Nobody should be considered second-rate, broken, or “disabled.” People with different physical abilities prefer to think of themselves as “differently abled[SM1] .”
You can improve the lives of people who are permanently differently abled and those who are temporarily differently abled. Most people are differently abled at some point in their lives—such as when they are recovering from an injury. Accessibility helps all people live full lives.
Making your building accessible has another benefit: It allows you to avoid paying $50,000 to $100,000 to settle an accessibility lawsuit. More than 10,000 accessibility lawsuits are filed every year in federal courts—with 56% of them in California. For more perspective on this situation, watch these illuminating YouTube videos:
Bottom line: It costs less to make your property accessible than to fall victim to an accessibility lawsuit.
If you have not been served with a complaint
1. Hire Mike Hilliard, AIA. Mike is an architect and a Certified Accessibility Specialist (CASp). He will inspect all public areas[SM1] of your business and provide you with a CASp Inspection Report. Upon scheduling corrections, you will receive a Disability Access Inspection Certificate[SM2][SM3] .
2. If there are discrepancies between your property and the accessibility code, the CASp Inspection Report will guide you in making corrections. The report describes areas of non-compliance, including photographs and references to appropriate sections of the California Building Code.
3. The Disability Access Inspection Certificate is a record of inspection, not a certificate of compliance. After you schedule corrections, the certificate gives you specific “qualified defendant” rights in California Courts. These rights are to your advantage if accessibility litigation is filed in California Courts. The Disability Access Inspection Certificate can then be posted on your premises[SM4] .
Most of the time, it’s less expensive to make your property accessible than to fight a lawsuit.
Take this opportunity to improve lives by providing accessibility.
Hilliard Architects is a small technical architecture firm specializing in laboratory and healthcare renovations and access compliance (ADA).