The Catholic University of America

Responsibilities of the Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management

The Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management, overseeing and working in coordination with the Director of Facilities Planning and Construction, is responsible for compliance with the following regulatory requirements:

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Rehabilitation Act of 1973

As an undergraduate and graduate private school, the University is considered a “public accommodation” that must not discriminate against individuals with disabilities in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services, facilities and privileges.  Discrimination includes: Exclusion due to absence of auxiliary services; structural barriers; transportation barriers; and new construction that is not readily accessible by those with disabilities.  All federally assisted programs and activities must be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. If an existing facility is not accessible, redesign of equipment, reassignment of classes or other services to accessible buildings is an alternative to new construction. Newly constructed facilities must be readily accessible to persons with disabilities. Each facility or part of a facility which is altered in a manner that affects or could affect the usability of the facility or part of the facility shall, to the maximum extent feasible, be altered in such manner that the altered portion of the facility is readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

Standards for Existing Facilities: Alterations to existing facilities if the modifications are readily achievable; that is, able to be accomplished easily without unreasonable difficulty or expense. Major structural changes to existing facilities are not necessary if other methods are effective in achieving compliance with the readily accessible standard. When removing barriers, a public accommodation may follow the order of priorities that the regulations set forth. If a public accommodation can demonstrate that barrier removal is not readily achievable, it must make its services, facilities or accommodations available through alternative methods.  Alternative methods are also governed by the readily achievable standard.


Standards for New Construction: A newly constructed public accommodation is one built after January 26, 1993. Newly constructed facilities must be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities in accordance with the standards to the maximum extent feasible. When reviewing compliance for purposes of new construction, the Accessibility Standards and other related guidelines must be followed.


Special Rules for Accessibility in Sports Arenas:

Lines of Sight. The ADA requires that a spectator with disabilities can see the event hosted in a stadium venue. Wheelchair seating locations must provide sight lines equal to those provided to all other spectators.

Dispersion. If the plan for a venue provides for more than 300 accessible seats, then locations for these seats must be dispersed rather than provided in a single location. Wheelchair seating locations must be available in all areas, including specialty areas, and provide a choice of admission prices and views comparable to those to which the general public has access.

Integration. Equal access under the ADA means that people with disabilities will be able to use a venue with friends and family who do not have disabilities. Accessible seating therefore must be integrated into each section of the stadium's seating plan and not separated into a distinct section that isolates disabled patrons.

DC Green Building Act of 2006 and DC Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008

The act phases in increasingly cost effective, energy efficient, sustainable, healthy, safe and productive construction requirements.  Commercial buildings are certified using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. Residential structures are measured against the Green Communities Standards.  New construction or substantial improvements to non-residential privately-owned buildings of 50 thousand square feet of gross floor area or more must: 

Submit to the DC Department of the Environment (DDOE), as part of a permit application, a green building checklist documenting the green building elements to be pursued

Within 2 years of receipt of certification of occupancy obtain verification that the green building requirements have been met. 

Projects submitting permit applications after January 1, 2010, must be verified as meeting the LEED-NC 2.2 or LEED-CS 2.0 standard.  On or before January 1, 2012, all permit applicants must provide a performance bond based on project square footage but not to exceed $3 million. All privately-owned buildings must be benchmarked annually using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool, and the data made available to DDOE by January 1st of the following year.

D.C. Historic Landmark and Historic District Preservation Act of 1978

A historic building, structure, object, feature or site is one:

That is listed in the National Register of Historic Places or in DC’s inventory of historic sites

For which application for such listing is pending with the Historic Preservation Review Board, or

Which is located in a historic district 

In order to alter, repair or demolish a historic building or structure, or to initiate new construction in a historic district, the University must apply for a permit from the DC Mayor, who may refer the application to the Historic Preservation Review Board.  Once a permit is issued the alteration, repair, or construction must be completed per the conditions of the approved permit. 

D.C. Building Permits

A building permit from the D.C. Inspector of Buildings is required in order to erect, construct, reconstruct, convert, or alter any building, structure or part thereof. Where certificates of occupancy or permits for use are required for the property, they must be obtained prior to occupancy or use. 

D.C. Electrical Permits

No electrical work (installation, maintenance, repair and removal of electrical wiring and equipment) in buildings and appurtenant structures shall be performed without first obtaining a permit.  Permits and officially approved plans shall be kept at the work site during all work hours.  The penalty for each violation of the Electrical Code is up to $300 and/or up to 10 days imprisonment.

D.C. Plumbing Code - Permits

All plumbing work requires issuance of a permit issued for the specific work from DC.  “Plumbing work” includes: the introduction, maintenance, and extension of water supply; connecting or repairing drainage systems; excavation; pipe removal; and fitting.  Permits must be kept on the premises until completion of the work. 

Related Policies


Accommodations at University Events Policy


Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities Policy