Accessibility Code of Pakistan 2006: Purpose, Scope, Intent, and SalientĀ Features

Purpose:

The purpose of the Accessibility Code of Pakistan is to ensure that buildings and public spaces are designed and constructed in a way that is accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities and the elderly. The code seeks to safeguard public health and welfare, provide safe means of egress during emergencies, and promote inclusion and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society.

Scope:

The code applies to all new buildings and public spaces, as well as existing buildings and public spaces undergoing major renovations or alterations. The code covers a wide range of features, including but not limited to accessible entrances, ramps, elevators, restrooms, parking spaces, signage, emergency egress, handrails, grab bars, non-slip surfaces, and information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility.

Intent:

The intent of the code is to establish minimum requirements and standards for accessibility, to ensure that buildings and facilities are designed and constructed in a way that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their age or ability. The code sets out the minimum requirements for accessibility and provides guidelines for compliance.

Salient Features:

Accessible Design: The code requires that buildings and public spaces be designed in a way that is accessible to persons with disabilities. This includes features such as ramps, accessible entrances, and elevators, as well as accessible restrooms, parking spaces, and telecommunications services.

Signage: The code requires that signage be provided in a manner that is accessible to all individuals, including those with visual impairments. This includes the use of tactile signs and Braille, as well as high contrast and easy-to-read fonts and symbols.

Accessible transport: The code requires that transport services, including public transport, be accessible to persons with disabilities. This includes the provision of accessible vehicles, such as buses with wheelchair ramps and low floors, as well as accessible train and stations with ramps, elevators, and tactile paving. The code also requires that transport service providers provide accessible information on routes, schedules, and fares, including using accessible websites and mobile apps.

Emergency Egress: The code requires that buildings be designed with safe means of egress in case of emergencies. This includes the provision of accessible exits, refuge areas, and evacuation plans that are accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities.

Training: The code requires that architects, engineers, and other professionals involved in the design and construction of buildings receive training on accessibility standards and best practices.

Stakeholder Engagement/ Consultation: The code encourages the participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the design, planning, and evaluation of buildings and public spaces.

Accommodation of Elderly: The code also addresses the needs of the elderly population in terms of accessibility and safe means of egress during emergencies. It requires the provision of handrails, grab bars, non-slip surfaces, and other features that enhance safety and mobility.

Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility: The code also covers accessibility of ICT for persons with disabilities. It requires that websites, electronic documents, and other ICT tools be designed in a manner that is accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities.

Enforcement: The code provides for penalties and fines for non-compliance, and establishes an inspection and certification process to ensure that buildings and public spaces are accessible to all individuals

Conclusion:

The Accessibility Code of Pakistan is an important piece of legislation that aims to promote accessibility and inclusion for all individuals, particularly those with disabilities and the elderly. The code establishes minimum requirements and standards for accessibility and provides for enforcement and penalties for non-compliance. By encouraging stakeholder engagement, training, and the use of universal design principles, the code seeks to promote a more inclusive and accessible built environment for all.