I have recently noticed that several of my clients have added accessible parking stalls without obtaining approval of the Authorities having Jurisdiction (AHJ’s). Although this may seem like a cost effective solution, it could result in substantial cost at a later date.
If there are currently no accessible parking stalls in a parking lot and a van accessible stall and accessible aisle are added as required, then more than likely one standard parking stall will be lost. The loss of a parking space is not something the AHJ’s take lightly. In most cases, when a van accessible stall and accessible aisle are added to a parking lot, then plans need to be submitted to the AHJ’s. In some cities this is simply an administrative procedure, however, in other cities, there may be certain requirements the must be met before the AHJ’s grant approval. It’s important that businesses work with the AHJ’s to gain approval. Failure to do so may have consequences.
I recently worked on a project where the owner has previously made modifications to the parking lot layout without approval of the AHJ’s. When the owner wanted to add a van accessible stall and accessible aisle ( due to a lawsuit ) the AHJ’s made the owner re-stripe the entire parking lot ( about 30 spaces ) to bring it into conformance with plans approved in 1960. Needless to say, this was a substantial cost the owner had not included in their budget.
If you are adding a van accessible space to your parking lot, you should enlist the services of an architect ( such as myself ) who can draw plans of the existing parking lot with the added van accessible space and submit them to the AHJ’s for approval.
It’s also important to note that if you decide as part of your normal maintenance to resurface and restripe your parking lot, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Building Code (CBC) require that accessible parking be provided based on the codes in effect at the time of the resurfacing.