Accessibility of office buildings and exterior environment under the influence of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance

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Accessibility of office buildings and exterior environment under the influence of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance

 

Author: Li, Tak-chuen
Title: Accessibility of office buildings and exterior environment under the influence of the Disability Discrimination Ordinance
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2001
Subject: Office buildings
Facility management
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Building Services Engineering
Pages: vi, 120, [53] leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1604115
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2339
Abstract: Disability Discrimination Ordinance 1995 (DDO) requires improvement in the accessibility of new office buildings both at the design/construction and operation stage. However, architects and developers for the design and construction of new office buildings are not required by law to provide access better than the obligatory minimum requirements. In some cases, even if proper access is provided at the design and construction stage of an office building, the accessibility is often affected adversely by poor facility management services at the operation stage. The public transport and government departments responsible for the exterior environment of office buildings are obliged by DDO to provide proper access to persons with disabilities (PWD). However, there will not be discrimination if those services/ facilities are not designed for the use of PWD or the provision of services/ facilities to PWD may incur unjustifiable hardship to the services / facilities providers. As no government department is responsible for the establishment of defined routes for wheelchair users to reach office buildings, physical barriers are still often found at the exterior environment of new office buildings. This Dissertation was conducted to review whether DDO has positive effects on the accessibility of new office buildings and related exterior environment. Literature Research has been conducted to identity the access requirements at the office buildings and exterior environment, the accessibility needs of wheelchair users and the role of facility manager in accessibility. A case study has been conducted to review the accessibility of an office building and exterior environment under the influence of Disability Discrimination Ordinance. Research findings showed that some path of travel from parking facilities at the exterior environment to the entrance of new office buildings are still inaccessible to wheelchair users. Unless the government establishes defined routes for PWD to reach office buildings, wheelchair users may encounter difficulties in travelling at the exterior environment. Facility managers may improve the situation by assessing the accessibility of the exterior environment of office building under their management and to request the government to take remedial actions if necessary. Research findings showed that the access better than the obligatory minimum design requirements are provided at office buildings completed during July 1999 to December 2000. However, separated accesses are still provided to PWD and persons without disability. The community's attitude towards wheelchair users still needed to be improved if the full rights of wheelchair users are respected. The Government is recommended to establish defined routes for PWD to reach office buildings. Facility managers for the day to day management of office buildings are recommended to increase their staffs' awareness concerning the accessibility needs of wheelchair users at the office buildings and exterior environment. The value added services of the facility management profession may improve the accessibility both at office buildings and exterior environment.

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