Michael Ellars



Certified Access Specialist

I am a Certified Access Specialist. Also know as a “CASp,” I gained this specialty certification from the State of California in 2009. A CASp is authorized to reviewing drawings and the built environment in order to determine compliance with construction-related accessibility standards for persons with disabilities.

Accommodating persons with disabilities within the built environment can be a controversial issue. Otherwise mild-mannered folks of all backgrounds often become enraged when presented with the notion that disabled persons are entitled to accessible design.

Accessibility is not just a “good idea.” It is not an issue of building code compliance that remains “grandfathered in” so long as you don’t change anything in an existing building. Accessibility is a civil right equal to freedom of religion and freedom from racial or sexual discrimination. Failure to provide accessible facilities is no different than hanging a sign on your building that says “Whites Only.”

I am an ADA Coordinator. Expanding my reach as a CASp beyond the built environment and into operational compliance, I received my certification as an ADA Coordinator (ADAC) in 2019.

I believe compliance is mostly a matter of education. As such, I actively educate my fellow architects and design professionals on accessible design requirements and best practices. My goal is to help create a more accessible built environment. Perhaps one day the concepts of Universal Design will become the expectation rather than the exception.

I am a Certified Access Specialist and an ADA Coordinator.