My beloved Australia has a population in the low 20-22 millions ,but they also have a disabled population in excess of 4 million people so over 25% of Australians live with some form of permanent disability so as a start to keeping my promise to my country here are some of the relevant laws regulations and goverment amendments designed to protect your rights and allowing you to live with dignity
Almost 4 million Australians have a disability. About 50% of people aged over 55 have difficulty with their mobility, hearing or vision. By 2050 more than 25% of the population will be over 65. If we add their families, friends and colleagues the number of people affected by disability is larger still.
Each of these people is a potential customer, client and employee.
So good access to the buildings from which you operate and the services you provide makes good business sense. Good access also benefits others including parents of young children in prams; people with temporary illness of injury; older Australians; delivery people and shoppers with heavy bags or trolleys.
Improving access also helps businesses and service providers to meet existing legal responsibilities under discrimination law.
These guidelines have been developed to assist people with limited knowledge of building and discrimination law who want to look at ways to provide the best access possible to their buildings and services.
Are these guidelines designed for you?
These guidelines are designed for:
- Businesses and service providers (for example, a hardware store, shopping centre, Government agencies or dentist surgery) wanting to improve their access, looking for new premises or re-designing services
- Property Management agencies looking for property for a prospective client
- Local Councils wanting to provide local businesses or development applicants with additional information
- Businesses or service providers (for example, financial institutions, employment agencies, Government Departments or consultant bodies) that are required to comply with discrimination laws as part of contractual arrangements or who require sub-contractors to comply with discrimination law
- Access consultants and others in the design, construction and certification area wishing to work with clients to identify access difficulty or provide ‘building suitability’ reports on premises being considered for lease.
How will these guidelines assist you?
These guidelines will assist you to broadly identify issues that might affect the level of access provided by your current building, or a building you are thinking of buying or renting. They will also help you to look at whether the goods and services provided by your organisation are broadly accessible to people with a range of disabilities.
They are not, however, a technical compliance checklist for assessing whether or not you comply with either discrimination law or building law.
While the guidelines will help you to identify areas of possible access barriers, ticking the boxes will not necessarily mean you are providing equitable access. It is the responsibility of your organisation to ensure that all buildings, facilities, programs and services meet the requirements of relevant laws and codes.
The most relevant laws and codes are the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) (and similar State/Territory discrimination laws) and the Building Code of Australia (BCA). For more information about the BCA and the DDA refer to the ‘Further information’ section at the end of these guidelines.
If, after working through the guidelines, you are concerned you may not be providing the best access possible, you should seek assistance from someone with expertise in the areas of building law (the BCA) and discrimination law or a suitably qualified architect, designer, building surveyor or access expert. (See the ‘Further information’ section at the end of these guidelines and in particular the ‘ Information about access consultants and audits’. )
Note on discrimination law
The law says that a person with a disability must be able to access any building that the public is allowed to enter or use, and to have access to any goods, services or facilities just like any other customer or visitor. The law applies to all levels of Government and the private sector.
If a person with a disability cannot get into your building or cannot access your goods or services they could make a complaint of discrimination under either State or Territory discrimination laws, or the DDA.
The law does, however, include some defences. For example, there may be a defence where technical difficulties cannot be overcome or when the costs of improving access are prohibitive – this is known as the defence of ‘unjustifiable hardship’.
The Australian Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is often asked if it can certify or approve buildings and services as providing access at a level that would comply with the law.
Because of the way the law works the Commission cannot do that; it can only assist the parties to reach an agreement if someone lodges a complaint or offer advice about how to achieve the best access possible.
If a complaint is made to the Commission but it is not possible to reach an agreement between the two parties the complainant is informed of their right to take their complaint to the Federal Court. Only a court can make a decision about whether the defence of unjustifiable hardship applies in any particular case.
Because each business or service provider is different, and their resources vary, every case needs to be considered on its own merit. No generalised dollar figure can be attached to what would involve an unjustifiable hardship.
Note on technical specifications
The DDA does not include technical specifications about how to provide equitable access to buildings. The Federal Attorney-General and the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research are continuing to consider the development of a DDA Disability Standard on Access to Premises which, if completed, will provide references to technical specifications.
The BCA does refer to technical specifications found in a series of Australian Standards, the main one being AS 1428.1. While compliance with these technical specifications will not provide certainty of compliance with the DDA they are relevant. Throughout these guidelines examples of current AS 1428.1 requirements are given.
Reference is also made to examples of technical specifications found in AS 1428.2. In most areas AS 1428.2 recommends higher levels of access, such as circulation spaces, be provided.
The Commission also advises people involved with buildings to consider its Advisory Notes on Access to Premises which also refer to AS 1428.1 and AS 1428.2. These can be found under the ‘Commission resources’ at
The guidelines were developed following an initiative of the Federal Department of Human Services. They may be reproduced and distributed so long as the Commission is acknowledged. July 2007 updated April 2008
Guidelines: Indicators of Access to Buildings and Services
Most of the features referred to below are described in detail in a number of Standards Australia technical documents. The most relevant are AS 1428.1 and AS 1428.2 which provide technical information about access features such as doorway widths, design of ramps, lifts, accessible toilets and signage.
A thorough access audit could only be completed with reference to these or similar technical documents. For more information on how to get copies of AS 1428.1 and other standards such as AS 1428.2 refer to the ‘Further information’ section at the end of these guidelines.
1. ACCESSIBLE PATHS OF TRAVEL TO THE MAIN DOOR OR DOORS
1.1 Is there a clear and continuous accessible path of travel with no steps or other barriers (such as steep inclines, bollards, uneven or loose surfaces) from the main points of entry on the buildings allotment boundary or car park to and through the main door or doors used by the public or employees? (See Note 1. )
1.2 Is the path wide enough for a person using a wheelchair or walking frame to pass by someone else or are there regular passing spaces along the path?
1.3 Is there good overhead clearance with nothing hanging down, such as tree branches or signs that might be a hazard for people who are blind or vision impaired?
1.4 If the path of travel includes a ramp, does it have a gradual slope/incline? Does it have handrails, safety kerbs or kerbrails at the floor level to stop wheels going over the edges? Does it have level landings at regular intervals to allow someone to rest and does it have warning tactile ground surface indicators (TGSIs) at the top and bottom? (See Note 2. )
1.5 If a lift has been installed are there handrails and is it large enough to allow someone using a wheelchair or walking frame to enter and turn around to access the lift control panel? (See Note 3 .)
1.6 Do the lift buttons have raised tactile and Braille information next to them and are they at a height and in a position that can be reached by all? Does the lift provide audible information telling passengers what floor they arrived at?
1.7 Is the signage identifying your organisation clear, large enough to be seen at some distance and of high contrast? (See Note 4 .)
1.8 If there are any stairs (in addition to the accessible path of travel) do they have continuous handrails on both sides, colour-contrasting strips on the leading edge or nosing, no open risers and warning TGSIs at the top and bottom?
1.9 If there is a car ‘drop off’ point at the main entrance is there a kerb ramp to allow someone using a wheelchair to access the footpath from the road?
1. Providing access for people who use a wheelchair or a walking frame through a separate entrance to the one used by the general public is not acceptable if the main entrance can be adjusted and therefore made accessible without causing an unjustifiable hardship. This is particularly the case if entry to a building by an alternate access route is dependent on making prior arrangements such as by alerting staff to the need for doors to be unlocked.
2. For example, the current BCA refers to AS 1428.1 which requires a ramp to have a maximum incline of 1 in 14, a minimum width of 1000mm, level landings every 9 metres, safety kerb rails of at least 65mm height and handrails at heights between 865 and 1000mm. A step ramp rising no more than 190mm would not need to have handrails and could have an incline of up to 1 in 8 for a maximum length of 1520 mm.
3. Sometimes in older buildings lifts may be so small circulation is limited. In situations like this it is vital that the lift control buttons are placed so that a person using a wheelchair can reach them.
4. For example, good signage would include letters at least 17.5mm high for each metre of viewing distance. Signage should use a sans serif font, upper and lower case rather than just upper case and should never use a colour combination of the “tomato factor” i.e. the colours found in the ripening of a tomato, green, olive green, orange, yellow, pink and red. Signage should have a high contrast between the lettering and the surrounding background and not use colours such as silver on grey. Building owners would also improve access if they looked at ways to provide tactile and Braille signage in other areas such as tenant directories or room names and numbers.
Do you need to seek expert advice on areas of concern?
2. CAR PARKS
2.1 Is there a wider parking space(s) designated for accessible parking and is it identified with the international symbol for access ?
2.2 Is there a clear accessible path of travel with no steps or other barriers such as kerbs from designated accessible parking space(s) to the nearest accessible public entrance?
2.3 Is the designated accessible parking space(s) on a firm and level surface and as close as possible to an accessible public entrance?
2.4 Is there good overhead clearance from the entrance of an undercover carpark to the accessible parking space(s)?
2.5 Is there good overhead height clearance over the accessible car space(s)?
2.6 If there is no carpark is there a set-down area at the entrance with a kerb ramp to allow access from the road to the entrance?
Do you need to seek expert advice on areas of concern?
3. ACCESSIBLE PATHS INSIDE THE BUILDING TO ALL SERVICES AND FACILITIES
3.1 Is there a clear accessible path of travel with no steps or other barriers (such as steep inclines, bollards, uneven or loose surfaces) from each accessible entrance to all areas and facilities used by the public including reception areas, interview rooms, toilets and other facilities?
3.2 Are passageways wide enough for a person using a wheelchair or walking frame to pass by someone else or are there regular passing spaces?
3.3 Are floor coverings slip-resistant, firm and smooth?
3.4 If the path of travel includes a ramp does it have a gradual slope/incline? Does it have handrails, safety kerbs or kerbrails at the floor level to stop wheels going over the edges? Does it have level landings at regular intervals to allow someone to rest and warning TGSIs at the top and bottom? (See Note 2 in section 1 above)
3.5 If a lift has been installed are there handrails and is it large enough to allow someone using a wheelchair or walking frame to enter and turn around to access the lift control panel? (See Note 3 in section 1 above.)
3.6 Do the lift buttons have raised tactile and Braille information next to them and are they at a height and in a position that can be reached by all? Does the lift provide audible information telling passengers what floor they arrived at?
3.7 Does signage direct the public from the entrance to a reception desk or facilities and is it clear, large enough to be seen at some distance and of high contrast? (See Note 4 in section 1 above.)
3.8 Does the design and layout of the public area make it easy for the public to find their way to reception desks or other facilities? (See the guide produced by Vision Australia in the section on ‘ Information about other guides and checklists for access’).
3.9 If there are any stairs (in addition to the accessible path of travel) do they have continuous handrails on both sides, colour-contrasting strips on the leading edge or nosing, no open risers and warning TGSIs at the top and bottom?
3.10 If any room has fixed seating are there spaces for people using wheelchairs spread throughout the room?
Do you need to seek expert advice on areas of concern?
4.1 Is there good circulation space to enable people using mobility aids such as a wheelchair or walking frame to open and go through all doorways? (See Note 1 and 2 .)
4.2 Are the doors heavy and difficult to open?
4.3 Are the door handles easy to use such a ‘D-shaped’ handles or difficult to manipulate such as round knobs?
4.4 If the doorway and surrounds are glass is there a clearly distinguishable colour-contrasting strip across the full width so that people with a vision impairment can more easily identify the doorway? (See Note 3 .)
1. For example, the current BCA refers to AS 1428.1 which requires at least 800mm clear doorway opening (AS 1428.2 recommends 850mm clear doorway opening).
2. A revolving doorway is not an accessible entrance so an accessible alternative would be required at the same place.
3. For example, AS 1428.1 states that a contrasting strip should be at least 75 mm deep at a height of between 900 mm and 1000mm from the floor. A series of dots or logos spaced along the strip might not provide a sufficient level of warning for people with a vision impairment.
Do you need to seek expert advice on areas of concern?
5.1 Do all toilets have clear identification signs including raised tactile and Braille information?
5.2 Is there a unisex accessible toilet at or close to the location of other toilet facilities and does it have the international symbol for access as well as the tactile and Braille signage?
5.3 Do unisex accessible toilets have good circulation space internally and are they fitted out with grabrails, sinks, mirrors, taps, shelves, coat hooks and towelling at heights and in positions that can be reached by people using wheelchairs?
5.4 Is the door to the toilet easy to open and close with handles and locks that are easy to manipulate?
As with other areas technical details of the design and fitout of accessible toilets can be found in AS 1428.1 and other standards. Getting the design and fitout of accessible toilets right is vital if it is to be useable. For example, the current AS 1428.1 requires a circulation space of at least 1600mm by 2000mm whereas AS 1428.2 recommends 1900mm by 2300mm.
Do you need to seek expert advice on areas of concern?
6. GOODS, SERVICES AND FACILITIES
6.1 Is at least a part of any reception desk area at a height that can be used by a person using a wheelchair or someone of short stature? (See Note 1 )
6.2 If customers or clients may have to wait in a reception area for some time is there seating that can be used by people with disabilities such as arthritis?
6.3 If there are any tables, cubicles, water coolers, telephones, computers, ticketing machines, turnstiles or other facilities, is at least one of each kind at a height that would be accessible to people using a wheelchair? (See Note 2)
6.4 If there is a system for queuing or notification of service, is it clearly identifiable and accessible to all clients, including people with a hearing or vision impairment and people with a learning disability? For example, a queuing system that simply flashes up a number without an auditory announcement would not be useful for customers who are blind.
6.5 If there is a public announcement system, is it supplemented with visual displays such as captioning or scroll bars of information and assistive listening systems (ALS) such as a hearing loop? (See ‘Further information’ for information on assistive listening systems and hearing loops).
6.6 If there is a hearing loop or other assistive hearing system, is there signage in the form of the International Symbol for Deafness to inform the public of its availability?
6.7 If there are changing rooms is at least one large enough to be used by a person using a wheelchair or walking frame?
6.8 Is there good lighting to assist people with a vision impairment to follow the safest pathway and to assist with communication, for example for people who might lip-read?
6.9 If facilities such as telephones, computers or transaction machines are made available to the public can they be used by all clients including those with a vision or hearing impairment? For example, a person with a hearing impairment may need a volume control on a telephone or a person with a vision impairment may need a large screen on the computer or audio instructions on an ATM.
6.10 Are controls and switches at an accessible/reachable height for everyone including people using wheelchairs?
6.11 Are staff trained to provide assistance and services in a non-discriminatory manner? For example, are they aware of the appropriate way to offer assistance to a blind person or how to best communicate with a Deaf person who may lip read?
6.12 Do staff know when and how to organise a sign language interpreter for clients who communicate using Auslan sign language? (See ‘Further information’ for information on the use of sign language interpreters.)
6.13 Do staff know how to access a TTY (telephone typewriter) and the National Relay Service for people who are Deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment? (See ‘Further information’ for information on the use of TTY and the National Relay Service.)
6.14 Do all your contact details on your website and publications include a TTY or e mail contact for people who are Deaf or who have a hearing or speech impairment?
6.15 Is information provided to clients available in a range of formats such as electronic, large print or Braille on request and do staff know how to access alternative formats when required? (See ‘Further information’ for more information on accessible formats.)
6.16 Is public information on your organisation’s website accessible to all users and compliant with web accessibility guidelines? (See ‘Further information’ for more information on making your website accessible.)
6.17 If you provide your services outside your building on the footpath is there safe passage for pedestrians and is any street furniture, such as tables and chairs, placed away from the building line? (See Note 3 .)
6.18 Is there an emergency evacuation procedure in place that addresses the needs of people with disability? (See ‘Further information’ for information on emergency evacuation procedures.)
1. For example, AS 1428.2 recommends a maximum height of between 830 and 870 mm for a counter or reception desk and provides guidance on how to design a counter that allows a person using a wheelchair to approach front-on.
2. For example, AS 1428.2 generally recommends operable parts of facilities such as ATMs or ticketing machines should be at a height no greater than 1200 mm.
3. The Commission’s view is that the building line should be kept clear as blind and vision impaired people use the building line as a guide when using footpaths.
.Do you need to seek expert advice on areas of concern?
Use of chemicals and materials
A growing number of people report being affected by sensitivity to chemicals used in the building, maintenance and operation of premises. This can mean that premises are effectively inaccessible to people with chemical sensitivity. People who own, lease, operate and manage premises should consider the following issues to eliminate or minimise chemical sensitivity reactions in users:
- the selection of building, cleaning and maintenance chemicals and materials (see Note below);
- the provision of adequate ventilation and ensuring all fresh air intakes are clear of possible sources of pollution such as exhaust fumes from garages;
- minimising use of air fresheners and pesticides;
- the provision of early notification of events such as painting, pesticide applications or carpet shampooing by way of signs, memos or e-mail.
For more information on ways to eliminate or minimise chemical and fragrance sensitivity reactions look at http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/MCS.html and http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/fragrance.html
Note: There are a number of relevant environmental and occupational health and safety regulations and established standards, however, as is currently the case with other standards referenced in building law, compliance with those standards may not necessarily ensure compliance with the DDA.
If you have identified some access barriers or gaps in your services they need to be fixed as soon as possible in order to avoid continuing discrimination.
Some issues, such as changing your queuing system, putting in a handrail or improving signage can be quickly addressed, but there may be bigger issues, or a number of barriers or gaps in service that need to be addressed over a period of time.
For example, it may be that a service provider is leasing a small old building that cannot be made accessible because of technical or cost reasons. The only way to fix this problem may be to move when the current lease expires. Similarly, a business may identify 10 issues that need to be addressed over a period of 2 years because of budget constraints.
The DDA allows for service providers to develop Action Plans which set out what will be done, by when and by whom. Action plans can be lodged with the Commission and can be used as part of a defence of unjustifiable hardship should a complaint be made.
For more information on Action Plans see the Commissions website at www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/action_plans/index.html
Examples of good and bad access
The Commission has another resource called The good, the bad and the ugly which includes photographs of good and bad examples of the design of features such as TGSI, ramps, signage, accessible toilets and doorways. This can be found at www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/buildings/good.htm
Continuous accessible path of travel – this is an uninterrupted path of travel to or within a building providing access to all facilities that are required to be accessible. A continuous accessible path of travel must not include a step, stairway, turnstile, revolving door, escalator, moving walkway or other impediment. AS 1428.1 provides technical details of what makes a path of travel accessible.
Assistive listening system (ALS) – an ALS is a means of improving speech intelligibility at the ear of a listener. This is normally achieved through the process of reducing background noise and reverberation and increasing volume.
An example would be a Hearing Loop system or an Infra red system. A Hearing Loop system assists people using hearing aids to hear more clearly by cutting out background noise. A loop system can be set up with a microphone and a transmitter to send signals via a loop system to be picked up by hearing aids that are switched to ‘T’ setting. In larger event situations, infra-red systems that allow for stereo sound may be more practical.
International symbol for access – also known as the (International) Wheelchair Symbol, consists of a blue square overlaid in white with a stylized image of a person using a wheelchair. Details of the design, colors and location of this symbol can be found in AS 1428.1
International symbol for deafness – this symbol should be used to indicate the availability of an assistive listening system such as a hearing loop.
Warning tactile ground surface indicators (TGSIs) – Warning TGSI are areas of raised surface domes or cones on the ground designed to provide pedestrians who are blind or who have a vision impairment with warning information about features such as stairs, ramps or hazards.
Telephone typewriter (TTY) – a machine that has a keyboard and a screen. It may be built into a telephone or be connected to one. A Deaf person, or a person with a speech impediment, can use the machine to communicate with another person who also has a TTY by typing the message and reading the reply. TTY users can call people who do not have a TTY by using the National Relay Service provided by the Australian Communication Exchange (ACE). This allows the Deaf person to send or receive messages from ordinary ‘voice’ telephones. See ‘Further information’ for more information on TTY and the National Relay Service.
1. Information about anti-discrimination law
Australian Human Rights Commission
Disability Rights homepage
State and Territory anti-discrimination agencies
Attorney-General’s Department human rights page:
2. Information about building specifications and technical requirements
While there are technical details available concerning the design and construction of buildings in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and its referenced Australian Standards (AS), case law has shown that compliance with those requirements may not be sufficient to ensure compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
However, the BCA and its referenced standards continue to be relevant technical compliance documents.
The BCA is developed by the Australian Building Codes Board www.abcb.gov.au/
The BCA references a number of Australian Standards that provide details of the technical specifications. AS 1428.1 is the primary reference and is available from Standards Australia at: www.saiglobal.com/shop/script/search.asp
Other standards such as AS 1428.2 can also be obtained from Standards Australia.
3. Information about access consultants and audits
The Association of Consultants in Access Australia has a list of members who can provide audit services: www.access.asn.au/
4. Information about building certification and building surveyors
Contact your Local Government building section or the local chapter of the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) www.aibs.com.au/
5. Information about other guides and checklists for access
The Commission’s Advisory Notes on Access to Premises
Meeting Events Australia/HREOC Accessible Events – a guide or organisers http://www.meetingsevents.com.au/research/
WA Disability Services Commission Access Resource Kit (see Access publications)
Melbourne City Council has checklists under their Good Access is Good Business Program www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info.cfm?top=112&pa=1066&pg=1073
Vision Australia has produced a guide to good design for public buildings for people with a vision impairment:
The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Construction Innovation has produced two valuable publications on wayfinding. The first is are Wayfinding design guidelines at www.construction-innovation.info/index.php?id=1097 and the second is a Wayfinding system audit which can be found at www.construction-innovation.info/index.php?id=1096
6. Information about Disability Awareness Training
Free on-line training program
WA Disability Services Commission Disability Awareness Training
Some members of Association of Consultants in Access Australia also provide Disability Awareness Training: www.access.asn.au/
7. Information about disability organisations that can assist
There are a number of national peak disability organisations many of which have local branches or will know of local groups who may provide advice and contacts. Many Local Government bodies also have Community or Disability Officers who may be able to provide advice and identify local contacts.
Links to national peak disability groups
Organisations such as Vision Australia , 454 Glenferrie Road Kooyong Victoria (03 9864 9607) and 4 Mitchell Street Enfield New South Wales (02 9334 3556) may also be or assistance: www.visionaustralia.org.au/
8. Information about how to access sign language interpreters
The web addresses below provide access to organisations that will assist in booking a sign language interpreter.
South Australia : www.deafsa.org.au/main/
Tasmania : www.tasdeaf.org.au/
Victoria : www.vicdeaf.com.au/
Queensland : www.deafservicesqld.org.au
9. Information about website accessibility
Human Rights Commission Advisory Notes
World Wide Web Consortium Guidelines
Vision Australia , 454 Glenferrie Road Kooyong Victoria (03 9334 3333)
10. Information about Telephone typewriters TTY
Telstra Aged and Disability Centre (National Disability Line, phone: 1800 068 424). Rental TTYs are available from Telstra on application.
11. Information about the National Relay Service
The National Relay Service (NRS) is an Australia-wide telephone access service which provides access to anyone, at no additional charge, in the wider telephone network for people who are Deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. As a business you could ensure people with a speech or hearing impairment are aware that they can contact you through the NRS. For a Fact Sheet on this see: http://www.relayservice.com.au/
12. Information about how to provide information in Braille and other alternative formats
- Vision Australia, 454 Glenferrie Road Kooyong Victoria (03 9864 9607) and 4 Mitchell Street Enfield New South Wales (02 9334 3556)
13. Information on assistive listening systems
While not recommending any particular company the following can provide further information on products:
14. Information about Accessibility Action Plans
Information on Action Plans and examples of current plans can be viewed at: www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/action_plans/index.html
15. Information about emergency egress procedures
I hope the facts and directions abovego someway to helping ,please keep reading my blog and as research uncoves more for my community as well as the elderly I will post it. thankyou Remember 1 voice is noise 1,000’s are power