10/09/2002 - 22:00

Access issues central to BCA provisions review

10/09/2002 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

THE property industry is facing a raft of compliance issues ahead of the release of the disability standards for accessible buildings, based on the Disability Discrimination Act.

Access issues central to BCA provisions review
THE property industry is facing a raft of compliance issues ahead of the release of the disability standards for accessible buildings, based on the Disability Discrimination Act.

To simplify the process the Federal Government is working to increase the provisions in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) in relation to disability.

A BCA spokesperson said the alterations to the code were still some way off.

“We’ve formed a committee called the building access policy committee,” the spokesperson said.

“With representatives from Disability Services, the Property Council, architects … it’s got a very wide ranging membership.

“They are providing advice as to the content of the policy.

“We’ve actually already made some amendments to the BCA and we’re concentrating on getting those recognised under the DDA.”

The BCA won’t know the cost of these new provisions until the details of the requirements for buildings are finalised.

“Until we’ve done that we don’t know what the cost requirements are,” the spokesperson said.

The possible cost of these new requirements on building owners has caused some concern in the property industry

However, property owners can get out of compliance if they rely on the defence of unjustifiable hardship, which is defined in the act.

“And that’s what a lot of companies, buildings owners, property owners will rely on,” Jackson McDonald partner Maria Saraceni said.

In the eastern States, however, an eight-year-old child with spina bifida demonstrated the difficulties associated with relying on the defence of unjustifiable hardship when her case was dismissed in a Federal Court judgement.

The complaint, which was originally before the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, arose out of the refusal on the part of the Hills Grammar School to admit the child to attend school.

The school argued that to accommodate the needs of the child would cause unjustifiable hardship.

Ms Saraceni said a number of property owners would adopt a fairly robust view of the act, especially in cases where considerable investment was needed to make a building compliant.

p See Property, page 21.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options