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You are here: Home » Resources » Articles » What is a CASp?

December 21, 2022

What is a CASp?

By Christy Kim, AIA, CASp


Certified Access Specialist

The term CASp stands for Certified Access Specialist. A CASp is a person who has been tested and certified by the State of California Division of Architecture to be an expert in accessibility for the construction industry. They are knowledgeable about which standards apply to your specific property based on the age of the building and its history of improvements. CASPs are qualified to inspect constructed facilities and issue certificates of inspection.

Certified Access Specialist Program (CASp)

The CASp program was created pursuant to California Senate Bill 1608 with the intention to address the growing number of lawsuits costing California business owners tens of thousands of dollars in settlements and legal fees. Every CASp-inspected facility is considered a “qualified defendant” and can obtain the following legal benefits:

  • Minimum statutory damages that could be reduced from $4,000 per occurrence to $1,000 per occurrence.
  • The defendant can freeze the complaint for 3 months with a 90-day stay
  • Access to an Early Evaluation Conference to attempt to resolve the claim more cost-effectively than going to trial.

It should be noted that only businesses that have received the CASp certification before a complaint is filed are entitled to the legal benefits mentioned above. Although, it is still beneficial to obtain a CASp certification to prevent future unwarranted litigation on your property. A CASp certification does not always warrant that the property is in full compliance with the law, it instead shows that efforts are being made to provide a compliant facility. A licensed design professional, such as an architect or engineer, can provide you an access compliance evaluation of your facility, but only a CASp can provide services that offer you “qualified defendant” status.

Typical Services Included With a CASp Inspection?

• CASp report and certificate, which includes an accessibility evaluation of the facility, a detailed report of items not in compliance with construction-related accessibility standards, and a schedule for removing barriers;

• Pre-construction plan reviews to verify that the design is in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and/or local accessibility codes before construction begins;

• Site inspections to verify a facility meets all applicable federal, state, and/or local accessibility codes after it has been constructed;

  • Barrier removal plans identifying barriers within an existing facility and recommendations for removal;
  • Construction observation during barrier removal;
  • Consulting in the development of strategies for ongoing proactive architectural barrier removal plans and protection against lawsuits, minimizing owner liability;
  • Design services provided at any point in the design or construction process to assist in the preparation of accessibility solutions for drawings, details, and specifications;
  • Accessibility seminars to educate and answer questions on accessibility standards and provide insight into accessibility issues within the building and construction industries.

Why Do You Need a Certified Access Specialist?

You need a CASp certificate to protect your business from ADA lawsuits. Having your business/property reviewed by a CASp shows you care about ensuring equal access for all customers and the intent to follow the law. The good-faith effort of hiring a CASp may minimize your liability and provide certain legal benefits if an accessibility claim is filed against you.

Partner Engineering and Sciene, Inc has CASp on staff that can perform disabled-accessibility reviews and provide a CASp certification for your property.

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