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?

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

Submit a completed registered accessibility specialist application with $300 fee. The applicant must 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:

  • 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?

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.


TABS FAQs

  1. I selected “forgot my password” and did not receive the update email, why not?
  2. I am filling out a TABS registration form and have not finished. Is there a way to stop and then continue where I left off, or do I need to start over?
  3. When registering a new construction project, there was no option to choose that the project funds were provided by the Tenant. Why not?
  4. Is a RAS the only person who may register a project in TABS?
  5. Will the RAS still maintain and send a hard copy file to TDLR when the project is closed?
  6. Will the RAS still be required to maintain a physical Record of Transaction?
  7. Is a RAS still required to submit the plans with mark-ups that used to be included in the physical file?
  8. Are there specific technical details I need to know about TABS?
  9. Do we follow both the 2007 and 2018 RAS Procedures?
  10. Do I need to submit a PSU with TABS projects?
  11. When is there a deadline for a plan review?
  12. Can I submit a variance online?
  13. Do I need to upload all the construction documents?
  14. How do I upload documents larger than 30 MB?
  15. What is the difference between transferring and sharing a project?
  16. Who can upload documents after a project has been registered?
  17. Where is the Project Information Page (formerly called the Confirmation Page)?
  18. I don’t live in the USA; how do I fill out the county field in the contacts screen?
  19. The plans for the project do not include square footage. How do I complete the project registration?
  20. What do I do about square footage on public right of way projects, such as sidewalks and curb ramps?
  21. Is a RAS allowed to reject or drop projects for any reason?
  22. How long does a RAS have to decide if they want to accept or decline a project?
  23. When a RAS registers a project on behalf of a client, do they still need to accept the project in TABS?
  24. Do construction documents need to be uploaded before the 30-day RAS acceptance deadline?
  25. How do I contact the owner or other contacts to determine if I want to accept or decline a project?
  26. Can an owner or designated agent request that TDLR change the RAS on their project?
  27. Who can change or correct the project details after a project has been registered in TABS?
  28. I already uploaded a required document. Why am I still getting reminder emails to upload it?
  29. I uploaded my report but the status of the project did not change. Why not?
  30. I uploaded my plan review and am trying to upload my inspection report, but the system is telling me that a plan review must by performed first. Why?
  31. Is the Request for Inspection Form still required?
  32. How do I know if my project is closed?
  33. How do I get a Certificate of Substantial Compliance?
  34. Once I accept a project, how long do I have to share that project with another RAS to complete a plan review?
  35. Do I have to upload construction documents before I upload plan review documents?
  36. How do I cancel a share request?

1. I selected “forgot my password” and did not receive the update email, why not?

In December 2018, TDLR switched to a new online project system called the Texas Architectural Barriers online System (TABS). The user information from the previous project registration system did not carry over. You must create a new user account for TABS by selecting “Register a new user”. Once registered, you will start receiving update emails.

2. I am filling out a TABS registration form and have not finished. Is there a way to stop and then continue where I left off, or do I need to start over?

It depends. You should have up to 8 hours to enter all the registration information and save it before making the payment. Stopping at any point before the payment step will not save your entry. Projects that have been fully entered but not paid are shown in your unpaid projects list for 60 days. Unpaid projects will be deleted after 60 days.

3. When registering a new construction project, there was no option to choose that the project funds were provided by the Tenant. Why not?

That option is not available for new construction projects because the tenant-funded exception does not apply to new construction, only renovation projects. (TAS 202.4 exception 2)

4. Is a RAS the only person who may register a project in TABS?

No. Anyone may register a project within TABS if they register as a user first. Anyone who is not a RAS must register as an “other” user type, which includes owners, agents, designers, and tenants.

5. Will the RAS still maintain and send a hard copy file to TDLR when the project is closed?

No. The entire project file will be within TABS. A RAS may choose to maintain a paper file for administrative purposes. The TABS file is the official file and TDLR will no longer need the physical file.

6. Will the RAS still be required to maintain a physical Record of Transaction? 

No. TABS will automatically keep a Record of Transaction by recording the upload dates.

7. Is a RAS still required to submit the plans with mark-ups that used to be included in the physical file?

No, marked up plans are not a requirement. However, construction documents with or without mark-ups are still required and must be uploaded in either the View/Upload Documents or Plan Review/Revision sidebar.

8. Are there specific technical details I need to know about TABS?

Yes. All uploads must be in PDF format. PDF file names must be 30 characters or less; no uploads greater than 30 MB; and each document within a project must have a unique file name. Also, TABS is most compatible with Internet Explorer and you must maximize your window in TABS to you may see all the necessary controls.

9. Do we follow both the 2007 and 2018 RAS Procedures?

All TABS prefix projects registered on or after Dec 3, 2018 must follow the 2018 RAS procedures. All EABPRJ prefix projects registered prior to Dec. 3, 2018 must continue to follow the 2007 RAS Procedures. The Department will issue new RAS procedures once the EABPRJ prefix projects are converted into TABS.

2018 RAS Procedures

10. Do I need to submit a PSU with TABS projects?

No. A PSU form is not required and should never be submitted for any TABS prefix projects.

11. When is there a deadline for a plan review?

When a project is registered in TABS it must have a plan review any time prior to inspection, unless registered by TDLR as a special registration. However, when a plan review is shared, there is a 30-day deadline for the accepting RAS to complete the plan review.

Updated AB Forms Online

12. Can I submit a variance online?

Not at this time.

13. Do I need to upload all the construction documents? 

No. Only documents required to verify compliance, such as plans, elevations, and details.

14. How do I upload documents larger than 30 MB? 

If the file size is too large to complete as one upload, separate them into multiple, smaller uploads.

15. What is the difference between transferring and sharing a project?

When a RAS transfers a project to another RAS, the original RAS is permanently removed from all access to the project, and the new RAS will have full access from that point on. When a RAS shares a project with another RAS, the original RAS will still have limited viewing and upload options, while the accepting RAS will be able to upload plan review and/or inspection documents depending on which service was shared.

16. Who can upload documents after a project has been registered?

The user registering a project will be able to upload documents only during the registration process. After registration is complete, documents must be submitted to the associated RAS for upload.

17. Where is the Project Information Page (formerly called the Confirmation Page)?

This page can be found by clicking on Projects in the top line in TABS. Select search from the pulldown menu. Type in your project number then select the blue project number in the lower left corner. This will bring up the Project Information Page.

18. I don’t live in the USA; how do I fill out the county field in the contacts screen?

You don’t have to. When a country field to a country other than the USA is selected, the county field is no longer a required field.

19. The plans for the project do not include square footage. How do I complete the project registration?

Do your best to confirm the square footage, and if you have no other option, user your best guess.

20. What do I do about square footage on public right of way projects, such as sidewalks and curb ramps?

Do your best to confirm the square footage, and you have no other option, use your best guess calculating only the sidewalks, curb ramps and related pedestrian elements.

21. Is a RAS allowed to reject or drop projects for any reason?

Yes. A RAS is permitted to decline any project offered. If a RAS has already accepted and changes their mind at any point, they may contact TDLR to be removed from the project. TDLR will then block their access to the project and send an email to the owner to select a new RAS.

22. How long does a RAS have to decide if they want to accept or decline a project?

30 days.

23. When a RAS registers a project on behalf of a client, do they still need to accept the project in TABS?

No. When a RAS registers a project, they are accepting that project and will not receive the accept/decline email.

24. Do construction documents need to be uploaded before the 30-day RAS acceptance deadline?

No, there are no requirements for any documents to be uploaded before the RAS acceptance deadline. It is up to each RAS to decide if they want to accept the project without seeing the documents or not.

25. How do I contact the owner or other contacts to determine if I want to accept or decline a project?

You can call them or send a letter. All public information is available on the project information page within the search function. TDLR is prohibited from providing email addresses to the public.

26. Can an owner or designated agent request that TDLR change the RAS on their project?

Yes. The request must occur before a plan review has been completed. The owner or designated agent may contact TDLR if they wish to change to a different RAS. If the request is from a designated agent, the Owner's Designated Agent Form must be on file or delivered with the request. TDLR will review the request and if approved, the new RAS will receive an email and will be required to accept or decline the project. TDLR will send an email to the previous RAS notifying them of the change.

27. Who can change or correct the project details after a project has been registered in TABS?

Only the project RAS and TDLR can make changes to project details. The owner may send a written request to the RAS or TDLR. If a designated agent is making the request, an owner's agent designated form must be on file or submitted with the request.

28. I already uploaded a required document. Why am I still getting reminder emails to upload it? 

The most likely answer is that you did not complete the upload process. Make sure you have clicked the “submit upload” button for the document. If you see a red ’x’ next to the document, it has not yet been submitted. If you are working with plan reviews, ensure make sure you have uploaded a transmittal and report (as needed).

29. I uploaded my report but the status of the project did not change. Why not?

The project status will only update if you submit the transmittal letter document. If the transmittal letter was combined with a report or the wrong document type was selected during upload, you must upload the transmittal letter again with a different file name and select the correct document type for the project status to update within TABS.

30. I uploaded my plan review and am trying to upload my inspection report, but the system is telling me that a plan review must by performed first. Why?

You will receive this notice when the plan review uploads were not properly completed. Make sure you have uploaded the transmittal letter and report as separate documents, and that you have clicked the “submit upload” button.

31. Is the Request for Inspection Form still required?

A request for inspection form may be used but is not required for TABS prefix projects. A TABS request for inspection may be made in any written format from the owner or appropriate designated agent. The EABPRJ prefix projects still require the request for inspection form (revised December 2018) which may be uploaded at any time prior to inspection.

32. How do I know if my project is closed?

After the RAS submits a closure request, TDLR will review the project. Once accepted and closed, a letter is automatically sent to the owner of record notifying them that the project has been approved and closed. No other notifications will be sent out, however, the project status of “closed” will be reflected on the Project Information Page.

33. How do I get a Certificate of Substantial Compliance?

A Certificate of Substantial Compliance is only available for approved and closed new construction projects. Owners or Designated Agents may mail, fax, or email a Notice of Substantial Compliance Request form to TDLR. The form is available at https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/ab/forms/AB046.pdf. If the request is made by a designated agent, the form must be accompanied by an owner's agent designation form if one is not already uploaded in TABS. TDLR will mail the Certificate to the owner as written on the request form. Certificates cannot be emailed.

34. Once I accept a project, how long do I have to share that project with another RAS to complete a plan review? 

You can share the project with another RAS at any time prior to the inspection. Once the share has been accepted, the plan reviewer will have 30 days to perform the plan review only if the project has not reached the one-year anniversary of the estimated completion date.

35. Do I have to upload construction documents before I upload plan review documents?

Yes, all construction documents must be uploaded prior to completion of the plan review and any necessary revisions.

36. How do I cancel a share request?

If the request has not been accepted, you can wait 30 days for the request to expire. If the request has already been accepted, you can contact TDLR to remove the share.