In this section, we are looking at what the minimum requirements are to ensure people with disability can get to a new building from the footpath at the allotment boundary or car parking spaces.
The law says that there must be a path of travel from the allotment boundary (usually the public footpath) suitable for use by people with disability, including people who are blind or who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs.
This means that the path must be at least 1 metre wide, it must be firm and smooth with no steps, no overhanging hazards such as tree branches, and no obstacles that a person might walk into or trip over.
Figure 3: shows a good firm level approach to a building from the footpath
If the path of travel includes a ramp because of a difference in height between the footpath and building, then the ramp must have handrails on both sides, a gradual incline (a 1 in 14 gradient) and landings every 9 metres so a person can rest on a level surface.
A ramp should also have tactile ground surface indicators (tgsi) at the top and bottom. The tgsi are important for blind people as they give a cue that the ramp has ended and that the person is moving out into an area that may be busy with other pedestrians moving across the path of travel.
Figure 4: shows a ramp leading from the footpath to the entrance of a building with handrails, a gradual incline (shallow gradient) and tactile ground surface indicators at the bottom of the ramp
The law also requires a path suitable for use by people with disability from any accessible car-parking space in a car park linked to the building.
All new buildings should be designed and built to provide this level of access. If a new building doesn’t meet these access requirements, those responsible for the building could be subject to a successful discrimination complaint. If you see a new building that does not have good access, you can also ask your local council to look into why it doesn’t.