Amended in Assembly April 21, 2016

Amended in Assembly March 18, 2016

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 2873


Introduced by Assembly Member Thurmond

February 19, 2016


An act to amend Section 55.3 of the Civil Code, and to amend Sections 4459.5 and 4467 of the Government Code, relating to public contracts, and making an appropriation therefor.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 2873, as amended, Thurmond. Certified access specialists.

The Construction-Related Accessibility Standards Compliance Act establishes standards for making new construction and existing facilities accessible to persons with disabilities, including inspections by private persons or building inspectors who are certified access specialists (CASps), and provides for construction-related accessibility claims for violations of those standards. That act requires a local agency, commencing January 1, 2014, to employ or retain a sufficient number of building inspectors who are CASps to conduct permitting and plan check services to review for compliance with state construction-related accessibility standards by a place of public accommodation with respect to new construction. The act requires, if a local agency employs or retains 2 or more CASps, that at least half of thebegin delete certified access specialistsend deletebegin insert CASpsend insert be building inspectors who are CASps.

This bill would require, commencing January 1,begin delete 2017,end deletebegin insert 2018,end insert that all building inspectors employed or retained by a local agencybegin insert who conduct permitting and plan check services to review for compliance with state construction-related accessibility standards by a place of public accommodation with respect to new construction, including, but not limited to, projects relating to tenant improvements that may impact access,end insert bebegin delete certified access specialists.end deletebegin insert CASps.end insert By adding to the duties of a local entity, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing law requires the State Architect to establish a program for voluntary certification by the state of any person who meets specified criteria as abegin delete certified access specialistend deletebegin insert CASpend insert with respect to access to buildings for persons with disabilities and to determine minimum criteria for certification.

This bill would require the minimum criteria to include familiarity with the applicability and content of various accessibility requirements, including but not limitedbegin delete to,end deletebegin insert toend insert specific federal and state requirements.

Until December 31, 2018, existing law requires any applicant for a local business license or equivalent instrument or permit, or renewal of a local business license or equivalent instrument or permit, to pay an additional state fee of $1 for that license, instrument, or permit. Under existing law, the city, county, or city and county that collected the fee retains 70% of the fee, and the remaining 30% of the fee is deposited into the Disability Access and Education Revolving Fund, a continuously appropriated fund.

This bill would increase that state fee from $1 to $4 and would delete the December 31, 2018, termination date. The bill would increase the percentage of the fee retained by a local agency to 90% and the remaining 10% would be deposited into the Disability Access and Education Revolving Fund. By increasing revenue to a continuously appropriated fund,begin insert by increasing the fee and by extending the fee indefinitely,end insert this bill would make an appropriation. The bill would make an appropriation by authorizing local government entities to retain an increased percentage of the increased fee. The bill would require that the moneys retained by a local agency be placed in a special fund established by the local agency, to be known as the “CASp Certification and Training Fund.” The bill would require that fees collected in a CASp Certification and Training Fund be used for increased certified access specialist training and certification in the localbegin delete jurisdiction.end deletebegin insert jurisdiction, making an appropriation by expanding the purposes for which the retained fee moneys are required to be spent.end insert

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

Vote: 23. Appropriation: yes. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P3    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 55.53 of the Civil Code is amended to
2read:

3

55.53.  

(a) For purposes of this part, a certified access specialist
4shall, upon completion of the inspection of a site, comply with the
5following:

6(1) For a site that meets applicable standards, if the CASp
7determines the site meets all applicable construction-related
8accessibility standards, the CASp shall provide a written inspection
9report to the requesting party that includes both of the following:

10(A) An identification and description of the inspected structures
11and areas of the site.

12(B) A signed and dated statement that includes both of the
13following:

14(i) A statement that, in the opinion of the CASp, the inspected
15structures and areas of the site meet construction-related
16accessibility standards. The statement shall clearly indicate whether
17the determination of the CASp includes an assessment of readily
18achievable barrier removal.

19(ii) If corrections were made as a result of the CASp inspection,
20an itemized list of all corrections and dates of completion.

21(2) For a site that has been inspected by a CASp, if the CASp
22determines that corrections are needed to the site in order for the
23site to meet all applicable construction-related accessibility
24standards, the CASp shall provide a signed and dated written
25inspection report to the requesting party that includes all of the
26following:

27(A) An identification and description of the inspected structures
28and areas of the site.

29(B) A statement that, in the opinion of the CASp, the inspected
30structures and areas of the site need correction to meet
31construction-related accessibility standards. This statement shall
P4    1clearly indicate whether the determination of the CASp includes
2an assessment of readily achievable barrier removal.

3(C) An identification and description of the structures or areas
4of the site that need correction and the correction needed.

5(D) A schedule of completion for each of the corrections within
6a reasonable timeframe.

7(b) For purposes of this section, in determining whether the site
8meets applicable construction-related accessibility standards when
9there is a conflict or difference between a state and federal
10provision, standard, or regulation, the state provision, standard, or
11regulation shall apply unless the federal provision, standard, or
12regulation is more protective of accessibility rights.

13(c) Every CASp who conducts an inspection of a place of public
14accommodation shall, upon completing the inspection of the site,
15provide the building owner or tenant who requested the inspection
16with the following notice, which the State Architect shall make
17available as a form on the State Architect’s Internet Web site:

18
19NOTICE TO PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNER/TENANT:
20

21YOU ARE ADVISED TO KEEP IN YOUR RECORDS ANY
22WRITTEN INSPECTION REPORT AND ANY OTHER
23DOCUMENTATION CONCERNING YOUR PROPERTY SITE
24THAT IS GIVEN TO YOU BY A CERTIFIED ACCESS
25SPECIALIST.

26IF YOU BECOME A DEFENDANT IN A LAWSUIT THAT
27INCLUDES A CLAIM CONCERNING A SITE INSPECTED
28BY A CERTIFIED ACCESS SPECIALIST, YOU MAY BE
29ENTITLED TO A COURT STAY (AN ORDER TEMPORARILY
30STOPPING ANY LAWSUIT) OF THE CLAIM AND AN EARLY
31EVALUATION CONFERENCE.

32IN ORDER TO REQUEST THE STAY AND EARLY
33EVALUATION CONFERENCE, YOU WILL NEED TO VERIFY
34THAT A CERTIFIED ACCESS SPECIALIST HAS INSPECTED
35THE SITE THAT IS THE SUBJECT OF THE CLAIM. YOU
36WILL ALSO BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE THE COURT AND
37THE PLAINTIFF WITH THE COPY OF A WRITTEN
38INSPECTION REPORT BY THE CERTIFIED ACCESS
39SPECIALIST, AS SET FORTH IN CIVIL CODE SECTION
4055.54. THE APPLICATION FORM AND INFORMATION ON
P5    1HOW TO REQUEST A STAY AND EARLY EVALUATION
2CONFERENCE MAY BE OBTAINED AT
3www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-start.htm.

4YOU ARE ENTITLED TO REQUEST, FROM A CERTIFIED
5ACCESS SPECIALIST WHO HAS CONDUCTED AN
6INSPECTION OF YOUR PROPERTY, A WRITTEN
7INSPECTION REPORT AND OTHER DOCUMENTATION AS
8SET FORTH IN CIVIL CODE SECTION 55.53. YOU ARE ALSO
9ENTITLED TO REQUEST THE ISSUANCE OF A DISABILITY
10ACCESS INSPECTION CERTIFICATE, WHICH YOU MAY
11POST ON YOUR PROPERTY.


13(d) (1) Commencing July 1, 2010, a local agency shall employ
14or retain at least one building inspector who is a certified access
15specialist. The certified access specialist shall provide consultation
16to the local agency, permit applicants, and members of the public
17on compliance with state construction-related accessibility
18 standards with respect to inspections of a place of public
19accommodation that relate to permitting, plan checks, or new
20construction, including, but not limited to, inspections relating to
21tenant improvements that may impact access. If a local agency
22employs or retains two or more certified access specialists to
23comply with this subdivision, at least one-half of the certified
24access specialists shall be building inspectors who are certified
25access specialists.

26(2) Commencing January 1, begin delete 2017,end delete begin insert 2018,end insert all building inspectors
27employed or retained by a local agencybegin delete shall be certified access
28specialistsend delete
who conduct permitting and plan check services to
29review for compliance with state construction-related accessibility
30standards by a place of public accommodation with respect to new
31construction, including, but not limited to, projects relating to
32tenant improvements that may impactbegin delete access.end deletebegin insert access, shall be
33certified access specialists.end insert

34(3) If a permit applicant or member of the public requests
35consultation from a certified access specialist, the local agency
36may charge an amount limited to a reasonable hourly rate, an
37estimate of which shall be provided upon request in advance of
38the consultation. A local government may additionally charge or
39increase permitting, plan check, or inspection fees to the extent
40necessary to offset the costs of complying with this subdivision.
P6    1Any revenues generated from an hourly or other charge or fee
2increase under this subdivision shall be used solely to offset the
3costs incurred to comply with this subdivision. A CASp inspection
4pursuant to subdivision (a) by a building inspector who is a
5certified access specialist shall be treated equally for legal and
6evidentiary purposes as an inspection conducted by a private CASp.
7Nothing in this subdivision shall preclude permit applicants or any
8other person with a legal interest in the property from retaining a
9private CASp at any time.

10(e) (1) Every CASp who completes an inspection of a place of
11public accommodation shall, upon a determination that the site
12meets applicable standards pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision
13(a) or is inspected by a CASp pursuant to paragraph (2) of
14subdivision (a), provide the building owner or tenant requesting
15the inspection with a numbered disability access inspection
16certificate indicating that the site has undergone inspection by a
17certified access specialist. The disability access inspection
18certificate shall be dated and signed by the CASp inspector, and
19shall contain the inspector’s name and license number. Upon
20issuance of a certificate, the CASp shall record the issuance of the
21numbered certificate, the name and address of the recipient, and
22the type of report issued pursuant to subdivision (a) in a record
23book the CASp shall maintain for that purpose.

24(2) Beginning March 1, 2009, the State Architect shall make
25available for purchase by any local building department or CASp
26sequentially numbered disability access inspection certificates that
27are printed with a watermark or other feature to deter forgery and
28that comply with the information requirements specified in
29subdivision (a).

30(3) The disability access inspection certificate may be posted
31on the premises of the place of public accommodation, unless,
32following the date of inspection, the inspected site has been
33modified or construction has commenced to modify the inspected
34site in a way that may impact compliance with construction-related
35accessibility standards.

36(f) Nothing in this section or any other law is intended to require
37a property owner or tenant to hire a CASp. A property owner’s or
38tenant’s election not to hire a CASp shall not be admissible to
39prove that person’s lack of intent to comply with the law.

P7    1

SEC. 2.  

Section 4459.5 of the Government Code is amended
2to read:

3

4459.5.  

(a) The State Architect shall establish and publicize
4a program for voluntary certification by the state of any person
5who meets specified criteria as a certified access specialist. No
6later than January 1, 2005, the State Architect shall determine
7minimum criteria a person is required to meet to be a certified
8access specialist, which may include knowledge sufficient to
9review, inspect, or advocate universal design requirements,
10completion of specified training, and testing on standards governing
11access to buildings, including but not limited to housing, for
12persons with disabilities. The minimum criteria shall include
13familiarity with the applicability and content of various
14accessibility requirements, including but not limitedbegin delete to,end deletebegin insert toend insert the
15federal requirements described in subdivision (c) of Section 4459
16and the state standards established in Chapter 11A (commencing
17with Section 1101A) and Chapter 11B (commencing withbegin insert Sectionend insert
18 11B-101) of Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.

19(b) The State Architect may implement the program described
20in subdivision (a) with startup funds derived, as a loan, from the
21reserve of the Public School Planning, Design, and Construction
22Review Revolving Fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature.
23That loan shall be repaid when sufficient fees have been collected
24pursuant to Section 4459.8.

25

SEC. 3.  

Section 4467 of the Government Code is amended to
26read:

27

4467.  

(a) On and after January 1, 2017, any applicant for a
28local business license or equivalent instrument or permit, and from
29any applicant for the renewal of a business license or equivalent
30instrument or permit, shall pay an additional fee of four dollars
31($4) for that license, instrument, or permit, which shall be collected
32by the city, county, or city and county that issued the license,
33instrument, or permit.

34(b) The city, county, or city and county shall retain 90 percent
35of the fees collected under this section, of which up to 5 percent
36of the retained moneys may be used for related administrative costs
37of this chapter. The remaining moneys shall be placed by the city,
38county, or city and county in a special fund established by city,
39county, or city and county, to be known as the “CASp Certification
40and Training Fund.” The fees collected in a CASp Certification
P8    1and Training Fund shall be used for increased certified access
2specialist training and certification in that local jurisdiction and to
3facilitate compliance with construction-related accessibility
4requirements. The highest priority shall be given to the training
5and retention of certified access specialists to meet the needs of
6the public in the jurisdiction as provided in Section 55.53 of the
7Civil Code.

8(c) The remaining 10 percent of all fees collected under this
9section shall be transmitted on a quarterly basis to the Division of
10the State Architect for deposit in the Disability Access and
11Education Revolving Fund established under Sections 4465 and
124470. The funds shall be transmitted within 15 days of the last day
13of the fiscal quarter. The Division of the State Architect shall
14develop and post on its Internet Web site a standard reporting form
15for use by all local jurisdictions. Up to 75 percent of the collected
16funds in the Disability Access and Education Revolving Fund shall
17be used to establish and maintain oversight of the CASp program
18and to moderate the expense of CASp certification and testing.

19(d) Each city, county, or city and county shall make an annual
20report, commencing March 1, 2014, to the Division of the State
21Architect of the total fees collected in the previous calendar year
22and of its distribution, including the moneys spent on administrative
23services, the activities undertaken and moneys spent to increase
24CASp training, certification, and services, the activities undertaken
25and moneys spent to fund programs to facilitate accessibility
26compliance, and the moneys transmitted to the Disability Access
27and Education Revolving Fund.

28

SEC. 4.  

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
29this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
30local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
31pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
324 of Title 2 of the Government Code.



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