Public buildings in Tamil Nadu to be made PwD-friendly

Union Urban Development Ministry gives green light for amending development control regulations guidelines.

CHENNAI: People with disabilities (PwDs) and elderly will have easier access to newly constructed public buildings as the State government plans to amend the development control regulations (DCR) and implement the standards specified under new guidelines passed by Union Urban Development Ministry.
The move by the State to implement the guidelines comes exactly a year after the Chief Secretary sought a proposal from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to amend DCR to implement ‘Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Built Environment for Differently-Abled Persons’.

Once the guidelines are implemented, then all public buildings have to comply with accessibility requirements for PwDs. The buildings also include government institutions, office and residential buildings.For accessible buildings, at least one entrance per facility will be accessible to a wheel-chair user. For new buildings, the accessible entrance will be the main entrance for public.

Wherever waiting areas, coffee shops, display areas, merchandising departments, service areas, ticket counters, refreshment stands, etc are provided for public use, the same facilities will now be accessible to all PwDs. In all buildings, at least one unisex accessible washroom will have to be provided. In multi-level buildings, all floors should have one such facility near the general washrooms as per the guidelines.

In multi-storeyed department stores and supermarkets, accessible elevators will have to be installed to provide access for he benefit of wheelchair users and people with mobility problems. Merchandise display areas in accessible shops will be conveniently located. Angled mirrors have to be placed above high shelves. Braille list, menus and signage will have to be provided for persons with visual impairments. All signage should be in contrast colour and large font. In clothes shops, at least one changing room should have door with 900mm clearance and allow for 360-degree turn of a wheelchair.

Fact file
The guidelines are harmonised to act as Practitioners Guide for Barrier Free Designs with universal access responding to varying needs of persons with disabilities
TN held a meeting to adopt the guidelines on March 23, 2017
CMDA was asked to send in a proposal to government to amend development regulations to ensure public buildings meet ‘Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier free Built Environment for Differently-Abled Persons and Elderly Persons 2016’
A meeting was held earlier this month with planners for suitable suggestions

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