If you’re a business owner with an actual brick-and-mortar store it is important that you be mindful of your physical store and make sure that it complies with California’s ADA compliance laws and proper ADA Designs. While you may be busy improving your products and service with your customers in mind, never forget that your actual store has a huge impact on your customers. When your property does not comply with ADA regulations then it means you failed to include people with disabilities in the picture. Are you aware that if you don’t comply with the regulations set by the ADA you are putting yourself at risk of costly lawsuits? ADA compliance is mandatory by federal and state law.
How to Know If Your Property is ADA Compliant?
How do you know if your property is compliant? The only surefire way to know is if you conduct an ADA accessibility assessment or otherwise called CASp Report. This report will identify and record every issue in your property that does not comply with ADA. By obtaining this report you are taking a vital step in safeguarding your business against potential lawsuits. Of course, action must be taken if the report indicates that your property has issues with accessibility.
Why Are ADA Complaints in California High?
Failure to comply with ADA can lead to expensive consequences. Are you aware that California receives the highest non-compliance complaints? Do you wonder why this is so? There are two reasons why ADA non-compliance complaints have gone through the roof over the past years. Number one, it is very easy to file a complaint because all the complainant needs to do is to fill out a form and submit it. The second reason is that most if not all complainants are winning the cases and as a result of winning the case, they will be rewarded with a whopping $4000 aside from lawyer fees and court costs.
What Are the Most Common Claims Made?
The following are some of the violations that complainants use in their reports.
Failure to put up signage or putting up the wrong signage for entrance and exit points or the absence of accessibility symbols
Routes that are too sloped or too steep that they cannot be accessed by people in wheelchairs or routes that are difficult to navigate by people with disabilities
Bathrooms that do not have sufficient floor space for adequate turning or bathrooms without accessible stall and those without affixed grab bars and a non-compliant sink
You will also be prone to violation if your property’s stairways do not follow the correct riser heights and tread widths, failing to install non-slip treads and when handrails are not set to the proper height or stairways that do not offer extensions and open risers. A crane or a foot can get stuck in it and this can cause people to trip and fall
If the parking spaces in your property are not spacious enough and if doesn’t display the correct designation signage or if it is not located near the entrance and accessible route
Not being able to provide appropriately designed seating for individuals in wheelchairs
Incorrect height of bars, work surfaces and service counters
What Happens If You Violate These Regulations?
One thing is for sure; you are going to be spending money if you violate ADA regulations. Aside from paying lawyer fees and fines, the owner of the property and those involved in the design and construction of the building will be held responsible for finding ways in fixing the issues. According to the law, property owners should execute readily achievable changes. For example, changing the position of a sign if it is wrongly placed, recoating parking lines to make them more visible, adding a ramp or redesigning a bathroom.
Why Hire an ADA Specialist?
If you are not familiar with the ADA regulations of California then your best course of action is to hire a reliable ADA specialist to help you. Hire an ADA expert prior to the start of the construction work or before it reaches completion so you can still make the necessary changes. Some business owners are lucky enough to have an employee who has had some experience with ADA compliance, if so then there’s no need to hire a specialist, otherwise you need a CASp professional to assist you. California Senate Bill 1608 made the Certified Access Specialist Program. These professionals have been trained and certified to determine what ADA requirements are needed for your property. It doesn’t matter whether you are constructing a new building from scratch or doing a major renovation, if you are not sure if your property adheres to ADA guidelines then you definitely can benefit from hiring an ADA specialist to help you. You can check out the list of Certified Access Specialists by vising the website of California Division of Architects. Investing in an ADA specialist will save you money in the long run as it safeguards your property from possible lawsuits.