The National Disability Authority (NDA) has recently published a best practice guideline entitled Building for Everyone (NDA, 2002), which aims to promote universal access to buildings and the environment. Building for Everyone shows how to design, make and manage buildings and external environments for the inclusion, access and use of everybody. Although ideal for architects, builders and designers, Building for Everyone will prove essential reading for anyone concerned with inclusion and access in Ireland today. Contact NDA on 01-608 0400 or firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to purchase a copy of the book.
Inclusive Buildings: Designing and managing an accessible environment is a CD ROM publication (Bright and Di Giulio, 2002) giving an extensive insight in how to design and manage the built environment. The CD is arranged under the following headings: user needs, building categories, functional elements, access audits and way guidance systems.
Universal Design (Goldsmith, 2000) calls on designers and lawmakers to embrace access "for everyone" rather than looking at people with disabilities in isolation. Goldsmith discusses making buildings safe and convenient for all their users, including people with disabilities and provides a comprehensive list of guidelines for making these buildings accessible.
Access audits has been published by the Centre for Accessible Environments (2004) as a guide and checklist for auditing the accessibility of public buildings. It provides the background data to ensure the auditor understands what details need to be considered in carrying out an audit and illustrates how to carry out an audit.
Building Sight (Barker et al., 1995) is published to address the needs of people with vision impairments in the built environment. It is a handbook of building and interior design solutions to include the needs of vision impaired people and highlights their needs in a simple and practical way.
The Access Manual (Bright and Sawyer, 2004) covers the design, improvement, maintenance and management of accessible environments. As a building designer or manager, it will show you how to provide and run buildings and services, and employment facilities to enable independent and convenient use by everyone.
BS 8300:2001 "Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people", is the most important technical document on access yet published. BS 8300 published by the British Standards Institution in 2001 explains how the built environment can be designed to anticipate and overcome restrictions that prevent disabled people making full use of premises and their surroundings; it gives recommendations for the design of new buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. It applies to car parking provision, setting down points and garaging, access routes to and around buildings, and entrance to and the interiors of new buildings that disabled people may use as residents, visitors or employees, spectators or participants in sports events, performances and conferences.
The standard applies to domestic and non-domestic buildings including those relating to transport and industry, administration and commerce, health and welfare, refreshment, entertainment and recreation, religion, education, culture and science, together with dwellings and other residential buildings (except those designed exclusively for the use of disabled people). The Standard deals only with their use by disabled people and does not make specific recommendations relating to children.
Inclusive projects (http://www.dptac.gov.uk/inclusive/guide/index.htm) a guideline produced by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, offers advice to those commissioning buildings on how to ensure they include the needs of people with disabilities. By looking at all stages in the design process, the guide offers best practice advice on how all participants in the development process can contribute to the delivery of a high quality inclusive environment that provides access to all members of society including people with disabilities.
The list above only indicates some of the texts that are available for accessibility and the built environment. The NDA Library has an extensive range of other publications. You can view the NDA library catalogue on line at http://www.nda.ie. If you require a book on loan please do not hesitate to contact the NDA Library at 01-608 0400.
Accessibility of the built environment is a key factor in facilitating people with disabilities to achieve greater independence, participation and social inclusion. An inaccessible built environment affects all members of society. However, for people with disabilities, the barriers to equal participation in society due to an inaccessible environment are much greater.
This edition of the NDA Research Agenda series is concerned with examining the extent and nature of how the issue of accessibility of the built environment has been addressed in the Irish context. It sets out some of the recent attempts to facilitate greater inclusion through improved accessibility of the built environment in Ireland and shows how, following the report of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities, the acceptance of a rights-based approach to disability has made a positive impact on broad areas of access to the built environment. The review concludes with observations on how these initiatives have impacted on built environment accessibility in Ireland.
The NDA's Excellence Through Accessibility (EtA) initiative acknowledges those Government Departments and Agencies that have taken steps to make their organisations more accessible. In response to the level of interest in their Excellence through Accessibility award scheme, the NDA has developed a Directory of Accessibility Consultants.
The Directory is an online searchable database of individuals offering services in quality customer services, the built environment and information and communication technologies. Once populated this database will be usable by all parties seeking assistance in achieving measurable and sustainable improvement in the accessibility of their services. The Directory will serve as a single source of information for potential purchasers and allow them to compare and contrast the vast array of skills and services available. The Registry can be found on NDA website or by using the following link: http://www.nda.ie/regconsultantstemp.nsf/$$Search?OpenForm
The National Disability Authority Library is the largest library in Ireland dedicated solely to the topic of disability. The collection covers issues such as employment, education, health, accessibility, government policy and the arts. The NDA Library catalogue is available online at http://www.nda.ie and contains details of all books, theses, government reports, journal articles, news articles and videos held in the library.
The NDA Access Handbook Template has been designed to allow managers to develop an access handbook for their organisation with simplicity and ease. An access handbook is an internal document for the use of management, maintenance personnel and new staff; and which all staff should be aware of. Its purpose is to provide a simple way of listing and explaining the features and facilities of a building, which must be maintained and/or improved in order to ensure access for everyone.
The template contains an introduction to accessibility in section one which can be used or altered by the user to suit their organisation's needs. Sections in the template include: