Before the UK introduced the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), in 1995 millions of disabled people in the UK faced many challenges, non-disabled people take for granted. Such as using public transport, being able to access shops and restaurants, theatres or even facing task in their daily jobs, with no legal protection for their rights. It was the first legislation to protect those from discrimination regarding education, employment, transport, and the provision of goods and services.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), was replaced by The Equality Act 2010, whose aim was to ensure that a disabled person is not discriminated against. That every member of the public was given the same opportunities.
What Was The DDA Legislation In 2006
It ensured employers and service providers didn’t discriminate against or treat people unfavourably who had physical and mental disabilities or chronic health.
This became law in 1995, which issued timeframes that had to be achieved. By October 2002, businesses had to accommodate for disabled people, by providing additional help or altering how they offer their services to prevent discrimination.
By October 2004 it would be mandatory for employers and service providers to make reasonable adjustments to physical aspects of their environments that previous prevented access for all. Such as: toilets, lighting and steps and stairways. In regard to public access for steps and stairs this mainly required installing lifts and ensuring buildings were accessible for all.
What Was The DDA Lift Requirements Prior To The Equality Act 2010?
This legislation did not define exact alterations required to make buildings accessible. The Approved Document M of the English and Welsh Building Regulations gave definitive specifications of the building features which provide access to all. Which became the reference point, the main points in relation to lifts are below:
- The provision of audible and visual information to let wheelchair users know that a lift has arrived.
- Making lifts large enough to “suit the anticipated density of use of the building and the needs of disabled people”, with the minimum size accommodating both a wheelchair user and a passenger.
- Ensuring that the controls that summon and direct a platform lift would be reaching distance for all users.
- Minimising the use of visually and acoustically reflective wall surfaces to prevent discomfort for people with visual and hearing impairment.
- Include handrails.
- Make glass-covered areas identifiable to people with impaired vision.
What is the Equality Act 2010?
From 1st October 2010, the Equality Act replaced some of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The act aims to end prejudice against less able people, and has been significantly extended over the last ten years to give less able people rights in the following areas:
- renting or buying land or property
- Access to goods, facilities, and services
- Activities, clubs, sports and associations
Where restriction involves the vertical circulation within a building, a lifting platform can provide a solution.
What Are The Equality Act Lift Requirements?
As most people still refer to the Equality Act as the DDA we thought it was first important to explain this legislation. The Equality Act 2010 is almost identical to the DDA, with the addition that employers and service providers are required to make reasonable adjustments to their premises to accommodate the disabled. Meaning that most lifts that conformed to DDA requirements should also be compliant to the Equality Act, with all new builds built with accessibility in mind.
It is advised Landlords and Business owners refer to the Buildings Regulations, as The Ministry of Housing, communities & Local Government stated in 2011, compliance with these regulations does not necessarily meet to compliancy with the Equality Act. They state that reasonable adjustment specification means that: “due regard must be given to any specific needs of likely building users that must be reasonably met,” Is your premises achieving this?
Equality Act Regarding New Buildings
It is the building designer’s obligation to ensure that access is provided for the less able in new buildings to ensure compliance with the Equality Act. Regarding vertical circulation this can be implemented using ramps, lifts or lifting platforms. It is a general misconception that the Equality Act specifies equipment.
Building designers can put forward the type of lifting device they feel is most suitable in the access statement, based on the environment and usage among other factors. This allows them to fulfil their obligations under the Equality Act.
Obligations For The Equality Act In Existing Buildings
Obligations under the Equality Act require service providers and workplaces to make reasonable provisions and/or adjustments to overcome physical features which obstruct the less able to access facilities. To overcome a physical aspect, you can:
- Remove it
- Alter it so that it no longer has an effect
- Provide an alternative access route
- Make services available to the less able in another way
How Can iKONIC Lifts Help
Our team are passionate about providing equality and ensuring the correct access solutions. Which are not the same for all buildings and companies. We offer free impartial on-site surveys and advice to provide the correct most cost effective or bespoke solution for each situation. Our installations can be made with disabled users in mind, for all types of lifts that our extensive range provides, Platform lifts, Passenger Lifts, Incline and Step lifts.
Since conception iKONIC has addressed and provided solutions to tackle the ever-changing requirements in the construction industry, having gained experience over many years that is regularly drawn upon, our reputation grows, and the complexity of our projects increases. This was notably seen prior to and during the design and operation of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the delivery of several major projects in preparation for the global event. We readily provided and gave extensive guidance on the development of inclusive design strategies, the use of design, access statements and the development of an access strategy, which we fully adopted and implicated into all our lift installation procedures.
Which is why since inception all our relevant products come with these standards as an option and when required by law for new buildings. iKONIC have also developed the necessary “know-how” to aid compliance with existing buildings and shafts, with proven solutions. A key change that architects should look out for is the update to BS EN81-20 for new builds or BS EN81-21 for existing buildings and EN81-50 for the design and manufacture of lifts. Although first published in 2014, the new standards only took effect in August 2017 and any lift installed after that date must comply with the new standards by law.
If you would like help to assess or improve accessibility in your existing building or a new construction, please do not hesitate to contact our highly accredited and trusted team to advice the best solution.
Below are some case studies that we have undertaken and provided accessibility solutions for regarding existing buildings to comply with The Equality Act 2010