The best way to ensure Disability Access provisions are being met is to engage the services of an Accredited Access Consultant such as ASN to undertake a Desktop Access Audit of the proposed building development/s or an Onsite Access Audit of existing conditions.
The purpose of engaging an accredited access consultant is to ensure the building meets the minimum performance requirements as stipulated within current legislative codes and standards. This assists in obtaining building and occupancy permits as well as reducing the likelihood of a disability discrimination claim being lodged.
Both of ASN’s disability access auditing services (Desktop & Onsite) detailed reports are issued that contain identification of non-conformances, statuatory requirements, recommended works and situational advice.
For example the process that ASN use for Desktop Auditing can be seen in the below diagrams and this ensures the development is in line with statutory requirements as well as ensuring the project is not held up by having to rectify issues that have been identify by the building surveyor.
On-Site Access Auditing
The on-site access audit is the same in essence as the above desktop auditing service with the one exemption. Everything is done by an accredited access consultant at the actual physical address of the building. All components of the desktop audit are included with the on-site and each building is issued with a detailed audit report.
The report is in the format of ASN’s Access Audit Reporting Tool (AART). The AART is a detailed Excel spreadsheet with hyperlinked photo referrrences and is inclusive of (Access Auditing Only) clause referrences, design solutions and priority rankings.
ASN’s disability access audits are extremely comprehensive and include multiple elements. Likely elements to be audited are:
Car Parking: including ratios, required numbers of bays, signage, delineation, gradient and kerb ramp provisions. Locations of bays will also be audited.
Pathways: all pathway systems from the allotment boundary and to and within the premises will be audited. Inclusive of principle entrance points.
Wayfinding: although wayfinding is silent in the Australian Standards our auditing is inclusive of assessing the interaction of required elements such as, TGSI’s & signage, to ensure these provide good wayfinding information and meaning.
Ramps: there are numerous requirements for ramps to achieve compliance. Each ramp will be audited accordingly against specific requirements determined by the type of ramp it is.
Walkways: like ramps, walkways to have numerous requirements to achieve compliance. Each walkway will be audited accordingly
Stairs: Stairs must be assessed to ensure there is compliant treads, risers and nosings. Other stair requirements such as handrails and TGSI’s will also be audited.
Doorways: doorways will be audited as there are width, force, swing and luminance contrast requirements. These will all be audited for all doorways to and within.
Circulation Spaces: there are many situations within the built environment where it is required for correct circulation spaces to be provided, such as at doorways. All requirements for circulation spaces are included in our auditing.
Handrails: the design and installation of handrails must be in accordance with the Australian Standards, mostly AS1428.1 – 2009. Every handrail required to comply will be audited.
Grabrails: the design and installation of grabrails must be in accordance with the Australian Standards, mostly AS1428.1 – 2009. Every grabrail required to comply will be audited.
Gradients: all graded surfaces will be audited. Gradients such as, 1:8, 1:10, 1:14, 1:20, 1:33 & 1:40.
Lighting Levels: minimum LUX levels are required within different setting types. LUX levels will be recorded and audited accordingly against the specific setting.
Lifts: there are different types of lifts and hence different requirements for minimum compliance. Lifts will be audited according to type.
Fittings & Fixtures: counters, customer service, seating, controls, classrooms, vending machines, information stand and the like are audited and assessed to ensure ease of use for a wide range of people.
Sanitary Facilities: have the most specific and extensive set of requirements. There are specific requirements for unisex accessible sanitary compartment, showers, ambulant sanitary facilities and change rooms. ASN’s auditing include such building areas.
Emergency Egress: it is essential that as the accessibility into a building is audited that the same be for the emergency egress from a building. This is particulary important since the release of the Australian Standard AS3745.
Luminance Contrast: probably one of the most complex areas within disability access. ASN is considered by peers as the expert in luminance contrast.
Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSI’s): both directional and hazard TGSI’s are audited against the requirements of Australian Standard AS1428.4.1 – 2009 and according to the types integrated, discrete and composite discrete.
Signage: identifying accessible features as well as navigational / informational signage is required to meet the BCA deemed to satisfy provisions.
Services: delivery of services must be in an accessible form. Although service delivery cannot be directly audited against a set Australian Standard, ASN assess service delivery against industry be practices.