Commercial Kitchens and BCA / Premises Standards Clause D3.4

Disability Access Consultants

Commercial kitchens are fast-moving, dynamic workplaces. Things move quickly and happen as fast as possible.

Staff are preparing food, cooking, washing dishes, cleaning surfaces and floors, receiving deliveries, loading and unloading items from coolrooms and refrigerators and on and on it goes – needless to say, a lot of different activities are undertaken by people working in such an environment.

The DDA Premises Standards Access Code and the current NCC BCA acknowledge that this isn’t a typical work environment and that people with disability could be put into an unsafe situation when entering an environment where people are operating commercial cooking equipment.

Clause D3.4 in both of the references above state exactly the same wording:

D3.4 Exemptions
The following areas are not required to be accessible:
(a) An area where access would be inappropriate because of the particular purpose for which the area is used.
(b) An area that would…

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The AFFECTED PART: Do Not Lease a Commercial Tenancy Without Reading This!

Disability Access Consultants

A Costly Mistake

As an access consultant with many years experience, I have lost count of the amount of small businesses who have leased a commercial space, only to find they are forced to undertake extensive and costly building upgrades.

This not only causes a lot of stress for a small business owner, but may potentially see their fit-out budget go through the roof after seeing quotes from builders for upgrades.

In particular, this has been a very common issue for tenants of shops along strip shopping precincts, which historically all had stepped entrances and narrow or recessed doorways.

A gentlemen pushing a lady in a wheelchair past a shop that has two steps and a sign in the window saying NO DOGS

In this post, I share two key things a small business owner really needs to consider before signing any lease:

  1. Building and disability legislation may require you to remove existing stepped entrances into shops and provide new ramp access and possibly a new doorway; and
  2. If you change the use of…

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Fire Stairs Need Accessible Features Too! But Why?

Disability Access Consultants

This might come as a surprise, but fire exit stairs in Australia need some level of accessibility provided, even when they are just used as an exit path between levels of a building during an emergency.

This helps people move through a stairway to an exit and a safe place outside the building. Having a suitable handrail to hold is important for many people, including those older occupants, people with some level of mobility limitations, or those who need support during what could be a stressful event.

The ability to identify the edges of stair treads also aids people with low vision and provides great benefit for everyone. Ultimately, a high contrast to the treads edges will help to reduce slips, trips and falls in the stairs, the last thing one wants during an emergency evacuation.

Back in May 2011, with the introduction of the Premises Standards and changes to…

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Luminance Contrast of Doorways: Do you See it? You Should

Disability Access Consultants

Doors need to be visible for two main reasons:

  1. So we can find them; and
  2. So we can safely move through them.

The Building Code of Australia (part of the National Construction Code) and the Premises Standards (under the DDA), both require compliance of doors under the general provisions of Table D3.1 (i.e. “to and within all areas”) and at entrances under Clause D3.2.

AS 1428.1 (2009) outlines two specific requirements for luminance contrast of doors. Luminance contrast is defined as “the light reflected from one surface or component, compared to the light reflected from another surface or component.”

Fully glazed doors need a visual indicator glazing band across the door so it is more visible to people, particularly those with some level of vision loss, which is why the band must be solid and 75mm wide as per below:

6.6 Visual indicators on glazing

Where there is no chair…

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DeafSpace Architecture Moves into the Mainstream

Disability Access Consultants

The Deaf community live in a world designed for people who can hear, but a new design movement challenges how buildings should be built, where sensory experiences and interaction with the fabric of the building takes precedence.

Unique situations can necessitate a rethink of accepted beliefs and processes. The Gallaudet University is one such case where accepted design concepts have been questioned. In fact, the university challenged the principles of architecture in terms of how deaf people communicate within space and have since developed a new understanding of how a person’s sensory experience can be enhanced within the built environment.

Founded in 1864, the Gallaudet University is located in Washington, DC, USA. It is the only liberal arts educational institution totally tailored to deaf and hard of hearing students in the USA, with a school motto that says “there is no other place like this in the world“…

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