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News release

Australia

One Year On – what has been the effect of legislative changes for new and enhanced requirements for disabled access?

Changes to the Building Code of Australia in May 2011and the new Access to Premises Standards Legislation has had significant implications for building owners, tenants and managers


AUSTRALIA, 5 DECEMBER – A new Report by Jones Lang LaSalle explores some of the issues learnt one year on from legislative changes for new and enhanced requirements for disabled access. 

The report, titled “Legislative change: Minimising development & construction risk” discusses which type of commercial buildings are affected by the changes to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Access to Premises Standards Legislation and outlines how owners, tenants and managers can minimise risk and ensure compliance.
 
Australian Head of Project and Development Services, Kevin Hastings said the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) has been the benchmark in establishing non-discriminatory accessibility for people with disabilities.  “The effect of the new requirements – the BCA upgrade and the Access to Premises Standards Legislation – has been to provide more certainty around compliance,” said Mr Hastings.
 
“For the future, all businesses need to take time to consider their approach to this new landscape.  Realistically there are no quick fixes.  Good planning and good documentation will in most cases provide good decisions and greatly reduced exposure to non-compliance.”
 
Mr Hastings said owners, tenants and managers need to ensure compliance with the new regulations for both new and upgrading works they undertake on buildings.
 
“The changes to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) applies when it is new works being undertaken, while the Access to Premises Standards Legislation applies to building upgrades and refurbishments.
 
“The Access to Premises Standards Legislation, although mirroring the BCA requirements, is a separate document and is applied under different circumstances, so owners, tenants and managers need to be aware of this.
 
“Compliance can mean considering issues like the continuous accessible path of travel to and from areas where works are being undertaken.
 
“What many owners and tenants may not be aware of is that upgrading work to a building in most cases would require a corresponding modification to the principal pedestrian entrance to a building.
 
“Put simply, if upgrade works are done then the existing pedestrian entrance may also be captured by the legislation.
 
“Owners and tenants need to check the regulations before proceeding,” said Mr Hastings.​