Access buildings and facilities checklist

An inaccessible environment can present a barrier for people with a disability in everyday life. Typical problems can include entering public buildings, using stairs and opening doors. People with sensory impairments can also have difficulties hearing public announcements or reading signs. Accessible buildings and facilities enable equal use for all. Accessibility allows dignified and non-discriminatory entry and use of buildings, facilities and services.

The following access checklist has been drawn from the Australian Human Rights Commission resource Access to buildings and services: guidelines and information (opens new window).

The checklist will help non-building professionals identify elements that affect access and use of buildings and facilities. It is not a technical checklist for compliance with discrimination law or building law. To inform compliance an access audit of the built environment should be carried out by a building processional.

New Disability (Access to premises – Buildings) Standards have been made under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. The standards were applied from May 2011. The Premises Standards apply to almost every new building project for which an application for a building permit is lodged. There are some exemptions.  These are explained in the Australian Human Rights Commission resource Guidelines on Application of the Premises Standards. http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/standards/PSguide.html

Accessible paths of travel to the main door or doors

  • Is there a clear and continuous accessible path of travel? There should be no steps or other barriers such as steep inclines, bollards, uneven or loose surfaces. Consider the area from the main points of entry on the building's boundary or car park through the main doors.
  • Is the path wide enough for a person using a wheelchair or walking frame to pass by someone else? Are there regular passing spaces along the path?
  • Is there good overhead clearance with nothing hanging down? Look for tree branches or signs that might be a hazard for people who are blind or have a vision impairment.
  • Do ramps have a gradual slope, handrails and safety kerbs or kerbrails at the floor level? They should also have level landings at regular intervals to allow someone to rest. Warning tactile ground surface indicators (TGSI) should also be fitted at the top and bottom of the ramp.
  • Is the signage identifying the organisation clear, large enough to be seen at some distance and of high contrast?
  • If there is a car drop off point at the main entrance, is there a kerb ramp to allow someone using a wheelchair to access the footpath from the road?

Lifts and stairs

  • If a lift has been installed, are there handrails? Is it large enough to allow someone using a wheelchair or walking frame to enter and turn to access the lift control panel? Do the lift buttons have raised tactile and Braille information next to them? Are the buttons at a height that can be reached by all? Does the lift provide audible information telling passengers what floor they are on?
  • Do stairs have continuous handrails, colour-contrasting strips on the leading edge, no open risers and warning tactile ground surface indicators (TGSI) at the top and bottom?

Car parks

  • Is there at least one wider parking space designated for accessible parking? Is it identified with the international symbol for access?
  • Is there a clear accessible path of travel from accessible parking to the nearest accessible public entrance? It should have no steps or other barriers such as kerbs.
  • Is the designated accessible parking space on a firm and level surface? Is it as close as possible to an accessible public entrance?
  • Is there good overhead clearance from the entrance of an undercover carpark to the accessible parking space?
  • Is there good overhead height clearance over the accessible car space?

Accessible paths inside the building to all services and facilities

  • Is there a clear accessible path of travel from each accessible entrance to all areas and facilities used by the public? There should be no steps or other barriers to get to facilities like reception areas, interview rooms and toilets.
  • Are passageways wide enough for a person using a wheelchair or walking frame to pass by someone else? Or is there regular passing space?
  • Are floor coverings slip-resistant, firm and smooth?
  • Does signage direct the public from the entrance to a reception desk or facilities and is it clear, large enough to be seen at some distance and of high contrast?
  • Does the design and layout of the public area make it easy for the public to find their way to reception desks or other facilities?
  • If any room has fixed seating are there spaces for people using wheelchairs spread throughout the room?

Doorways

  • Is there good circulation space to enable people using mobility aids such as a wheelchair or walking frame to open and go through all doorways?
  • Are the doors too heavy and difficult to open?
  • Are the door handles easy to use? "D-shaped" handles are easy to use. Round knobs tend to be difficult to manipulate.
  • If the doorway and surrounds are glass is there a clearly distinguishable colour-contrasting strip across the full width? The strip helps ensure people with a vision impairment can more easily identify the doorway.

Toilets

  • Do all toilets have clear identification signs including raised tactile and Braille information?
  • Is there a unisex accessible toilet close to the location of other toilet facilities? Does it have the international symbol for access? Does it have tactile and Braille signage?
  • Do unisex accessible toilets have good circulation space internally? Are they fitted out with rails, sinks, mirrors, taps, shelves, coat hooks and towels at heights and positions that can be reached by people using wheelchairs?
  • Is the door to the toilet easy to open and close with handles and locks that are easy to manipulate?

General

  • Is at least a part of any reception desk area at a height that can be used by a person using a wheelchair or someone of short stature?
  • If customers or clients may have to wait in a reception area for some time is there seating that can be used by people with disabilities such as arthritis?
  • Are all facilities at a height accessible to people using a wheelchair? Examples include tables, cubicles, water coolers, telephones, computers, ticketing machines and turnstiles.
  • If there is a system for queuing or notification of service, is it accessible to all? It should be identifiable and accessible to people with a hearing or vision impairment and people with a learning disability. For example, a queuing system that simply flashes up a number without an auditory announcement would not be useful for customers who are blind.
  • If there is a public announcement system, is it supplemented with visual displays? Supplements could include captioning or scroll bars of information. Assistive listening systems such as a hearing loop are also useful.
  • If there is a hearing loop is there signage in the form of the International Symbol for Deafness?
  • If there are changing rooms is at least one large enough to be used by a person using a wheelchair or walking frame?
  • Is there good lighting to assist people with a vision impairment to follow the safest pathway? Good lighting also assists with communication, such as people who lip-read.
  • Can facilities such as telephones, computers or transaction machines be used by all clients? For example, a person with a hearing impairment may need a volume control on a telephone. And a person with a vision impairment may need a large screen on the computer or audio instructions on an ATM.
  • Are controls and switches at an accessible height for everyone, including people using wheelchairs?
  • If you provide services outside your building on the footpath is there safe passage for pedestrians? Is any street furniture like tables and chairs placed away from the building line?
  • Is there an emergency evacuation procedure in place that addresses the needs of people with disability?
    Staff training
  • Are staff trained to provide assistance and services in a non-discriminatory manner? For example, are staff aware of the appropriate way to offer assistance to a person who is blind? Do they know how best to communicate with a Deaf person who may lip read?
  • Do staff know when and how to organise a sign language interpreter for clients who communicate using Auslan sign language?
  • Do staff know how to access a TTY (telephone typewriter) and the National Relay Service for people who are Deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment?

Information and communication

  • Do all your contact details on your website and publications include a TTY or email contact for people who are Deaf or who have a hearing or speech impairment?
  • Is information provided to clients available in a range of formats? Formats might include electronic, large print or Braille. Do staff know how to access alternative formats when required?
  • Is public information on your organisation's website accessible to all users and compliant with web accessibility guidelines?

Access resources

Association of Consultants in Access, Australia Inc (ACAA)

The ACAA can provide advice on access issues and their site includes a directory of accredited access consultants. More information can be found on the ACAA website (opens new window).

Australian Building Codes Board

The Australian Building Codes Board produces the Building Code of Australia. The code references relevant Australian Standards. This is the official document to be used when designing premises. More information can be found on the Australian Building Codes Board website (opens new window).

Standards Australia

Standards Australia produces the Australian Standards which detail technical specification that need to be considered when designing premises. The standards are published by SAI Global. More information can be found on the SAI Global website (opens new window).

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