In an action strongly supported by industry and local government, the Building Standards Commission has adopted a regulatory package that overhauls the disabled accessibility standards for commercial and government buildings and for public housing.

For over twenty years, California has maintained and enforced its own set of disabled accessibility standards, separate of those enforced at the federal level by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).  The subtle differences between the state and federal standards have led to costly litigation and prompted the Legislature to take action last year in the form of SB 1186 (Steinberg and Dutton).  Among other things, the industry-supported SB 1186 established a prohibition on “demand for money letters” from plaintiffs alleging violations of the federal or state access regulations.  The legislation also requires plaintiffs to specify which provision(s) of the code are in question and how the alleged non-compliance prevented their access to the building.

In  a regulatory effort that compliments SB 1186, the Division of the State Architect (DSA) has reformatted California’s regulations, using the federal DOJ ADA regulations as the basis for California’s code while at the same time maintaining those state provisions which were more stringent (as required by statute).

After two days of extensive debate, DSA’s regulatory package was adopted unanimously by the BSC. The updated standards will take effect on January 1, 2014 and for the first time, local building departments will be required to plan, check and inspect for compliance with both federal and state provisions.

CBPA/BOMA/CBIA led the coalition of 19 industry and governmental organizations who strongly supported the Building Standards Commission’s adoption of DSA’s regulatory package.

© 2007-2012 Building Owners and Managers Association of California (BOMA Cal)