Subpart 39.2 - Information and Communication Technology

39.201 Scope of subpart.

      (a) This subpart implements section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d), and the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board's (U.S. Access Board) information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility standards at 36 CFR 1194.1.

      (b) Further information on Section 508 is available via the Internet at http://www.section508.gov.

      (c) When acquiring ICT, agencies must ensure that—

           (1) Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities; and

           (2) Members of the public with disabilities seeking information or services from an agency have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of information and data by members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities.

39.202 Definition.

Undue burden, as used in this subpart, means a significant difficulty or expense.

39.203 Applicability.

      (a) General. Unless an exception at 39.204 or an exemption at 39.205 applies, acquisitions for ICT supplies and services shall meet the applicable ICT accessibility standards at 36 CFR 1194.1.

      (b) Indefinite-quantity contracts. Confirmation of an exception or a determination of an exemption is not required prior to award of an indefinite-quantity contract, except for requirements that are to be satisfied by initial award. The contract must identify which supplies and services the contractor indicates as compliant and show where full details of compliance can be found (e.g., vendor's or other exact website location).

      (c) Task order or delivery order. At the time of issuance of a task order or delivery order under an indefinite-quantity contract, the requiring and ordering activities shall ensure compliance with the ICT accessibility standards and document an exception or exemption if applicable. Any task order or delivery order, or portion thereof, issued for a noncompliant ICT item shall be supported by the appropriate exception or exemption documented by the requiring activity.

      (d) Commercial products and commercial services. When acquiring commercial products and commercial services, an agency must comply with those ICT accessibility standards that can be met with supplies or services that are available in the commercial marketplace and that best address the agency's needs, but see 39.205(a)(3).

      (e) Legacy ICT. Any component or portion of existing ICT (i.e., ICT that was procured, maintained, or used on or before January 18, 2018) is not required to comply with the current ICT accessibility standards if it—

           (1)Complies with an earlier standard issued pursuant to section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d), which is set forth in Appendix D to 36 CFR 1194.1); and

           (2)Has not been altered (i.e., a change that affects interoperability, the user interface, or access to information or data) after January 18, 2018.

      (f) Alterations of legacy ICT. When altering any component or portion of existing ICT, after January 18, 2018, the component or portion must be modified to conform to the current ICT accessibility standards in 36 CFR 1194.1.

39.204 Exceptions.

      (a) The requirements in 39.203 do not apply to acquisitions for—

           (1) National security systems. ICT operated by agencies as part of a national security system, as defined by 40 U.S.C 11103(a);

           (2)Incidental contract items. ICT acquired by a contractor incidental to a contract, i.e., for in-house use by the contractor to perform the contract; or

           (3) Maintenance or monitoring spaces. The portions of ICT that are operable parts (i.e., hardware-based user controls for activating, deactivating, or adjusting ICT) or status indicators, and that are located in spaces frequented only by service personnel for maintenance, repair, or occasional monitoring of equipment.

      (b) The contracting officer shall receive, as a part of the requirements documentation, written confirmation from the requiring activity that an exception, in accordance with paragraph (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this section, applies to the ICT supply or service (see 7.105(b)(5)(iv)). This documentation shall be maintained in the contract file.

39.205 Exemptions.

      (a) Allowable exemptions. An agency may grant an exemption for the following:

           (1) Undue burden. When an agency determines the acquisition of ICT conforming with all the applicable ICT accessibility standards would impose an undue burden on the agency, compliance with the ICT accessibility standards is only required to the extent that it would not impose an undue burden. In determining whether conformance to one or more ICT accessibility standards would impose an undue burden, an agency shall consider the extent to which conformance would impose significant difficulty or expense considering the agency resources available to the program or component for which the ICT supply or service is being procured.

           (2) Fundamental alteration. When an agency determines that acquisition of ICT that conforms with all applicable ICT accessibility standards would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT, such acquisition is required to conform only to the extent that conformance will not result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT.

           (3) Nonavailability of conforming commercial products and commercial services. Where there are no commercial products and commercial services that fully conform to the ICT accessibility standards, the agency shall procure the supplies or service available in the commercial marketplace that best meets the ICT accessibility standards consistent with the agency's needs.

      (b) Alternative means of access.An agency shall provide individuals with disabilities access to and use of information and data by an alternative means to meet the identified needs when an exemption in paragraphs (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this section applies.

      (c) Documentation. When an exemption applies, the contracting officer shall obtain, as part of the requirements documentation, a written determination from the requiring activity explaining the basis for the exemption in paragraphs (a)(1), (2) or (3) of this section. This documentation shall be maintained in the contract file.

           (1) Undue burden. A determination of undue burden shall address why and to what extent compliance with applicable ICT accessibility standards constitutes an undue burden.

           (2) Fundamental alteration. A determination of fundamental alteration shall address the extent to which compliance with the applicable ICT accessibility standards would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the ICT.

           (3) Nonavailability of conforming commercial products and commercial services. A determination of commercial products and commercial services nonavailability shall include—

                (i)A description of the market research performed;

                (ii)A listing of the requirements that cannot be met; and

                (iii)The rationale for determining that the ICT to be procured best meets the ICT accessibility standards in 36 CFR 1194.1, consistent with the agency's needs.