Australia is known for having a world-class standard when it comes to infrastructure. Like in most progressive countries, every building follows a particular building code to ensure that its structure is safe for usage. All facilities follow particular regulations to protect the public’s safety, health, and general welfare. Some organisations even monitor and ensure that all property designs support people’s everyday living.
In Australia, there is an independent, non-governmental, and non-profit organisation called The Standards Australia. They are representatives of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). They do not make laws nor produce any legal documents, but their standards have become widely renowned and called up into legislation by the Australian government. One of their most essential guidelines is the AS 1428 or the “Design for Access and Mobility.”
Introducing the AS 1428
The AS 1428 provides the minimum and comprehensive design requirements that builders should consider to make a particular infrastructure accessible to people with disabilities. It includes access ways and circulation space for people in wheelchairs, with sensory disabilities, and people with ambulatory disabilities.
The standard prescribed the types of physical access a building should have, and all entities involved should incorporate these during the planning and actual development and construction of all buildings and facilities.
Most of the time, people disregard this fact just because they are unaware of the difficulties of a differently-abled life. However, designers, builders, and contractors should know that this is a right that they should always take into consideration.
How to Comply With the Premises’ Standards
The AS 1428 is highly detailed with its specifications. If you are building infrastructure or facility in Australia, here are some of the essential things you need to know:
AS 1428.1, in Clause 10, states that the path of travel for every building should be continuous and accessible. There should be no steps or other obstructions preventing it from proper usage.
When it comes to handrails, all should comply with AS 1428.2, Clause 10.1. Handrails for stairs are mandatory and should not extend beyond the top or bottom of the steps.
Here are some more important notes:
- The code requires an elliptical or circular handrail with the following size: 30 mm minimum width and 50 mm maximum width.
- The handrails on a staircase should be continuous down all flights. It should extend to one tread depth and should past the top and bottom riser by 300 mm horizontally.
- Handrails should be at the same level throughout. It must not be less than 865 mm or more than 1000 mm.
- The handrail and the wall should observe a minimum of 50 mm space in between.
- Handrails leading to a ramp needs to have a Kerb rail with a minimum height of 65 mm and a maximum of 75 mm.
Found in AS 1428.1, in Clause 10, buildings should also comply with the following:
- All should provide a step ramp to prevent fatigue. The step ramp’s maximum gradient should not be less than 1:10 a length, and it should not be greater than 1900 mm.
- If you will construct Kerb ramps, it should have a grade of not less than 1:8 and should not be greater than 1540 mm.
All facilities, including the sanitary facilities, should be user-friendly and must provide people with a pleasant experience. As per Clause 15 and 16 of AS 1428.1, if your facility is large such as a theatre, sports stadium, or shopping centre, each of its levels should have several toilet blocks. Out of all these toilets, at least half should have an accessible unisex toilet.
These are only some of the many things you need to know about building requirements. That is apart from the standards set by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and the provisions of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Following all set rules and standards when constructing a building is for everyone’s safety. It should be the homework of all designers, contractors, and builders to familiarise themselves with the commands to observe.
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