Work that must be done to meet accessibility
requirements, health and safety requirements or
retrofitting to improve energy efficiency is usually
not part of the overall process of protecting
historic buildings; rather, this work is assessed
for its potential impact on the historic building.
It is often necessary to make modifications to
a historic building so that it will be in compliance
with current accessibility code requirements.
Accessibility to certain historic structures is
required by three specific federal laws: the Architectural
Barriers Act of 1968, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990. Federal rules, regulations, and standards
have been developed which provide guidance on
how to accomplish access to historic areas for
people with disabilities. Work must be carefully
planned and undertaken so that it does not result
in the loss of character-defining spaces, features,
and finishes. The goal is to provide the highest
level of access with the lowest level of impact.