Accessible environment for people with disabilities: rules for organizing a barrier-free space

6 min


Approximately 8% of the population of Russia are people with disabilities. A giant figure, behind which are real people with real problems. It is in our power to make the lives of these people easier and more comfortable. It is about creating special conditions inside and outside the premises, as well as in transport, so that people with disabilities do not experience difficulties in movement and obtaining important information.

In this article we will tell you what the requirements for premises are imposed in accordance with the state program “Accessible Environment for Disabled People”. In particular, we will consider the basic means of organizing an accessible environment in state, municipal and commercial institutions.

You can familiarize yourself with the technical details in the “set of rules for the accessibility of buildings and structures for people with limited mobility”. Links to regulatory documents that were valid in January 2019 will be indicated at the end of the article.

The main goal of the “Accessible Environment” program

According to the “Accessible Environment” program, all public premises must be adapted for people with disabilities moving in wheelchairs, wheelchairs and with the help of other means of rehabilitation. It is also necessary to adapt to people with impaired vision and hearing (or simply weak).

Moreover, the formation of an accessible environment for people with disabilities should be carried out not only for ease of movement, but also for the purpose of emergency evacuation. In case of fires and other force majeure circumstances, people with limited mobility should be able to independently get out of the building.

Entrance groups

One of the most important requirements for the premises under the “Accessible Environment” program is the correct organization of the entrance to the building.

Building approach

It is necessary to carry out concrete tactile tiles of black or yellow color to the building. Ideally, it should go away from the tactile sidewalk path and lead to the entrance (porch). However, tactile paths on sidewalks are not a common phenomenon, so it is enough to bring the tiles somewhere in the middle of the pedestrian zone.

For the visually impaired and the blind, a rectangular block is additionally laid out in front of the stairs using concrete tactile tiles, announcing the beginning of an obstacle in the form of steps.

Staircase: ramp, elevator, railings, etc.

At the entrance to the building, if there are stairs, there must be a ramp for access in a wheelchair. The slope of any of the ramp sections should not exceed the established norms. It is also necessary to respect the recommended lift width and install handrails on both sides. After each march, you need a platform that allows you to turn and turn around.

If it is impossible to install the ramp, you can replace it with a vertical electric lift on the control panel (lift).

If the location of the building does not allow the installation of an elevator, then an assistance call button must be installed in an accessible place for disabled people. After pressing the button, a specialist must go outside and help the person in the wheelchair up the stairs. The button should be installed even in the absence of a ladder, if a swing door is used, which is extremely difficult to open on a wheelchair.

The steps themselves should have anti-slip, grooved pads. It is recommended to install yellow linings on the lowest and highest step of the span, and black on the intermediate ones. It is better to use a tactile tape with an aluminum body for these purposes, it lasts the longest.

For the visually impaired, the stairs are also equipped with handrails. Moreover, even short flights of stairs require strong railings that can act as a reliable support.

Ladders must have risers. Structures with an open distance between the horizontal surfaces of the steps cannot be used. It should be noted that they pose a danger not only for the blind and visually impaired, but also for people without vision problems. Therefore, you should not neglect the risers in favor of decorativeness or economy.

Doors

It is recommended to use sliding doors with a motion sensor. For fully or partially transparent openings, special markings using contrasting tape are required. Circles or squares of a bright color (preferably yellow) are glued to the opening sash. The outlines of the doors are also highlighted with tape of the same color.

Internal organization of premises

Indoors, the main paths are marked using tactile tiles (PVC can be used instead of concrete) or tactile indicators. Indicators can be used both on pins and self-adhesive. The latter are allowed only in the form of a temporary measure and in the future they will have to be changed to pin or tile. We recommend using indicators and tiles in bright yellow.

Doors

Transparent structures inside the premises are also edged with yellow tape, and circles or rectangles are glued to the sash. Tactile signs with duplication of information in Braille are installed on offices and other common areas.

Informing

The direction of movement to important objects (toilet, parking, etc.) is indicated by mounting tactile pictograms to the walls.

It is also mandatory to have a building plan with braille in the form of a tactile mnemonic diagram.

Stairs

Internal stairs must have a handrail and anti-slip tactile tape, similar to outdoor structures. It is also advisable to stick tactile stickers on the railings indicating the floor.

Bathroom

The building must have at least one bathroom that meets the requirements of the Accessible Environment for Disabled People program. The toilet adapted for low-mobility groups of the population does not differ much from the usual one, therefore the alteration process is not so difficult.

If you want to adapt a bathroom for disabled people not just for the sake of a tick, but in good faith, then install a special sink and toilet. The sink comes with a recess in the middle, making it easier to access it in a wheelchair. The toilet is made a little higher than usual, which makes the process of transplanting it significantly easier (for additional safety, it is better to give preference to floor-standing models).

There are also special downward tilting mirrors so that you can “look” in them from a wheelchair. Well, a mixer with a long handle (surgical) does not hurt.

Parking

If the building has its own parking lot, at least 10% of the available spaces must be allocated for the needs of the disabled. That is, every tenth parking space for vehicles should be organized in accordance with the requirements of the “Accessible Environment” program.

  1. Parking spaces are marked with markings. It is easy to apply if you use special templates (stencils) and paint in spray cans. The width of one parking space for disabled people must be at least 3.5 m. It is recommended to apply the markings in bright yellow, especially in regions where snow falls in winter.

  2. In addition to marking, it is required to mark parking lots with spaces for disabled people with a road sign “Invalid”. It is usually located below the “Parking” sign on the same counter.
  3. A wheelchair user must be able to easily move from the parking space to the sidewalk without crossing the carriageway. If there are curbs on the route, they must be removed, or a rubber ramp / ramp should be installed. It is also allowed to use a stationary exit / entrance made of concrete or other material.

Additionally, demotivators can be installed, informing about the inadmissibility of parking on places for disabled people without the right to do so.

Finally

The Accessible Environment program’s room requirements may seem overly stringent and not always adequate. However, this is not quite true. The adaptation of the premises is not so expensive, and it can be completed in just a couple of weeks. In return, you will receive peace of mind and the realization that you have done something really important. Commercial organizations will further improve their reputation, which will generally have a positive impact on their activities.

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Steve

Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...

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