DDA Part 3 Provision of Services December 1996 - October 2004
The building regulations control how you carry out construction and modifications to your property. The legislation that governs the accessibility of buildings, with regards to disabled people has been significantly revised. The Disability and Discrimination Act Part 3, Provision of Services, became law on the 1st October 2004. From this moment in time the requirements for service providers to make "Reasonable adjustments" to their buildings to ensure disabled people can access services has changed. You need therefore to be aware of how this legislation will affect you.
The Discrimination Act 1995, as amended by the Special Education Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA). Building Regulations Part M revised to meet new standards (May 2004). These standards are comprehensively summarised in BS8300 (2001), Design of Buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. This information has been designed to help you, to continue to order and use Alpro products, with the confidence that the requirements of the new legislation are being met.
What are the new regulations designed to achieve?
In a word, Equality. The new legislation is about the civil rights of disabled people receiving the same services and provisions that are available for the non disabled. It is about removing barriers, in areas such as attitude, environment and organisation.
How will this affect ingress and egress to and from buildings?
Disabled people need to be able to get inside buildings, move around freely once inside and exit in a safe way. This may mean wider doorways, signage that can be seen from a seated or standing position, colour contrasts for door furniture, auto door operators, audio information, adequate way finding and level access or lift access.
How will this affect door design?
The requirements for the design of doors will vary according to location and context. These requirements are comprehensively covered by BS8300 and Document M. Contained within these publications are door closer strengths and colour contrast information with regard to door furniture. Although it should be noted that both of these areas are the subject of ongoing debate, with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Once these areas have been agreed and resolved it may be that BS8300 is rewritten, incorporating new or additional requirements.
Do I have to comply with the new legislation?
Yes, but the major issue here is what is seen as "Reasonable Adjustment" on the part of the service provider. The context of the building has to be taken into account and whether there are other ways of achieving compliance. For example is there an additional entrance into the building, other than the primary front entrance? Perhaps access to the building can be achieved through a side entrance that is already wide enough to accept wheelchairs. Advice needs to sought from the Building Control officer. Since December 1996 it has been unlawful to treat disabled people less favourably because of their disability. Since October 2004 service providers have a duty to make "Reasonable Adjustments".
What are the requirements for door furniture?
The regulations at present state that there should be a colour contrast between the door finish and the door furniture, and that the door furniture is not cold to the touch. Recent research has shown that a matt finish is better suited for the visually impaired. Currently discussions are ongoing with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to clarify the exact requirements. Additional information can be obtained from Alpro.
How will the legislation be enforced?
Enforcement of Part 3 of the DDA legislation will be by individuals taking service providers to court to sue if they feel they have been treated unfairly. The court will then look at the "Reasonable Adjustments" made. Discrimination will be deemed to have taken place if the service provider cannot show that the treatment in question is justified. The court will judge on "What is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case". Part M requires "Reasonable Provision" to make buildings accessible, compliance with Part M can be used to establish "Reasonable Adjustment" under the DDA legislation.
Who has to comply with the act?
Anybody who provides a service. The provision of services includes the provision of any goods or facilities. It is irrelevant whether the service is provided without payment.
- Local planning authority.
- Building Regulations Part M 2004 Edition "Access to and use of buildings".
- BS8300 (2001) "Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people".
- BS7036 Code of Practice for Safety at Powered Doors for pedestrian use.