Universal access appraisals

A disability may be defined as any physical, sensory, neurological, intellectual, cognitive, or psychiatric condition that can impact on a person’s lifestyle and or everyday functioning.

According to the Australian Bureau of statistics (1998) there were 355 500 people with a disability in Western Australia alone. This accounts for 19.5% of the total population. The number or people with a disability in Western Australia is estimated to rise to 564 900 by the year 2021; an increase of 60%.

Disabilities can occur at any time in a person’s life. For some the disability begins at birth, for others, it can be the result of an accident or later in life through illness or aging.

Some disabilities can affect a person’s ability to communicate, interact with others, learn or be mobile independently. A disability can impact on a person’s employment, education, recreation, accommodation and leisure opportunities. They may be short term or long term, episodic and some may be in conjunction with other disabilities. Each individual case is different and each disability will present a different set or needs and requirements.

Major changes have been implemented to ensure that people with disabilities can access buildings and facilities. The changes include legislative minimum standards for:

  • Circulation space at doorways,
  • Clear pathways to and within all areas of a building normally used by occupants,
  • Clear and legible signage (including braille),
  • Provision of information with clear instructions or personal assistance where needed, and
  • Minimum standards, sizes and numbers of facilities.

    There are various pieces of legislation in place to support the Disability Discrimination and Human Rights Acts protecting and promoting the rights of people with disabilities.

    It is required that Authorities, Certifiers, Building Owners, Developers, Builders, Architects, Building Designers and Project Managers are aware of their legislative responsibilities concerning the provision of access – Our team at MODUS Compliance offer a specialised service for access audits and appraisals to review conformance with all applicable standards and offer alternative solutions where applicable.