Barrier-free Accessibility Code being reviewed for user-friendly new buildings

The elderly and the disabled should have as little problem getting around new buildings as possible.

This will happen when revisions to the Barrier-free Accessibility Code are completed within two to three years.

The code, first implemented in 1990, requires new buildings to have features to cater to the needs of those with limited mobility.

City Square Mall is an example of a building that has what’s described as “Universal Design”.

John Keung, chief executive officer, Building and Construction Authority, said: “Universal Design is basically good design, inclusive design, design for all. So it is quite important to have Universal Design as a cornerstone for our building up an inclusive, gracious society so that everybody’s need is taken care of through the design process.”

Now one of the family-friendly features of City Square Mall is the availability of ‘kiddy cabs’ for free rental. Parents can have peace of mind shopping while their restless children can have a fun time playing, in this cart.

Allen Ang, assistant general manager, City Developments Limited, said: “In our mall, we have special lots catered for families coming with children with strollers.

“We have lots catered for electric cars and hybrid cars. However, we faced some challenges during the initial stage – abuse by some shoppers not belonging to that category.

“One of the things we did to overcome these abuses is to educate our shoppers about the benefits and purposes of these lots through clear signages.”

Experts said despite problems in implementation, it makes sense to have accessible buildings.

Professor Keith Bright, director, Keith Bright Consultants, said: “If you have shops in famous roads like Orchard Road which are not accessible, people will not like that and they will go to places and spend their money where they are accessible. So there’s a commercial benefit to accessibility.”

Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority is working with design institutes to introduce “Universal Design” courses.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 24 Mar 2010

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