Return to the Brisbane Access and Inclusion page.
Table of contents
- Lord Mayor's introduction
- Executive summary
- Our shared vision for Brisbane
- A profile of people who benefit from better access and inclusion in Brisbane
- Council's history of access and inclusion initiatives
- Reflection on Council's changing approach to access and inclusion
- How this plan was developed
- Implementation, monitoring and reporting
- An innovative local government role
Council is responsible for hundreds of buildings across the city including community halls, libraries, customer service centres, environment centres, shopfronts, commercial and industrial buildings, cultural performance venues and sports facilities. Management of this substantial corporate property portfolio is a huge task that involves sophisticated systems for building, leasing, occupying, maintaining and disposing of properties.
The Disability (Access to Premises-Buildings) Standards 2010 provide detailed national minimum standards for compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act in relation to buildings. These provisions have now been incorporated into the Building Code of Australia. In addition to these minimum standards, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has published Access to buildings and services: Guidelines and information that set the benchmark for good practice.
Where we are
Council has used the draft Disability (Access to Premises-Buildings) Standards to guide construction and renovation of Council premises since 2004. Our newer buildings (e.g. Green Square, Brisbane Square, Customer Service Centres) and the majority of Council libraries generally provide good access. Where this is not the case, we are keen to hear about it and will do all we can to rectify the situation.
We have also used the more detailed AHRC guidelines which means that on some recently completed projects (e.g. Ashgrove and Grange libraries) we provide accessible linkages from the building to the car park area and external facilities. In many newer buildings, we provide tactile pathways, diagrams and Braille coded signage, and hearing loops to help people feel welcome.
Council's portfolio of premises includes many old community halls, libraries and other structures that are either partly or fully inaccessible (e.g. West End library, Ann Street School of Arts and some older swimming pools).
We are committed to retrofitting facilities to make them as accessible as possible but, in many cases, heritage laws protect the heritage value of these buildings and may present compliance issues that are too cost-prohibitive to resolve. For example, City Hall is Brisbane's iconic building. Since its opening in 1930, City Hall has been a symbol of civic pride and has played an important role in the lives of our community in times of war, peace, celebration and refuge. When it was built in the 1920s, it was the second largest construction of its time in Australia after the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the first major Australian concrete ‘column and beam' building. With areas of floor at multiple heights throughout the building, its current restoration will enhance access but the original design and heritage constraints mean some areas will not be fully accessible.
In 2010, Council installed a toilet with a hoist and change table in Roy Harvey House (157 Ann Street), allowing people with high support needs and their carers to enjoy extended time in the Brisbane central business district (CBD).
Where we want to be
We want everyone to experience Council's public buildings as welcoming, accessible and enjoyable places.
- Demonstrate corporate leadership by continuing to use the more comprehensive guidelines of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) as our benchmark for access and inclusion for public buildings, rather than just minimum compliance with the Disability (Access to Premises-Buildings) Standards and the Building Code of Australia.
- Develop and implement an access and inclusion policy, plan and guidelines for the corporate property portfolio.
- Develop an easy-to-use audit tool that enables Council staff to identify access issues and undertake in-house assessments.
- Identify buildings that need accessibility upgrades and establish a schedule to complete these upgrades.
- Identify any buildings or parts of buildings that will never be accessible and schedule their disposal or replacement, or develop a rationale for their retention.
Existing actions that will continue
Accessible new buildings
We will continue to ensure high levels of access and inclusion in new Council owned buildings.
Asset Condition Reports
We will continue to incorporate access requirements as part of the methodology for completing Asset Condition Reports.
Retrofitting older buildings
We will continue to retrofit older buildings e.g. community halls and libraries to make them as accessible as possible.
Access during construction and maintenance
We recognise that construction, refurbishment and maintenance activities can impact on accessibility and will continue to provide for access when constructing and maintaining Council property.
Complimentary entry for carers
Council's major venues will continue to accept Queensland Government Companion Cards, providing complimentary entry for teachers and carers supporting people who need assistance to attend activities at the Hibiscus Sports Complex, Planetarium and Acacia Ridge Leisure Centre.
New initiatives or extensions
- Review of Condition Assessment Reports. We will review our existing Condition Assessment Reports and identify action required to meet Australian Human Rights Commission accessibility guidelines.
- Access and inclusion audit tool. We will develop an easy-to-use audit tool that gives Council staff a checklist enabling ready and simplified assessment of accessibility during in-house inspections.
- Staff training. We will develop and implement the training required to enable Council staff to identify access and inclusion issues in design, maintenance, condition assessment and refurbishment processes.
- In-house accessibility assessments. We will undertake in-house assessments of 20% of our assets each year over the life of this plan as part of our regular inspection regime and have a documented access assessment for all of our properties over five years.
- Management of existing properties for Disability Discrimination Act compliance. Every year for the next 10 years, we will identify 10% of total properties requiring upgrades and schedule and complete those works in line with budgetary constraints. We will identify any buildings that will never be accessible and develop a strategic position for their retention or disposal.
- Review of public toilet design and provision. We will review the design of Council owned public toilets with a focus on doors, locks and ‘in use' indicators that everyone can use.
These will be documented as UMS Standard Drawings and referenced in design, planning and development assessment materials. These design specifications will be used for all new public toilets we build and inform retrofits as opportunities arise or in response to identified priorities over the life of this plan.
The review will consider the appropriate number and locations for accessible toilet facilities (including which have a change table and hoist system), provision of options that suit people with a range of disabilities and appropriate management systems to facilitate access.
When the review is completed, we will make the data available for development of applications for digital devices to provide online information about which accessible public toilets will suit different users.
- Wayfinding applications for mobile devices. We will make data on Council's public buildings, public spaces, venues, programs and services available as a priority in the Open Data Project and work in partnership with Brisbane access consultants and advocates to develop new applications for digital devices that provide information about accessibility.