The Building Control Alliance (BCA) have been made aware, by DCLG, that there are suggestions that Approved Document (AD) B – Fire safety, doesn’t provide for adequate means of escape for mobility impaired people.
In particular it has been suggested that currently final exits can have steps instead of ramps. Clearly this does not accord with the Equality Act 2010 and discriminates against those who cannot manage steps
The specific suggestion was that guidance did not adequately cover disabled egress and the building regulations only covered disabled access into and around buildings. There was a further suggestion that there was nothing in the regulation guidance (AD M or AD B) to ensure, where practicable, that ramps were installed at ground floor level to allow equality when exiting a building.
Whilst this may historically have been the case, in the 2006 edition of ADB this has been addressed.
This article is to ensure all Building Control Professionals are aware of this.
In this regard, the Building Control Alliance draw building control officers attention to the following DCLG response to the specific suggestions mentioned above. ;
“Paragraph 5.32 of Approved Document B provides that final exits should not present an obstacle to wheelchair users and other people with disabilities, and sets out where ramps should be provided on escape routes. This particular provision was first introduced in 2006 and in the light of the concerns you have expressed, we will be raising this matter with the relevant professional bodies so that they can ensure that their members are fully conversant with its implications.”
The Building Control Alliance wish to ensure that architects, building control professionals, planners, local authorities, fire departments and owners are aware of their responsibilities when designing and constructing new as well as altering buildings up & down the country.