ADA Compliance, CASp Peer Review Architectural Design
CASp REPORT: The intent of the new California Senate Bill 1608 is to give building and business owners protection from ADA lawsuit while they remove architectural barriers that have been non-compliant since the advent of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991.
The Bill creates the California CASp program. A CASp report, indicating barriers to be removed, will give a 90 day stay against any ADA lawsuit and provides the owner a reasonable time period of their choosing for amending ADA issues that are not to code. During the time period, and before complete compliance, the Report stands for the owner’s good will toward amending barriers at a specific time, thus preventing frivolous and repeat lawsuits for the same non-compliant issues. Fay Lorraine holds CASp Certificate #141.
IMPORTANTLY, a portion of newly passed (September of 2012) California SB 1186 requires any new commercial leases to disclose whether or not a "CASp" (Certified Accessibility specialist program) Report has been done for the tenant space. This is because a building owner and a tenant of leased space are both liable for ADA non-compliance.
This new legislation, SB 1608 and SB 1186 do not call for a complete remodel of all non-compliant items; a building remodel or addition would trigger CA code compliance of non-compliant ADA areas in a progressive fashion, depending on the cost of renovation, yet unremodeld ares would still be liabilities. A CASp report would cover ALL liabilities in the report, when the owner agrees to fix them, if possible on a progressive schedule.
ADA SITE SURVEYS & PRE- CONSTRUCTION PLAN REVIEW: Detailed site inspections and plan reviews done to the regulating authority; including the 2006 and 2006 International building Codes,Federal 2010 ADA law and California Building code; other state codes are used as needed.
EXISTING BUILDING REMODELING
The confluence of a CASp Report & CBC Section 1134B must be considered carefully when doing remodels to existing structures.
SECTION 1134B (pp. 515-516 CBC 2010) affects commercial buildings and is pretty dense, let me emphasize that the 20% work to be done, if the project is at or over the now current amount $132,536.28 is of a specific order of importance (accessible entry, accessible route...etc.,) HOWEVER this allowance of using only 20% of the budget to bring some items up to code, and not others, is dependent on the "enforcing agency finds that compliance with this code creates an unreasonable hardship..." (to not bring others up to code).
The finding is budget based, and needs to be proved to the Official, to a budget provable in court. That is why a CASp report is so helpful; in declaring items "not readily achievable" yourself, the items are also budget related according to your accounting that is provable in court, yet you do not need to get the blessing of a building official. If your legal team owns the CASp Report, then the information in it cannot be gotten by an opposing side during "discovery" in any lawsuit. CASp also aids in covering all non-compliant issues, if they are remedied or not during a remodel; whereas the ones left unfixed according to CBC 1134B "hardship determination" in a remodel are still liabilities.
The confluence of ADA laws, codes and means of reparation do seem to converge towards the fixing of things over time, according to a budget, unless you get a "structural infeasibility" determination from a building official.
This is my understanding of the joining of CASp with CBC 1134B; verify with your legal team, as the scope of my advice is not that of a law practitioner.
Fay Lorraine Sueltz, AIA CASI ICC
THE HOUSE, Dallas, Texas