In 2011, major changes were introduced to the laws that govern building access.  As those changes take effect with new buildings (and older buildings undergoing upgrades) we will see important improvements in building accessibility.

Developers, architects and builders all have a responsibility to make sure the buildings they are responsible for incorporate the new access requirements. Building certifiers and Councils play an important role in ensuring completed buildings comply.

Some of the significant improvements in access we should expect to see in new buildings include:

  • increases in the number of entrances to buildings that must be accessible;
  • increases in the numbers of accessible unisex toilets;
  • improved safety and access features on stairways to assist people with low vision;
  • wider doorways for people who use wheelchairs or walking frames;
  • improved access to places such as swimming pools, cinemas and hotels;
  • a new type of toilet designed to assist people with mobility difficulties, but who do not use a wheelchair called the ambulant accessible toilet.

Title: Figure 1 - Description: Figure 1 is a photo showing steps with bright yellow colour contrast strips along the edge of each step. The surface and riser of each step is black.

Figure 1: shows high contrast strips on the nosing of steps which makes the edge of steps easier to see for people with low vision

Title: Figure 2 - Description: Figure 2 is a photo of ramp into a swimming pool with a wheelchair at the top of the ramp and handrails on both sides of the ramp.

Figure 2: shows a ramp access to a council swimming pool

In the next sectionthere is information about the access requirements so people with disability can get to a building from the footpath or car-parking area.