The federal government and the state of California have strong laws in place to help ensure accessibility for everyone to public and certain private buildings for those who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids. This is in addition to accommodations for those who are blind and hearing impaired.
Whether you’re investing in a new construction or a commercial building that’s already in place, it’s crucial to ensure that it complies with all construction-related accessibility standards. In California, you can benefit by bringing in a Certified Access Specialist (CASp). You can find these professionals through the Division of the State Architect (DSA).
Why have a CASp inspection instead of another professional inspection?
A CASp can advise you of what accessibility standards are necessary for a particular property based on its age and other factors. While experienced engineers, architects and others may be able to provide the same guidance, a CASp can be beneficial if you were ever to face litigation regarding construction-related non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other requirements. In fact, having a CASp inspection early on can reduce your chances of facing litigation in the future.
Once the property has been inspected by a CASp, you’ll receive two documents:
- CASp Inspection Report
- Disability Access Inspection Certificate
Note that the certificate doesn’t mean that you’ve passed the inspection. However, the report will detail any violations and changes you need to make to fix them, if any.
Further, by having a CASp inspection done, you receive something called “qualified defendant” status if you were to be sued. That can help you get a “court stay to postpone legal proceedings and an early evaluation conference.” It can also get you lower fines if any are assessed.
This just touches the surface of what a CASp inspection is and how it can help you. You may want to seek legal guidance to learn more about it. You certainly need to do so if you’re facing accessibility-related litigation regarding your property.