It’s Time to Comment on Proposed Changes to ANSI/ACCT 03-2019 Standards


The Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) has opened the public comment period for the ACCT 03-202X draft standard, which includes a host of proposed changes to the ANSI/ACCT 03-2019 standards. If enacted, these changes may have a significant impact on existing operations and future construction. The public comment period opened Nov. 25, 2022 and closes Jan. 9, 2023. 

Opening the comment period is a major step in what has been a years-long process to update the standards. The proposed changes could—and as public comment periods go, should—spark a lot of debate among operators and vendors alike.

A bulk of the most impactful proposed changes are concentrated in Chapter 1: Design, Performance, and Inspection Standards. The following examples comprise a small sample of the proposed changes in the draft standard.

Section D, “Element Support Structures,” includes numerous proposed additions related to guy systems and ground anchors that may impact builders and designers. 

In Section E, “Operating Systems,” additions include a variety of items related to maximum allowable freefall distance and maximum allowable force to the body for different operating systems (belay systems, automated systems, positioning systems, etc.).

Arguably the most highly anticipated and contentious proposed changes come in Section I, “Zip Line Brake Systems,” which addresses ACCT’s desire to implement language in the standard that limits the use of hand braking as a primary brake—something dozens of operations currently employ. 

The proposed language puts predicted rider speed at the fore, and defines slow (arrival speed of 0-6 mph), medium (arrival speed between 6-15 mph), and high-speed (arrival speed greater than 15 mph) zip lines, with different braking options prescribed for each speed range. 

Regardless of arrival speed, though, section I.4.1.2. states:

Active Braking by Participants: Due to the inability of staff to physically intervene with participant actions when a participant is on a zip line, zip line brake systems shall not depend on participant actions to provide the primary brake.

The changes may affect aerial adventure operators and suppliers in various ways. Adventure Park Insider will release a comprehensive discussion about the proposed changes to hand-braking, in particular, in the coming days.

ACCT has made it easy to identify proposed changes throughout the draft, as they are highlighted in the text. In many instances, the document provides a rationale for the wording as well. Two questions for members of the industry to consider are, “how will the changes affect me?” and “will the changes achieve the aim of moving the industry forward?”

We encourage all members of ACCT to carefully read the proposed changes to the standards and provide comment before Jan. 9, 2023.


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