Thread Subject: fundamental alteration
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From: Baquis David
Date: Thu, Jan 11 2007 8:40 AM
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Within the recent discussion about exceptions, the issue of fundamental
alteration was raised. I did not see any objection to the way that the
fundamental alteration concept had been applied in this context:
"The purpose of the purchase is to determine accessibility, so requiring
it be determined ahead of the purchase would be fundamentally something
other than the purchase intended."
The origin of fundamental alteration is in the 508 NPRM. See:
http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/nprm.htm. Here is what we said and
note that a key word is "product":
"Paragraph (e) states that compliance with this part does not require a
fundamental alteration in the nature of a product or its components.
Fundamental alteration means a change in the fundamental characteristic
of the product, not merely a cosmetic or aesthetic change. For example,
an agency intends to procure pocket-sized pagers for their field agents.
Adding a large display to a small pager may fundamentally alter the
device by significantly changing its size to such an extent that it no
longer meets the purpose for which it was intended, that is to fit in a
shirt or jacket pocket."
This conversation reminds me of an issue that came up years ago when
someone said to me that he thought that 508 was causing a fundamental
alteration of his timeline to procure an item quickly and on that basis
he wanted to claim fundamental alteration as a basis for procuring a
product that may or may not be accessible. In other words, he wanted to
skip over 508 because it was slowing him down.
My question to the TEITAC is whether you are comfortable with
fundamental alteration of a product being stretched to mean fundamental
alteration of a procurement? In other words do you understand the
parameters of fundamental alteration and do you want to change them? Do
you want to recommend some advisory notes that provide clarification?
Remember that you can recommend lots of advisory notes throughout the
Standards/Guidelines, even without recommending changes in the
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