What is The Equality Act (2010)?
From 1st October 2010, the Equality Act replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The act aims to end prejudice against less able people, and has been significantly extended over the last ten years to give less able people rights in the following areas:
- renting or buying land or property
- Access to goods, facilities and services
- Activities, clubs, sports and associations
Where restriction involves the vertical circulation within a building, a lifting platform can provide a solution.
Equality Act obligations
Obligations under the Equality Act require service providers and workplaces to make reasonable provisions and/or adjustments to overcome physical features which obstruct the less able to access facilities. To overcome a physical feature you can:
- Remove it
- Alter it so that it no longer has an effect
- Provide an alternative access route
- Make services available to the less able in another way
Building design for equality
It is the building designer’s obligation to ensure that access is provided for the less able in new buildings to ensure compliance with the Equality Act. Regarding vertical circulation this can be implemented by the use of ramps, lifts or lifting platforms amongst others. It is a general misconception that the Equality Act specifies equipment, but the building designer can specify a particular method.
Building designers can put forward the type of lifting device they feel is most suitable in the access statement, based on the environment and usage among other factors. This allows them to fulfil their obligations under the Equality Act. The Requirements of Platform Lifts are contained in Part M of the Building Regulations, BS EN 8300 (called up within the regulation), BS 6440 and BS EN 81-41:2010.