An access specialist is someone who is familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act and can help you identify barriers to accessibility at your facility that may limit the way individuals with disabilities can utilize your space.
An architect is a licensed professional that can make accurate design recommendations. Every architect should be familiar with the ADA, but many are not specialists in this area. It is important to hire an architect who specializes in the ADA.
In the 2014 court ruling of Kirola v. The City and County of San Francisco, the court questioned the qualifications of the plaintiff’s Disability Access Specialist expert witness. The report reads, “[The plaintiff’s Disability Access Specialist] is not an architect… only licensed architects are qualified to be experts in disability access standards.”