.

An area of an assembly building or assembly area that is designed or used for demonstrations or the presentation of theatrical, educational, musical, or other events. See Performing Area.

3.5.57 Story.

That portion of a building included between the upper surface of a floor and upper surface of the floor or roof next above. If such portion of a building does not include occupiable space, it is not considered a story for purposes of these standards. There may be more than one floor level within a story as in the case of a mezzanine or mezzanines, or a balcony or balconies.

3.5.58 Structural Frame.

The structural frame shall be considered to be the columns and the girders, beams, trusses and spandrels having direct connections to the columns and all other members which are essential to the stability of the building as a whole.

3.5.59 Structurally Impracticable.

With respect to new construction, those rare circumstances where full compliance has little likelihood of being accomplished because the unique characteristics of terrain prevent the incorporation of an accessibility feature. All determinations of Structural Impracticability are made by the commissioner in accordance with the variance procedures contained in Rule 68.31.

3.5.60 Tactile.

Describes an object that can be perceived using the sense of touch.

3.5.61 Technically Infeasible.

With respect to an alteration of a building or a facility, it has little likelihood of being accomplished because existing structural conditions would require removing or altering a load-bearing member which is an essential part of the structural frame; or because other existing physical or site constraints prohibit modification or addition of elements, spaces, or features which are in full and strict compliance with the minimum requirements for new construction and which are necessary to provide accessibility. All determinations of Technical Infeasibility are made by the commissioner in accordance with the variance procedures contained in Rule 68.31.

3.5.62 Text Telephone.

Machinery or equipment that employs interactive graphic (i.e., typed) communications through the transmission of coded signals across the standard telephone network. Text telephones can include, for example, devices known as TDD's (telecommunication display devices or telecommunication devices for deaf persons) or computers.

3.5.63 Transient Lodging.

A building, facility, or portion thereof, excluding inpatient medical care facilities, that contains one or more dwelling units or sleeping accommodations. Transient lodging may include, but is not limited to, resorts, group homes, hotels, motels, and dormitories.

3.5.64 Vehicular Way.

A route intended for vehicular traffic, such as a street, driveway, or parking lot.

3.5.65 Walk.

An exterior pathway with a prepared surface intended for pedestrian use, including general pedestrian areas such as plazas and courts.