PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELFARE
NEW HAMPSHIRE BUILDING CODE
155-A:5-a Accessibility Standards for Public Buildings.
I. The new construction, addition, or alteration of a public building as described in RSA 155-A:5 and as governed under RSA 155-A:2, I shall be subject to the requirements of this section and RSA 155-A:5-b.
II. Except as provided in paragraph III, the contractor shall obtain and submit to the owner of the public building a written certification from a person qualified under RSA 155-A:5-b that:
(a) The design drawings or construction drawings for the proposed new construction, addition, or alteration meets the accessibility standards of the state building code; and
(b) Upon the completion and after inspection, the new construction, addition, or alteration meets the accessibility standards of the state building code.
III. The requirements of paragraph II shall not apply to a public building for which the review of design drawings or construction drawings and inspection of completed work is performed by a municipal building inspector who:
(a) Satisfies the qualifications under RSA 155-A:5-b;
(b) Examines the design drawings or construction drawings prior to the commencement of work and inspects the building upon completion of work for compliance with the accessibility standards in the state building code; and
(c) Provides the governing body of the municipality with a written certification that the design and construction of the building upon completion of work comply with the accessibility standards of the state building code.
IV. Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring municipalities to inspect and certify public buildings for compliance with accessibility standards. Public buildings located in a municipality that has chosen to authorize its municipal building inspector to inspect and certify shall remain subject to all other provisions of this section.
V. In addition to other enforcement authority granted in this chapter, the protection and advocacy system for New Hampshire, as designated by the governor pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 15043, shall have standing to enforce the accessibility standards required by this section. If the protection and advocacy system determines that probable cause exists that a public building violates the accessibility certification or inspection requirements of this section, it shall issue a letter to the owner of the building specifically identifying the deficiencies and requesting that the building be brought into compliance. The owner shall have 30 days to respond to the letter and 270 days to bring the building into compliance. If the owner does not respond, does not agree that there are some or all of the deficiencies asserted, or does not agree to bring the building into compliance within the specified time periods, or any other dispute remains as to compliance, either the owner or the protection and advocacy system may file an action in the superior court to determine compliance with this section. The protection and advocacy system may bring the action in its name or in the name of any individual with a physical impairment who is adversely affected by the alleged failure to adhere to the accessibility standards of the state building code, or both. If it is determined by the superior court that the building is not in compliance with the accessibility standards in the state building code, the court shall order that the responsible party bring the building into compliance. The court may award reasonable attorney's fees and costs to the prevailing party. For purposes of this section, a party prevails only if it receives either an enforceable judgment on the merits or a consent decree.
VI. Any individual with a physical impairment who is adversely affected by the failure to adhere to the requirements of this section shall have a private right of action against the owner pursuant to the procedure established in paragraph V, including the right to court costs and reasonable attorney's fees as the prevailing party.
VII. Any owner of a public building or contractor who is found by a preponderance of the evidence in a proceeding under this section to have knowingly violated the accessibility standards of the state building code shall be subject to a civil penalty. The penalties shall be the same as those established by RSA 155-A:8. All civil penalties shall be deposited into the general fund. The party bringing the action shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs if it is determined by the court to be the prevailing party.
Source. 2009, 285:2. 2012, 197:1, eff. Aug. 12, 2012.