If we continue to design and build buildings with access at the forefront we will undoubtedly accommodate a greater range of people and become a more inclusive society.
Here are a few examples where we need to be more accessible, some affecting me personally.
- As you know, I travel a lot! I carry a lot of luggage… What can I say? Training material takes up space! Consequently, to save my back I use wheeled bags. All too often kerbs quite literally curb my progress.
- I see a lot of courier drivers and delivery folk on my travels - they too wheel stuff into buildings and they also get caught out.
- We may quite rightly consider wheelchair users, but are their needs the same as users of walking frames or people with poor eyesight?
- I also have a depth perception problem, so stairs are a nightmare for me unless the nosing is clearly marked. I need the handrail or a shoulder or a friendly bystander to get me down the stairs safely… And no I am not wearing Kardashian shoes!
- I’ve also noticed that mothers and baby spaces have begun to outstrip the accessible ones… Malls and supermarkets are great at catering for the customers yet the accessible carparks are supposed to be the closest ones to the entrance.
All of this leads me to question why we even have a New Zealand standard (NZS4121: 2001) for the design of access and facilities for people with disabilities? Aren't these design principles supposed to be universal? This standard is also fifteen years old in its current version. It could be time for a dust off!
Lifemark was set up some years ago to promote whole of life housing design principles, it’s voluntary and the accessible standards for housing have not changed one bit!
As part of our accessibility training solutions, we cover a lot of information to ensure the buildings you design, build and inspect are more inclusive and accessible to all, so you can be the best at what you do. These courses are bench-marked to international standards through close liaison with internationally acknowledged accessibility experts and authorities. Find out more HERE.