The New Zealand government on Monday released a guide on designing accessible public buildings in order to achieve full accessibility for disabled people.
“Access to public buildings is a basic human right and New Zealand building legislation supports this,” Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa said in a statement.
The Buildings for Everyone guide encourages building owners and designers to consider the needs of all users of public buildings right from the start, Salesa said, adding the 11 sections in the guide illustrate how design decisions can improve accessibility and enhance user experience.
The Buildings for Everyone guide is particularly relevant for those who own, design, build and manage public facilities. It describes the building user experience for people with a wide range of physical, sensory and cognitive capabilities and shows practical approaches to the design, construction and management of public buildings to meet their needs, she said.
“Importantly, the guide provides some help to understanding the requirements of the Building Code relating to accessibility,” the minister added.
Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni said permanent or temporary disability affects one quarter of all New Zealanders, including seniors.
Inaccessible buildings, transport and services exclude a large proportion of disabled people from employment, housing and a decent standard of living and quality of life, Sepuloni said.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Barrier Free, a national charity, developed the guide in consultation with the disability sector, she said.