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BCA 2019 Amendments relating to Access for People with Disability

  • April 30, 2019
  • Alison Shiels

BCA Volume 1 2019

The new BCA 2019, Volume One to be adopted on 1st May includes various amendments which are considered necessary for the effective application of the Code. Updates relevant to access for people with disability are discussed below.

  • Addition of two new verification Methods DV2 and DV3 relating to accessible paths of travel and ramps
  • Accessible locations for push buttons (where provided) at exit doors (D2.21)
  • Amendment to D3.5 to clarify how an accessible parking bay is treated for smaller developments
  • Signage concession addition for sanitary facilities within Class 9c aged care buildings (D3.6)
  • Reference to a sole occupancy unit in a Class 1b building corrected to refer to a bedroom instead under D3.6
  • Sentence case’ has been corrected to ‘title case’ when referring to the format to be used for tactile characters on Braille & tactile signs under Specification D3.6
  • A double up clause has been removed under D3.9 regarding the representative nature of Wheelchair Seating Spaces and Specification D3.10 relating to the entry gradient in a swimming pool
  • ‘Sanitary towels’ has been replaced by ‘sanitary products’ (F2)
  • Requirement for Adult Access Change Facilities in certain shopping centres, sports venues, passenger use areas within public transport buildings, museums, art galleries & theatres
  • AS 1428.1: 2009 Amendment No. 2 has been referenced. Amdt 2 relates to width between ramp handrails under Figure 14 of the Standard
  • AS 4586 Amendment No. 1 has been referenced for slip resistance for pedestrian surfaces

New Verification Methods DV2 and DV3

Two new Verification Methods, DV2 and DV3 have been provided to allow a practical approach to the design of buildings relative to a buildings purpose, occupant type, user capabilities, safety and whole of journey approach. DV2 refers to performance of accessible paths of travel and DV3 relates to performance of accessible ramps for users with disability.

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has developed a handbook that provides further information on the new Verification Methods to assist practitioners with understanding the process and the criteria to be assessed for each method. You can access the handbook here https://www.abcb.gov.au/Resources/Publications/Education-Training/Access-Verification-Methods

DV2 Access to and within a building

Compliance with DP1, DP2, DP6, EP3.4 and/or FP2.1, for access, is verified when it is determined that the proposed building provides an equivalent level of access as a reference building when using the following process:

(a) A performance-based design brief is completed to define the following:

(i) The occupant profile and characteristics based on the type and use of the building.
(ii) The appropriate method for determining the level of access.
(iii) The appropriate modelling method and tool.
(iv) The measurable acceptance criteria.

(b) Using the appropriate method, the level of access required is determined by first modelling a reference building using the relevant Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of Sections D, E and F and the occupant profile and characteristics to determine the—

(i) needs of the occupants that the reference building addresses; and
(ii) facilities required to be accessed by each occupant profile; and
(iii) baseline measurable acceptance criteria.

(c) The proposed building and access solution must be modelled using a modelling method and approach consistent with that used for the reference building, and the same critical features including the following:

(i) Occupant profile and characteristics.
(ii) Building location and orientation.
(iii) Locations of all entrances and exits.
(iv) Locations of facilities important to the solution, including sanitary facilities, lifts, stairwells, etc.
(v) The number and range of facilities.

(d) The proposed solution’s level of access is assessed by modelling occupant performance using characteristics, whereby the proposed building provides for equivalent access appropriate to the needs of each occupant profile. 

DV3 Ramp gradient, crossfall, surface profile and slip resistance for ramps used by wheelchairs

(a) Compliance with Performance Requirement DP2, relating to gradient, crossfall, surface profile and slip resistance
of a ramp for the use of wheelchairs is verified when—

(i) the ramp has a gradient that is not steeper than 1:8; and
(ii) the pushing force required to accelerate a wheelchair and user during ascent is in accordance with (b); and
(iii) the required braking force for a wheelchair and user during descent is in accordance with (c); and
(iv) the projected ascent time is in accordance with (d); and
(v) the ramp crossfall, surface profile and slip resistance is in accordance with (e).

(b) The pushing force during ascent must be in accordance with the formula:

The pushing force during ascent formula

where—
Fp = the maximum force during ascent, equal to 40 N for ramps required to be usable by the general public; and
m = the design mass of the wheelchair and wheelchair user, equal to 127 kg for ramps required to be usable by the general public; and
g = the gravitational constant, equal to 9.8 m/s2; and
α = the angle of incline of the ramp; and
Cπ1, Cπ2 = the coefficient of rolling resistance between the wheelchair wheel and ramp surface, for the rear wheels and front wheels respectively; and
N1, N2 = the normal force between the wheelchair wheels and ramp surface, for the rear wheels and front wheels respectively.

(c) The braking force during descent must be less than 9 N when calculated in accordance with the formula:

The braking force during descent formula

where—
Fb = the braking force during descent; and
m = the design mass of the wheelchair and wheelchair user, equal to 127 kg for ramps required to be usable by the general public; and
g = the gravitational constant, equal to 9.8 m/s2; and
α = the angle of incline of the ramp; and
Cπ1, Cπ2 = the coefficient of rolling resistance between the wheelchair wheel and ramp surface, for the rear wheels and front wheels respectively; and
N1, N2 = the normal force between the wheelchair wheels and ramp surface, for the rear wheels and front wheels respectively.

(d) The time taken to ascend the ramp must be less than 17 s when calculated in accordance with the formula:

The time taken to ascend the ramp formula

where—
T = the time taken to ascend the ramp in seconds; and
L = the length of the ramp in metres; and
m = the design mass of the wheelchair and wheelchair user, equal to 127 kg for ramps required to be usable by the general public; and
t = the time taken for the wheelchair to achieve maximum velocity, equal to 0.8 s; and
FP = the maximum pushing force during ascent, equal to 40 N for ramps required to be usable by the general public;
and
g = the gravitational constant, equal to 9.8 m/s; and
α = the angle of incline of the ramp; and
Cπ1, Cπ2 = the coefficient of rolling resistance between the wheelchair wheel and ramp surface, for the rear wheels and front wheels respectively; and
N1, N2 = the normal force between the wheelchair wheels and ramp surface, for the rear wheels and front wheels respectively.

(e) The crossfall must be no steeper than, the surface profile must be no rougher than, and the slip resistance must be no less than, the values nominated in Table DV3 for the gradient of the ramp.

Table DV3 Ramp crossfall, surface profile and slip resistance

GradientCrossfallSurface profile (mm)Slip resistance
1:141:402P4/R11
1:121:502P5/R12
1:101:1001P5/R12
1:81:1000.5P5/R12

Push Buttons at Exit Doors (D2.21(a)(iii))

A new provision has been included to require push button devices provided under D2.21(a)(ii) to be installed in a reachable and accessible location with accompanying identifying signage.

Accessible Parking Bays within Small Developments (D3.5(d))

Accessible parking spaces are required for users with disability under Clause D3.5 based on a buildings’ use and ratio system. The clause acknowledges smaller developments where they provide up to 5 bays by allowing an exemption from ‘designating’ an accessible bay to avoid restricting the bay only for users with disability. Although the clause was not clear on what features could be omitted, the BCA Guide provided more clarity by noting signage and markings as not being required to designate the space, similar to the Premises Standards Guideline. Clause D3.5(d) of the new BCA has now been updated to include ‘Accessible carparking spaces need not be identified with signage’, in lieu of ‘need not be designated’. The information in the new BCA 2019 Guide remains the same noting signage and markings as the exemption items for these small developments.

Signage Concession (D3.6(a)(i)(A))

The concession to not provide sanitary facility signage has been extended to also apply to sole-occupancy units in Class 9c aged care buildings.

Reference to Bedrooms in Class 1b Buildings (D3.6(a)(i)(A))

The reference to a sole-occupancy unit in a Class 1b building has been corrected to refer to a bedroom instead.

Braille & Tactile Signs (Spec D3.6, 3(b))

‘Sentence case’ has been corrected to ‘title case’ when referring to the format to be used for tactile characters on Braille & tactile signs.

Wheelchair Seating Spaces (D3.9(b)(iii))

The sub-clause requiring cinema wheelchair seating spaces to be representative of the range provided has been removed because the representative nature of wheelchair seating spaces is covered in Table D3.9.

Access to Swimming Pools (D3.10(b)(ii))

Specification D3.10 specifies the gradient for zero depth entry for a swimming pool, therefore the reference to a maximum gradient in Clause D3.10 has been deleted to remove duplication.

Required Sanitary Facilities in Class 2 Buildings (F2.1)

The requirement to provide sanitary facilities for employees when a Class 2 building or group of Class 2 buildings contains more than 10 sole-occupancy units has been removed. A class 2 buildings contain residential dwellings.

Sanitary Products (F2)

The term ‘sanitary towels’ has been replaced with ‘sanitary products’.

Accessible Adult Change Facilities (F2.9/F3.1/D3.6)

F2.9 is a new clause added to require Accessible Adult Change Facilities in certain Class 6 and 9b buildings (shopping centres, sports venues, passenger use areas within public transport buildings, museums, art galleries & theatres), accompanied by a technical Specification F2.9 that assists practioners with achieving compliance.

Accessible adult change facilities were developed and established in Australia back in 2009 originally as ‘Changing Places’. These were based on a model developed in the UK and have now been included in the 2019 Building Code of Australia to provide suitable facilities for people with high support needs who cannot use standard accessible toilets. Further information on these facilities has been provided on our blog https://www.disabilityaccessconsultants.com.au/what-is-an-accessible-adult-change-facility/

An Accessible Adult Change Facility requires a room height of 2.4m which has been added under F3.1(f), with a new Verification Method FV3.1 included as a means of verifying room heights.

Wayfinding has been added to D3.6(g) to enable users and their carers to locate the nearest Adult Accessible Change Facility under Part D3.6(g) by way of directional signage at sanitary facilities.

AS 1428.1:2009 Amendment No.2 has been referenced to include the recent amendment to Fig 14 within the Standard.

AS 4586 Amdt 1 of AS 4586 ‘Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials’ has been referenced.

NCC 2019 Guide to BCA Volume One
Specification F2.9 Accessible adult change facilities

Specification F2.9 is based on the Changing Places Information Guide and Technical Standard (June 2017 edition), copies of which can be obtained from the Changing Places website at: https://changingplaces.org.au/.
(Note: Changing Places is not in any way affiliated with, or endorsed by, the ABCB.)