The District Council takes seriously its statutory and other obligations to promote the interests of access for disabled people. The provision of good access can be a vital issue in deciding whether or not to grant permission.
The District Council, through its Access Officer, who is also the Building Control Manager, works closely with local groups, businesses and other interested parties.
New Building Regulations recently brought in impose a range of requirements. These make sure that when buildings are erected, extended, altered or their use changed, they are accessible and/or improved to allow people with a disability to have an opportunity to make full use of the built environment. The submission of a Building Regulations application is exempt from a fee if the works are works solely to provide access and/or facilities for disabled people to existing dwellings.
The Building Regulations contain specific requirements regarding access for disabled people to buildings. This includes:
- provision of toilets
- special audience seating where provided for the able-bodied
The provision of facilities to enable disabled people to use buildings is also necessary. This includes:
- the provision of ramps
- suitable width corridors
- disabled toilet facilities
- in some buildings the provision of a lift
Access for people with a disability is not just about wheelchairs, it covers a wide range of disabilities such as:
- walking impairments
The requirements of the regulations also extend to new dwellings and requires ramped access and level thresholds to the principal entrance door, together with an accessible toilet at ground floor level. The Council’s Building Control Surveyors will be happy to discuss these issues.