The Australian Standards work in the background, those who are not familiar with the standards may not see the extra thought given within their own environment, whether that be at home, in the office or shopping centre. Some of the main certification issues that Benchmark are challenged with on every day are;
- Door circulation spaces – there is a requirement to have clear space on each side of a door to ensure someone with disabilities can approach the door and operate the handle, even the door handle has to be a certain shape and size. We design our layouts to suit and often this dictates what we do.
- Toilets – Did you know that unless your building already has amenities for people with disabilities, the first toilet you add must be PWD compliant and the second Ambulant compliant? A PWD compliant toilet accommodates those in a wheelchair etc. whilst an Ambulant toilet is much narrower and designed for those who can walk assisted but may require the grab rails to sit or stand.
- Path of travel – as mentioned earlier there are required distances to either an exit of the building or to a compliant fire exit – stairs or tunnel are most commonly seen or exit directly to an open space.
- Body Protected Electrical Circuits – in a clinical area where patients could be given treatment, we are required to have ‘Body Protected Electrical Circuits’ to all rooms where treatment is being given to a patient. This isolates individual rooms and ensures that all equipment connected to these outlets remain in operation if another circuit were to fail.
- Lighting – there is a level of ‘Lux’ that must be achieved at desk height so that your eyes don’t strain, this is a balanced between ceiling heights, natural light and the output from the artificial light source itself.
So what does that mean to our clients? It means that they have a stamped set of construction issued drawings that say their fitout or building is in compliance with the Australian Standards and as such can apply employ people with disabilities without discrimination. It means they can qualify for government grants, pass accreditation standards, and pass inspections by fire departments.
Compliance with Australian Standards create a better and equitable environment for all.