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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign, 31 August 2016, Universal Design Conference

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This presentation was part of the Universal Design Conference at Sydney Town Hall on 30-31 August 2016.

A critical part of planning for safe evacuations is providing clear wayfinding information for all occupants, with appropriate exit and emergency signage. This is currently not the case in Australia or overseas. In fact, the current approach to providing exit signs is very limited and does not consider the abilities or needs of all members of society. This can cause some people to experience confusion, or delays, or being directed to a non-accessible evacuation path during their evacuation. The initiative presents a solution to bridge this gap in current exit sign requirements and to help identify important accessible features that can be provided as part of enhanced evacuation strategies. This includes suitable signage to show accessible exit paths, safe refuge areas, emergency evacuation lifts and other evacuation devices in a consistent approach. This paper will present the case to support the use of these enhanced emergency and exit sign systems that adopt universal design principles. This approach is considered world’s best practice and can help provide a much safer and more inclusive built environment for everyone. ‘Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign’ is an initiative of ‘The Accessible Exit Sign Project.’ The Project is an international awareness campaign that promotes the need for an accessible evacuation route from all workplaces, public buildings, and transportation.

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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign, 31 August 2016, Universal Design Conference

  1. 1. Universal Design meets the Exit Sign Universal Design Conference 2016 Sydney Town Hall Wednesday, 31 August 2016 Lee Wilson, Universal Design & Accessible Egress Advocate
  2. 2. Lee Wilson Access Consultant MAIPM MWOBO C.Build E MCABE PEng(UK) MSPE ® • Experience in risk, OH&S and building compliance • Grad Certificate in Performance-Based Building & Fire Codes • Bachelor of Technology (Building Surveying) • Accredited Member of ACAA • Employed with Philip Chun Access Pty Ltd Universal Design meets the Exit Sign 2
  3. 3. ® 3 How I came to be here today • 2012-2014: Studying Masters degree • 2014: Completed 8,000 word thesis • 2014: Released free evacuation guidebook Evacuation of People with Disability & Emergent Limitations • 2014: Started ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ • 2015: Released ‘Universal Design meets the Exit Sign’ White Paper • 2016: Free evacuation guidebook updated Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  4. 4. ® 4 “Every Australian has the right to expect that reasonable provisions will be made to allow them to leave buildings safely in the event of an emergency.” (ABCB 2014) Universal Design meets the Exit Sign Australian Building Codes Board
  5. 5. ® 5 Australian Building Codes Board “Moreover, it is crucial for equitable, dignified, and independent access to buildings that people with disability can be confident that they will also be able to evacuate from a building in a safe, dignified and independent fashion in the event of an emergency.” (ABCB 2014) Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  6. 6. ® 6 • No requirement to distinguish accessible and non-accessible evacuation routes • Little accessible features in evacuation routes • Failure to consider needs of all occupants in building codes • Lack of regard for a changing demographics The legislative ‘gap’ Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  7. 7. ® Universal Design meets the Exit Sign 7 • UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 • Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (& State/Territory OHS laws) • National Construction Code (State/Territory building laws) Applicable legislation
  8. 8. ® 8 • 10.5% have a mobility disability • 2.5% use a mobility aid • 0.6% use a wheelchair) • 1.6% have a vision impairment • 1 in 6 affected by hearing loss, projected to be 1 in 4 by 2050 • 1 in 5 with disability (approx.) • 20% of population over 65 years by 2030 Relevant Australian data Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  9. 9. ® Universal Design meets the Exit Sign 9 • No consistent approach • Ambiguous exit signs using International Symbol of Access Case for universal design exit signs • UK research found that only 38% of people recognise conventional exit signs • Lastly, we’ve created fully accessible buildings, with no means for accessible evacuation
  10. 10. ® 10 ‘The Evolution of the Exit Sign’ (Before 2005 in Australia) (After 2005 in Australia) (European ISO design in 2011 – not used in Australia) (2014 - Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Concept) Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  11. 11. ® 11Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign video Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  12. 12. ® 12 • Considers all abilities, including audible alarms, visual alarms • Adopts 5 of 7 Principles of Universal Design ‘Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign’ concept • Clarifies accessible evacuation routes, known internationally as the ‘accessible means of egress’ • Provides a consistent approach to identifying parts of accessible means of egress Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  13. 13. ® Universal Design meets the Exit Sign 13 • Fully justifying the use of the universal design concept • Commentary on legislation, history of exit signs, UD relevance and case for new inclusive approach The ‘White Paper’ in print • Includes Performance-Based ‘alternative solution’ template
  14. 14. ® Universal Design meets the Exit Sign 14 • Converted into a website: www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com The ‘White Paper’ online
  15. 15. ® Universal Design meets the Exit Sign 15 • Changes current discriminatory approach to exit signs • Presents a fully inclusive design • Tactile design • Figures are:  moving in unison with same urgency and motion  working together to escape the building  travelling at the same speed Accessible Means of Egress Icon
  16. 16. ® 16 Accessible exit sign examples Note - designs can be made to suit any specific requirements of an exit wayfinding strategy providing an accessible means of egress under a fire engineered performance-based solution Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  17. 17. ® 17 Evacuation diagram example This requires adopting an integrated approach, which includes emergency management planning in the fire engineered performance-based solution Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  18. 18. ® 18 Website poll • Results as at 20 September 2015: o Yes – 84.37% o No – 15.62% o Maybe 0% • Results as at 20 August 2016: o Yes – 80.56% o No – 16.67% o Maybe 2.77% (Over 2 years of data) Universal Design meets the Exit Sign
  19. 19. Universal Design meets the Exit Sign Conclusions • We need a change in attitudes and legislation • Accept new signs to identify parts of the accessible egress route • Fire engineers and building surveyors to accept performance-based exit sign solutions 19
  20. 20. FREE Guidebook 2nd Edn released July 2016 www.accessibleexitsigns.com/evacuation-guide Universal Design meets the Exit Sign Evacuation planning is a critical component of life safety, including evacuation for persons with disabilities United States Access Board 20
  21. 21. Thank you Please feel free to contact me to discuss this presentation, or The Accessible Exit Sign Project. Email: lee@accessibleexitsigns.com Phone: +61 438 580 729 Web: www.accessibleexitsigns.com Universal Design meets the Exit Sign 21 Non-Accessible Exit (Stairs) Accessible Exit (Lift or Ramps, or a Refuge Area)

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