AQ's independent research early findings suggest tactiles are being over prescribed at the taxpayers expense and are underutilised by the visually impaired.  In economic modeling, current estimates of annual global investment in Tactiles is just under 1 billion AUD with Australia and New Zealand leading the way with the most pervasive regulation for building installations and investment followed by Japan and the UK. Tactile Ground Surface Indicators are the penny sized lumps and bumps you see at stairs, platforms and intersection and are designed to give both visual and tactile...

Andrew Heaton wrote on Sourceable  about the building compliance framework in Australia which is poorly understood. The cost and benefits associated with product certification in Australian is a matter that we've being pushing and with luck it's beginning to gain ground. Convening a national meeting with construction sector leaders to address what he says was an influx of non-conforming building products flooding the market, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry Bob Baldwin said such materials are a serious problem within the sector. Andrew Hutton, Sourceable 3/12/2014 Our...

The quality of our urban design and built environments has a major effect on the prevalence of lifestyle related conditions such as diabetes and depression and an urban health check using health planning criteria is the best way to communicate the health benefits in new development. In design, we partner with with the development team and governments to create opportunities for healthy urban living by locating and linking community and environmental networks and citing opportunities for improved integration. We then include a supportive Urban Health Impact Assessment with the planning...

Aged Care Mental Health and Healthcare AQ offer integrated compliance solutions to all industry sectors.  Our advantage is our background and qualifications in architecture, design and project management. We provide expert advice on BCA-DDA, national and state Aged Care and Health Care Standards and Workplace Health and Safety. In most cases we’re asked to join the team during the due diligence phase as setting the right number and location of facilities and accessways can generate significant savings across the project especially when determining the required number of...

Creating disability shop access to cafe and retail shops on sidewalks and public footpaths is often frustrating but don’t lose heart.  Using construction knowledge design and intuition, it’s possible to get access to the most difficult situation where others simply give up and apply for unjustifiable hardship under the Disability Discrimination Act. The conundrum of getting ramped access to shop entries without taking up the entire shop we will answer shortly, but firstly lets walk through some common problems. Access to shop premises for people with disability is required when new...

Have the Australian Standards become a design Crutch? It's of great concern to us to see architects leaning on building codes and standards as architectural templates instead of their own imagination and creativity. Any decent self respecting species on the planet knows that diversity is the key to survival so what's the evolutionary advantage of standardising design?  It didn't work for Mao Zedong or Stalin and there's no evidence that stifling evolution will work for us and there's every reason to motivate our designers to innovate solutions to today's lifestyle problems. When to...

Most access consultants come from building surveying or occupational therapy backgrounds with no construction experience and poor understanding of architectural design and practice.  There’s simply too much risk. Architects need security from complaints, that's why it's important to search for an access consultant that's right for the project. Our clients are acutely aware that their obligations to the DDA stretch beyond building occupancy, long after the building surveyors and occupational therapists have washed up. That's why they search for an access consultant who...

From 2015, the Free Building Code of Australia BCA will be available to ABCB subscribers. If you're new to the BCA world, new editions are released each year in early May and like any legal document, the BCA is easy to miss read as its language is different to that spoken on a building site.  We anticipate the free version will generate more work for our BCA advisers like ourselves as its circulation increases. When compared to previous years, we're not expecting major changes to the BCA in 2015 which is a good reason to make it freely available. We've been asking for a free building...

Some early feedback on Annex is that compared to the Australian Standards for access accessible housing AS 4299 Adaptable Housing, Annex is very relaxed on detail. Agree, Annex Org. asks designers to incorporate access, adaptability and safety features into every new accessible housing project in return for greater flexibility on how this is to be achieved, its the Annex quid pro quo. Annex is incredibly flexible and, yes there will be some accessible housing units that may not be universally accessible as some commentators would like. Volume! Annex home standard is all about...