From Building networks
Where have people with disabilities gone in existing buildings?Well they are still here but I’m not sure that the built environment has kept up with demand. New buildings are supposed to comply 100% and old buildings undergoing renovations and retrofitting are supposed to be assessed for how close they get to compliance with current Code. The same assessment is done with Fire and yet Fire seems to win over from access. Earthquake strengthening costs have further compromised the discussion about providing better accessibility. And as for fire evacuation – people with disabilities in NZ just have to wait to be rescued.
The good news is that as building owners and tenants are considering their health and safety risks in their buildings and surrounds it leads to questions about universal access for all which in turn benefits people with disabilities.
I have been asked to deliver training in this space on how to conduct access audits on existing buildings. Please find a list of upcoming courses and content below.
As an aside, New Zealand is not alone in its failure to address fully accessibility in the built environment. A recent article on the UK RICS website identified ten often overlooked items in new developments that can dramatically affect ease of access and use. Read the article HERE.