Until recently Australian factory buildings were not designed to provide disabled access in terms of wheelchair access, ramps and landings, door widths, continuous travel paths, corridor widths, parking spaces and garages, lighting, alarm systems and toilets.

State Government land use planning strategies and local Council’s built environment design guidelines seek to correct this imbalance by requiring the provision of disabled access and related facilities to all new and altered existing factory complexes.

The Australian Government is considering draft changes to the Disabilities Discrimination Act to make building owners, property managers and tenants potentially liable to discrimination claims if disabled persons access and related facilities are not provided to new buildings and existing building alterations approved after the Act’s gazettal date.

Wayne Boyle, Principal Consultant of Australian Disabled Access Consultants says, “All property developers, building designers, building owners and property managers should provide disabled persons access and related facilities within all new factory buildings.”

“Audits should be regularly undertaken on existing factory buildings to ensure that disabled access and related facilities are provided at all times to comply with Australian Standards, local Council guidelines and the Building Code of Australia.

“Factory managers should undertake regular audits to ensure that the factory layout does not interfere with disabled access within the premises.”