If you are a business or property owner, you must have heard the term “CASp” a few times. A CASp or Certified Access Specialist is an individual who has been certified and qualified by the state of California to inspect constructed facilities and issue certificates of inspection. As a business owner, having your property or business reviewed by a CASp expert shows that you care about ensuring your goods and services are accessible to all customers, including people with disabilities. When you hire a CASp property inspector in California, you get an expert who knows the standards that apply to a property based on the age and history of the property. A CASp property inspection report identifies any violations of the accessibility standards or requirements and lists the necessary improvements needed to be made.

Benefits of CASp

There is no trick or rule to avoid an ADA lawsuit, but you can protect your property or business from heavy expenses by getting a certification from an accessibility expert. Here are a few benefits of hiring a CASp.

    • Qualified Defendant: If you are being sued for an alleged violation, the existence of a CASp inspection report before the lawsuit grants you a “qualified defendant” status in the lawsuit. As a qualified defendant, you can request a court stay to postpone legal proceedings and an early evaluation. You are also entitled to reduce minimum statutory damages from $4000 to $1000.
    • Early Evaluation Conference: An Early Evaluation Conference or EEC is a conference run by a court between both parties, at which they are granted an opportunity to close the case via a settlement. A qualified defendant is eligible for an EEC. In many cases, a settlement is more satisfying than pursuing litigation, which will be time-consuming.
    • 60-Day Court Stay: A court stay is a temporary halting of all litigation. This is one of the major benefits a business owner who has been through a CASp inspection gets to enjoy. Hiring an attorney is the major expense of a lawsuit. As a qualified defendant, you will be granted a 60-day stay in which you can settle the case without hiring an attorney.

Process of CASp Evaluation

If you want to get a commercial property CASp Inspection in California, it is important to get familiar with the process. Here are a few things to expect during a CASp evaluation.

    1. The first step is for a property owner or representative to request a survey and report for the property. This request can be a proactive measure to be more accessible or as a result of a legal summons.
    1. A Certified Accessibility Specialist is contracted to inspect the facility and give a written report containing any violations and the necessary improvements.
    1. The CASp requests some contact and property information from the tenant to determine the age of the property, the history of improvements done on the facility, and a description of the area to be inspected.
    1. A thorough inspection is then conducted on your property. This includes evaluating access to the site to identify nearby transit stops, taking pictures of the facility, and identifying access barriers.
    1. A written report containing a description of the survey is issued. The facility can be labeled “CASp-inspected” or “CASp Determination Pending.” CASP-inspected means the property has met all the construction-related requirements and accessibility standards, while CASp Determination Pending means the property is pending a determination from the CASp expert.
    1. The report also includes a summary of non-compliant elements. The owner of the property is expected to provide a schedule for corrections of non-compliant items and attach it to the report.
    1. The owner or representative can request a “Certificate of Inspection” window sticker.

Features of Accessibility Consulting Services

Hiring accessibility consulting services helps mitigate risks and ensure accessibility to your business is done correctly. Here are a few features of an accessibility consulting service

    • Litigation support to attorneys, property owners, and insurance companies
    • CASp-certified consultation and design
    • Certified compliance audits and barrier removal strategies
    • Architectural and engineering design services
    • Cost estimating, including planning and cost of repairs
    • Repair strategies and construction documents
    • Value engineering of design and repair alternatives