Obvius Access

  Disability Access Consultants with a Balanced Approach


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An example of a DDA Management Plan

Plans to Double the Sales Area of a Major City Centre Department Store at various levels created an extremely difficult DDA Compliance Criteria for the Design Team.

By David Bedwell ACAA Director Obvius Access 

Major expansion of an existing Departmental Store by acquisition of an adjacent building to provide additional Sales, Amenity and Administration Areas resulted in Challenging Conditions being encountered by the Design Team. 

The adjacent property had long been earmarked for expansion of the Retail Area of this Major Store. The Accessibility and resultant DDA compliance legislation was recognized at an early stage by the Store Management which resulted in the integration of an Access Consultant into the Project Design and Management Team. 

Site restrictions naturally occurred due to the existing and acquired sites being originally built in such a way that customer access from the pedestrian pathways surrounding the perimeter of the site on three elevations were at various levels. A differential of 3metres was occurring in the worst case. In addition the Store had to continue trading whilst the redevelopment work proceeded. 

The inherent differential in levels could only be integrated into the overall layout by increasing the number of Sales Levels within the store from an existing Ground Level, First Floor Level, Second Floor Level, and Third Floor Level as the existing sales Area was laid out. New levels were introduced namely Lower Ground Floor, Lower First Floor, and Lower Second Floor. The Question then remained how can seven different levels be accessed without the risk of creating an inequitable accessibility environment and resultantly non-compliance with the DDA. 

The Solution was an agreed DDA Management Plan produced by the Project Team in conjunction with the Stores Operations Manager. The Plan evolved and recommended the installation of New Lifts in newly constructed Lift Shafts which would service the newly created intermediate Sales Floors. The existing lifts serving the original sales areas were to remain in service but subject to complete refits to comply with DDA requirements. As such an accessible path was created to every level of the Sales Area. 

Accessible amenity accommodation was duplicated in both the new and existing areas and located adjacent to the existing Cafeteria and the new Bistro. 

In addition Escalators were installed within the new Sales Areas to compliment those of the existing sales areas. 

As a means of additional escape in the event of fire new fire protected staircases were created within the new and existing sales areas. 

Whilst this was an extremely complicated site the DDA compliance solution was achieved by a forward thinking Project Management Team whom by the early production of a DDA Management Plan prepared by an Access Consultant were able to manage the Design and Construction process efficiently to budget and to program. 

David Bedwell is an Access Consultant a Director of Obvius Access who are an Accredited Access Consultant with offices in Australia in SE Queensland and NSW. 

For Other Articles by David visit        www.accessconsultant.com.au   or 

                                                          E-mail obviusaccess@bigpond.com  





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