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Built Up Environment

An accessible physical environment benefits everyone, not just persons with disabilities. Measures should be undertaken to eliminate obstacles and barriers to indoor and outdoor facilities including schools, medical facilities, and workplaces. These would include not only buildings, but also footpaths, curb cuts, and obstacles that block the flow of pedestrian traffic.

An accessible government building is one, where persons with disabilities have no barrier in entering it and using all the facilities therein. This covers the built environment – services, steps and ramps, corridors, entry gates, emergency exits, parking – as well as indoor and outdoor facilities including lighting, signages, alarm systems and toilets.

Identifying accessible buildings requires annual accessibility audits that determine if a building meets agreed upon standards. Once a building is deemed fully accessible, an annual audit is not necessary, but should be required for any proposed changes to the structure or systems contained therein. A full audit can then be done on a less frequent basis.

Standards of accessibility should be as consistent as possible with international standards, such as those of the ISO, taking into account the local context. In regards to the built environment, ISO 21542:2011, Building Construction – Accessibility and Usability of the Built Environment, delineates a set of requirements and recommendations concerning construction, assembly, components and fittings.