The DDA legislation is here to stay and it’s Law. It is law and requires that a person with a disability has the right to access places used by any member of the public.
So how does this affect your new building or project?
All new building works or in the case of transportable buildings any building that is placed on a site and is the subject of a building permit will be required to meet the revised standards covered in AS1428.1-2009 which are directly related to the DDA. This can pose a number of problems for the project owner.
Existing Transportable Buildings
There is no provision for transportable buildings to be considered based on when they were built. Building Surveyors and Local Authorities require a transportable building to meet ALL current regulations in the NCC (formerly the Building Code of Australia). So no matter how old the building is it must comply with all new regulations at the time of which you are seeking a permit for it to be placed on a site.
This alone can raise insumountable hurdles for the project owner which may make the option of placing the unit on the proposed site cost prohibative. Modifications to existing structures can be costly and in some instances just not possible.
Specific Requirements for Buildings
There are going to be a number of elements of the building which will need to be compliant. Then there will be requirements external to the building itself which will need to form part of the overall project and be detailed/documented in order for an approval to be granted. Some of these considerations are,
- Door openings - sizes of door openings
- Door access / egress - circulation spaces required around doors on both sides of them in order for compliance
- Hall way or access way width's
- Door threshold sizes - door sill profiles and heights
- Access to the structure from the point of car parking - ramps, handrails, tactile indicators, kerb rails and more....
- Provision for disabled accessible car bay(s) - in compliance with the Australian Standard
- Light switch heights
- Disabled accessible WC facilities
And this is not all. There are a multitude of considerations in order for your obligations to be met and allow a building permit to be granted.
What if providing access is too difficult?
The DDA does not require the provision of access to be made if this will cause major difficulties or excessive costs to a person or organisation. This is called "unjustifiable hardship".
But before deciding that providing access is unjustified, a person or organisation should:
- thoroughly consider how access might be provided
- discuss this directly with the person involved, and
- consult relevant sources of advice.
If adjustments cause hardship it is up to the organisation to show that they are unjustified.
Where can you find out more?
Advisory Notes on Access to Premises aims to assist people to better understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to access to premises.
Our team is familiar with the standards and what will be required in order to achieve compliance in your project. Talk to a member of our team today for further information.