How And When to Hire a CASp?

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Constructing a new building requires a lot of research and investment. It is essential for a property owner to ensure the site is built with great quality to ensure its longevity and safety. Maintaining the quality of an existing building is of paramount importance as well. Standards for building safety and other regulations evolve throughout time, and as buildings age, problems may arise. 

That is why it is important for building owners to conduct regular inspections and maintenance to solidify the quality of a site. In order to take this to the next level, a property owner can hire a Certified Access Specialist CASp.

In a nutshell, a CASp is a licensed professional who is tasked to assess facility plans, and make sure that a building project complies with all state and federal accessibility laws, codes, and regulations. Basically, a CASp is tasked with three main mandates:

  • Provision of an accessibility evaluation of a property
  • Preparation of a report of items in violation with construction related accessibility standards
  • Assistance in the preparation of a schedule for building improvements

A CASp can be either an architect, civil and structural engineer or general contractor, but not all architects, engineers and contractors are CASps. Why? The certification examination to become a CASp is very difficult. In fact, the current passing rate in California is only 20%. This solidifies their expertise with the pertinent laws and standards related to building and site inspections. 

An Act of Good Faith

It is important to note that CASps are not a legal requirement for all building property owners. According to the Division of the State Architect (DSA), when a business or property is reviewed by a CASp, that business owners display how much they care about making sure their property is equally accessible to all, and that they follow the law. 

Essentially, a CASp is knowledgeable about which standards apply to a property on the basis of the facility’s age and past improvements. Only a CASp is certified with a “qualified defendant” status in a construction-related accessibility lawsuit. CASps are hired as a good-faith effort that may decrease a property owner’s liability and supply certain legal benefits in case an accessibility claim is filed against them. 

How to Hire a CASp

Because of the difficulty of procuring certification as a CASp, there are only a limited number of qualified CASps. There are databases of licensed CASps and a number of reputable agencies within certain areas that offer CASp inspections in order to help build the credibility of a building project.

The CASp a business owner hires must be knowledgeable of the laws and codes in the area where his or her property is located. This is because there are different rules and regulations per state, city, and even town. A CASp that is qualified for New York City might not be familiar with all the rules in Los Angeles City.

One great source of trusted compliance experts in California is ADA Compliance Professionals, Inc. They are the best partners in order to protect buildings from lawsuits, and help ensure the safe construction of a building project. 

When to Hire a CASp

A business owner can hire a CASp when they are in the process of constructing a new building project or when the property is nearing its due for a city inspection. Hiring a CASp when building a new site fundamentally solidifies the business owner’s priority of ensuring that the site is certified safe and up to legal standards. 

On the other hand, it is considered a smart investment for business owners of existing properties to hire a CASp before it is due for an inspection because it shows that they care about everyone’s safety and the building’s compliance to current laws. Why? Only CASps are entitled as “qualified defendants” and they offer a lot of benefits to business owners, such as:

  • Reduced statutory damages. According to the CASp manual, business owners have the opportunity to reduce statutory damages from $4,000 per occasion to $1,000 per occasion if there is an inspection report that certifies the property is “CASp determination pending” or “Inspected by a CASp.”
  • 90-day stay of court proceeding and an Early Evaluation Conference. As per the Certified Access Specialist Institute, among the protections a CASp provides a business owner is a leeway of about three months in order to temporarily halt the litigation process of a lawsuit. Meanwhile, an Early Evaluation Conference (EEC) is a court-run conference between the property owner and the aggrieved party that aims to explore whether the lawsuit can be settled. 

To add to these, an inspection conducted by a CASp, and following the schedule for property improvements shows the intent of a business owner to be in compliance. It demonstrates the commitment of a business owner to follow the law, and safeguard his or her investment. Hiring a CASp might even save a business owner a lot of money and stress. 

While hiring a CASp for building inspections is not mandated by law, procuring the service of this specialist provides a lot of benefits and leeway in order to safeguard the interests of a building owner. They also provide the opportunity to save on possible lawsuit costs. 

While thorough preparation and regular maintenance can help ensure a building or property adheres to all legal standards, hiring a CASp is taking an extra mile that might prove to be beneficial in the long run. In the end, nobody wants to be filed a lawsuit, and it’s all about safety and following the law. 

If your property is based in the state of California, a great resource to tap to ensure your building is compliant with all laws and code is ADA Compliance Professionals. They can help your business take out the guesswork, and ensure that the property is safe and adheres to all legal standards. The team is located in Southern California, but are certified to conduct inspections throughout the entire state. 

The goal of the CompleteMarkets editor is to bring valuable content to the CompleteMarkets readers. Providing content to insurance professionals to enhance their sales process, increase revenue streams, understand their clients and provide value to their agency. 
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