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ADA Seminar: Making “Impossible” Alterations Possible

August 30, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 3:00 pm PDT

$150 – $255


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Making “Impossible” Alterations Possible

Learning Units: 5 Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE) Health|Safety|Welfare Units

Many alterations have elements that cannot be made to comply with current accessibility requirements without substantial or even impossible changes to the existing element(s), or without encroachment into adjacent improvements or spaces. Both state and federal laws allow alternative methods, partial compliance or even exceptions from the literal requirements to address these unique conditions on a case-by-case basis. Learn the tools and methods necessary to properly address and document alternative solutions as legally allowed. Real-life examples of past project solutions will be provided for discussion.


  • Understand the specific legal differences and obligations between New Construction, Alterations to Existing Buildings and Facilities, and Barrier Removal Projects.
  • Understand the basic requirements for an Alteration under State and Federal Access Requirements.
  • Understand where to find, and how to apply, the legally-allowed exceptions and alternative methods in the CBC and ADA.
  • How to format a formal request for a variance from the Building Agency.


Michael Patrick Gibbens

Michael is a nationally recognized author, instructor and consultant on the interpretive and technical aspects of disabled accessibility compliance in commercial and residential applications for both public and private sectors. He has developed and presented hundreds of seminars on compliance with State and Federal access laws and guidelines throughout the country and has more than 25 years experience as a disabled accessibility compliance consultant.

In 1991, 6 months before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became enforceable, he had written the first nationally published manual for ADA compliance to facilitate facility assessments and barrier removals, and was facilitating training seminars across the country. In California, he was the first to develop and publish compilations of the more stringent provisions between State and Federal accessibility mandates for the design and construction of Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities (Federal ADA/State Title 24 standards) and multifamily residential projects (Federal FHAA/State HCD standards) in 1991. Mr. Gibbens’ 15th book on disabled accessibility compliance, the CalDAG 2013 (California Disabled Accessibility Guidebook) began national distribution in July 2014. The CalDAG is the only publication in existence that documents the most stringent requirements between the California State accessibility requirements and the ADA. The California Council of the American Institute of Architects (CCAIA) has recognized the CalDAG as the foremost subject source on combined state and federal disabled accessibility compliance in the State of California.

Mr. Gibbens’ expertise in the interpretation of the legal and technical provisions of disabled accessibility standards is regularly utilized by law firms for the resolution of complaints, allegations of non-compliance and lawsuits. He is experienced with both private sector and Department of Justice actions. When the very first complaint under the newly-enacted ADA was registered with the Department of Justice against the Empire State Building, Mr. Gibbens was contracted to consult on-site with the building’s architects and management to evaluate the complaint and work toward a resolution.

Mr. Gibbens has also been approved by the State Bar of California to provide continuing legal education (MCLE) classes to attorneys on disabled access issues, and has been utilized by the federal Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to train their attorney’s and investigators on state/federal accessibility compliance. He has served as a founding member of the California Design Safety and Accessibility Advisory Board (State Access Board), having been appointed by the State Architect, and has served for the past 15+ years on the Accessibility Code Advisory Committee for the State Building Standards Commission (5 years as Chairman).

Mr. Gibbens is certified as an Accessibility/Usability Specialist by the International Conference of Building Officials, and is an Academy Certified Expert and Diplomat by the American Academy of Certified Consultants and Experts.

Mr. Gibbens has completed facility compliance audits on virtually every category of occupancy covered under Titles II and III of the ADA and has served clients with facilities in all 50 states. He maintains continual contact with the Department of Justice and Access Board in Washington D.C. to keep abreast of new developments and proposed changes in the laws and standards. He has both designed and constructed improvements for the retrofit of facilities to provide compliance with State and Federal accessibility mandates, and is a consultant to a broad range of private businesses and governmental agencies.


Graciously Hosted by:


August 30, 2019
9:00 am - 3:00 pm PDT
$150 – $255
Event Categories:
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AIA Los Angeles


Helms Design Center
8745 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232 United States
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