About DDA Compliance & Access Standards
The Disability Discrimination Act is governed by the Human Rights Commission, and regulates compliance by public spaces, buildings and structures in relation to accessibility by people with physical disabilities.
“The Disability Discrimination Act provides protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability” (humanrights.gov.au).
When we look at this in context of physical disabilities, it is essential that public buildings, such as government, banks, shops, trains, schools and so on need to ensure that everyone has equal access to the buildings, use of toilets and so forth. Businesses and public spaces not providing equal access opportunities may risk complaints to the commission from the public. It is unlawful not to provide equal access opportunities, unless you can claim unjustifiable hardship from making the necessary changes.
Restaurants, hotels, pubs, shops, banks, schools, parklands and more all need to cater for users with physical disabilities in order to comply with the DDA.
To ensure your public space or business is in compliance with the Disability Standards, we recommend an audit from an experienced access consultant. The access consultant will offer advice and make recommendations for amendments to ensure that you meet DDA requirements.
The premises standards, named Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010, were created to allow for more clear directions for developers and builders in relation to achieving compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act. The standard details who are responsible for ensuring compliance (building certifier, building developer and building manager). It also states that a building certifier, under state and territory laws, have the authority to grant or refuse building approval in relation to the Access Code.
Different buildings have different requirements to meet DDA compliance. For instance, there are differing needs with regards to access and usability for hotels, shops, aged care facilities, theatres sports halls, schools and more.
The Premises Standards detail the following categories:
- Continuous accessible path of travel
- Stairways along footpaths
- Approaches, entrances and doorways
- Public outdoor areas
- Fixtures, fittings and furniture
- Discrimination arising from management and maintenance practices
- Discrimination by staff
- Use of chemicals and materials
The Human Rights Commission states that “consultation with people with disability, their representative organisations and access experts is an essential part of achieving the objectives of the DDA”. Scott Darmanin at VIP Access is therefore a great resource when planning for DDA compliance, as you get both the expert view from an experienced access consultant as well as a personal view from a person with disability to ensure that you will minimise any risk of complaints with regards to DDA compliance.