The following items cover major areas of accessibility law and code. They are provided by Bay Area CASp as a one-stop reference location for the many resources needed for CASp testing and certification as defined by the DSA, as well as for specific searches for applicable code.
Fourth CASp related legislation, defines high frequency litigant and amends CRASA extends legal benefits. 90 Day Stay Early evaluation conference (<25 empl + <$3.5M) and High frequency Litigant. HFL: 10 or more complaints filed, or attorney represented 10 or more resolved cases in previous 12 month period. Must state in claim why they were in geographic area and use of business. HFL pays $1k per claim additional.
Sixth CASp related legislation, requires commercial lease agreements to identify if CASp inspected. If not, owner must allow tenant to hire CASp for mutual agreement on compliance costs (assumes owner/lessor responsible unless otherwise agreed). Confidential to make repairs. 48 hours to review, 72 hours right to rescind. Chaptered into CIV 1938.
Seventh CASp related legislation, to provide information to applicants for CASp related services, advising building permit and license applicants to engage CASp, how to locate and options for federal and state monetary programs for small business .
All buildings other than privately owned residential facilities, constructed by or on behalf of, or leased by the United States, or buildings financed in whole or in part by the United States must be physically accessible for people with disabilities. For HUD: UFAS is the applicable standard. For DOD, USPS, GSA: ABA & ABAAS are the applicable standards.
Applicable to ABA covered entities (adopted by GSA, DOD, and USPS. HUD can use with 11 additional modifications.) Supersedes ABA 2004
DOT managed code section that applies to all US and foreign air carriers, addressing accessibility requirements of air facilities (areas controlled or leased by the airline including gates, ticketing, and baggage retrieval) and planes. All carriers are subject to codes regarding funding sources per airport location.
ADA passed into law in 1990 with effective date of January 26, 1992; Amended in 2010.“An Act to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America assembled, that this Act may be cited as the "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990". (42 USC Chapter 12101-12213)
ADA Homepage (DOJ):
1990 - 2010 ADA Comparison New England ADA (pdf):
USAB Guide to ADA Standards:
Establishment of ADA definitions, and Act requiring employers (private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local government, employment agencies, labor unions) to provide reasonable accommodation to employed qualified individual for services, programs, and activities.
Act requiring State and Local governmental entities (and their 3rd party contractors) to provide, when viewed as a whole, access to services, programs, and activities; Not every venue needs to be fully accessible. Defines safe harbor dates for compliance as well as specific applicable requirements in addition to the 2010 Standards. https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_regulations.htm
Act requiring designed, constructed and altered public accommodations entities to provide access to goods and services.
Requires telecommunications companies in US take steps to provide accessible telecommunications for the deaf, hearing and speech impaired.
Miscellaneous provisions including state non-immunity from prosecution under ADA, prevailing party attorney’s fees, federal legislative branch compliance, clarifications on disability definitions.
Accessibility Guidelines released for coordination with ADA legislation passed the previous year, based largely on Ansi A117-1980; adopted by DOJ same day released.
Accessibility guidelines for design and construction issued under a civil rights law for ADA conformity (28 CFR part 35.151 combined with 2004 ADAAG); adopted by DOJ 2010. Compliance start date March 15, 2012. Applies to all facilities covered by ADA except for transit facilities (under jurisdiction of the DOT)
CBC: An accessible dwelling unit within a covered multifamily building as designed with elements and spaces allowing the dwelling unit to be adapted or adjusted to accommodate the user per CBC 11A Div IV
FHA: Adaptable dwelling units when used with respect to covered multifamily dwellings, means dwelling units that include the features of adaptable design specified in the FHA Design Manual
Process for how codes are adopted within the framework of California Law, for example: Bill -> Law chaptered -> DSA adoption -> CBSC coordinates -> CCR assignment -> Local Govt adopts
AHJ: Acronym for verbiage used throughout California building codes for jurisdictional scoping
Standardized private market code heavily relied on for accessibility guidance for development of the ADAAG, UFAS, FHA Guidelines, ICC, and various state and local codes. Not adopted by CA
Original 1961 Historical document scan (pdf)
2009 Archive.org scans:
California requirement for baby changing stations where new construction or alteration or bathrooms over $10k will trigger installation. All state and local facilities; Restaurants over 60 persons; Theaters etc; Retail over 5k sq ft.
CBC: A dwelling unit with living space on one or more floors immediately above a Group U, private garage or garages. The footprint of the garage or garages is used as the footprint for the remaining floor or floors of the units above and the garage level contains no habitable space. Note: Dwelling units located over a common garage shall not be considered carriage units.
FHA: Buildings with separate ground floor unit entrances over private garages, in which the garage footprint is used as the footprint for the remaining floor or floors of the units, and not required to meet the design and construction requirements for accessible route. If buildings containing carriage units have one or more units at grade level with an entrance on an accessible route, the grade level unit establishes a ground floor for the building and is covered. There is no requirement for there to be more than one ground floor nor for other units in the building on the second or elevated floor to be accessible.
CASp membership group; not for profit, non-mandated.
Chapter 1 - SCOPE AND ADMINISTRATION:
CBC CHAPTER 2 – DEFINITIONS
CBC CHAPTER 3 – OCCUPANCY CLASSIFICATION AND USE
CBC CHAPTER 9 – FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEMS
CBC CHAPTER 10 – MEANS OF EGRESS
CBC CHAPTER 11-A – HOUSING ACCESSIBILITY
CBC CHAPTER 11-B – ACCESSIBILITY TO PUBLIC BUILDINGS
Alternative regulations to the building code to facilitate access and use by persons with disabilities at qualified historical locations.
Official group that administers California Building codes.
Link to CBSC 2013/2016/2019 Standards Codes:
Independent advisory commission set to act as information center on status accessibility compliance for business and California legislature.
California Civil code which chapters AB-1521 for High Frequency Litigant.
California law statutes compendium, the official compilation and publication of the regulations adopted, amended or repealed by state agencies pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)
DSA managed program set up to verify that CASp license holders stay current with changing requirements by recording 15 units minimum for each 3 year re-certification.
Federal government code divided into 50 titles covering all federal law.
Commercial lease accessibility disclosure requirements.
1959 civil rights legislation by State of California providing discrimination protection including housing and public accommodation. Disability section added in 1992 after passage of ADA. Damages for denial of accessibility = liability for each offense for the actual damages and any additional a jury may add, up to a maximum of 3x actual damage (but not less than $4,000) + attorney’s fees.
CIV 51 (Unruh Act):
CIV 52 (Remedies):
Known as the Disabled Persons Act, CIV 54 codifies requirements for civil rights (1968) with amendments for disability rights (1992). Maximum 3x damage but no less than $1k, prevailing party pays attorney fees, injunctive relief.
Chaptered CASp legislation as referenced in the following bills:
SB-1186 (Steinberg 2012)
SB-269 (Roth 2016)
AB-1521 (Judiciary 2015)
Landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
CBC: Facilities whose operations will affect commerce and are intended for non-residential use by a private entity. Commercial facilities shall not include (1) facilities that are covered or expressly exempted from coverage under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S.C. 3601 - 3631); (2) aircraft; or (3) railroad locomotives, railroad freight cars, railroad cabooses, commuter or intercity passenger rail cars (including coaches, dining cars, sleeping cars, lounge cars and food service cars), any other railroad cars described in Section 242 of the Americans With Disabilities Act or covered under Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, or railroad rights-of-way.
ADA: Aligns with CBC above.
ALS: Assistive Listening Systems (increases loudness of specific sounds for acoustic clarity)
CART: Communication (computer) Access Real Time Captioning
HCO: Hearing Carry Over (for voice impaired - can type response that is read to 3rd party)
TDD: Telecommunication Device for the Deaf, including:
i. TT: Text Telephone
ii. TTY: Teletype
VCO: Voice Carry Over (for hearing impaired - can speak with own voice but receive text response via 3rd party)
VMS: Variable Message Signs (ie monitors with changing/updating images)
VRI: Video Remote Interpretation (fee based for Title II in an emergency, cannot be used to replace paid interpreters.)
VRS: Video Relay Service (similar to skype) Free FCC service for reasonable accommodation only.
CBC: means either of the following:
1. Buildings that consist of at least four condominium dwelling units or at least three apartment dwelling units if the buildings have at least one elevator.
2. The ground floor dwelling units in buildings that consist of at least four condominium dwelling units or at least three apartment dwelling units if the building does not have an elevator. Dwelling units within a single structure separated by firewalls do not constitute separate buildings.
FHA: means buildings consisting of four or more dwelling units if such buildings have one or more elevators, and ground floor dwelling units in other buildings consisting of four or more dwelling units. Dwelling units within a single structure separated by firewalls do not constitute separate buildings.
Act introduced 2008 and amended thru additional legislation :
SB-1186 (2012) expanded coverage
SB-269 (2016) further expanded coverage
Residential code where commercial-type accessibility is exempt.
Numbered and signed certificate of completion for CASp survey for optional posting by business owner. DAIC is a record of inspection, not a certificate of compliance. Provided by DSA.
DSA purchase specifics:
Court forms generated for purpose of clarity in litigation process, as well as chaptered legislation regarding early evaluation conference processes.
DAL-001 – Important Information for Building Owners and Tenants:
DAL-002 - Answer—Disability Access
DAL-005 - Defendant's Application for Stay and Early Evaluation Conference, Joint Inspection:
DAL-006 - Confidential Cover Sheet and Declaration Re Documents for Stay and Early Evaluation Conference:
DAL-010 - Notice of Stay of Proceedings and Early Evaluation Conference. Joint Inspection:
DAL-012 - Proof of Service—Disability Access Litigation:
DAL-015 - Application for Mandatory Evaluation Conference Under Code of Civil Procedure Section 55.545:
DAL-020 - Notice of Mandatory Evaluation Conference:
CBC: Disability is (1) a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual, (2) a record of such an impairment, or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment.
ADA: SEC. 12102. [Section 3] :
a. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual
b. a record of such an impairment; or
c. being regarded as having such an impairment
2. “Major life activities”
a. caring for oneself
b. performing manual tasks
3. “Major bodily functions”
a. a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily functions
i. functions of the immune system
ii. normal cell growth
iii. digestive, bowel, bladder
iv. neurological, brain
viii. reproductive functions.
4. “Regarded as having such an impairment”
a. meets the requirement of "being regarded as having such an impairment" if the individual establishes that they have been subjected to an action prohibited under this chapter because of a perceived physical or mental impairment (whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity) either
iii. transitory or minor (6 months or less)
5. Disability shall be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals
6. An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability.
7. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
8. determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as:
a. medication, medical supplies, equipment, or low-vision devices (not including ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses)
DOD follows the ABA and ABAAS, and are not bound by the ADA.
DOJ is enforcement arm for ADA / civil rights primarily thru lawsuits and settlements and certifies state and local building codes.
Legislated education and consumer resource for Californians that advocates for individuals with disabilities. State lead for implementing the ADA.
DOT implements transportation and related provisions of ADA Title II and Title III using ADAAG for standards for transportation stations and vehicles (both public and private). Relaxations from ADA include routes to minimize travel distances and compliance “to the extent the construction specifications are within their control”
Provides design and construction oversight for K–12 schools, community colleges. Provides construction plan compliance for UC and CSU systems, Courts, and various other state-owned and leased facilities. The division also develops accessibility, structural safety, and historical building codes, standards and certification programs utilized throughout the state of California. Building Code partner agency. Part of the California Department of General Services (DGS)
CBC: All or any portion of a space used only by employees and only for work. Corridors, toilet rooms, kitchenettes and break rooms are not employee work areas.
CBC requirements for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations. No federal code but mandated under CBC comprehensive coverage. Four separate accessible unit designations with scoping, signage and installation requirements. Location on path of travel as defined by facility use. Addressing of legacy EVCS and technical infeasibility in lieu of unreasonable hardship.
Published as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (w/out accessibility) HUD enforced, and applicable to all multi-family housing 4 or more units. ‘Disability’ added with FHA Amendments of 1988.
1988 FHA Amendments to the 1964 act that extended to persons with disabilities protections afforded to all other persons, with guidelines based on ANSI A117.1. Provides non-discrimination based on disability by establishing design and construction requirements for multi-family of 4 or more dwelling units with first occupancy after March 13, 1991. Intended to provide ‘modest’ accessibility features without significant additional costs for increased access. “Reasonable accommodations” to be offered where appropriate.
Graphic guide by HUD for FHA compliance for adaptable dwelling guidelines for multi-family of 4 or more dwelling units whether sale or rental, with first occupancy after March 13, 1991. Intended to provide ‘modest’ accessibility features without significant additional costs for increased access (Adaptable). Public and Common areas are governed under applicable codes for either ABA (DOD, USPS, GSA), UFAS and R.A. Section 504 (HUD), ADA Title III entities, and /or State and Local codes (most stringent req’s followed). https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/PDF/FAIRHOUSING/fairfull.pdf
Legislation requiring access for public buildings initially passed in 1968. Amended thoroughly through intervening decades.
California codified alignment with the 7 primary FHA guidelines for adaptable dwelling units in FHA multifamily projects.
Establishes the CCDA - California Commission on Disability Access (SB-1608 Corbett) 2008
Fee distributions for high frequency litigants (AB-1521) 2015.
Additional $1000 fee set for high frequency litigant (AB-1521) 2015
GSA (acquisition and procurement arm of the Federal Government) follows the ABA and ABAAS and are not bound by the ADA.
Formed in 1965, department tasked with codes and standards, financial assistance, and health and safety policy development for California living environments including multifamily and farmworker housing. Building Code partner agency.
i. “high-frequency litigant” means a person who utilizes court resources in actions arising from alleged construction-related access violations at such a high level that it is appropriate that additional safeguards apply so as to ensure that the claims are warranted. A “high-frequency litigant” means one or more of the following:
1. A plaintiff who has filed 10 or more complaints within the 12-month period preceding
2. An attorney who has represented as attorney of record 10 or more high-frequency litigant plaintiffs in actions that were resolved within the 12-month period preceding the filing of the current complaint, excluding all of the following actions:
a. An action in which an early evaluation conference was held
b. An action in which judgment was entered in favor of the plaintiff.
c. An action in which the violations were remedied after the plaintiff filed a complaint or provided a demand letter
ii. This section does not apply to an attorney employed or retained by a qualified legal services project or a qualified support center
1970 legislation for accessibility providing enforcement and clarification for Gov 4450 (1968). Includes public and private accommodations for sanitary facilities, curb cuts, equivalent facilitation, and multistory office vertical access requirements (<3 story or <3k sq ft except doctor office or malls).
1970 legislation requiring permanent food facilities >20k sq ft provide restrooms (no discussion of accessibility).
US Cabinet-level agency for national policies for housing and cities formed in 1965. Administers federal housing laws including the Fair Housing Act and guidelines thru the FHEO (Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity).
Global icon for accessibility designed in 1968. Specific graphic with required locations per ADA and other applicable codes, to indicate accessible features available
ADA Standard (ADAS 703.7.2.1 ):
USAB ISA Guidance:
CBC: A dwelling unit or sleeping unit in which a significant portion of the space includes a nonresidential use that is operated by the tenant or building owner.
- Accessibility in accordance with CBC Chapter 11-A when applicable for the function served.
- Accessibility in accordance with CBC Chapter 11-B for any space used by public (possible non-residential use)
USAB 2017 published guidance only standards for RA 510 to address equipment used by medical professionals meet minimum accessibility guidelines
Code lives in the ABA and addresses accessibility for outdoor environments not yet adopted by ADA (camping, picnicking, viewing, trails, beaches). Available for entities to use, but discrepancy in accessible route requirements from this ABA code to the ADA.
An identifiable accessible route within an existing site, building or facility by means of which a particular area may be approached, entered and exited, and which connects a particular area with an exterior approach (including sidewalks, streets and parking areas), an entrance to the facility, and other parts of the facility
CBC: A facility operated by a private entity whose operations affect commerce and fall within defined use parameters.
CBC: Housing facilities owned, operated, or constructed by, for or on behalf of a public entity .
ADA: Statutory requirement that any barriers be removed when “Easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.”
1: Accessible approach and entrance
2: Access to goods and services
3: Access to rest rooms
4: Any other measures necessary
Included in 2010 ADAS (Chapter 10) as well as CBC 11-B, defines requirements for recreation facilities. Originally included as supplement to 1991 ADAAG.
Federal civil rights law stating illegal if an otherwise qualified individual with a disability is discriminated against in any program or activity receiving federal assistance including employees. Program accessibility may be achieved by modifying an existing facility, or by moving the program to an accessible location, or by making other accommodations, including construction of new buildings.
Section 502, 508, 510:
California requirement for signage for new or altered single occupancy user location occupied after March 1, 2017 (Business, Public Accommodations, State and Local Government.)
ADA: Elements that have not been altered in existing facilities on or after March 15, 2012, and that comply with the corresponding technical and scoping specifications for those elements in either the 1991 Standards or in the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) are not required to be modified in order to comply with the requirements set forth in the 2010 Standards.
The safe harbor provided does not apply to those elements in existing facilities that are subject to supplemental requirements.
First enacted legislation to create CASp, updated in 2016. DSA establishes basic criteria for program including minimums for basic testing, manage 3 year certification, perform audits and suspend if reasonable, and publish CASp holder stats of service locations by county.
Established grace period for liability 50 or fewer employees over past 3 years: Option A is inspected by CASp ($4k to $1k if 60 day corrections) Option B is 120 Day grace period. Identifies non-suable technical violations. AHJ expedited review for violations with DAIC and CASp plan review.
Coordinates legal benefits of using CASp. Reduce statutory damages from $4k to $1k IF qualified defendant and inspected by AHJ CASp, and corrected in <60 days. Reduce statutory damages from $4k to $2k IF small business (<25 empl + <$3.5M) and corrected in <60 days. Claimant must verify claim; no attorney demand letters allowed. CCDA reporting 10 most common violations.
Established CRASCA. Damages only if denial of full or equal access on particular occasion not number of violations; established difficulty/embarrassment as sufficient cause. “Meets applicable standards” and “Inspected by CASp” introduced. Early evaluation conferences. CASp does not certify. AHJ retain CASp services. Written advisories for demand letters. First DAIC (superseded in 2012 with improved version). DSA submit to DOJ for code certification.
Service animals are defined under ADA Title II and Title III as dogs and conditionally miniature horses. They are not ‘pets’ under the law but have specific services they perform for the disabled owner. Specific rules include no limitation on access except for health and safety reasons, control requirements, and no certification or proof requirements of the handler and animal.
Emotional support animals are a broader category that do not have a species identification and may be allowed in instances in both Federal 504, FHA, and employment situations as a reasonable accommodation. These animals are not recognized as legal service animals under the ADA in public spaces or businesses.
ADA Title II:
ADA Title III:
CCDA Top Ten Alleged Construction-Related ADA Violations
CBC: An alteration of a building or a facility, that has little likelihood of being accomplished because the existing structural conditions require the removal or alteration of a load-bearing member that is an essential part of the structural frame, or because other existing physical or site constraints prohibit modification or addition of elements, spaces or features that are in full and strict compliance with the minimum requirements for new construction and which are necessary to provide accessibility.
ADA: With respect to an alteration of a building or a facility, something that has little likelihood of being accomplished because existing structural conditions would require removing or altering a load-bearing member that is an essential part of the structural frame; or because other existing physical or site constraints prohibit modification or addition of elements, spaces, or features that are in full and strict compliance with the minimum requirements.
First published in 1927, state adopted regulations for building safety and accessibility.
USAB created in 1982 minimum guidelines for facilities designed, built altered or leased by the federal government as mandated by the 1968 ABA, based on the Ansi 1117.1 (1980). UFAS still acting code for HUD projects; DOD, USPS, and GSA have adopted the newer ABA Standards.
1984 Edition with 1997 updates (pdf):
CBC: When the enforcing agency finds that compliance with the building standard would make the specific work of the project affected by the building standard infeasible, based on an overall evaluation of the following factors:
1. The cost of providing access.
2. The cost of all construction contemplated.
3. The impact of proposed improvements on financial feasibility of the project.
4. The nature of the accessibility which would be gained or lost.
5. The nature of the use of the facility under construction and its availability to persons with disabilities.
6. The details of any finding of unreasonable hardship shall be recorded and entered in the files of the enforcing agency.
Independent US agency that oversees and provides technical assistance for accessibility regulations for federally funded facilities, communication, and transportation ADA, ABA, UFAS, RA 508). Acts as coordinating body between public and federal entities.
United States Codified Laws containing ADA (Title 42 of 53)
US Postal Service follows the ABA and ABAAS and is not bound by the ADA.
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