The first disability discrimination act was passed in 1995, and since that date there have been many amendments to it as well as its name have been changed to the Equality Act in the UK, but not Northern Ireland, in 2010. Since disability has been truly recognised in the UK as something that should not lead to discrimination, many changes have taken place. One of these changes is that of access to public buildings; all public buildings need to have disabled access in the form of access ramps, elevators, or other forms of assistance for wheelchair users.
It is very important however to remember that simply fitting a ramp over the existing stairs at your premise will not suffice; there are strict access ramp specifications that need to be adhered to and these will ensure that you are not heavily fined for not providing appropriate access. Existing buildings have been given timescales, by which necessary amendments must be taken care of, and all new builds with public access must be fitted with disabled access doors, ramps, and disabled facilities such as bathrooms or lowered counters for serving.
As the owner of a premise where the public will visit you, whether an office, a shop, or a café, you need to make sure that you too provide the correct access for disabled customers. Wheelchair ramps will need to be fitted to your storefront if it is not on ground level, and doors must be able to be opened from a wheelchair. Trying to tackle the alterations by yourself could lead you into more trouble than good; if you install a ramp that is not DDA compliant then you will simply be asked to replace it with one that is.
The gradient of your ramp is very important as is the material from which it is made; slippery surfaces are not allowed, and wherever possible it is also recommended that your ramp has a secure railing that can be used by other physically impaired visitors such as those who use a walking stick or frame. A wheelchair access ramp will not only facilitate the entrance and exit from your premise by wheelchair users; it will also be a pleasant and welcoming addition to young mothers with buggies and even delivery men.
When fitting access ramps on to your premise you must therefore ensure that you use only DDA compliant ramps that are installed by your local access and mobility specialists. Ramps can be made to be a permanent fixture at your premise, or you can invest in portable ramps that you can simply place down whenever you invite visitors to your building. What is most important is that wheelchair access is possible to your premise at all times that it is open to the public and you will be receiving guests; otherwise you could be heavily fined, or even asked to close down your premise until the necessary alterations are carried out. Ensure your wheelchair access ramps are DDA compliant when you call in your mobility access specialists today.