Various pieces of relevant legislation have been enacted since the United Nations International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981.
These Acts include:
- The Equal Opportunity Act NSW;
- The NSW Disability Services Act (1993); and
- The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (1992) (DDA).
Many local councils Development control plans also address access issues which are supplementary to existing codes of practice, e.g; City of Sydney Access Development Control Plan 2004.It is important that service providers and developers are aware of their legislative responsibilities concerning the provision of access.
Building code of Australia (BCA)
The BCA references various Australian Standards and Codes to provide technical building requirements. Standards referenced by the BCA have legal application to ensure that minimum requirements for health, safety and amenity in relation to buildings are maintained.
Part D3 of the BCA, titled "Access for People with Disabilities" determines which buildings must comply with the access requirements currently referenced by the BCA.
The BCA is a performance based code. In addition, the Australian Standards on access and the Building Code of Australia are currently being updated so that they will be consistent with the access requirements of other legislation, particularly the Commonwealth DDA (1992).
Public authorities should be aware that these changes are being made and that currently a building that meets the BCA access requirements may still be the subject of a successful complaint to HREOC under the Commonwealth DDA (1992).
Australian standards on access and mobility
The main Australian Standards that relates to the provision of Disability Access are Australian Standards AS1428 and, AS1735 for lifts.
Relevant access requirements - Lifts:
- HREOC Advisory Notes on Access to Premises (Updated Feb 1999) Clauses 5.7, 5.13, 5.14.
- AS1428.1 - Design for access and mobility.
- AS1428.2 - Design for access and mobility.
- AS1735.12 - Lifts, escalators and moving walks.
Important points to consider
Lifts are essential for people with disabilities to have access to all levels of the facility. Consideration needs to be given to door width, lift size and control button style and height; and for people with sensory disabilities (hearing
- Is there a lift available to all floors? (AS1428.2 – Clause 12)
- Is it clearly sign posted from the entrance area?
- Is each floor level clearly signed (visual and tactile) on lift entrance frame? (AS1735.12 – appendix 8.5(a))
- Are the external control buttons at a height of 900mm-1200mm? (AS1735.12 - Clause 7.3.1)
- Is the lift door width a minimum of 880mm clear opening? (AS1735.12 - Clause 2.2)
- Is the internal lift floor surface level with the external surface for an unobstructed entry into the lift? (12mm variation allowed) (AS1735.12 - Clause 6)
- Is the minimum floor area of the lift 1100mm width x 1400mm depth? (AS1735.12 - Clause 2.1 & AS1428.2 – Clause 12))
- Is a handrail of minimum length 600mm provided in the lift? (AS1735.12 - Clause 5.3)
- Are the handrails in colour contrast to the walls?
- Are handrails within 500mm of a control panel?(AS1735 – Part 12 – Clause 5.3.1)
- Are handrails between 30mm – 50mm in diameter? (AS1735 – Part 12 – Clause 5.3.2(a))
- Is the top 270o arc of the handrail clear for its full length? (AS1735 – Part 12 – Clause 5.3.2(e))
- Is the top of the handrail between 850mm – 950mm above the floor? (AS1735 – Part 12 – Clause 5.3.2(d))
- Is there a minimum clearance of 60mm from the handrail to the wall? (AS1735 – Part 12 – Clause 5.3.2(g))
- Are any clearances behind the handrail of less than 50mm filled in? (AS1735 – Part 12 – Clause 5.3.2(g))
- Are the internal walls of the lift of a non-reflective material?
- Are the internal control buttons at a height of between 900mm-1200mm? (AS1735.12 - Clause 7.3.1)
- Are the control buttons raised and illuminated to assist a person with impaired vision? (AS1735.12 - Clause 8.2, 8.3 and 8.4)
- Do all buttons with the exception of the stop button and the communication button have: contrasting characters not less than 10mm high;
- Braille equivalent adjacent to or on the bottom; and tactile characters not less than 12mm high adjacent to or on the button? (AS1735 – Part 12 – Clause 8.3)
- Are the emergency procedures clearly identified in the event of a lift malfunction?
- Is the emergency telephone easy to access and use?
- Is there an audible announcement provided? (oral announcement or bell) (AS1735.12 - Clause 8.5 (b))
To learn more about disabled access platform lifts and stairlifts visit www.platformliftco.com.au or call one of the friendly team on 1300 884 960