Certified Accessibility Specialist (CASp) / Accessibility
In addition to full architectural services, we can provide clients with CASp Inspections to identify and document all accessibility barriers before a major issue arises or a lawsuit is filed. After we have identified the accessibility issues we can produce the permit drawings for the project, verify that everything meets or exceeds current accessibility standards, and submit for permit via our expedited permitting process.
More than 40% of all accessibility compliance suits in the country are happening in California, although it accounts for only 12% of the nation's population. In the third quarter of 2016 there was a 60% increase in the number of suits filed, which shows that accessibility compliance is progressively becoming more scrutinized. This is why we are diligent in assisting our clients the best we can by both identifying and resolving accessibility issues, and ensuring that their projects abide by all current accessibility codes and standards.
The American’s with Disabilities Act, known as ADA, was passed on July 26, 1990.
It is an extension of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The built environment is required to meet accessibility standards in the California building code and federal standards.
California allows for monetary damages set at a minimum of $4,000 per violation, the steepest penalty of any state.
The CASp program is designed to meet the public’s need for experienced, trained individuals.
Trained CASp's have the authority to inspect buildings and sites for compliance with accessibility standards.
Only a CASp can provide services that offer you qualified defendant status in a construction-related accessibility lawsuit.
Access improvements are almost always less expensive than defending a lawsuit in court.
Architects do their utmost to deliver project designs that meet all of the required standards.
However, a CASp can play an important role on the design and construction team of any project.
Nothing is “Grandfathered In”, but buildings and businesses have to provide accommodations whenever they can be provided without much difficulty or expense.
This is referred to as “Readily Achievable” barrier removal.
California is the hotbed for accessibility claims and far outpaces the rest of the country.
The best way to defend against these lawsuits is to have a CASp inspect the property, an architect provide permit drawings, and a contractor remove the barriers.
For further information, check the Certified Access Specialist Institute (CASI), the Division of the State Architect (DSA), and the California Department of General Services (DGS) websites by clicking the links below.
For an in-depth examination of the subject, click the link below to access Robert L. Cooley's research paper, "Accessibility Essentials for California Businesses Providing Public Accommodations."