Got Plans? If not, you should, and here’s why …

Remember when you could just call a trusted contractor, and they would show up early the next day to seal and re-stripe your parking lot?  No conversation with the building department and certainly no permit.

Remember when you could remove an asphalt built-up ramp and cut into your sidewalk to install a new curb cut ramp or install a small asphalt overlay to the disabled parking stall area without permission from your local building agency?

Ha! Those days are all but gone … especially when it comes to ADA construction projects.

Now, insurance companies as well as building departments are requiring that all ADA work be permitted, inspected and signed off by a CASp inspector.

The majority of building departments are now requiring a set of drawings for a seal and re-stripe project to ensure proper ratio, placement, size, color layout, signage and even disbursement of the disabled parking stalls through out the property.

At first glance, it’s easy to think that something has gotten out of control and that it’s a big waste of time and money to obtain a permit for something as simple as a sealcoat and re-stripe project.

I used to think the same thing. But after years of inspecting newly completed projects that should have passed inspection with flying colors, instead they failed on an epic level.

There are still too many contractors making simple mistakes that wind up costing the property and business owners out there a lot of money and headaches.

A perfect example is a project I recently inspected … it’s a newly remodeled 1970’s retail shopping center that was completed in February of 2017.

The owner completed an entire remodel to the exterior of all the buildings on site as well as new concrete walkways and door landings at each of the tenant doors. The building inspector informed the owner that due to the cost of the project, he was required to bring all of the disabled parking, curb ramps and the path of travel from the public sidewalk into compliance.

The owner chose NOT to have the architect draw up the plans for these repairs. Instead, he instructed the contractor to simply get it done and make it compliant.

So that’s what the contractor did — get it done that is.  He got busy replacing several disabled parking stall locations that required asphalt overlays installed to correct surface slope.  In addition, the contractor provided all new striping, signage and new curb cut ramps with truncated domes.

It looked great, but it was nowhere near compliant!

Out of the entire project, only a few areas were compliant, and that’s when it all hit the fan!

It got really messy for the owner and contractor, but we were able to produce construction documents detailing out the various areas that needed to be fixed, saving the owner and his contractor a lot of money and time.

As I walked the property with the owner pointing out the reasons so many areas failed inspection, he expressed his frustrations with the contractor and then stated “You know, it cost me less to have you produce construction documents for this entire project than it will cost me to re-do just one of these curb ramps!”

Unfortunately, this happens more than I would like to admit. Even projects that involved plans drawn by an architect have many errors and code requirements missing from the design.

Building departments in California have been under fire for years due to the highly litigious environment surrounding ADA, and one of the ways that they are protecting themselves is requiring that a set of drawings be submitted for all projects that require any level of ADA improvements to satisfy the 20% clause.

It is this very issue that motivated me to create a specialized design department to produce “permit ready” construction documents for my clients. This goes hand and hand with our detailed Casp inspection reports and is vital for us to help our clients bring their projects to completion.

If you have a CASp report but don’t have detailed construction documents then your Casp program is incomplete.

Call me directly to discuss your existing CASp, and how our detailed construction documents can not only save you money in construction costs but may very well keep you from being named in an ADA lawsuit.

Chris Taylor

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