Role of an Independent Licensed Architect (ILA)
An Independent Licensed Architect (ILA) verifies specific ADA compliance terms of legal settlement agreements or court-enforced consent decrees.
ADA legal enforcement
The Department of Justice enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act. The DOJ reaches agreements with public and private entities regarding equal access to their facilities and programs by persons with disabilities. Entities also may be subject to consent decrees to address accessibility complaints or legal actions. The intent of these legally binding actions is to establish steps and a timeline for correcting noncompliant conditions.
ADA compliance verification
The DOJ has a strong interest in verifying that noncompliant conditions are being addressed. One way to do so is to require the services of an accessibility specialist to verify compliance with settlement agreement terms. or the requirements of a consent decree. ILA is one designation the DOJ uses for such a specialist. While it is up to an organization to retain an ILA, that choice must be approved by the DOJ.
ILA is not the only term used by the DOJ to refer to accessibility specialists required by settlement agreements. Neutral Third Party or Neutral Accessibility Consultant are other designations. Generally, their compliance investigation and verification duties may overlap.
Tasks of an ILA may vary depending on settlement specifics. Responsibilities may include:
- Survey specified facilities for ADA compliance.
- Sometimes the DOJ has already conducted ADA surveys of some of the organization’s facilities. The ILA will survey the remaining specified sites.
- Prepare reports, including photographs, that identify noncompliant conditions.
- Provide recommendations for appropriate modifications.
- Issue statements that corrective actions undertaken by the organization comply with ADA Standards.
LCM has earned DOJ approval to perform ILA activities for numerous ADA Title II and Title III entities. These include cities, counties, public housing agencies and private housing developers, universities, cruise ship lines, and hospitality or retail brands.