Here's some good news in light of our recent cover story about the discrepancies between California building codes and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, many of which leave business owners vulnerable to lawsuits when they think they've done everything right. It turns out that architect and ADA specialist Erick Mikiten, who we interviewed for the story, was just appointed to the California Building Standards Commission, which reviews the law and recommends changes.
The commission held a public hearing last Thursday during which it declared "a state of emergency" since parts of the state's building code require architects and engineers to break federal law. Its members also revised seven items in the California code to make them conform with federal code. The system still isn't perfect, but Mikiten is confident these changes will go a long way. "As we move ahead over the next 7-8 months, the entire accessibility chapter in the code will be re-written to conform with the ADA," he wrote, via e-mail. "So things are changing!"