Entering a Childcare Centre via the front entrance is usually where parents make their first impression. It's also an integral part when designing your centre that impacts the build stage and end compliance stage.
Numerous elements affect the access to a centre i.e People, space, equipment, vehicles and objects make the circulation and movement of the centre critical.
From our experience we outline 2 key factors for accessibility in this area:
Street access and Front Entrance access– When accessing the centre from the street, safety need to be ensured. From the Centre’s front entrance (Principal Pedestrian Entry) this needs to be accessible in a zone secured by fencing with the appropriate circulation space. The preference is that it is also undercover to ensure the safe passage during weather changes. No steps are to be present in this area. The Door access clearing needs to be opening of 850, accessible lever action handles, enough circulation space for a wheelchair. Compliance to the “Disability to Access to Premises standards “disability act can been thought out long before you get to the build stage and therefore will be compliant.
2. Pathways, Ramp Heights & Hand Rails – Pathways need to be 1m clear wide for
wheelchair access from the accessible vehicle bay to the principal pedestrian
entry. This needs to be step free. Ramp heights need to be at a minimum
grade depending on the level difference that is required. There is also a total
length and possible ramp landing, tactile indicator requirements that have to
be complied with.
Taking the time to do your research and identify the potential accessibility issues early in the design phase will greatly impact the end result when it comes to compliance and building codes and DoE policies.
We recommend you engage an experienced ‘Access
Consultant’ that will be able to help you identify those potential accessibility issues and advise you of your legal obligations prior to commencing construction or at CC stage.