When designing accessible features for a building, there are many things that must be considered. The first step is to design an accessible route through the building with appropriate clearances. This will ensure that all users can move about in a safe manner and have access to all parts of the building.
Once this has been done, accessible elements and fixtures can be specified and detailed to make sure the facility accommodates changing abilities of its user base over time.
The accessible route must be able to accommodate people who are ambulatory, as well as those with mobility equipment. The path should enable them to move freely without hindrance from objects or obstructions. Both ends of the accessible route need clearances that allow for maneuvering around obstacles and passing through spaces in ways that don’t require backtracking or tight turns.
Each accessible element within a building needs appropriate clear space surrounding it so users can reach their destination independently and safely without bumping into walls, countertops, furniture, etc., while also ensuring user access doesn’t encroach on other elements’ required clearances. Elements such as accessible door hardware (including levers instead of knobs), signage mounted at accessible heights near power outlets or sinks.
Make Your Workplace Accessible for Blind and Legally-sighted Persons
There are many countries we can call a “visually impaired country.” For example, in New Zealand, just over 40% of the population is visually impaired and there are many places where new visitors could be blind or visually impaired. That is why it is important that buildings have high accessibility levels, providing a visually independent environment for blind and disabled individuals and their carers.
An independent environment for those who cannot walk around or climb stairs can mean the difference between life and death. Buildings that have high access levels and are designed well should be considered when designing a new home or commercial building for those with limited mobility in mind.
Types of disabilities
There are different types of disabilities. Some disabilities let people live independently and some require more assistance. Some disabilities require more extensive or specialized equipment or adapted appliances to make them more mobile and some do not. Because we have two different types of mobility available, it is important that appropriate equipment is installed for each group to ensure safety and comfort for all persons using the building. Here is a short checklist of items that should be considered when designing a building or renovating an existing building for persons with disabilities.
The requirements for wheelchair spaces are different depending on the level of disability. Some disabilities require more accessible housing than others. Wheelchair accessible housing requires:
- and lifts that are not restricted by floor plan design.
Vertical access is also required because physically impaired persons have difficulty going up and downstairs. A person who is partially sighted must have adequate lighting.
Design for people with low vision
Accessible housing for those with low vision can be challenging but can be achieved if the right designs are made.
The provision of elevators, platforms and staircases is critical for those who are partially sight-impaired or who are unable to walk or use riser rails on multi-story homes and buildings. Blind and partially sight-impaired individuals should never be put in a position where they must negotiate a staircase or access an elevator on their own. All information regarding the location of accessible public transit should be made available to all persons with disabilities. ADA regulations state that public transit must make at least one stop each foot of every stairway and elevator for individuals with disabilities. An accessible public transit system must provide hand controls that can be used by persons with disabilities to move a wheelchair or other mobility device up and down the stairs.
Bus services should provide hand controls for the movement of wheelchairs and other mobility devices in and out of buses for persons with low vision and other visual impairments. Persons with low vision should not have to stand or sit in order to board and alight from buses. Design features that allow wheelchair access onto and off buses should be included. This would include a center lift on both sides of the vehicle, floor lifts for those with difficulty climbing stairs, ramps for persons who cannot climb the steps, door entry/exit pads for people with low vision, and other features.
Workplaces environment should be accessible
Businesses can play a major role in making accessible workplaces because they have the knowledge and expertise in designing workplaces that will accommodate a variety of different needs. When searching for a business to do this type of work for you, look for a company that is familiar with providing directory assistance to its customers. This could mean that the company specializes in providing assistance to blind and sight-impaired consumers, or it could mean that it provides directory assistance to a variety of business organizations and employers.
An accommodation for blind and partially sighted persons should include fully accessible toilet facilities, kitchen facilities that are accessible, wheelchair spaces where wheelchairs can be accommodated. The provision of these services should extend to providing accessible showers, dressing areas, and sinks. This may seem like common sense, but many businesses and employers still don’t provide all these types of accessible environments for their clients. If your workplace complies with these standards, you can take advantage of the amazing work of companies that specialize in building and providing accessible workplaces.
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