For a fast, no obligation discussion and fee proposal for an access audit, access statement or design advice, call today.
THE EQUALITY ACT 2010, DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT 1995 & DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT 2005
The Equality Act 2010 enforces the requirements of the previous Disability Discrimination Act. It provides a new cross-cutting legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all; to update, simplify and strengthen the previous legislation; and to deliver a simple, modern and accessible framework of discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.
The provisions of the Equality Act are being brought into force at different times to allow time for the people and organisations affected by the new laws to prepare for them. Most of the provisions came into force on 1 October 2010. The Government is considering how the remaining provisions will be commenced so that the Act is implemented in an effective and proportionate way.
The Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005 (DDA) places duties on employers (Part 2) and providers of goods, facilities and services (Part 3) not to unjustifiably discriminate against disabled people in the way they provide employment or services and for a reason that relates to a person’s disability.
Part 2 of the DDA places duties on all employers not to unjustifiably treat disabled people less favourably than others for a reason relating to their disability, and to make reasonable adjustments to assist disabled employees or applicants for employment. This may include changing the physical features of the premises if these put the disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to people who are not disabled. This is not a general or anticipatory duty but is triggered when a disabled person applies for a job, is employed or when an employee becomes disabled.
Part 3 of the DDA places duties on those providing goods, facilities and services to the public and makes it unlawful for them to discriminate against disabled people in certain circumstances. These duties are general, evolving and anticipatory.
While the DDA does not directly require accessible environments to be provided for disabled people, either in their place of work, or for access to goods facilities and services, duties under the DDA include the requirement to make reasonable adjustments to remove physical barriers to access. Several factors have a bearing on whether an adjustment is reasonable: effectiveness, practicality cost and disruption, and financial resources. The DDA does not require a service provider to adopt a particular way of meeting its obligations, and outlines options to remove, alter or provide a means to avoid the physical feature which may prove to be a barrier, or to provide a reasonable alternative method of making the service available to disabled people.
The access audit is a useful first step towards meeting the requirements of the DDA. The findings of an audit can be used to prepare an access plan that will comprise a programme of implementation of improvements over a period of time.
The DDA does not include building design guidance, and it is advisable to follow current best practice design guidance, as provided by our auditors, to be able to justify decisions made. The DDA does not override other legislation relating to buildings, such as planning permission, building regulations, listed building consent and fire regulations.
Kenneth & Edwards’ Chartered Building Surveyors have the requisite training and experience to provide you with an access audit which will not only consider duties under the Disability Discrimination Act, but also the following:
- need to maximise access to and use of the buildings and facilities for members of the public and staff
- financial and practical considerations of access improvements
- provisions in Approved Document Part M, Access to and use of buildings, 2004, Building Regulations 2000, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
- guidance in BS8300:2009 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people – Code of Practice, British Standards Institution
- guidance in Designing for Accessibility, Centre for Accessible Environments, 2004
- guidance in Access Audit Handbook, Centre for Accessible Environments, 2005
- Code of Practice Rights of Access: services to the public, local authority functions, private clubs and premises, Disability Rights Commission, 2006
By commissioning us to provide your audits and consultancy advice you can be sure that the recommendations you receive will be considered, reasonable and achievable. As our auditors are also Chartered Building Surveyors we are perfectly placed to offer detailed advice regarding design and costing of any required premises alterations.