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Access for Disabled Persons

Workington customer service centre access ramp Access for disabled people conjures up, in most people's minds, an image of someone in a wheelchair trying to negotiate a revolving door or flight of stairs.

Although this is an all too frequent occurrence, it is important that problems of people with other forms of disability are addressed, including those with ambulant disabilities, those with impaired vision or total loss of sight and those with hearing difficulties to a greater or lesser degree.

The requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations relate to the provision of access and facilities to all storeys of new buildings and also certain extensions and alterations to existing buildings.

The Regulations being extended to include for the needs of the majority of disabled persons and the problems faced by them in and around buildings, including new dwellings.

Basically, the requirements of the Regulations ensure the following are provided to a reasonable standard:-

Non Domestic

1. Suitable access from the site entrance and disabled car parking area to the building.

2. Level access into the building by way of a ramp, if necessary complemented by a suitable stepped approach.

3. Door widths and arrangements.

4. Lobbies of a size to allow wheelchair movement within the building.

5. Easy going staircases with contrasting nosings and different surface treatment top and bottom of flight.

6. Lifts in certain circumstances ensuring they are of adequate size with low level controls.

7. Non slip surfaces.

8. Provision for means of escape in case of fire.

9. Sanitary accommodation.

10. Provision for audience and spectator accommodation in sports stadia, theatres and cinemas.

11. Induction loop systems for those with hearing impairment.

Domestic

1. Make reasonable provision within the boundary of the plot to gain access to the dwelling.

2. Provide access into the dwelling via suitable steps or ramps.

3. Provide suitable entrance doors for wheelchair access.

4. Circulation space to be provided within the entrance storey of every dwelling, providing access into habitable rooms and a room containing a WC.

5. Accessible switches and socket outlets should be provided throughout the dwelling so that they are easily reachable.

6. Passenger lifts or suitable common staircase should be provided to enable disabled people to visit occupants who live on any storey.

7. Suitable WC provision should be provided within the entrance storey to the dwelling.

In addition to the statutory requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations, all the Authorities within the county have a designated person on their staff to take on the wider role of Access Officer.

Their aims and objectives are to give advice and guidance on the more general matters of access and, therefore, directly assist people with disabilities to negotiate the built environment more easily.

Some of the additional features, other than those included in the Building Regulations, which should be considered by the designer of a scheme would include:-

(a) Provision of suitable car parking facilities.

(b) Careful choice of surface treatments.

(c) Direction signs.

(d) Street furniture.

(e) Highway consideration in respect of pavement crossings, controlled crossings etc.

The above list is not exhaustive, but should you wish to discuss any access queries contact your local Access Officer at the relevant Local Authority.

Allerdale Borough Council carries out adaptations for disabled council tenants who have been referred for work by Cumbria County Council Occupational Therapists. Allerdale Borough Council also provide grants to improve disabled facilities in private housing, following referral by an Occupational Therapist. They also arrange building work in council houses.

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Contact us

0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ