DCAN 11(Draft): Access for all - Designing for an Accessible Environment
3.0 Legislation and Codes of Practice (Page 1 of 5)
3.1 Increasing attention and priority is now being given to disability issues through Government legislation and Codes of Practice. The process of introducing legislation on access to buildings for people with disabilities began in 1970s. The range of legislative application has widened over time and detailed requirements have been extended and refined, most notably with the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995 . The following are relevant to both planning and building control and are listed in chronological order.
Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1978
3.2 Section 4 (1) of this Act requires that:
“Any person undertaking the provision of any building or premises to which the public are to be admitted, whether on payment or otherwise, shall, in the means of access both to and within the building or premises, and in the parking facilities and sanitary conveniences (if any), make provision, insofar as it is in the circumstances both practicable and reasonable, for the needs of members of the public visiting the building or premises who are disabled”.
Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Order 1982
3.3 Article 8 of the Order introduced a range of amendments to the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act including specific reference to the Code of Practice for Access for the Disabled to Buildings - BS 5810: 1979.
3.4 Article 5 of this Order inserted Article 17A into the 1972 Planning Order which was further amended by Schedule 18 of the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1986. This now comprises Article 26 of the 1991 Planning Order.
Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991
3.5 Article 26 of the Planning Order requires that the Department when granting planning permission to certain buildings (educational buildings, shops, offices and factories and other buildings to which the public have access), draw the attention of developers to relevant provisions of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 and to the Code of Practice for Access for the Disabled to Buildings. The most up to date Code of Practice is BS 8300: 2001 (see Paragraph 3.32).
Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (NorthernIreland) 1993
3.6 The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 aim to ensure that workplaces meet the health, safety and welfare needs of each member of the workplace, including disabled people.
3.7 These Regulations among other things require traffic routes, facilities and work stations which are used by disabled people to be ‘suitable’ for them as defined in Regulation 2 (3). Designers should remain aware that the obligations placed on them by the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and its various Regulations apply equally to disabled people as to non-disabled people.
Building Bulletin 91, ‘Access for Disabled People to School Buildings’.
3.8 This guide produced by the Department for Education and Employment in 1995 is concerned with the design and management of school buildings to achieve optimum accessibility and applies to new construction, extensions and refurbishment. It includes guidance on the process of carrying out an accessibility audit.