I used to work largely doing web development. I didn’t design the look of websites, I built them — from the ground up. I made sure the technical back end worked properly. In fact I still do it, but mostly for YTA.
What’s interesting about working with programmers and other free lance technicians much holds true for many architects and contractors. While construction and design is different from web development, there’s a similar mentality as both are a kind of engineering.
Sometimes your independent contractor will get a request from a prospective client to do something new. They would know enough that this particular thing could be done — but not know how. Nonetheless they would lie and bullshit and agree to do everything. The general mentality is to go home and spend the next 72 hours agonizing over a book trying to learn how to do what it is you’ve requested of them. The funny part about this is that often these free lance consultants would charge you a ton of money and quote you a huge amount of time. So not only do they want to have time to get it right, they also want to charge you for making them learn something new.
While this manual consists of largely technical information, such as occupancy type, and a re-printing of what is otherwise in the California Building Code, it does include some helpful dimensions on many of the specific measurements we perform. The application of those measurements and their types may be a little confusing.
This code reference, however, isn’t completely up to date. Included in the checklist is a regulatory list of applicable dimensions and requirements. It’s up to the consultant to decide if they apply. The issue with this checklist though, is that it doesn’t include the latest ADA 2010 — only the older ADA of 1992.
Most likely, a construction or design expert wouldn’t turn to the DSA, as the DSA is a state entity.
To complicate things further, if your building had not been altered since say, 2002, then the building code of 2001 may actually apply — but the ADA 2010 also applies, meaning he would have to cross-reference texts anyway.
In either case, before you hire anyone for your ADA needs, if you have the time, I would urge you to look at the Division State Architect’s Access Manual and get a taste for the complexity involved.
All of this cross-referencing and page flipping means more billable hours to you. Not only that, but why not hire someone who is already familiar with these different codes and regulations? The problem isn’t in using reference materials — no one can remember every number exactly, and the codes are always changing. The problem is the general familiarity of the application. How can someone catch all the nuances if they don’t know the basic applicability?
In this case, hiring someone who is new to this field will not only cost you more in money, but also in liability. If they miss something or interpret something incorrectly, it’s your lawsuit. Why not go with someone who is familiar with the risk?
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