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Thank you for reading our blog, we really hope you enjoy our material. We are always happy to explore specifics questions on areas of the California Building Code (CBC), for our clients, and we openly welcome calls or emails to discuss the details of any information you read and want to learn more about. We will begin our six part mini-series over the next few months, to explore the major changes to the CBC which are currently in effect. This series is an effort to educate business owners, apartment building owners, and the public of laws and guidelines that can have major impacts on the success of your business and safety of your guests and clients.

We will be working our way from the outside of your business, including the parking lot and signage in Part 1, and move to the entrance, walkways and exits in Part 2 through the inside of the business, including aisles, clearance and restrooms in Part 3. In Part 4 of the series we look into the various elements of an ADA lawsuit. Part 5 looks at the top 30 changes of the 2013 CBC (effective July 1, 2015), and we finish the top 10 Interior and exterior compliance requirements for shopping centers to look out for in Part 6. Bill Holl is a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and provides ADA consulting services to the entire San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, and has over 30 years of experience as a licensed Bay Area architect.

In Part 1 of the miniseries, we’ll focus on accessible parking, striping, signage, access aisles and passenger loading zones. These elements are really some of the most important accessibility elements, and can be confusing and often times come into question during inspections. By following some of the steps below, and having a qualified CASp inspection report, you can keep your business and patrons safe and have peace of mind against future lawsuits.

Things to note from the current CBC:

  • 1 out of every 6 accessible parking spaces must be a van parking space. [i]
  • Accessible parking spaces must be at least 18’ long and car parking spaces must be a minimum of 9’ wide and van parking spaces must be a minimum of 12’ wide. [ii]
    • EXCEPTION: Van parking spaces may be 9’ wide when the access aisle is at least 8’ wide.
  • Access aisles for either car or van parking must be at least 5’ wide and must be the full required length of the attached parking space [iii]
  • EVERY accessible parking space must have an International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) on the surface of the space. The ISA must be at least 3’ wide by 3’ high and be white on a blue background. [iv]
  • Each parking space should have a visible accessible parking space identification sign and must be permanently posted either adjacent to, or at the head of the parking space within the parking space. [v]
  • Parking spaces and access aisles must be arranged so that the person(s) using them do not have to travel behind any parking spaces other than their own in which they parked.[vi]
  • Except for bus loading zones and bus stops, there must be an accessible passenger loading zone for all passenger drop off and loading zones and at least 1 accessible passenger loading zone for every continuous 100’ of passenger loading zone space. [vii] Accessible passenger drop off and loading zones must be at least 8’ wide and 20’ long. [viii]

Accessible Parking Space Markings

So, you may be asking yourself, “Do I need to worry about accessible parking?” The answer is a resounding YES! According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an improvement is mandatory if it is “readily achievable”; meaning the cost of construction is low and not too difficult. Accessible parking with correct markings and signage are very important, typically have a much lower cost than other building improvements and as such, are considered to be “readily achievable”. To make sure that you stay in compliance, it is recommended that you restripe all your markings at least once every 2 years and check the height and security of all your signage, even if you are not going through a remodel or building improvements.

Bill Holl is the Bay Area’s premier ADA consultant with over 35 years of architectural experience. He specializes in providing Silicon Valley ADA Consulting services and ADA Compliance services across South Bay cities including San Jose, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Campbell and more. He also provides ADA compliance consulting throughout most areas of California including Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz, Morgan Hill, Gilroy and the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Give us a call today to schedule your next consultation, and let us keep your business protected from fines and lawsuits.

[i] California Building Code 11B-208.2.4

[ii] California Building Code 11B-502.2

[iii] California Building Code 11B-502.3.1, California Building Code 11B-502.3.2

[iv] California Building Code 11B-502.6.4

[v] California Building Code 11B-502.6.3

[vi] California Building Code 11B-502.7.1

[vii] California Building Code 11B-209.2.1

[viii] California Building Code 11B-503.2