INCORPORATING DISABILITY IN ARCHITECTURE

Report
THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON
DISABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY
RIGHTS: TOWARDS IMPLEMENTING
THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
ACT, 2003
25TH – 27TH JUNE 2012
KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL
CONFERENCE CENTRE, NAIROBI
INCORPORATING DISABILITY IN
ARCHITECTURE – WHERE ARE WE?
A PRESENTATION BY ARCH. STEVEN OUNDO
CHAIRMAN
ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION OF KENYA
INCORPORATING DISABILITY IN
ARCHITECTURE
Where are we?
Very far.
That is reality…
How do we perceive
disability?

all human beings have a different mix of
abilities regardless of their physical or
mental state. It is therefore safe to support
the assertion that there are no disabled
persons – rather Persons with different
abilities
How do we perceive disability?


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also
redefined disability. According to WHO,
disability can no longer be viewed as a fixed
physical or mental state but as a contextual
variable.
The state of Disability is dynamic – changing
over time and in relation to circumstances. One is
more or less disabled based on the interaction
between the person and the individual,
institutional and social environments. (WHO)
How do we perceive disability?

Common example – pushing a baby pram can be
considered a form of ‘disability’
What has been the problem?


We have not adopted a human
centered approach to Design of
buildings and other facilities.
Many public building (including very
large complexes) have been designed
and developed without incorporating
the needs of all persons who will need
to use the facility at one time or the
other
The Human Centered Approach to
Design



This is a broad concept that defines the approach
taken in designing where a comprehensive analysis
of the needs, wants and limitations of the end users
of any product are given extensive attention and
incorporated in design
This approach is applied in the design of buildings,
vehicles, equipment, appliances etc.
Designers anticipate user requirements and design
to meet the requirements rather than force users to
adapt to predesigned products.
Universal Design


In recent times, there has been a gradual shift
globally toward a new thinking in the design of
buildings, technologies, equipment etc to meet the
needs of all people.
This is the Universal design movement
The Universal Design Movement

Universal Design – is concept that proposes that the
design (products, technologies, and the built
environment) should serve the broadest range of
people, regardless of levels of ability or mobility,
age, gender, or physical stature without the need
for adaptation or specialized design."
The Universal Design Movement


Based on the finding that designs of buildings,
equipment and technologies to accommodate
people with disabilities actually benefited
everyone.
Recognition that many such features could be
commonly provided and thus less expensive,
attractive.
Principles of Universal Design




Equitable Use: The design does not disadvantage or
stigmatize any group of users.
Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide
range of individual preferences and abilities.
Simple, Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to
understand, regardless of the user's experience,
knowledge, language skills, or current concentration
level.
Perceptible Information: The design communicates
necessary information effectively to the user, regardless
of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
Principles of Universal Design



Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards
and the adverse consequences of accidental or
unintended actions.
Low Physical Effort: The design can be used
efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of
fatigue.
Size and Space for Approach & Use: Appropriate
size and space is provided for approach, reach,
manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body
size, posture, or mobility.
(© Center for Universal Design, School of Design, State University of North Carolina at Raleigh
[USA])
Key Challenges






Accessibility to buildings
Access within buildings
Signage
Sanitary facilities
Safety
All these areas have largely fallen short of
expectation in meeting the needs of all users of
buildings
Accessibility to buildings:




Designated parking facilities with wider parking
space and clear signage
Parking space should be as close as possible to
building main entrance
Continuous, obstacle free pathway – sufficient width
to accommodate wheelchairs, walking frames etc
Clear signage
Accessibility within the Building




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Clear passage ways within the building with
sufficient width
Floor material – should be firm and non-slip
Inclusion of handrails
Safety kerbs / kerb rails to protect wheelchairs
from rolling over passageways
Clear and legible signage to direct all visitors
Accessibility within the Building



Doors and doorways– should be easy to open and
Wide enough to allow wheelchairs, walking frames
to go through.
Signage – should be clear
Design and layout – simple enough to facilitate
ease of movement for all
Accessibility within the Building


Lifts: These are
essential to
accessibility within
buildings – especially
in a highrise urban
environment
Lifts should:


Be large enough to
accommodate
wheelchairs and
walking frames
Should incorporate
visual, audio and
braille control and
information system
Other facilities



Washroom facilities – Easily accessible designated
toilet facilities with clear signage
Accessible facilities such as taps, mirrors, shelves,
changing rooms that are specifically designed for
people with special needs.
Specific consideration for safety for persons with
disability – including fire alarms, fire exits,
What is the situation in Kenya



There are no statistics on compliance of buildings
with minimum accessibility standards
There are a number of buildings (especially the
newer ones) that have incorporated universal
accessibility. A good number of these are the result
of post construction adjustment rather that part of
initial design
A vast majority , from experience, can be
considered inaccessible to all
A brief overview of development
control in Kenya –Responsible entities
DEVELOPER:
who has the primary duty
of care and has the
responsibility of engaging
certified professionals as
consultants;
CONTRACTOR
GOVERNMENT:
who is expected to have
the capacity and
competence to undertake
the specific tasks for the
specified scope of works
through a number of
regulatory agencies
charged with enforcing bylaws and ensuring that any
development meets stated
regulatory building
standards;
CONSULTANTS:
Consultants have a duty to advise
the client on the various aspects
of the project and to ensure that
due process is followed during the
entire project cycle.
Challenges - Development Control



There are challenges in the development control system
in Kenya. This has compromised the ability of Local
authorities to supervise & inspect building projects to
ensure compliance with statutory requirements and
regulations – raising serious safety concerns.
Local Authorities in Kenya lack adequate technical
capacities for approval, supervision and inspection of
development projects to ensure compliance with existing
laws.
Challenges - Development Control


Weak institutional and legal framework
There are many Acts which are domiciled in different
ministries/ state agencies that apply in development
control of physical developments. For example, the
Ministry of Land prepares physical development plans
for the Local Authorities; the Local Authorities are
empowered to implement these plans and undertake
development control; and National Environmental
Management Authority oversees issues on environment.
This leads to lack of institutional coordination arising
from different mandates in development control.
Challenges - Development Control



Low level of public awareness of development control
policy framework
The procedures that guide development control have
not been sufficiently shared with the public – public
awareness of planning policy is extremely low. This
apparent lack of knowledge also directly impacts
developers in their understanding of planning policy
requirements, leading to poor development proposals,
low levels of compliance and ultimately weak attempts
at enforcement of planning policy as it exists.
Challenges - Development Control



Incompetent persons
Local Authorities in Kenya have reported that
unregistered persons are involved in development
control stages and carry out over 50% of the
development proposal preparation within the Local
Authorities. Development proposals when
implemented are then likely to be of the poor
quality that we find manifest in much of urban
Kenya.
Challenges - Development approval

This is attributed to multiplicity of factors including;
absence of established development control
departments/sections in most Local Authorities,
inadequate budgetary allocation to hire the
qualified personnel for development control
activities, and an inability to retain qualified staff.
(A study of the Development Control Framework in Kenya,
© Architectural Association of Kenya, 2011)
Challenge – Cost Implications


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This is perhaps the single most important factor that
hinders development of inclusive built environment.
Lifts, sanitary ware and other inputs are
disproportionately expensive
Examples –
 washroom
facilities for persons with disabilities cost at
least four times ordinary material
 Lifts cost as much as Ksh. 7.5million with attendant
maintenance costs – making them only viable for high
rise developments
Opportunity - The National
Construction Authority

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This has now been established under The National
Construction Authority Act NO. 41 OF 2011
The Authority’s functions include:
undertake or commission research into any matter
relating to the construction industry;
provide consultancy and advisory services with respect to
the construction industry;
promote and ensure quality assurance in the
construction industry;
National Construction Authority
encourage the standardization and
improvement of construction techniques and
materials;
 initiate and maintain a construction industry
information system;


THE NCA PROVIDES AN EXCELLENT WINDOW
OF OPPORTUNITY TO DEEPEN INTEGRATION
OF ACCEESIBILITY IN ALL BUILDING PROJECTS
RECOMMENDATION:

Public awareness for attitude change :
Public awareness campaign among all
parties involved in the development
process to recognise the benefits of,
and endeavour to bring about inclusive
design.
RECOMMENDATION:



Development Approval
Build capacity of local authorities (development
approval units) to enforce compliance with universal
design guidelines. – Training of technical officers,
enhance budgetary allocation to DC sections in all
local authorities.
Enforce compliance at DC level - Building plans that
do not meet minimum standards of compliance
should not be approved for development on such
grounds
RECOMMENDATION:



Development Approval
Incorporate accessibility section in the development
approval process: all applicants to be required to
declare, as part of application, specific
interventions to include accessibility
Issuance of occupancy certificates to be done only
upon full compliance
Recommendation - Building Audit



Need to audit all buildings in Kenya.
This will go a long way in helping us understand the
magnitude of the problem and develop
appropriate solutions.
It will also help in gathering vital statistics that will
inform policy discussion on matters related to the
built environment.
Recommendation – Tax Incentives

While there are existing tax incentives extended to
persons with disabilities, the government needs to
consider further incentives on construction material
that enhance accessibility within the built
environment.
The Architectural Association of Kenya
Professional Centre, Parliament Road
P.O. Box 44258-00100
NAIROBI
[email protected]
www.aak.or.ke

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