Access for the Disabled
An important aspect of the Building Regulations is ensuring that all new buildings can be fully and easily used by all sections of the community. Advice and encouragement is given to owners of existing buildings to improve access for disabled people. For detailed guidance, reference should be made to the Approved Document.
Access to and Use of Buildings
One of the requirements of the Building Regulations is that "reasonable provision shall be made for people to gain access to and use the building and its facilities". The regulations require:
- Access to buildings and into buildings. Suitable access should be provided from the edge of the site, or disabled car spaces should be provided close to the entrance of the building.
- Ramped or level access should be provided to the main entrances.
- Ramped and stepped approach. Details of suitable designs are given.
- Hazards on access routes. Consideration must be given to projections which are hazardous to those with sight impairments.
- Entrance doors. Requirements for doors, widths and entrance lobbies.
- Internal lobbies and corridors. Suitable dimensions and design considerations are given.
- Lifts and stair lifts. Details of requirements, locations, dimensions and provisions for sight impaired and hard of hearing people are illustrated.
- Internal stairways. Dimensions of internal stairways suitable for the ambulant disabled.
- Hotel and motel bedrooms. Suitable layout and dimensions are illustrated.
- Aids to communication. Requirements for induction loops in booking halls, ticket offices reception areas and auditoria.
- Sanitary conveniences. Details and dimensions are given of wc compartments suitable for wheelchair users and ambulant disabled people.
- Seating. These should be provided at the head of stairs and near changes in level to provide a warning to people with sight impairment.
- Means of access to and into dwellings.
- Circulations within dwellings.
- Accessible switches and socket outlets in dwellings.
- Passenger lifts and common stairs in flats.
- WC provision in dwellings.
You should also be aware of the Equality Act 2010, which brings together existing equalities legislation including the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
The Partnership works closely with Whitby Disabled Action Group (Whitby DAG) who are a charitable organisation run mainly by volunteers providing a range of services to disabled people and carers. The Partnership consults the group on commercial developments to ascertain their views on the ease and usability of the building from a disabled persons point of view and where practical asks the designer to incorporate suggested changes.
The Partnership has a designated Access Officer, Robert Harper, who is available to give advice regarding disability access issues on existing and proposed buildings.