Adapting Building Design to Access by Individuals with Intellectual Disability

L Castell


Over the last 15 years, since introductionof the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)(Commonwealth Government of Australia,1992), there has been much discussionabout the extent and nature of buildingaccess for the disabled, particularly inresponse to proposed revisions to theBuilding Code of Australia (BCA) and theintroduction of a Premises Standardcovering building access. Much of theargument which contributed to the twoyear delay in submitting a final version ofthese documents for government approvalrelated to the extent of access provisionsand the burden of cost. The final versionsubmitted to government by the AustralianBuilding Codes Board (ABCB) (notreleased publicly) appears to still containinconsistencies between the DDA and theBCA in several areas such as wayfindingand egress.In the debate preceding submission of thefinal version there appears to have beenlittle reference to access requirements forindividuals with intellectual disability (ID).This may be due to a general lack ofresearch on the topic. Consequently, thispaper uses a combination of theknowledge gained from a limited numberof previous wayfinding studies, literaturedescribing general problems faced bythose with ID and the author’s personalexperience observing others with ID tocreate a list of probable difficulties andsuggested solutions. The paperconcludes with a discussion about theassociated cost implications and benefitsin providing the required access.

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