The Building Code of Australia (BCA)has provisions for ambulant access in existing buildings that are being extended or renovated and in new buildings. These technical provisions are meant to ensure that buildings are usable and accessible by individuals with disabilities, including those who use mobility aids or wheelchairs. This construction Lismore ensures that everyone has equal access to the built environment and can participate fully in society regardless of their abilities.
Providing ambulant access in buildings is not only a legal requirement, but also a moral and social responsibility. Here aresome of the key requirements for installing ambulant access in your building:
- There should be a clear space in front of the door to allow for wheelchair users to enter the building.
- There should be accessible parking spaces provided, with an adjacent access aisle.
- The maximum height of door handles must be no more than 1200mm, and the minimum width of doorways must be at least 810mm.
- There must be a tactile warning surface at the edge of any ramps, steps, or platform lifts.
- Toilets and bathrooms should have wheelchair accessible, appropriate clearances, with grab rails, and accessible fixtures.
- Stairways and ramps must have handrails, and the ramp slopes must not exceed 1:14.
Keep in mind that these requirements are minimum standards, as some states and territories may have additional requirements. Also, it is important to consult with a building construction professional to ensure that your building meets the current and applicable requirements.
Ambulant access in your building is important for these reasons:
It is one of the reasons why ambulant access in buildings is vital. Having an accessible building enables people with disabilities to have equal access to the built environment and participate fully in society. This includes being able to enter, use, and move around a building safely and easily.
Moreover, providing ambulant access in buildings can also benefit other groups such as individuals with temporary mobility impairments, older people, parents with strollers, or persons carrying heavy packages.
Providing ambulant access in your building can help ensure safety for persons with disabilities. These include:
- Evacuation. In the event of an emergency, for example, a fire or natural disaster, people with disabilities may likely require additional time or assistance to evacuate a building. If you have ambulant access, including stairways with handrails, ramps, and accessible exits, they can make it easier for them to evacuate safely and quickly.
- Personal safety. Accessible construction design elements such as grab bars, handrails, and level surfaces can also provide an extra measure of safety for persons with disabilities, minimizing the risk of falls or other accidents.
- Assistance during power outages or other disruptions. Ambulant access can also make it easier for people with disabilities to move around your building during power outages or other disruptions that may impact lighting or elevators.
- Emergency Services access.Ambulant access can also make it easier for emergency services personnel, such as firefighters and paramedics, to enter and navigate a building to be able to provide assistance to persons with disabilities during an emergency.
In Australia, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and BCA require that new and existing buildings are accessible to people with disabilities and that they are not discriminated against because of their condition. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to fines or penalties. This can also result in legal action being taken by people or organizations representing persons with disabilities.
Make sure to consult with a construction professional with experience in compliance with the BCA, including the local authorities or regulators, ensuring that your building meets the current and applicable requirements.
Besides being a legal requirement, providing ambulant access is also a smart business decision. These include:
- Positive brand image. By having ambulant access, your business can demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility, which can increase the reputation of your company and attract customers who value these attributes.
- Improved employee productivity. With ambulant access, your business can ensure your employees with disabilities can move around and work inside the building safely and easily. As a result, this can improve their productivity and overall job satisfaction.
- Increased customer base. Your business can attract customers who may have previously been unable to enter or use your premises, including the elderly, parents with strollers, people carrying heavy packages, and persons with disabilities. With ambulant access, they have no reason not to go to your building again and again.
- Cost savings.Adding ambulant access during the renovation or initial construction of your building can be a less expensive option than retrofitting accessibility features in the future. In addition,it can prevent the cost of penalties and legal actions due to non-compliance. The last thing you want is to pay for unwanted expenses because you did not provide ambulant access.
You can design ambulant access in your building in a way that increases the overall aesthetics of the building, rather than detracting from it. These are some aspects that your business would benefit from ambulant access in terms of aesthetics:
- Architectural integration.Ambulant access features can be integrated into the overall design of your building, such as using materials, colours, and textures that complement the aesthetic of the building.
- Contemporary design.Over time, accessible design elements have evolved and changed. These days, there are many contemporary and sleek designs for ramps, handrails and grab bars that can complement the overall aesthetic of a building, while still complying with the ambulant access requirements.
- Landscaping.You can use the landscaping around the building to enhance the aesthetic of the accessible design elements, such as using plants and flowers to create a natural transition between the building and the surrounding area.
- Customizable. You can customize the design elements of the ambulant access to suit the style of your building. For example, a ramp for a historic building can be designed to blend in with the architectural style of the building, instead of standing out as an afterthought.
With proper planning anddesign, ambulant access can be seamlessly integrated into the architectural style of your building, as well as improving the overall aesthetic appeal. Make sure to consult with a building construction professional with experience in lifts, stairs, and mobility access.