In this section, we are looking at what the minimum requirements are to ensure people with disability can get into a building through the principal pedestrian entrance (main entrance) and any other entrances that are required to be accessible.
The law says that for new buildings the main entrance used by pedestrians must be accessible. If there is more than one pedestrian entrance then 50% of all entrances must be accessible including the main entrance. So, for example, if a building has two pedestrian entrances only the main entrance is required to be accessible, however, if the building has four (4) entrances at least two (2) of the entrances (50%) must be accessible.
The law also says that someone should not have to travel more than 50 metres from an inaccessible entrance to find an accessible entrance. This means that sometimes more entrances will need to be accessible.
An accessible entrance is one that:
- has a door opening of at least 850 mm: if the entrance has two or more door leaves, at least one must be 850 mm opening;
- has enough room on the latch-side of the door to allow someone using a wheelchair to pull in sideward to reach over to grab the handle;
- has a door handle that is easy to grasp and turn;
- is easy to identify with strong contrast around the frame or with the surrounding wall;
- has a high-contrast marking across the doorway if the door and surrounding area is fully glazed so that people with low vision can identify it as a door.
Figure 5: shows the minimum door width
Figure 6: shows the clear area on the latch-side (opening side) of the door
Figure 7: shows a clearly visible doorway with good contrast markings
Figure 8: shows a door with poor markings
Figure 9: shows an entrance that is easy to identify with good width and circulation space on the latch side of the door
All new buildings should be designed and built to provide this level of access. If a new building doesn’t provide this level of access, those responsible for the building could be subject to a successful discrimination complaint. If you see a new building that does not have good access you could also ask your local Council to look into why it doesn’t.