Learn How the IL IAC Changes Can Affect Your Community & Code Officials
Author: Don Plass, CFCO, MCP, Chief Building Official
Now that the Illinois Accessibility Code (IAC) has been updated for the first time since 1997, it is crucial that your community’s Code Officials, Building Inspectors and Plan Reviewers become knowledgeable about some key changes. The IAC requires certain accessibility standards to guarantee that newly-constructed or renovated buildings are safe and readily accessible to persons with disabilities. Some of these standard have been updated in 2018, and include:
- Shared access aisles for every handicapped parking space are now allowed
- Exercise machines and equipment must be fully accessible
- Play areas, elevated play areas, and amusement parks must allow handicapped access
- Swimming pools must all have permanently located lifts
Making sure that your plan review staff is aware of these updates can help alleviate any future changes to the design or updating of recreation centers, gyms, shopping centers, parking lots and temporary amusement parks. Building inspectors will also need to note to look for these changes when approving new construction or updates.
Probably the biggest change in the actual code is that access aisles for every handicapped parking space are no longer required as they can now share an access aisle with the neighboring parking spot. This does not include diagonal parking spots that still require individual access aisles. This is an important update because now designers will be able to fit more parking spaces into the lots.
Another key update deals with access to fitness and exercise areas, such as children’s playground equipment, gyms and swimming pools. All playground equipment must provide handicapped access even if it is elevated. So designers and inspectors of school playgrounds, parks and even amusement parks, including temporary amusement park rides, will need to note these changes. Recreation centers, gyms, and fitness centers will now need to allocate more space, as every exercise machine available now needs to have handicapped access. Finally, swimming pools must now include permanently located lifts that can be operated by the handicapped person themselves.
These code changes will be critical when designing or updating various buildings, lots, and assets in your community. Ensuring that your community’s Building Department staff is aware of these new code updates is paramount to ensure that the IAC codes are being met.