Accessibility and disability
The Estates Departments' aim is to provide an estate of optimum size, location, quality and condition and an estates service that will support De Montfort University in delivering its core business activities.
The department recognises that it has a responsibility to ensure that the physical environment meets the requirements of students, staff and visitors and therefore accessible and appropriate provision for persons with disabilities is considered a core requirement.
The department will discharge its responsibilities in line with De Montfort University’s admission policy and any relevant legislation, regulations and codes of practice (standards).
The Estates Department will implement building refurbishment and development projects in accordance with the following:
- The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and amendments introduced by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA)
- The Disability Discrimination Employment Regulations 1996
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
- Building Regulations 2004, approved document M, access and facilities for disabled people
- Building regulations 1991, approved document B, fire safety
- Building regulations 1991, approved document K, protection from falling, collision and impact
- Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education - Section 3: Students with disabilities
- The university's health and safety policy, safety of staff and students with disabilities and differing needs
New schemes and projects
New schemes/projects are delivered under a planned maintenance programme (PMP), where there is an integrated strategy for maintaining the building stock, through minor and major capital improvements and backlog maintenance schemes.
Any briefs/specifications received from Faculties/Departments for such work, will be reviewed to ensure that the needs of disabled students are taken into account by either/or:
- Consultations with client and disabled persons as appropriate
- Referring to the Estates Department - access and facilities for disabled people
- Consulting with accommodation planning and timetabling staff as appropriate
- Following the standards set out in the standards section above
Maintaining existing properties
The maintenance of existing buildings is delivered through an operational maintenance programme which identifies the standards to be adopted by the university for maintaining the building fabric and installed building services for each academic, support and residential area, in order to support the core business activities.
Existing buildings will be maintained in accordance with the standards identified above and any improvements considered necessary, as a consequence of surveys, will be included in future funding bids.
Physical access audit of all properties, including halls of residence, teaching and learning accommodation and resources, support buildings, leisure and recreational facilities
The Estates Department carries out physical access audits of the university’s properties as part of its on-going estates monitoring surveys, covering:
- Physical condition
- Functional stability
- Space utilisation
- Legislation non-compliance
- Risk assessments
- Disability access
Publication of physical access and facilities statements for buildings
Statements will be produced covering the access and facilities available for disabled persons found within a particular building and passed to faculties/departments for reference.
Estates programmes for implementing works to improve physical accessibility
Programmes of works, which have been funded specifically to cover schemes and projects for physical access and facilities will be made available. These will be prioritised to reflect the risk and importance of the work.
Attachment A, Estates, schemes and projects disability policy (checklist)
Items to be considered during design stage of all schemes/projects:
- Lifts - approach, landings, internal facilities
- Steps/stairs - stepped approach, level approach, gradient sand ramped approach, nosings
- WCs - provisions, compartments, access and approach
- Height of services - provisions and accessibility, whb, taps, electrical sockets, light switches etc
- Height of desks/counters/work surfaces etc - provision and accessibility
- Lecture theatre provision - disposition of wheelchair spaces etc
- Seating/lifts - viewing arrangements and accessibility
- Evac chairs - location and access
- Refuges - locations, signage and means of escape
- Door widths - principle entrances, internal doors, space and mobility, signage
- Circulation routes - horizontal and vertical circulation, corridors and passageways
- Handrails - profile and projections
- Colour schemes - external and internal, tone and colour contrast
- Alarms visual and acoustic - safety systems
- Floor finishes - non-slip, colour
- Lighting and emergency lighting - non-glare, levels, control
- Sound - induction loops, amplification/speakers
- Signage - easily readable, non-reflective
- Parking - access, approach, signage
- Automatic door controls - including security devices
- Ironmongery on doors etc - provision, accessibility
- Grounds and footpaths - access route, approach, landscaping, signage