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Michael Gibbons 10/18/17 presentation on State and Federal Access Laws and Guidelines

on Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:12 am
Hello all, I attended a seminar yesterday covering the State and Federal Access Laws and Guidelines by Michael Gibbons, CASp, ICC, ACE, ACD.  You may be aware of him since he is the author of the CalDAG California Disabled Accessibility Handbook
There are some interesting things that I heard that I would like to pass on to you all for information and for possible further discussions.  I will post this information for our Job Captains on the AO Connection. And for the PM’s, we can have further discussion via our next PM meeting if anyone would like. Note that I requested Michael’s seminar presentation will forward it to you all if I receive it in the future…..

In the meantime here are are some quick points that were presented:

• 42% of all litigation for accessibility (in the nation) is within California only. A lot of the current cases are growing due to “hyper technical issues” like minor handrail defects for example that are ½”short of the required distance, etc.
• San Diego Curb Ramp Study for on street parking: This study found that pedestrians in crosswalks are 2 times more likely to get hit in a marked crosswalk versus one that’s unmarked. Interesting note is that 11B doesn’t require marking the path of travel in parking lots or parking structures, etc., with blue lines and hatching, etc.  Note that we should be verifying with the AHJ (for each of our projects early in the design phase) that marked paths of travel are not required.
• Truncated domes [has limited requirements via the] fed or state in our buildings. Note that we should be verifying with the AHJ (for each of our projects early in the design phase) that marked paths of travel are not required.
• California Access Specialists (CASp): Every local building department is supposed to have a CASp Specialist available. According to Gibbons experience, some may be able to learn the requirements and pass the test but don’t actually have practical “real world” experience or extensive background to make judgements that are legal, etc.
• California Assembly bill AB 732: There is a law in effect for single accommodations toilet rooms that require sign changes. Note that California has slightly different braille (and other) standards that are required on our signs versus federal, etc. So, people receiving submittals for disabled signage should be noting in our responses that the disabled signs need to be California approved.
• Since California has adopted the federal accessibility standards as a base document for Chapter 11B of the CBC, the California standards have adopted a new format and numbering system. In previous editions of the CBC, scoping requirements and technical standards could be found together in the same location. The new format has separated scoping requirements and technical requirements in different sections; in many instances the necessary requirements for a particular use, occupancy or improvement type are scattered throughout the code. Note that scoping requirement is for when & where a certain percentage of stalls that need to be accessible is needed and technical requirements then determine the details on sizes and location, etc. The key point in a lawsuit is that demonstration that both scoping and technical requirements have been met are essential to establishing a “complete” case.
• Remember that local jurisdiction plan-checkers or building inspectors may require that things be made accessible although they may not actually be legally required. The lesson learned is to question things per the code language and hold our ground on our interpretations, etc. The building inspector or plan-checker’s acting as city “agents” are legally held harmless.  So, if it turns out they made a mistake and a lawsuit arises they will not be implicated and the attorneys will move on to (us) the design professionals for blame. Gibbons favorite catch words for us: “No good deed goes unpunished”
• Public Buildings that are not up to current accessibility standards are actually getting involved in law suits. Agencies are being sued in federal court to upgrade facilities that can have barriers removed if they are “readily achievable.” Plaintiffs attorneys do this by comparing nearby facilities to federal standards and meet them if it can easily accomplished without much cost.

Take care, all!

Last edited by Admin on Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:20 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Corrected federal & state requirements for truncated domes)
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