A Brief Primer for Business Owners about Disability Access
Who should be concerned about Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance? Any business that deals with the public, whose premises are owned or leased, is responsible for ADA compliance. That means that most buildings, regardless of when they were built, are probably not up to current accessibility standards. Older buildings don't typically keep up with changing ADA standards. Newer buildings, even though the project has gone through the building department still have items that are non-compliant.
The ADA places the legal obligation to remove barriers or provide auxiliary aids and services on both the landlord and the tenant. The landlord and the tenant may decide by lease who will actually make the changes and provide the aids and services, but both remain legally responsible.
Why do I need to worry about both the State and the Federal accessibility regulations?
The State adopts and mandates compliance with State Building Codes which incorporate the accessibility requirements. Unfortunately, State accessibility codes are not always the same or more stringent then the ADA federal regulations. In new construction, local jurisdictions only enforce State accessibility codes, as they are not vested with the authority to enforce federal ADA regulations, however federal laws mandates you comply with ADA. The responsibility for compliance lies ultimately with the owner and the architect overseeing the project. This is why the State created Certified Access Specialists (CASp) professionals, to assist people in complying fully with all of the confusing and sometimes conflicting accessibility laws, regulations and standards.
What do I need to do as a business owner? If you own a business that serves the public, contact ADA Compliance Professionals now to advise you on the best course of action to take. The most economical solution is to get a CASp survey and report before getting sued. After a summons has been served, the business owner loses the special benefits of SB 1608 and will incur legal costs to defend themselves in a lawsuit, not to mention the cost of losing or settling a suit. It is always best to be proactive.
What are the consequences of not making my property compliant? By being inaccessible to people with disabilities, businesses are losing potential sales. Also, being inaccessible leaves the business owner vulnerable to a potential lawsuit. Everyone has heard about the serial litigants that sue hundreds of small businesses for non-compliance. Many are settled for thousands of dollars plus legal fees and the time and hassles of dealing with the lawsuit.
What do I do now? Contact ADA Compliance Professionals to discuss the best course of action to take to manage your risk. We can advise what's needed and then quickly get an estimate out. The pricing depends on the scope of the survey, location of the property and the services requested. Call us for your free estimate. We always respond quickly to your phone call or email.