(1) Standards substantially equivalent to the 2010 ADA Standards may be used only when a building or facility elects to or is required by these regulations to comply with the 2010 ADA Standards.
(2) This regulation does not apply to the additional Maryland requirements set forth in Regulation .07A(3), B(3), and C(2) of this chapter. A request for a waiver of the additional Maryland requirements shall be submitted in accordance with the provisions of Regulation .09 of this chapter.
B. Substantially Equivalent Standards for State and Local Government Buildings and Facilities. A State-owned or government-owned building or facility which has elected to comply with the 2010 ADA Standards instead of the UFAS may depart from particular technical and scoping requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards by using alternative designs or technologies that are substantially equivalent to the 2010 ADA Standards, or that provide greater access to and usability of the building or facility.
C. Substantially Equivalent Standards for Other Buildings and Facilities. Other buildings and facilities that are required to comply with the 2010 ADA Standards may depart from particular technical and scoping requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards by using alternative designs and technologies that are substantially equivalent to the 2010 ADA Standards, or that provide greater access to and usability of the building or facility.
D. Determination of Substantial Equivalency.
(1) Proposed alternative designs or technologies shall be submitted to the Department before beginning construction, alteration, addition, or change of use of the building or facility by the owner or other person identified as the responsible person in the submission to the Department.
(2) The Department shall issue a written determination to the responsible party identified in the submission as to whether the Department considers that the alternative design or technology is substantially equivalent to the 2010 ADA Standards, or provides greater access to or usability of the building or facility than the applicable 2010 ADA Standards.
(3) Construction, alteration, addition, or change of use of the building or facility may not begin until the responsible person has received a favorable determination from the Department.
(4) A determination by the Department of substantially equivalent or greater access relates only to the requirements imposed under these regulations. The determination by the Department does not apply as to whether the building or facility complies with ADA.
(5) The Department may consult with public building officials, the designated disability advisory group, or the State historic preservation officer or the designee of the State historic preservation officer, in a determination of substantial equivalency.
(6) A request for a determination under this regulation does not constitute a contested case proceeding under the Maryland Administrative Procedure Act and is not subject to the provisions of COMAR 09.01.02.