Texas has created the Architectural Barriers Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS) that contains the technical requirements for accessibility to sites, facilities, buildings, and elements by individuals with disabilities. The TAS standards are implemented by Registered Accessibility Specialists (RAS). A RAS inspects commercial construction projects throughout Texas and ensures the projects are in compliance with Texas Accessibility Standards. Chelle Law’s Texas Registered Accessibility Specialist Attorneys have represented over 1000 licensed professionals before licensing boards. A RAS obtains licensure through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).
Texas Registered Accessibility Specialist Qualifications
When applying as a RAS through the TDLR, you will see the three different options on the application. These are:
- A degree in landscape architecture, architecture, engineering, interior design or the equivalent and one year of experience related to accessibility design, building planning or the equivalent or…
- Eight years of experience related to accessibility design, building planning or the equivalent or…
- Certification as an accessibility specialist that has been granted by a model building code organization as well as four years of experience related to accessibility design, building planning or the equivalent.
Exams for Registered Accessibility Specialists
Once the exam has been passed and you have obtained your registered accessibility specialist license, you can begin work for an inspection company, in an architecture firm or as an independent contractor. There is a high demand for inspectors because of the interest in public safety, the desire to improve the quality of construction in the state and the desire to eliminate architectural barriers. After you have submitted your application, the staff at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation will verify that all eligibility requirements are met. When that is confirmed, you will get a notice in the mail from PSI. PSI develops and administers the exams for the Registered Accessibility Specialist Program. Before scheduling to take the exam, the RAS application must have been completed and approved.
TDLR Criminal History Determination Letter
TDLR may determine that a person is not eligible for a license based on the person’s criminal history or other information that indicates that the person lacks the honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity to hold a license issued by the department. Thus, prior to applying for a license a person may request that the department issue a letter determining whether the person would be eligible for a license. To obtain a determination letter, a person must file a request and pay the required fee. TDLR will then issue a determination letter. However, TDLR is not bound by a determination letter if, after the issuance of the determination letter, the department determines there has been a change in a person’s circumstances or discovers a previously undiscovered fact.
Registered Accessibility Specialist Complaint
If a complaint is filed against a RAS, TDLR may contract with a qualified individual to investigate the allegations contained in a complaint. The investigator will:
- Participate in an informal conference to determine the facts of a complaint;
- Evaluate evidence and offer an expert opinion or technical guidance regarding an alleged violation of:
- a law establishing a regulatory program administered by the department; or
- a rule adopted or order issued by the executive director or commission;
- Testify at a hearing regarding a complaint; or
- Make an evaluation, report, or recommendation regarding the complaint.
- Enter the business premises of a person regulated by the department or a person suspected of being in violation of or threatening to violate a law establishing a regulatory program administered by the department or a rule or order of the commission or executive director related to a regulatory program administered by the department; and
- Examine and copy records pertinent to the inspection or investigation.
Registered Accessibility Specialist License Revocation
A person whose license has been revoked by order of the commission or executive director is not eligible for a new license until the first anniversary of the date of the revocation. A RAS may apply before the first anniversary of the date of the revocation if: (1) the revocation was based solely on the person’s failure to pay an administrative penalty; and (2) the RAS has paid the administrative penalty in full; or is paying the administrative penalty under a payment plan with the department and is in good standing with respect to that plan.
Registered Accessibility Specialist Penalties and Sanctions
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation pursuant to the Texas Occupations Code, §51.302(c) has created an Enforcement Plan that specifies the range of penalties and license sanctions that apply to specific alleged violations of the statutes and rules enforced by the Department against a RAS. The Enforcement Plan states the criteria that are considered by the Department’s Enforcement staff in determining the amount of an administrative penalty or the magnitude of a sanction to be pursued.
TDLR Disciplinary Actions
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation disciplinary actions are given to professionals with a license or certification in Texas. If TDLR determines formal disciplinary action is necessary it will happen after the completion of an investigation. Obtaining a Texas Registered Accessibility Specialist Attorney can assist in mitigating the disciplinary action. It’s the job of TDLR to review any complaint alleging a violation of the Texas laws and regulations. Penalties and Sanctions can include:
- Dismissal via a Closing Letter
- Warning Letter
- Issuance of a Notice of Alleged Violation (“NOAV”) containing:
- Administrative Penalty
- Agreed Order
- Default Order
- Written Reprimand
- License Denial
TDLR Enforcement Plan
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, pursuant to the Texas Occupations Code, §51.302(c), has published an Enforcement Plan that lists the penalties and license sanctions that apply to specific statute and rules violations by each separate segment for each type of person or entity regulated by TDLR. Each segment of the plan contains a brief description of each individual violation that may be committed by the regulated person or entity, a citation to the statute and rule provision for each violation, and a range of penalties and/or sanctions applicable to each violation.
Department of Licensing and Regulation Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any licensee may request an appeal of an Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation disciplinary action to an administrative law judge with the Texas Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The administrative hearing is conducted by OAH before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The hearing is not as formal as a trial, but is similar. Each party presents evidence using documents or sworn testimony. Each party also gives an opening and closing argument which should explain why the judge should rule one way or the other. A professional’s attorney can cross examine witnesses and testify on his or her behalf. After the hearing, the ALJ reviews the transcripts, evidence and makes a recommendation.
If you’re interested in setting up a consultation with our Texas Registered Accessibility Specialist Attorney at Chelle Law or learning more about any of the services we provide to Texas professionals we invite you to reach out to us today.