Archive for the ‘Guest Articles’ Category

Who will rock the boat?

| Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

This blog is about how people who have control over a building situation can achieve ada accommodations. So we are very heavy on focusing with the end result of what is a long process in construction and design.

We talk much about the requirements of the code, interpretations and the law for disabled access. But in the pursuit of cost effective reasonable accommodations, we shouldn’t lose sight of what disabled access is for. With the focus on cost, business doesn’t always make the best of what is world populated by humans with human need.

Quoting Mia on her latest blog: Cant rock the boat hell if we have to well sink it

Over the life of this blog ,it has been my intention to shine a light on any person or group who takes money or gets kudos for being advocates and angels for the disabled community but in reality are more the problem than the cure.

The reality of the code is that there are people who need those requirements. The requirements of the code here in the United States have been the result of years of study through the access-board, and represent the best cost-benefit analysis that government can offer between minimum cost and maximum benefit.

So while this entry isn’t so much about specific numbers here, I do want to remind you all, before we get back to our normal stream of access tips that the end result of any disabled compliance needs to be of benefit to the people who would use it. Another quote:

Another example, a internist who proclaims she is disabled friendly with full access and expert at all medical problems pertaining to life in a wheelchair, we arrive her doorways are too small for chairs her toilet door has a 14 inch step and she proclaims that I shouldn’t complain and be thankful for what ever i get? Folks it’s bad when doctors or advocates are taking government money or worse taking ours and they know nothing or even worse they don’t give a damn, but I have started to receive notes from parents telling me not to rock the boat, they’ll put up with second best the doctor is “really nice” he is incompetent but nice? If parents don’t stand and yell ”hell no” who will? The kid in the chair can’t stand at all, a baby with cerebal palsy can’t scream help. We cannot tolerate incompetence, were not fixing a car that can have the engine replaced, its our life, it’s the life of our children. If these so called experts don’t know a damn thing i dont care if they can put on puppet shows, let them do them for someone else but their not getting their incompetent hands on our most precious posessions our loved ones

Mia’s writings aren’t for everyone, as there’s plenty of strong emotion in there — and no wonder — considering how misunderstood disabled access is! We’ve heard the horror stories of individuals who go up and down streets suing businesses for disabled access — now while Mia and the millions of others like her (who are disabled and angry) don’t do this — only a handful do — you do begin to get a sense of where this frustration can lead to in the hands of a few explosive individuals.

If you want to understand more from her point of view, that of your average disabled patron, please take a look at her blog Disabled Access Denied. Otherwise, we will return to the regular accessibility tips in the next few days.

Introducing Disabled Access Denied

| Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | 2 Comments »

One of the complaints by various building officials, property managers and business owners who are, at times, angry for having to pay for or enforce laws that require facilities to be made have said to me:

  • I never see that platform lift being used
  • We never see those people come in here

Both of these complaints stem from a misunderstanding of both the real accommodations have for people who have disabilities and how many disabled individuals are out and about.

First some statistics. The answer? At least one in five. Don’t believe it? See this source, Access to Disability Data citing a very old source, from the early 1990s. Given that this year, of 2011, the first baby boomers have reached 65, AND The number of disabled veterans is rising especially as the United States has more than three military actions going on today, you can be sure that there are plenty of disabled citizens out today.

Now even if you provide accommodations that’s not enough to get people with disabilities into your establishment. I won’t talk about marketing or sales funnel, but installing a platform lift isn’t enough — it’s really possible that your external path of travel is so incompliant that the disabled can’t even get in the door. Plus a business that is known to be disabled unfriendly is likely to not get business from the disabled. A family taking grandma out to dinner isn’t going to take her to a restaurant that will embarrass her or cause her difficulty.

With this in mind, I want to draw attention to a recent connection we’ve made, a blog by one Mia G Vayner who runs a blog: “Disabled Access Denied“. With the advent of social media online and social networking, Vayner is one of the rising voices of a growing disgrunted and traditionally under-represented group of people.

I had invited Vayner to write herself an introduction, and it is presented below.

Disabled Access Denied was the message I got every time I rolled up to a restaurant that wasn’t accessible or a doctors office that had 10 steps up to its door or my favorite — when store owners used their existing disabled ramps as prime retail space.

My name is Mia G. Vayner and I’ve never been known for taking these types of injustices quietly. My friends will tell you I have always had a disability: a quick wit, a sharp mind and a total inability to handle stupidity. If you’re asking about the wheels under my ass, its a hereditary neurological disorder that is degenerative and makes walking and standing with any regularity impossible. This has been my life for about 5 years. When you mix my friends opinion of me with the ever growing lack of care and concern by those in power for the rights of the wheelchair bound my choices became scream or do something about it. The first meant I need to put a lawyer on retainer and the second involved starting a blog. That is how was born.

My blog serving notice to those who say through their laws, their lack of adherance to laws, their complete disregard or simple lack of thought for the disabled, we’ll photograph, we’ll blog and we’ll tell the powers that be that until they make it right, until they Respect our Existance, they can Expect our Resistance.

Now our business blog here at YTA’s main focus is to you business owners and contractors — so between Vayner and ourselves, we address different audiences. Plus, we are located in Los Angeles — Disabled Access Denied has strong roots in New York City. So there are some differences in where we are coming from.

Nonetheless, I think it a good opportunity for many of you to take a look at Disabled Access Denied and understand where your direct customers and end-users of construction come from — what their interests are and how strongly inaccessible construction impacts their ability to just get from point A to point B.

Often times too, our focus is on the letter of the code, and as a result there is opportunity to forget what the end result should be. Here at YTA we don’t just want to help you provide legally compliant paths of travel and access to goods of services but also to provide good and safe customer experience so that people with disabilities can enjoy the same benefits and integration as their non-disabled peers.

So please take a look at the wealth of articles and information, and think about how your customer experience — especially those who are of different ability — are impacted by your customer experience. A good starting place is to sit in a wheelchair and try to get in the door, and use your restroom.

Contact information for Vayner can be gotten at Contact info or you can email her at or follow her on her twitter at Disableddenied.

As always if you have specific questions about accessibility at your site you can contact us at 866 982 3212 or

SRS Smith, Swimming Pool Access

| Thursday, March 31st, 2011 | Comments Off on SRS Smith, Swimming Pool Access

This is some useful information from SRS Smith which provides Swimming Pool Equipment.

They are located in Oregon and Tennessee but should be familiar with CA pool laws. Their guides are published and I have linked them below as for the Americans with Disabilities Act (2010), they are useful.

Remember, under the ADA 2010 “safe harbor” does not apply to swimming pools which need to be compliant for the new requirements effective back in Sept 15, 2010.

Accessible Swimming Pool Guide

ADA Swim Equipment Guide


So if you have a pool and any equipment associated with pools, please look at these standards and see if your pool access is ADA compliant. Also you can contact them at if you have specific Pool Questions!


As always feedback, comment and questions are appreciated.  Call me at 866 982 3212 or email me at  We want to hear your concerns, thoughts, and feedback!



Early back in 2009, we did some MCLE presentations with Frank Chen, one of the super lawyers.

Anyway, while he wrote an article a while ago for ADA compliance, here it is, quoted in part, below.

By Attorney Frank W. Chen INTRODUCTION In recent years, there have been a multitude of ADA accessibility lawsuits filed against businesses for alleged violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and corresponding California law consisting of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civil Code ? 51 et seq.), the Disabled Persons Act (Civil Code ? 54 et seq.), and the building standards set forth in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations. Typically, the alleged violations involve lack of handicapped parking and inaccessible restrooms at businesses such as restaurants, motels, retail stores, and office buildings. Under California law, violators of these standards may be found liable for up to three times the amount of actual damages, but not less than $4,000, plus attorney’s fees and costs, even if the violation is seemingly trivial. Conflicting access standards under California and federal laws, a lack of continuing education for building inspectors and architects, and inconsistent interpretations of state law have made compliance with disability-access standards in California difficult.

I didn’t quote all of it, but you can read the rest (including resource citations) below.

( Continue… )

ADA Compliance – Wearing Two Hats

| Thursday, May 6th, 2010 | Comments Off on ADA Compliance – Wearing Two Hats

By Phillip K. Cha, Esq.

While the ADA imposes legal obligations on a business regarding providing access to the disabled public (usually its customers or clients), it also creates obligations between a business and its disabled employees. While these obligations are addressed in separate sections of the ADA (Title I addresses private employers, whereas Title III addresses public accommodations) and involve different legal issues, there are some significant areas of overlap that should not be ignored. Importantly, the ADA may require that a business take additional steps above and beyond removing access barriers for the public to ensure that its employees also are provided equal access to facilities.

To illustrate, under Title I, an employer is required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to qualified individuals with a disability. The ADA regulations identify various types of reasonable accommodations, including retrofitting, to allow disabled employees to enjoy the same benefits and privileges as those enjoyed by non-disabled employees. Specific examples of reasonable accommodations, much like those that may be required under Title III, include installing wheelchair ramps and proper signage. This requirement applies to both work-related and non-work facilities provided or maintained by the employer for use by employees, including break rooms, restrooms, lunch rooms and training rooms, which might not otherwise be open to the general public.

In light of the interplay between Titles I and III, any ADA compliance plan should account for the company’s obligations as a provider of public accommodations, as well as an employer. Failure to wear both hats in going through this process may expose a business to substantial liability under the ADA and State law.

Phillip K. Cha is a labor and employment law attorney with Swerdlow Florence Sanchez Swerdlow & Wimmer in Beverly Hills, California. If you have any questions about the ADA as it applies to employers, feel free to give Phillip a call at (310) 288-3980 or e-mail him at