Sunday, 17 February 2013

Mobility Accessibility " Build it in, don't Exclude it out"

Most builders , hoteliers, landlords if you have a conversation with them about including accessibility in their building will tell you of how difficult it is, how confusing the regulations are, as an excuse as to why it does not figure on their collective radars unless confronted with a situation they can not get out of.

I know in certain situations there is a need to build to the full accessibility standards, providing the ramps , hand rails, contrasting colours, sound aids etc. and the more of this the better of course.

I would like to get people thinking of what they can do to make everyone's environment more mobility accessible and not to the exclusion of the able bodied, giving a little more choice all round.

1. Showers -
If you are going to have a separate shower and bath , why not consider making the shower a wet-room area? Wet-rooms can look very stylish / chic and if the opening wide enough allow access to a wheeled shower chair. They are easier to clean as well.

2. New build / Refurbishments -
Why not make the doors wider than the norm, it does not cost that much more, allows access to wheelchair users. Hotels easier access for those hostess trolleys, residences easier to move in with furniture.

3. Steps & ledges.
Is it really necessary to have that high lip to a patio door , that step to the front door ? Able body people will you never have a visit from a wheelchair-ed friend member of family?

4. Luxury Hotels.
You supply high end furniture to your hotels, why not investigate whether companies do stylish high-low reclining  beds. Even more luxury everyone would love.

5. Restaurants.
You supply parents with high chairs for their children, why not adjustable(height) tables for those in wheelchairs ? When buying new tables do you think about whether someone in a wheelchair can get their foot plates under the table ?

6. Carpets.
Does that carpet have to be a thick pile ? Tiles can look great, are easier to clean and allow easy pushing for wheelchair users.

7. Lifts (Elevators).
Is the lift you are building big enough to take an ambulance trolley, electric wheelchair plus attendant / carer ?  Does it have a low set mirror that allows the disabled person to see how close their feet are getting to the edge. Dual controls at a good height to allow for not being able to reach over / turn around to operate.

8. New Pool
Make one access point ramped, not all disabled people can use hoists. People love zero entry pools, they can sit in the shallows keeping cool, older people find steps difficult, severely disabled people find floating out of a wheeled pool chair a lot easier and safer.

This list could go on and on, but hopefully has been thought provoking enough to get everyone thinking about what they could do to make things a little more accessible, for EVERYONE.

look around you, while you are refurbishing / building , at what YOU can do and not at what you can't do.