Ghana’s building regulations to contain accessibility designs

By
D.I. Laary, GNA

Accra, Sept. 18, GNA
– The National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD) together with
interested parties, have produced national standard accessibility designs to
guide builders and service providers to remove barriers impeding universal
accessibility of vulnerable people in the society.

The Ghana Standard
Accessibility Designs (GSAD) is expected to serve as a useful tool for
individuals and corporate bodies involved in designing, implementing and
supervising projects where accessibility forms core component.

“Our friends in the
media, currently, the GSAD is being fine-tuned for gazetting by Ghana Standards
Authority,” Mr Kwamena Dadzie-Denis, NCPD Executive Secretary told reporters in
Accra.

“It will then be
incorporated into Ghana’s building regulations, then approving authorities will
make accessibility designs as one of the criteria for acceptance of plans for
construction and the built environment,” he said.

The objectives of
the national accessibility designs are to provide an accessible built
environment to users and as a tool for measurement or auditing of universal
accessibility.

It is estimated to
guide estate developers, designers and similar persons involved in
built-environment to incorporate accessibility principles in their various stages
of planning, designs and execution as well as increase awareness on
accessibility criteria and the need for barrier free designs.

Mr Dadzie-Denis
named special beneficiaries of the standard designs as wheelchair users and
people with limited walking or ability to move, visual impairment or low vision
as well as hearing impairment.

Elderly persons,
pregnant women, people with temporary disabilities, children and people
carrying heavy or cumbersome luggage would also benefit from the designs when
finally regulated.

The GSAD contains
information on the design and construction of Pedestrian Access, Zebra Crossing
or Crosswalks, Kerb Ramps or Grades, and Elevation Changes, Guards and
Hand-Rails.

It also has Bus
Shouters, Ramps, Tactive Marking, Stairs and Steps, Drainage Gratings, Trunset
Shelters, ATMS and Bank Machines.

Washrooms, Floors or
Grounds, Schools, Transport Terminals, Airport, Lighten, Public Address
Systems, Tactile Signs and Symbols, Hospitals and Health Care Facilities among
several others are included.

According the NCPD
minimum standards for access of information and services are also being
developed while sign language training for public official are being done with
15 persons trained this year.

Relevant
institutions, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies and allied
agencies would have access to the document while efforts are made to educate
the public on its content, Mr Dadzie-Denis said.

The Standard is
projected to address numerous concerns of persons with disability,
particularly, their failure to access public buildings for services and
participate in social activities due to due built barriers.

Section 6 of Ghana’s
Disability Act 715, 2006 and Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the
Right of Persons with Disability require that buildings, roads, indoor and
outdoor facilities including school buildings, medical facilities and work
places are made accessible to Persons with Disability.

The NCPD with
funding from Open Society Initiative of West Africa collaborated with the Ghana
Federation of Disability Organisations, Ghana Blind Union, Ghana Society for
the Physically Disabled, Ghana National Association for the Deaf, ministries,
departments and agencies and the GSA to put together the draft document

GNA

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