Property

Evaluations

Is your property ADA compliant?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination of individuals with disabilities and requires all facilities used by the public (public accommodations) to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Since January 26, 1992, all new construction, additions and alterations are required to comply with the ADA standards. The ADA contains no “grandfathering” provisions. In addition, accessible features are required to be maintained at your facility.


Failure to come into compliance or maintain compliance leaves you vulnerable to having a discrimination lawsuit filed against you by an individual that is denied access to your business or facility due to physical access barriers. Unfortunately for property owners, the ADA Standards for Accessible Design that detail the rules, are comprised of almost 300 pages of diagrams, measurements and other technical specifications. Deciphering these standards can be extremely difficult, especially if you live in a state that adds their own accessibility laws into the mix.

 

 

This is where Plaza steps in. We will send a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) to your property to conduct a thorough accessibility inspection. Our experts will evaluate the premises (interior and exterior), and provide you with a detailed report with information on what barriers exist at your facility along with the standard for compliance so that you can remove such barriers to provide for an accessible environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CASp?


A Certified Access Specialist (CASp) is a professional who has passed an examination and has been certified by the State of California to have specialized knowledge of the applicability of state and federal construction-related accessibility standards. Our inspectors will know which standards apply to your property based on the age of your facility and its history of improvements. While a licensed architect or engineer can provide you an access compliance evaluation, only a CASp can provide services that offer you “qualified defendant” status in a construction-related accessibility lawsuit.




What are the “qualified defendant” status benefits?


You can retain the services of a CASp at any time; however, “qualified defendant” status is only provided if you receive an inspection of your existing facility, a report from a CASp, and have a compliance schedule in place before a construction-related accessibility claim is filed. The “qualified defendant” benefits are as follows:

  • Reduced statutory damages (see “What is my potential liability if I am not in compliance?” for more information).
  • 90-day stay of court proceeding and an early evaluation conference.
Additionally, an inspection by a CASp and following the schedule of improvements demonstrates the intent to be in compliance.




Is my property grandfathered in?


The ADA contains no “grandfathering” provisions. The “applicable construction-related accessibility standards” are based on the age of the facility and/or date of renovation(s):

  • Facilities Built/Renovated Before January 26, 1992 - Places of public accommodation constructed before this date are required to remove barriers if it is “readily achievable to do so” — a CASp can help make this determination.
  • Facilities Built/Renovated Between January 26, 1992 and March 14, 2012 - Places of public accommodation built during this time are required to be in compliance with the 1991 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards (1991 ADAS).
  • Facilities Built/Renovated on or after March 15, 2012 - Places of public accommodation and commercial facilities built after this time must be built in compliance with the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards (2010 ADAS).




What is my potential liability if I am not in compliance?


With a CASp inspection, you are considered “qualified defendant” and as such, statutory damages may be reduced to a minimum of $1,000 for each occasion (visit) by the plaintiff if you can demonstrate that all construction-related violations that are the basis of a claim were corrected within 60 days of being served with the complaint. In addition, qualifying small businesses that receive a CASp inspection may opt for a 120-day grace period during which they are free from liability from statutory damages of those violations identified in the CASp report if they are corrected within this 120-day time period. Without a CASp inspection, statutory damages of $4,000 may be assessed per occasion under Civil Code section 55.56. A person is denied full and equal access if the individual personally encountered the violation or the individual was deterred from accessing a place of public accommodation. A denial of full and equal access includes instances where a person experienced difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment because of the violation. If you are found liable, you will be responsible for paying the plaintiff’s attorneys fees in addition to statutory damages.




What does “Readily Achievable” mean?


The ADA states that facilities constructed before January 26, 1992 must remove barriers that are “easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.” This requirement is known as “readily achievable barrier removal.” An assessment of whether or not removal of barriers at a specific site is readily achievable is a detailed process that should take into consideration the following:

  • Identification of barriers that prevent an individual from accessing goods and services at your business.
  • The scope and cost of measures necessary to remove or mitigate the barriers.
  • Careful examination of the overall financial resources of your business enterprise.
Plaza ADA Solutions will help you identify the accessibility improvements that are readily achievable, and those that are not. We will create a Barrier Removal Plan that details the nature and schedule of the required improvements.




Will I receive certification that my facility is compliant?


Our CASp can inspect your property to determine compliance with ADA laws, and lack thereof. They can also reinspect after remediation is complete to determine whether or not the improvements were completed properly. However, they will not, and cannot, issue certification that a facility is compliant. A CASp can only issue a Disability Access Inspection Certificate (DAIC), which records the inspection, but does not certify that a facility meets compliance. A Certificate is required to be issued to you with a CASp inspection report whether or not your facility is determined to meet applicable construction-related accessibility standards. This certificate shows your community that you are committed to providing equal access to everyone, regardless of disability, and that you have taken proactive steps toward acheiving that goal.




Does my CASp inspection report expire?


No. Your CASp inspection report does not expire and your “qualified defendant” status remains in place provided no additions, alterations, or improvements are made to the inspected area after you have achieved compliance. Improvements made with or without a permit affect the accessibility of the inspected area; therefore, you will need to obtain a new inspection to once again become a “qualified defendant.”




What is a CASp Report?


The CASp inspection report you receive will contain specific content in order to provide you with “qualified defendant” status. The report will state that your property either “meets applicable standards” or “inspected by a CASp.” For a site that “meets applicable standards” the inspection report will contain the following information:

  • An identification and description of the inspected structures and areas of the site.
  • A signed and dated statement that, in the opinion of the CASp, the inspected structures and areas of the site meet construction-related accessibility standards. The statement shall clearly indicate whether the determination of the CASp includes an assessment of “readily achievable barrier removal.”
  • If a determination of “meets applicable standards” was issued in a report after corrections were made as a result of a CASp inspection, then the report shall contain a signed and dated statement by the CASp that indicates such and includes an itemized list of all corrections and dates of completion.
For a site that is “inspected by a CASp” the inspection report will contain the following information:
  • An identification and description of the inspected structures and areas of the site.
  • The date of the inspection.
  • A signed and dated statement that, in the opinion of the CASp, the inspected structures and areas of the site need correction to meet construction-related accessibility standards. The statement shall clearly indicate whether the determination of the CASp includes an assessment of “readily achievable barrier removal.”
  • An identification and description of the structures or areas of the site that need correction and the correction needed.
  • A schedule of completion for each of the corrections within a reasonable timeframe.
Plaza will work with you to establish a reasonable schedule for correction of violations. This schedule of corrections is required in order for you to have “qualified defendant” status. Along with your CASp inspection report you will receive a Disability Access Inspection Certificate. Plaza will work with you to adhere to your correction schedule, so if a claim is filed against you, you may be eligible for reduced liability for statutory damages. If you have opted to correct all violations listed in the report within the 120 days from the inspection, you are eligible for a grace period from liability for minimum statutory damages for the 120-day period if a claim is filed against you on those violations noted in your inspection report.





info@plazaada.com | 2901 W. Coast Highway, Suite 200, Newport Beach, CA 92663 | 800-987-7636