How To Make Buildings More Accessible for People with Disability

Accessibility is typically easier to achieve with new construction

Most folks don’t think twice about taking the elevator or going down the hall during lunch. However, due to poorly planned settings, these regular tasks can become hard and irritating for people with impairments.

Considerations for accessible design can assist alleviate these issues while also attracting a more varied range of people to your venue or office. This primer on building accessibility will assist you in creating spaces that are friendly to individuals of all abilities.

What Is the Importance of Building Accessibility?

A group of symbolically depicted people, some of whom are standing and others who are using a wheelchair.

Accessible buildings are crucial because they allow for more equal, and hopefully equitable, access for persons of all abilities. Accessibility is typically easier to achieve with new construction since it may be factored in from the start. Existing buildings, particularly older buildings, are frequently inaccessible to people of varying abilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 outlaws “discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and government activities.” Standards for accessible building design were included in the act. In 2010, the ADA issued updated ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Although new buildings are now obliged by law to be accessible to persons of various abilities, the minimal minimum of accessibility necessary is frequently insufficient for all people to have fair access.

Tips to Make a Place accessible to Disabled

1.       The building’s services

Residential Ramps, staircases, lifts, and corridors should be created to make the building more accessible to the disabled. The slope of the ramps in a public building should be 1:20. On the floor, the steps should be avoided multiple times. Depending on the number of steps, a ramp or a platform lift should be supplied. A building with more than one floor should have lifts.

2.       Restrooms

For those with impairments, public toilets should be available. It is recommended that accessible toilets be equipped with an alert system and that regular maintenance be performed. The toilets should not be utilized to store cleaning supplies, deliveries, or anything else.

Sanitary bins should be provided in accessible toilets and should not hinder wheelchair users.

3.       Accessibility in the Office

Creating an office environment in which employees feel welcome and cared for is critical to increasing productivity. This is why it is critical to design an office that promotes universal design. A universal design approach ensures that employees and team members do not have to request special treatment or design changes to have their demands satisfied. Instead, universal design anticipates and eliminates such problems.

4.       Lighting

The lighting in a public facility should be uniformly distributed. A wide range of illumination levels should be avoided, and it should not be too bright or too dark. Surface finishes that are glossy, shiny, or polished should be avoided. Reflections, shadows, and glare should be maintained to an absolute minimum.

5.       Perform a Wheel Through

Enlisting the assistance of a wheelchair user is one of the finest ways to test your building’s accessibility. You’ll quickly realize how easy or difficult it is to get in and move around. The test includes checking entrance points, bathrooms, light switches, and emergency exits. After you’ve completed your review, you’ll be seeking answers, which are easier to come up with than you believe.

6.        Flooring

A disabled-friendly space should have the following flooring:

Hardwood flooring is useful for permitting passage and should be considered for those who use wheelchairs.

Vinyl flooring is both inexpensive and slip-resistant. This feature makes it easier for people with disabilities to use.

7.       Signs


Signage is a simple and low-cost approach to making your building more accessible to people with disabilities. Make signage directing people to accessible doors or restrooms if your facility has them. Signage can promote accessibility while also increasing privacy by preventing people with disabilities from having to self-disclose to personnel.

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