Irish Wheelchair Association - Designing Accessible Environments for All
‘The Best Practice Access Guidelines, Designing Accessible Environments – Access to Independence’, were welcomed by people with disabilities, representative organisations, architects, engineers, planners and developers as the publication was launched by Irish Wheelchair Association.
The event took place in the Aviva Stadium, which is now recognised as one of the most accessible venues in Ireland. During the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road many of the recommendations and guidelines set out in the Irish Wheelchair Association publication were incorporated by architects and developers during the rebuild of the stadium in 2010.
Earlier this year, The Building Control Amendment Regulations which outline the statutory requirements and obligations relating to the certification of the design, build and completion of a building became operative on 1 March 2014. It is expected that the amended regulations along with the requirement for Disability Access Certificates will bring significant improvement to the levels of compliance with the Building Control regime in Ireland, in particular the accessibility standards for people with physical and sensory disabilities.
Speaking at the launch of the guidelines, Irish Wheelchair Association CEO, Kathleen McLoughlin explained:
“Irish Wheelchair Association were consulted during the planning phases of many recent designs including; Terminal 2 - Dublin Airport, the regeneration of Grafton Street and the Aviva Stadium, which is an important example of how accessibility can be easily incorporated into the blueprints of a public facility resulting in an outstanding venue which accommodates all individuals regardless of age, ability or disability.
The Business Case for adherence to the Access Guidelines indicates that there is a significant potential return for minimal investment. By catering for the requirements of people with disabilities, businesses can open their doors to potentially untapped streams of revenue including people with disabilities, their families, friends and broader social networks.”
Since January 2010, The Building Control Regulations require that Disability Access Certificates (DACs), showing compliance with the ‘Building Regulations (2010) Part M Access and Use’ are in place. By following these guidelines, developers, planners and local authorities can build according to the highest possible standards, thereby ensuring that the needs and requirements of people with disabilities are fully met. The Access Guidelines are also an excellent resource for individuals who wish to make adaptations to their own homes or premises.
Irish Wheelchair Association has a dedicated National Steering Group on Access who work with others to improve knowledge and awareness of the importance of accessibility and are available to support architects, planners and developers. For a copy of the ‘IWA Best Practice Access Guidelines, Designing Accessible Environments - Access to Independence’ or to contact the Association for information and advice please visit www.iwa.ie/access or firstname.lastname@example.org