According to new Government data, there are now 13.9 million disabled people in the UK. That means disabled people now make up 22% of the UK population.
The figures also state the total spending power of families with at least one disabled person is estimated to be £249 billion a year, and account for up to 20% of the customer base for UK businesses. Apart from it being a legal requirement to ensure your business is DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant, you may potentially be losing revenue to not have the correct facilities in place.
As stated in the Equality Act of 2010, reasonable adjustments need to be made to commercial and public buildings to overcome physical barriers which prevent disabled access.
What are the requirements?
Handrails should be installed as a means to provide safe access for all users, particularly those who find it difficult to negotiate level changes, such as children or the elderly.
Where flights of steps are wider than 1800mm, it is our recommendation that handrails are used to divide the flight into channels between 1000 and 1800mm. However, if the flight of steps consists of two or more risers, then a continuous handrail should be provided on either side.
In terms of the required heights of handrails on commercial or public buildings, handrails must be between 900mm and 1.1m in height and should extend the width of one stair tread and then level out for at least 300mm.
If children need to be considered, additional handrails should be fixed at approximately 500mm – 600mm from pitch line of stairs.
Our Design Considerations
At Essential Projects, everything we manufacture is custom made with finishing options that include polished, brushed, painted or galvanised. However, when it comes to a bespoke custom-made handrail, we think the following design elements should also be;
- A continuous smooth surface to avoid injury
- “Warm to touch”
- Visually contrasting with the surrounding environment
Given the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and Part M Building Regulations, and the number of people who require access to commercial and public buildings, it is now imperative that businesses factor these considerations into design plans.
At Essential Projects we work alongside other professionals such as architects, structural engineers, joiners, and other independent contractors, working on projects for many of the UK’s leading retailers as well as on bespoke projects for heritage buildings and for owners of prestige residential housing projects.
If you require a bespoke handrail that complies with all the relevant DDA and building regulations, please feel to get in touch with us.