The purpose of the recently enacted SB 1608 Disability Access Law Reform is to increase compliance with equal accessibility laws but it also provides protection against unwarranted lawsuits which do not further that worthy aim. This protection is in the form of a CASp issued inspection report which provides proof that buildings and surrounding areas have been surveyed by an expert in disability access laws. The CASp qualification is conferred by the California State Architect only after candidates meet stringent requirements of knowledge of accessibility laws and experience of their practical application.
The CASp Inspection Report (CIR) is a document which describes the legal accessibility requirements for a particular site, whether the requirement has been met or if not, provides solutions and a reasonable time frame for implementing necessary changes.
CalAccessibility has been providing comprehensive Accessibility Survey reports to clients for many years and can now issue them as CIRs upon request. Also, clients for whom we have already issued reports may have them reissued as CIRs subject to an update review and fee. In addition to the many benefits accruing to fully accessible premises the following are available only to businesses with CIRs:
* Holders of a CIR issued before they are sued may request a 90 day stay. This means that all litigation is halted while an Early Evaluation Conference (EEC) is conducted by the court to determine if a mutually acceptable resolution can be reached. This procedure provides an opportunity to greatly reduce the legal expenses generated by motions, discoveries and other pre-trial activities.
* Sites approved by CASps may request a storefront window sign which sends a clear message that here is no easy target for extortion.
We always urge our clients and all business and property owners to realize the protective legal and positive marketing benefits of having accessibility surveys and reports done and incorporating implementation of barrier removal into their business plans. SB 1608 is an indication of more legislation to come and makes our recommendation to take prompt action to get your property ADA compliant more important than ever.