Level, or almost level access is a definite advantage for people with a mobility impairment, whether they are a wheelchair user or ambulatory impaired. It is also easier to gain access to a building via a ramp than by steps.
Private car parking spaces need to be large enough to enable a person with a wheel chair to get in and out of both the car and the parking space. A car parking space width of 3.8 metres minimum is necessary to enable a driver to alight, open the passenger side door and assist a person with a disability into a wheelchair, or for a side loading ramp.
Path of travel
An accessible path of travel from the street frontage car parking area or drop- off point needs to be provided. As a minimum this accessible path should comply with Australian Standard 1428.1 (that is about 1:40 without handrails or with handrails if below 1:40 and be continuous, slip-resistant and hard- surfaced and should not incorporate any step, stairway or impediment which would prevent it from being safely negotiated by people with a disability).
People with a sight impairment benefit from a strip of contrasting colour applied to the edge of the step.
At least one entry door complying with AS1428.1 should be available
entry doors should preferably have a porch or some other form of protection from the weather
consideration should be given to features like a shelf on which to rest parcels when opening the door
when the accessible door is exposed to the weather it should have a landing outside the door with a maximum fall of 1:40 and a low threshold at the entry door to exclude water. The threshold needs to allow for a smooth transition of a wheelchair
the area of the landing needs to be sufficient to enable wheelchair manoeuvrability. An area of 1550mm generally satisfies this requirement.
doors throughout generally require a minimum opening of 820mm
the door handle and related hardware should be of the type that allows the door to be unlocked and opened with one hand
lever handles are preferred because doorknobs do not provide an adequate grip for people with hand impairment
all door handles need to be fitted at a height which is easy to reach from a wheelchair (refer AS1428.1)
Wet floor surfaces such as toilet areas should be "non slip" and water resistant. Floor surfaces of dry areas where carpet is fitted should have a firm underlay fitted to allow a wheelchair user ease of manoeuvrability. The carpet should be short pile.
Some people with ambulatory disabilities prefer carpeted surfaces which give secure footing - generally wheelchair users prefer a smooth, hard surface
Accessibility to books on shelves needs to be given consideration. Consider the most appropriate way to enable people with a physical disability to have access to browsing and/or searching for books (Refer "Activities")
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