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M|O Perspectives

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Staying on top of common accessibility fails—to avoid noncompliance …and lawsuits

April 12th, 2019

An old proverb goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." As a building owner or operator, you know that accessibility-related lawsuits are not an everyday problem–but they happen frequently enough that you need to be on guard to protect against the expensive possibility of one occurring. Staying compliant with accessible parking, restroom layouts and building entries, for example, is critical. Accessibility lawsuits are expensive, but with some vigilance they are absolutely possible to avoid.

Often we find that lawsuits are triggered by plaintiffs who have only made quick visits to the property—visits just long enough to spot a few undeniable vulnerabilities. In most cases, we find that having these issues fixed proactively is much cheaper and less stressful than fighting the lawsuit and then dealing with the judgment or aftermath.

In order to detect these issues, the proper course of action is to have a trained and experienced professional review your property for compliance and then formulate a plan to correct the items of non-compliance.

At Marx|Okubo, it has been our experience that by focusing reviews on common areas of noncompliance, we help owners dramatically decrease their exposure. Common noncompliant issues that may leave an owner vulnerable include having:

  • An inadequate number of accessible parking stalls
  • Improperly configured accessible parking stalls
  • Improper accessible parking signage and stall markings
  • Non-compliant accessible ramps and path of travel to entry
  • Non-compliant restroom configurations
  • Non-compliant common area signage
  • Non-compliant path of travel to accessible features

All of this said, assessing and solving your problem is not enough. Maintaining these upgraded elements over the long term will help to ensure that building user satisfaction is maximized and lawsuits are minimized.

For any questions regarding accessibility and how to make your building accessibility compliant, please contact or

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Marx|Okubo is a national architecture/engineering/construction consulting firm that works with real estate owners, investors and lenders—at every point of the property lifecycle—to evaluate their building projects, solve complex challenges and implement tailored solutions. We help clients understand their projects’ complexities, so they can make more informed decisions and, ultimately, mitigate their risk.