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Universal Design.
Meets the Exit Sign.
Performance Assessment Template
by Lee Wilson MAIPM C. Build E MCABE PEng(UK) MSPE MWOBO
Version 1.0
October 2015
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
Table of Contents
1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................1
Legislative References.....................................................................................................................1
Project Documentation...................................................................................................................2
Background......................................................................................................................................2
2. The ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’..........................................................................................2
About the Project ............................................................................................................................2
Accessible Means of Egress Icon ................................................................................................3
The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ Exit Sign.........................................................................3
3. Methodology.......................................................................................................................3
Performance-Based Approach to Compliance................................................................................3
Performance Assessment Method..................................................................................................4
4. Summary of Proposed Building Solution ..............................................................................4
5. Assessment Methodology....................................................................................................6
Building Code Objectives.................................................................................................................6
DO1: Access and Egress.............................................................................................................6
EO4: Emergency Lighting, Exit Signs and Warning Systems.......................................................7
Building Code Functional Statements.............................................................................................7
DF1: Access and Egress...............................................................................................................7
EF4.1: Emergency Lighting, Exit Signs and Warning Systems.....................................................7
Building Code ‘Performance Requirements’...................................................................................7
Relevant ‘Performance Requirements’ ......................................................................................7
Other ‘Performance Requirements’ to Consider .......................................................................8
Building Code Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Provisions............................................................9
Exit Signage Requirements.........................................................................................................9
Variation from the Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Requirements............................................10
Proposed Emergency and Exit Sign Designs.............................................................................10
6. Analysis.............................................................................................................................18
Assessment of the Proposed Variation to Prescriptive Requirements.........................................19
Overview........................................................................................................................................19
Objectives of The Accessible Exit Sign Project .........................................................................19
International Factors ................................................................................................................20
Local Factors.............................................................................................................................21
Emergency Planning .................................................................................................................22
International Law ..........................................................................................................................23
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.............................................................................23
About the Declaration.........................................................................................................23
The Founding of Human Rights...........................................................................................23
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities......................................................24
About the Convention.........................................................................................................24
Purpose of the Convention .................................................................................................24
Our Commitment to the UN Convention............................................................................24
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
Relevant Parts of the Convention .......................................................................................25
Universal Design............................................................................................................................28
Universal Design: A Definition..................................................................................................28
Universal Design in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ................29
Universal Design Movement ....................................................................................................29
The 7 Principles of Universal Design.........................................................................................29
PRINCIPLE ONE: Equitable Use............................................................................................30
PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use.......................................................................................31
PRINCIPLE THREE: Simple and Intuitive Use .......................................................................31
PRINCIPLE FOUR: Perceptible Information .........................................................................31
PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error....................................................................................31
PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort......................................................................................32
PRINCIPLE SEVEN: Size and Space for Approach and Use...................................................32
7 Principles and Universally Usable Design.........................................................................32
Universal Design Is Not a Synonym for Compliance with Access Standards ...........................33
Universal Design and Building Evacuations..............................................................................33
A Gap in the Legal Framework ......................................................................................................33
The Existing Gap in Evacuation Legislation ..............................................................................34
Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 ......................................................................34
Disability Discrimination Act 1992............................................................................................34
Disability Defined......................................................................................................................35
Occupational Health and Safety...............................................................................................36
Planning for Emergencies in the Workplace ............................................................................37
The Case for Accessible Exits.........................................................................................................38
People with Disability and the Need for Accessible Exits.........................................................39
Mobility Disabilities.............................................................................................................39
Vision Impairment...............................................................................................................40
Hearing Impairment ............................................................................................................41
Speech, Language and Communication Disorders..............................................................41
Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairments, Mental Health......................................................42
Temporary and other Emergent Impairments....................................................................43
“Do not use lifts if there is a fire”.............................................................................................43
Existing Japanese Style (or Running Man) Style Exit Signs.......................................................44
A Brief History of the Japanese Exit Sign (also known as the Running Man)......................44
A Non-Inclusive and Discriminatory Approach ...................................................................45
Effectiveness of Typical Exit Signs.......................................................................................46
Existing Wheelchair Symbols on Exit Signs...............................................................................46
The European Style Wheelchair on Exit Signs.....................................................................47
An Ambiguous Exit Sign Design...........................................................................................47
Risk Management and the Accessible Exit Signage..................................................................48
The Exit Sign ‘Gap’ and Reducing Risk.................................................................................48
A Recent Case Study............................................................................................................49
Occupant Expectations and Accessible Exit Signage...........................................................49
Quotes from Around the World ...............................................................................................50
Fire Engineering and Performance-Based Building Codes.......................................................51
Precedence in Performance-Based Exit Sign Solutions............................................................52
Support from Australian Building Codes Board References.....................................................53
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
An Ageing Population ...............................................................................................................53
Increased Child-Care Centres above Entry Levels of Buildings ................................................55
Obesity Trends..........................................................................................................................55
Accessible Means of Egress Concept ............................................................................................56
International Building Code 2012.............................................................................................56
A Means of Egress ....................................................................................................................57
The Exit Access ....................................................................................................................57
The Exit................................................................................................................................58
The Exit Discharge ...............................................................................................................58
The Public Way....................................................................................................................58
The Accessible Means of Egress...............................................................................................58
The IBC Commitment to People with Disability..................................................................58
The IBC Accessible Means of Egress....................................................................................58
Parts of an IBC Accessible Means of Egress..............................................................................59
Accessible Routes (including Accessible Ramps) ................................................................59
Stairways (Exterior or Interior)............................................................................................60
Elevators (Passenger Lifts)...................................................................................................60
Platform Lifts.......................................................................................................................61
Horizontal Exits....................................................................................................................61
Area of Refuge.....................................................................................................................61
Exterior Area for Assisted Rescue .......................................................................................62
Two-way Communication ...................................................................................................62
Accessible Signage...............................................................................................................62
Directional Accessible Signage............................................................................................63
Instructions on Signs ...........................................................................................................63
International Symbol of Accessibility..................................................................................63
Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 .......................................................................................63
2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.........................................................................63
The ADA Accessible Means of Egress..................................................................................64
Australians and an Accessible Means of Egress.......................................................................64
The Accessible Exit Sign Project ....................................................................................................65
About The Accessible Exit Sign Project.....................................................................................65
Accessible Means of Egress Icon ..............................................................................................66
The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ Exit Sign.......................................................................66
Universal Design Approach .................................................................................................67
A Consistent Approach........................................................................................................67
A Sense of Movement and Motion .....................................................................................67
The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ Dissected................................................................68
Comparison to Applicable Technical Standards..................................................................68
Egress Group Pty Ltd.................................................................................................................69
Why Licence the Use of the Icon?............................................................................................69
Closing the Exit Sign Gap ..........................................................................................................69
Evacuation Guidebook ........................................................................................................69
Accessible Exit Signs for the Future.....................................................................................70
Wayfinding Principles..........................................................................................................70
Accessible Exits in Evacuation Diagrams.............................................................................72
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign .......................................................................................73
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
A Truly Universal Design......................................................................................................73
The Problem with Existing Exit Signs...................................................................................73
Equitable Use of Exit Signs ..................................................................................................73
Simple and Intuitive Use......................................................................................................74
Perceptible Information......................................................................................................74
Tolerance of Error................................................................................................................74
Size and Space for Approach and Use.................................................................................74
Performance-Based Building Codes..............................................................................................74
Performance-Based Building Codes around the World ...........................................................75
Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee ..................................................75
International Building Regulations Reform.........................................................................76
International Fire Engineering Guidelines................................................................................77
Definition of Fire Safety Engineering ..................................................................................77
The Use of the International Fire Engineering Guidelines..................................................77
Benefits of Fire Safety Engineering .....................................................................................78
Uniqueness of Fire Engineered Solutions ...........................................................................78
Fire Engineering Brief Considerations.................................................................................78
Fire Engineering Occupant Evacuations..............................................................................79
Performance-Based Building Reform.......................................................................................81
Benefits of Performance-Based Building Codes.......................................................................82
National Construction Code .....................................................................................................83
Building Code of Australia Objectives.................................................................................83
Building Code of Australia Performance Hierarchy ............................................................83
What are Performance Solutions / ‘Alternative Solutions’?...............................................84
Building Code of Australia Assessment Methods ...............................................................85
Evidence of Suitability.........................................................................................................85
Verification Methods...........................................................................................................86
Comparison with the Prescriptive Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions ......................................86
Expert Judgement................................................................................................................86
A Performance-Based Mind-Set..........................................................................................86
Conditions of Approval..................................................................................................................87
7. Conclusions .......................................................................................................................88
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
Executive Summary
The Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper presents the case for a new generation of
exit signs to be used in all forms of public transportation, facilities and buildings. The White Paper
discusses the many complex issues that have led to the development of this initiative and argues
for the support of these new emergency and exit signs.
The White Paper includes this Appendix, which is titled ‘Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White
Paper Performance Assessment Template’. The performance-based template provides support to
accept the use of The Accessible Exit Sign Project signage as a variation from the prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions of the building code.
The template also provides support for this approach with consideration to the content of the
White Paper. It proposes the use of a performance-based building solution to accept that
emergency egress and exit signage provided throughout the building will adopt a best practice
‘universal design’ approach and argues that this approach provides a safer solution for all building
occupants, including people with disabilities.
The proposed signs presented in the assessment form part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’,
which adopt the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ on all emergency egress and exit signage used
throughout the building.
About the Author
Lee Wilson MAIPM MWOBO C. Build E MCABE PEng(UK) MSPE is an
accessibility, risk and building consultant in Melbourne, Australia. Lee
commenced his working life in a construction trade, but has since been
employed in the Australian Defence Force, Federal and local government,
and private consultancies specialising in risk management and building
compliance.
For the last few years he has specialised in universal access and inclusive design for people with
disability. He is an Accredited Member of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia, a
Chartered Building Engineer with the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (UK) and a
Professional Engineer with the Society of Professional Engineers (UK).
After many years of study Lee has achieved academic under-graduate qualifications in building
surveying, construction management and risk management. He also holds a post-graduate
Masters of Project Management degree and a Graduate Certificate in Performance-Based Building
& Fire Codes from Victoria University’s Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering.
Lee is passionate about spreading the word about the need for an accessible means of egress from
all buildings, for all occupants. In 2014 he released a free guidebook titled Evacuation of People
with Disability & Emergent Limitations: Considerations for Safer Buildings & Efficient Evacuations.
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
Further Details
Lee Wilson can be contacted via the following means:
• Website: http://leewilson.com.au/contact/
• Email: lee@leewilson.com.au
• LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/leewilson3
For information on the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ and the use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress
Icon’ please visit http://accessibleexitsigns.com/
This document forms part of a White Paper has been developed with the support of Egress Group
http://egressgroup.net/. Images of the Icon are reproduced under licence, All Rights Reserved,
AU Registered Designs 355564 and 355657, Egress Group Pty Ltd © 2015.
Disclaimer
Great care has been exercised in the preparation of this document, forming part of the ‘Universal
Design Meets the Exit Sign Accessible Exit Sign Project & Performance-Based Building Codes White
Paper’, however, the content of this document could contain technical inaccuracies, typographical
errors and the information may not be appropriate to all situations.
The White Paper and this performance assessment template shall not be considered a substitute
for sound technical advice or sound business judgment by the reader.
Information provided here is the author’s views on accessibility and egress requirements within
the built environment. It must be acknowledged that his views and interpretation of relevant
legislation and standards could differ from other individuals or groups.
The information has been made available to assist relevant building practitioners to develop their
own specific design solutions. Any consideration of the use of performance-based building design
to justify and accept the use of the accessible exit signs presented in the White Paper or this
performance-based solution assessment template is hypothetical only.
This document should not be considered to be an assessment for the purposes of certification of
any proposed exit signage strategy in any building, facility or mode of transportation. Readers
requiring project guidance in the use and acceptance of the accessible exit signs should engage a
fire (safety) engineer familiar with their own particular factual situation for project advice.
The information provided in Parts 1 to 7 of this document may be used to assist development of
an approved / certified design, it does not constitute support for any specific design solution, nor
should it be construed that the Author is in anyway providing such support.
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
In no event shall the author be liable for any damages whatsoever, whether in an action of
contract, negligence or other action, arising out of the use of the information in this assessment
template or the White Paper, in connection with the use of these documents, or reliance on any of
the information provided.
Accessible signage used throughout this document uses sans serif style font, as well as Braille
characters on some images. It is acknowledged that characters are shown for representative
purposes only and any signage produced for buildings in Australia must comply with Specification
D3.6 of the ‘National Construction Code, Building Code of Australia Volume 1’, (BCA), including
compliant Braille characters, (or other requirements specific to the relevant location when outside
Australia).
Applicable legislation, the BCA, relevant Australian and overseas technical standards are amended
and updated periodically. It must be understood that this could occur before this White Paper is
updated.
Creative Commons Use for Text Presented in Parts 1 to 7
Notwithstanding the general copyright licence provided on www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com,
and with the exception of the Accessible Means of Egress Icon and photographic images used within this
document or where otherwise noted, all text material presented in Parts 1 to 7 of this document is
provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence.
You are free to:
• Share — copy and redistribute the text material presented in Parts 1 to 7 (only) in any medium or
format
• Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the text material presented in Parts 1 to 7
For any purpose, even commercially.
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow these license terms:
• Use of any images within this document:
o The use of any photographic images does not form part of this licence. This includes the
cover photograph.
o All other photographic images used in this document are subject to copyright © Lee Wilson
2015.
o The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ and the combined ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’
/ Running Man images are subject to Copyright © ® ™ Egress Group Pty Ltd.
o Permission may however be sought to use the Accessible Means of Egress Icon and The
Accessible Exit Sign Project images from Egress Group Pty Ltd, info@egressgroup.com.au or
http://egressgroup.net/ for the purposes of justifying the use of these signs. Fire Engineers,
Designers, Project Managers, Wayfinding specialists, and the like are encouraged to do so.
Please see http://accessibleexitsigns.com/use-of-the-accessible-means-of-egress-
icon/licensing-enquiries/
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
• Attribution:
o When using the text presented in Parts 1 to 7 of this document you must give appropriate
credit to the author – Lee Wilson, and provide a link to the license terms at
http://universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com/white-paper-in-print/performance-
assessment-creative-commons-licence/ or provide a link to the website in documents along
with the authors name. A suitable citation is: Wilson L, 2015, Universal Design Meets the
Exit Sign Performance Assessment Template, Copyright © Lee Wilson 2015,
www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com, viewed ## #### 20## (add date)
o You must also indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner,
but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
• No additional restrictions:
o You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from
doing anything the license permits.
• Notices:
o You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public
domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.
o No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for
your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may
limit how you use the material.
Instructions:
1. Copy the following Parts 1 to 7 of this template into your own report format, add your own report
cover, Table to Contents etc.
2. Do not re-use this cover provided in this template.
3. Refer to licence agreement above for details on acceptable use.
4. Please delete any sections that are non-applicable and tailor to your own project using The
Accessible Exit Sign Project sign designs.
Thank you, Lee Wilson
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
1. Introduction
Insert your name has been engaged to provide support for a performance-based approach to
compliance in one aspect of the design of the insert project name and address.
The performance-based assessment within this report includes acceptance that the proposed exit
and emergency signage to be provided in the building is technically considered a variation from
the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions of the building code.
The assessment addressed within this report includes reference to the relevant prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions and ‘Performance Requirements’.
The proposed performance-based building solution seeks to
accept that emergency egress and exit signage provided
throughout the building will adopt a best practice ‘universal
design’ approach and argues that this approach provides a
safer solution for all building occupants, including people
with disabilities.
The proposed signs presented in this assessment form part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’,
which adopt the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ on all emergency egress and exit signage used
throughout the building.
Legislative References
• Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA)
• Commonwealth Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 (the Premises
Standards)
• National Construction Code, Building Code of Australia 2015, Volume 1 (BCA)
• Australian Standard AS 1428.1:2009 – Design for access and mobility, Part 1: General
requirements for access – New building work (AS 1428.1)
• Australian Standard AS 1735.12:1999 – Lifts, escalators and moving walks, Part 12:
Facilities for persons with disabilities (AS 1735.12)
• AS 2293: 2005 Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings, Part 1: System
design, installation and operation
• AS 2293: 2005 Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings, Part 3: Emergency
escape luminaries and exit signs
• Australian Standard AS 3745:2010 – Planning for emergencies in facilities (AS 3745)
• International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 21542:2011 – Building construction –
Accessibility and usability of the built environment (ISO21542)
• ISO 3864:2002 Safety colours and safety signs, Part 1: Design principles for safety signs in
workplaces and public areas
• ISO 7000:2004 Graphic symbols for use on equipment
• ISO 7010: 2003 Graphic symbols – safety colours and safety signs – Safety signs used in
workplaces and public areas
• British Standard (BS) 5252:1976 Framework for colour co-ordination for building purposes
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
• New Zealand Building Regulation 2012
• New Zealand Building Code
• Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Accessible Signage Guidelines 2010National
Building Code of Canada 2010
(Delete any non-applicable references, or add your own to meet local requirements)
Project Documentation
• List drawings
• Reference Fire Engineering Brief, or Fire Engineering Report
• Access consultant’s report
• Electrical engineer report / drawings
• List others
Background
Insert a section on your specific project
The approach to provision of emergency exit signage for the project has been to adopt the design
presented in The Accessible Exit Sign Project as a form of best practice.
A critical part of this strategy for safe evacuations is to provide clear wayfinding information for all
occupants, with appropriate exit signage to identify the accessible exits, refuge areas, evacuation
lifts and other evacuation devices.
2. The ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’
About the Project
The Accessible Exit Sign Project is an international campaign that promotes the need for an
accessible means of egress in all buildings. The concept has been developed by Egress Group Pty
Ltd. The intention of The Accessible Exit Sign Project is to promote universal access and egress for
all building occupants. Everyone deserves a safe means of egress from a building during an
emergency, including those that may face some extra challenges negotiating an egress route.
The Accessible Exit Sign Project website at http://accessibleexitsigns.com/ presents accessible exit
signs adopting universal design principals. It is envisaged that in the near future these signs will
become the norm and a minimum requirement in all new buildings around the world. The designs
have started important discussions between industry stakeholders, disability groups, legislators,
developers, and insurers etc., to look at better building design solutions that provide safer
buildings, reduce risk and meet the needs of all occupants. The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ is
a critical part of the solution to address these issues.
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
Accessible Means of Egress Icon
The introduction of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’
onto exit signage changes the current discriminatory
approach to exit signs in buildings and present a fully
inclusive design.1
However, there are important issues to consider when using these images:
1. The design of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ is a new universal design concept and
at the time of writing is not referenced within any technical standard or building code; and
2. Emergency exit signage using the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ should be considered
as part of the overall exit signage solution for any public facility (which could include a
building, open space, transportation hub, airplane, train or ship).
3. Dependant on local code requirements, the use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’
may require approval from the relevant authority to permit the adoption of this new form
of signage, confirmation will therefore be required from local authorities. This is certainly
the case in Australia and other countries that performance-based building codes;
4. Use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ could replace existing building code exit sign
requirements under a ‘performance-based’ solution, which is an accepted path to
compliance in many parts of the world, including Australia. Alternatively, it could be used
to complement local requirements, and enhance the minimum prescriptive requirements;
and
5. A performance-based assessment, using fire engineering principles may be required to
support the use of the designs presented in The Accessible Exit Sign Project.
The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ Exit Sign
The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ presents a fully inclusive universal design. It is inclusive and
provides a clear pictographic indication of where an accessible exit is located.
It can also be used to help identify features of the accessible means of egress, such as refuge
areas, evacuation lifts, evacuation chairs, or areas of rescue assistance.
3. Methodology
Performance-Based Approach to Compliance
(Amend references below to meet local requirements from the local building code)
A Building Solution will comply with the BCA if it satisfies the ‘Performance Requirements’ (BCA
Clause A0.4).
1
GAATES Global Accessibility News, The Accessible Exit Sign Project,
http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/12/09/the-accessible-exit-sign-project/, viewed 26 August 2015
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
Compliance with the ‘Performance Requirements’ can only be achieved by one of the following
methods:
1. complying with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions’; or
2. formulating a ‘performance-based’ Alternative Solution which complies with the
Performance Requirements, or is shown to be at least equivalent to the prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Provisions; or
3. a combination of both (BCA Clause A0.5).
A Building Solution which complies with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Provisions is deemed
to comply with the ‘Performance Requirements ‘(BCA Clause A0.7). There are some aspects of the
proposed ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ signs that meet these prescriptive requirements.
A performance-based ‘Alternative Solution’ must be assessed according to one or more of the
Assessment Methods. An Alternative Solution will only comply with the BCA if the Assessment
Methods used to determine compliance with the ‘Performance Requirements’ have been met.
This assessment therefore considers the level of compliance, and suitability of the proposed
‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ exit signs against the relevant ‘Performance Requirements’.
Performance Assessment Method
(Amend references below to meet local requirements from the local building code)
The Assessment Methods available under BCA Clause A0.9, or any combination of them, can be
used to determine that any Building Solution complies with the ‘Performance Requirements’.
The assessment method used to complete this assessment principally relies on the use the A0.9(a),
evidence to support that the design meets the applicable ‘Performance Requirements’.
Furthermore, consideration of international design standards is made using a comparative analysis
with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions in accordance with assessment method
A0.9(c). One could also argue that by undertaking this assessment that the use of assessment
method A0.9(d) Expert Judgement has also been inherently relied upon to some extent.
4. Summary of Proposed Building Solution
The assessment addressed within this report can be summarised as follows, which includes
reference to the relevant prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions and ‘Performance
Requirements’.
The proposed performance-based building solution seeks to accept that emergency egress and
exit signage provided throughout the building will adopt a best practice ‘universal design’
approach to providing a safer solution for all building occupants, including people with disabilities.
The proposed signs presented in this assessment form part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’,
adopting the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ on all emergency egress and exit signage used
throughout the building.
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Prescriptive
Requirement
Performance
Requirement
• The design of the pictorial element used on illuminated
‘required’ exit signs and directional exit signs does not
strictly comply with AS 2293.1, in that they differ from that
shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1.
Amend these
references as
required
Clause
E4.8(a)
Amend these
references as
required
EP4.2
• The design of the pictorial element used on photo-
luminescent ‘required’ exit signs and directional exit signs
does not strictly comply with AS 2293.1, in that they differ
from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1.
Clause
E4.8(b)
EP4.2
• Technically, warning signs stating “Do not use lifts if there is
a fire” must be displayed near every call button for a
passenger lift or group of lifts throughout a building, but
these are not being provided in this solution. This is due to
the Fire Engineered solution (assessed separate to this
assessment) providing for an Emergency Evacuation Lift
under a performance-based solution meeting ‘Performance
Requirement’ DP7.
In lieu of the required warning signs the solution provides
for suitable signage advising occupants of the availability of
an Emergency Evacuation Lift.
However, the sign design provides for a pictorial element
used on ‘non-required’ Emergency Evacuation Lift signs
which differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D
of AS 2293.1.
Clause E3.3 EP3.3
DP7
• Braille and tactile accessible exit signs are ‘required’ in
addition to illuminated and photo-luminescent exit signs
‘required’ by BCA Clause E4.5. These signs must state the
word "Exit" and "Level" and either the floor level number or
a floor level description, or a combination of both. They are
to be installed I an accessible location, on the latch-side of
each exit door.
The proposed signs presented in this solution can comply
with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions in all
aspects. However, the design of the pictorial element to be
used as an enhancement to the Braille and tactile
information differs from that shown in Section 6 and
Appendix D of AS 2293.1.
The signs are included in this assessment for consistency
purposes, and the design will provide a tactile pictorial
element for those occupants that have a vision impairment.
BCA Clause
D3.6(a)(ii)
EP4.2
DP1
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Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Prescriptive
Requirement
Performance
Requirement
• Directional Braille and tactile accessible exit signs are not
required by the BCA.
The solution provides for these directional signs with Braille
and tactile characters, which will use a pictorial element
which differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D
of AS 2293.1.
The signs will provide a tactile pictorial element for those
occupants that have a vision impairment.
BCA Clause
D3.6(a)(ii)
EP4.2
DP1
• Other ‘non-required’ emergency signage presented in this
solution will to adopt a pictorial element which differs from
that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. This
includes the use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ on
signage identifying parts of an accessible means of egress,
including:
o Refuge Areas
o Rescue Assistance Areas
o Emergency Evacuation Chairs
o Emergency Escape Masks
The signs will provide a tactile pictorial element for those
occupants that have a vision impairment.
No DtS
Requirement
EP4.2
Note, for the purposes of this assessment:
1. Prescriptive Requirement has the same meaning as ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ or ‘DtS’; and
2. Performance Requirement means the minimum building code compliance requirements for
any building solution
Although some of the prescriptive requirements are not able to be met, ‘Alternative Solutions’, or
performance-based solutions that meet the appropriate ‘Performance Requirements’ can still be
considered. The ‘Alternative Solution’ and performance assessment within the solution verifies
how the building solution meets the relevant ‘Performance Requirements’.
5. Assessment Methodology
Building Code Objectives
The relevant building code ‘Objectives’ relating to accessible egress and exit signs in buildings are:
(Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local
building code)
DO1: Access and Egress
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The Objectives of this section of the BCA is to:
(a) provide, as far as is reasonable, people with safe, equitable and dignified access
to—
(i) a building; and
(ii) the services and facilities within a building; and
(b) safeguard occupants from illness or injury while evacuating in an emergency
EO4: Emergency Lighting, Exit Signs and Warning Systems
The Objective of this Part is, in an emergency, to safeguard occupants from injury
by—
(a) having adequate lighting; and
(b) having adequate identification of exits and paths of travel to exits; and
(c) being made aware of the emergency.
Building Code Functional Statements
The relevant BCA Functional Statements relating to accessible egress and exit signs in buildings
are:
(Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local
building code)
DF1: Access and Egress
A building is to provide, as far as is reasonable—
(a) safe; and
(b) equitable and dignified
Access for people to the services and facilities within.
EF4.1: Emergency Lighting, Exit Signs and Warning Systems
A building is to provide with—
(a) adequate lighting upon failure of normal artificial lighting during an emergency;
and
(b) adequate means—
(i) of warning occupants to evacuate; and
(ii) to manage the evacuation process; and
(iii) to identify exits and paths of travel to an exit.
Building Code ‘Performance Requirements’
Relevant ‘Performance Requirements’
When considering the suitability of any variation from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’
provisions, including the proposed ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ design exit signs, we need to
assess the proposed variation to ensure that it satisfies the relevant ‘Performance Requirements’.
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Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
The specific BCA ‘Performance Requirements’ pertaining to emergency egress and exit signs to be
used to assess the proposed solution are:
(Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local
building code)
EP3.3 - Signs or other means must be provided to warn occupants against the use of a lift
during a fire.
EP4.2 - To facilitate evacuation, suitable signs or other means of identification must, to the
degree necessary—
(a) be provided to identify the location of exits; and
(b) guide occupants to exits; and
(c) be clearly visible to occupants; and
(d) operate in the event of a power failure of the main lighting system for sufficient time for
occupants to safely evacuate.
Other ‘Performance Requirements’ to Consider
However, when determining the suitability of the proposed exit sign designs and the impact of the
variation from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions it is also important to consider the
BCA ‘Performance Requirements’ pertaining to emergency egress:
(Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local
building code)
DP4 - Exits must be provided from a building to allow occupants to evacuate safely, with
their number, location and dimensions being appropriate to:
(a) the travel distance; and
(a) the number, mobility and other characteristics of occupants; and
(b) the function or use of the building; and
(c) the height of the building; and
(d) whether the exit is from above or below ground level.
DP6 So that occupants can safely evacuate the building, paths of travel to exits must have
dimensions appropriate to—
(a) the number, mobility and other characteristics of occupants; and
(b) the function or use of the building.
DP7 - Where a lift is intended to be used in addition to the required exits to assist
occupants to evacuate a building safely, the type, number, location and fire-isolation must
be appropriate to:
(a) the travel distance to the lift; and
(b) the number, mobility and other characteristics of occupants; and
(c) the function or use of the building; and
(d) the number of storeys connected by the lift; and
(e) the fire safety system installed in the building; and
(f) the waiting time, travel time and capacity of the lift; and
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(g) the reliability and availability of the lift; and
(h) the emergency procedures for the building.
Consequently, we need to consider if suitable exit signage is provided to warn occupants against
the use of a lift during a fire and to help facilitate evacuation by providing suitable exit and
emergency signs to clearly identify the location of exits and guide occupants to exits the degree
necessary.
One must also consider the ‘Performance Requirements’ pertaining to the provision of accessible
signage and the identification of general accessways in terms of parts of an accessible egress path
within buildings for people with disability:
(Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local
building code)
DP1 - Access must be provided, to the degree necessary, to enable:
(c) people to:
I. approach the building from the road boundary and from any accessible
carparking spaces associated with the building; and
II. approach the building from any accessible associated building; and
III. access work and public spaces, accommodation and facilities for personal
hygiene; and
(d) identification of accessways at appropriate locations which are easy to find
Building Code Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Provisions
When we consider the suitability of the concept of ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ signs to identify an
access means of egress, we must first carefully dissect the BCA to consider all the requirements.
Exit Signage Requirements
The variations from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ exit sign provisions to be considered
within this assessment are as follows:
(Amend as the specific Clauses below to meet the requirements in local building code)
• BCA Clause E4.8(a): Illuminated ‘required’ exit signs and directional exit signs (as per BCA
Clause E4.5 and Clause E4.6) must comply with AS 2293.1, but the design of the pictorial
element to be used on the proposed required exit signs, which form part of the ‘Accessible
Exit Sign Project’, differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1.
• BCA Clause E4.8(b): Photo-luminescent ‘required’ exit signs and directional exit signs (as
per BCA Clause E4.5 and Clause E4.6) must comply with BCA, Specification E4.8, but the
design of the pictorial element to be used on the proposed required exit signs, which form
part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’, differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix
D of AS 2293.12293.1.
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In order to achieve compliance with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’
provisions of the BCA, the design of the required exit sign would need to
include only the ‘Running Man’ pictorial element only.
• BCA Clause E4.8(b): Illuminated and Photo-luminescent ‘non-required’ exit signs and
directional exit signs will be provided at accessible heights to assist with wayfinding but
these will have a pictorial element design which differs from that shown in Section 6 and
Appendix D of AS 2293.1. This includes the proposed ‘non-required’ emergency evacuation
lift, refuge area and other emergency fire safety signs, which also form part of the
‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’.
• BCA Clause D3.6(a)(ii): Braille and tactile ‘required’ accessible exit signs are be provided to
supplement and help identify illuminated and photo-luminescent exit signs ‘required’ by
BCA Clause E4.5. These signs must state the word "Exit" and "Level" and either the floor
level number or a floor level description, or a combination of both. These will be located on
the latch-side of exit doors at an accessible height above floor level. The proposed signs
can comply with this prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions, but the design of the
additional pictorial element to be used as an enhancement to the signs, which forms part
of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’, differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of
AS 2293.1.
• BCA Clause E3.3: A warning sign must be displayed where it can be readily seen near every
call button for a passenger lift or group of lifts throughout a building, stating “Do not use
lifts if there is a fire.” However the proposed use of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’
emergency signs includes the capacity to provide suitable signage to identify the
availability of an emergency evacuation lift provided under a performance-based solution
meeting ‘Performance Requirement’ DP7.
Variation from the Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Requirements
Proposed Emergency and Exit Sign Designs
In summary, the accessible features of the proposed sign designs shown below present a more
inclusive approach that aligns with human rights, disability rights and equal opportunity
legislation.
These enhanced signs have been proposed for the following applications:
• Overhead Exit Signs
• Directional Overhead Exit Signs
• Directional Accessible Wayfinding Exit Signs
• Low Level Wayfinding Exit Signs
• Exit Door Signs
• Refuge Area Signs
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• Assistance Rescue Area Signs
• Emergency Evacuation Chair Signs
• Emergency Evacuation Lift Wayfinding Directional Signs
• Emergency Evacuation Lift Lobby Signs
• Emergency Evacuation Lift Car Signs
• Evacuation Diagrams
The following are representations of what the signs will look like, though actual designs and the
specific safety green colour will be confirmed later in the construction stage.
(Delete those signs which are not part of this specific solution)
(Amend and change the designs listed below to suit the local manufacturers’ actual designs)
Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions
Overhead Exit Signs
Installed overhead
above exit doors
These are ‘required’
exit signs (illuminated
and photo-
luminescent)
Similar design to DtS.
Equivalent design to that specified in
international standards.
Exceeds DtS in terms of providing
decision making information for
people with disabilities, so that they
can distinguish accessible and non-
accessible means of egress.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
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Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions
Directional Overhead
Exit Signs
Installed overhead
These are ‘required’
directional exit signs
(illuminated and
photo-luminescent)
Similar design to DtS.
Equivalent design to that specified in
international standards.
Exceeds DtS in terms of providing
decision making information for
people with disabilities, so that they
can distinguish accessible and non-
accessible means of egress.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions
Directional Accessible
Wayfinding Exit Signs
Installed at a mid-
level accessible height
on the wall on paths
of travel
These are ‘non-
required’ exit signs
(non-illuminated and
photo-luminescent),
mounted
Similar design to DtS.
Equivalent design to that specified in
international standards.
Exceeds DtS in terms of providing
decision making information for
people with disabilities, so that they
can distinguish accessible and non-
accessible means of egress.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
Signs feature all raised tactile aspects,
including on the Icon.
Braille and tactile characters provided.
Low Level Wayfinding
Exit Signs
Installed at a low-level
mounted at a skirting
board level
‘non-required’ exit
signs (non-illuminated
and photo-
luminescent),
Similar design to DtS.
Equivalent design to that specified in
international standards.
Exceeds DtS in terms of providing
decision making information for
people with disabilities, so that they
can distinguish accessible and non-
accessible means of egress.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
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Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions
Exit Door Signs
Installed at a mid-
level accessible height
range on the wall
close to the latching
device (door handle)
of the exit door.
Representative examples only
Exceeds DtS.
Provision of pictorial element is
additional enhancement from DtS.
Providing decision making information
for people with disabilities increases
the level of safety.
Occupants can distinguish accessible
and non-accessible means of egress.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
Signs feature all raised tactile aspects,
including on the Icon.
Braille and tactile characters provided.
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Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions
Refuge Area Signs
Installed at a mid-
level accessible height
range in a Refuge
Area (being a fire-
isolated and smoke
separated
compartment)
Representative examples only
Not required in building code.
Providing extra protection in a fire and
smoke protected refuge for occupants
unable to evacuate is desirable.
Suitable signage would be required
and is an equivalent design to that
specified in international building
codes.
One could argue that not using the
International Symbol of Access
provides greater clarity in “access-in”
and “egress-out” parts of a building.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
Signs feature all raised tactile aspects,
including on the Icon.
Braille and tactile characters provided.
Assisted Rescue Area
Signs
Installed at a mid-
level accessible height
range in an Assisted
Rescue Area (being
non-fire isolated and
smoke separated
area, in a sprinkler
protected building)
Representative examples only
Not required in building code.
Providing suitable signage in a
temporary holding area / assisted
rescue area should be required and is
an equivalent design to that specified
in international building codes.
One could argue that not using the
International Symbol of Access
provides greater clarity in “access-in”
and “egress-out” parts of a building.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
Signs feature all raised tactile aspects,
including on the Icon.
Braille and tactile characters provided.
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Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions
Emergency
Evacuation Chair
Signs
Installed in Refuge
Areas and Areas of
Assisted Rescue
Installed at a mid-
level accessible height
range
Representative examples only
Not required in building code.
To be used to identify an evacuation
device to complement the accessible
means of egress.
Signs feature all raised tactile aspects,
including on the Icon and persons
moving down the stairs.
Braille and tactile characters provided.
Emergency
Evacuation Lift
Wayfinding
Directional Signs
Installed at a mid-
level accessible height
range on the path to
an evacuation lift
Representative examples only
Not required in building code.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
Signs feature all raised tactile aspects,
including on the Icon and lift car
enclosure and lift car buttons.
Braille and tactile characters provided.
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Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions
Emergency
Evacuation Lift Lobby
Signs
Installed at a mid-
level accessible height
range in lift lobbies
Representative examples only
Not required in building code.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
Signs feature all raised tactile aspects,
including on the Icon and lift car
enclosure and lift car buttons.
Braille and tactile characters provided.
Can be enhanced with the wording
“Use lift if there is a fire” or similar.
Emergency
Evacuation Lift Car
Signs
Installed at a mid-
level accessible height
range inside lift car
Representative examples only
Not required in building code.
To be used to identify parts of the
accessible means of egress.
Signs feature all raised tactile aspects,
including on the Icon and lift car
enclosure and lift car buttons.
Braille and tactile characters to be
provided.
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Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive
‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions
Evacuation Diagrams
Installed at a mid-
level accessible height
range
An added benefit as part of the
performance-based approach, and not
a ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy requirement.
To be used to identify each accessible
means of egress in each accessible
part of the building.
6. Analysis
Before assessing the proposed variation from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions, it is
important to understand the intent of the access provisions related to the exit sign signage within
any facility or building.
The requirement to have suitable exit signs to minimise the risk of death or injury to occupants
during an emergency because of an inability to find an exit. Signs must be clearly visible to
occupants approaching the exit. They need to be located on, above or adjacent to the specified
exits and doors.
The requirement to have directional exit signs is to minimise the risk of death or injury to
occupants during an emergency because of an inability to find their way along an exit path of
travel. Exits may not be visible from all locations within a building. In such cases, exit signs with
directional indicators (such as arrows) are required to clearly indicate the direction of travel to
required exits.
There is also the requirement to provide exit signs under each required exit sign, located on the
wall adjacent to the exit door with Braille and tactile characters. In an emergency visually impaired
occupants may retrace their steps via an access way to their point of entry if they are unable to
detect the exit signs in a building.
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If the entry point is a lift, and the lift is not designed for use during an emergency event, and there
are no fire-isolated stairs close to the lift, then visually impaired people will be unable to evacuate
the building. The current requirements do not mandate for this level of informative signage in lift
lobbies, exit paths or on the path of egress to fire-isolated stairs.
Assessment of the Proposed Variation to Prescriptive Requirements
As noted previously, the use of the proposed signs which vary from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-
Satisfy’ provisions essentially need to satisfy ‘Performance Requirement’ DP1, EP3.3, EP4.2.
It must be noted however that DP1 only requires identification of ‘accessways’ and there are no
current building code requirements to provide an accessible means of egress.
Overview
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 means of egress,
with appropriate emergency and exit signage.
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.
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.
Australian Building Codes Board, 20142
Objectives of The Accessible Exit Sign Project
The objective of The Accessible Exit Sign Project is to start discussions between industry
stakeholders, disability groups, legislators, developers, and insurers etc., to look at better building
design solutions that provide safer buildings, reduce risk and meet the needs of all occupants.
2
Australian Building Codes Board 2014, Emergency Egress for Occupants with Disability Consultation Regulation
Impact Statement, p.11,
http://www.abcb.gov.au/~/media/Files/Download%20Documents/RIS%20docs/Consultation_RIS_Emergency_Egress_
for_Occupants_with_Disability.ashx?la=e, viewed 27 August 2015
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A critical part of any strategy for safe evacuations is
providing clear wayfinding information for all occupants,
with appropriate exit signage to identify the accessible
exits, refuge areas, evacuation lifts and other evacuation
devices.
The ‘Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign’ concept
presents a case to support the use of these signs in all
buildings, which can help provide a safer and more
inclusive built environment.
The objectives being to help facilitate acceptance of the new Accessible Means of Egress Icon on a
new era of exit signs and emergency signage.
International Factors
A gap exists in many countries legislation relating to the evacuation of people with disability under
current disability discrimination, building and workplace safety laws.
When we consider this issue from a global viewpoint, in 2009 there are 36 million people with a
disability in the United States of America (U.S.) alone, of which 19.4 million have difficulties
walking or climbing stairs3, which is equivalent to the entire Australian population in 2001.4
We’re also living in times when life
expectancies are increasing, people are
residing in higher density locations and in
taller buildings.
Worldwide, people with disability have
increasingly moved into the mainstream
of society5 6 and deserve to be afforded
the same level of safety as they go about
their day to day activities as other
occupants of buildings.
This includes being able to safely evacuate a building, facility or form of public transportation
during an emergency.
3
Disabled World 2014, Latest U.S. Disability Statistics and Facts http://www.disabled-
world.com/disability/statistics/census-figures.php, viewed 26 September 2015
4
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012b, 1370.0.55.001 - Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2012,
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1370.0.55.001~2012~Main%20Features~Populatio
n~3, viewed 26 September 2015
5
United States Fire Administration Federal Emergency Management Agency 1995, Emergency Procedures for
Employees with Disabilities in Office Occupancies, p.1, http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa-
154.pdf, viewed 26 September 2015
6
US Fire Administration Federal Emergency Management Agency 2002, FEMA FA 235 Orientation Manual for First
Responders on the Evacuation of Disabled People, p.3, http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/FA-
235-508.pdf, viewed 26 September 2015
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The practical and equitable provision of safe evacuation for all building occupants has been a
complex issue to resolve, with a general lack of awareness, understanding and a failure to provide
a holistic approach from all parties. The issue of emergency egress within workplaces has
previously been described as “opening the proverbial can of worms”, where employees with
disabilities would rather keep quiet than cause any trouble or risk their own employment
opportunities.7 This is not an acceptable situation and needs more consideration with formulated
action.
Local Factors
Internationally, there are many countries that have a
gap in the legislative frameworks relating to the
evacuation of people with disability. This gap is also
evident in Australia’s legal system, which exposes not
just people with disability, but all people who for
whatever reason may need some help to identify,
register and respond to an alarm, as well as
independently moving to a safe place outside the
building.
This gap exists in the Australian legal system and exposes those members of the community with
disability and the elderly, particularly those with sensory or mobility disabilities to the risk of being
delayed in their ability to evacuate a building or being entrapped within a building that has been
evacuated. Even though there are statutory obligations within Australia that require employers,
building or facility management, building contractors and building designers to contribute to a
workplace that is “without risks to the health and safety of any person”.8
In 2009 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that there were four million Australians
or 18.5% of the population with a disability.9 The following statistics released by the Australian
Network on Disability10 provides an insight into the statistics of Australian workplaces:
• 1 in 3 people have a disability or are likely to be close to someone with a disability.
• 2.1 million Australians of working age (15 to 64 years) have a disability.
• 3.4 million Australians (or 15% of the population) have a physical disability.
• 1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss.
• There are approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan (Australian Sign Language) users with total
hearing loss.
7
The Northern Officer Group 1993, Personal Emergency Egress Plans, The Northern Officer Group, Wakefield, UK
8
Australian Government 2011, Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011, Sections 20, 21, 22 and 23,
http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2011A00137, viewed 26 September 2015
9
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4430.0 - Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, Australian
Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, p. 20, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4430.0, viewed 26 September
2015
10
Australian Network on Disability 2014a, Stats & Facts, http://www.and.org.au/pages/disability-statistics.html,
viewed 26 September 2015
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• Vision Australia estimates there are currently 357,000 people in Australia who are blind or have
low vision.
• Over 700,000 Australians have an intellectual impairment.
• 10% of the population has dyslexia.
• More than 90,000 people have a mental health disorder.
• Almost 90 per cent of disabilities are not visible.
This equates to a significant percentage of Australians who may have little consideration for their
safe evacuation from a commercial building.
Consideration of the needs of all occupants is especially important for those facing a vertical
egress path (i.e. via a stairway) and this is obviously an issue that needs to be considered
worldwide, not just within Australia. The use of passenger lifts during an evacuation is not
generally possible, as lifts are pre-programmed to return to the ground floor during alarm-mode.
They are therefore unable to be used for evacuation purposes.
To put this issue into perspective, in 2013 a New York high school left two students who use
wheelchairs behind in a third floor classroom while the remainder of the school buildings were
evacuated. The evacuation was due to a fire and was not a fire drill.11 Similar events have recently
occurred in educational facilities in Nova Scotia, Canada12 and Chicago, United States.13 Closer to
home a student was reportedly left on Level 10 of a Swanston Street RMIT Academic Building in
Melbourne during a fire evacuation in 2012.14 Though there is little evidence of this occurring in
Australian workplaces, there are several reports of people with disability in the U.S., particularly
those with mobility impairment, being left within buildings during evacuations and without the
necessary alerts to warn them of a danger.15
The Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign concept aims to fill a part of this legislative gap. When an
inclusive approach is adopted in a building it could be seen as a contingency when other parts of
an emergency plan are not effective. For example, even if people were left behind in a building
during an evacuation if there is audible and visual information provided to occupants they will
have better chances of finding a suitable exit and moving to a safe place. Accessible exit signs
forms part of this approach.
Emergency Planning
11
NBC New York 2013, Westchester School Leaves Behind Disabled Students in Fire Evacuation,
http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/New-Rochelle-High-School-Westchester-Leaves-Wheelchair-Students-
Behind-Fire-Evacuation-193415871.html, viewed 26 September 2015
12
CBC News Nova Scotia 2013, Mom angry disabled daughter left behind in fire drills,
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/mom-angry-disabled-daughter-left-behind-in-fire-drills-1.1316160,
viewed 26 September 2015
13
CBS Chicago 2012, Parents Of Disabled Child Worried About School’s Evacuation Plan,
http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/04/11/parents-of-disabled-child-worried-schools-evacuation-plan/, viewed 26
September 2015
14
James, F 2012, Student with disability forgotten in fire evacuation, City Journal,
http://thecityjournal.net/news/student-with-disability-forgotten-in-fire-evacuation/, viewed 26 September 2015
15
National Council on Disability 2005, Saving Lives: Including People with Disabilities in Emergency Planning, National
Council on Disability, Washington, pp. 26-28
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Evacuation planning is especially important for building occupants who may not be able to use a
fire escape stairway, detect auditory alarms, or recognize and respond to a danger during an
emergency, including those with disability.16
Typically, dependent on the use of a building, a building could have occupants with a diverse range
of ages, sizes, awareness and familiarity, cognitive skills, sensory and mobility abilities.
It’s therefore critical that any plan has the capability to communicate to those with hearing and
vision impairments and measures to assist those people who may find evacuating via an escape
stairway challenging, difficult or not possible.17 Appropriate exit signage to identify the accessible
means of egress is a critical component to the successful emergency planning for any building.
International Law
There are two pieces of international law that must be considered when we consider the needs of
people in a building during an emergency:
• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
• The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
About the Declaration
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General
Assembly on 10 December 1948. The Declaration was the result of the experience of the Second
World War, when at the end of that war, and with the creation of the United Nations, the
international community vowed never again to allow such atrocities experienced in the conflict to
happen again.
World leaders agreed to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of
every individual everywhere. The document they considered would later become the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, was taken up at the first session of the General Assembly in 1946.18
The Founding of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is generally agreed to be the foundation of
international human rights law. The core principles of human rights first set out in the UDHR, such
as universality, interdependence and indivisibility, equality and non-discrimination, and that
human rights simultaneously entail both rights and obligations from duty bearers and rights
owners, have been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations,
16
Loy, B, Hirsh, A, Batiste, LC 2004, Evacuation Preparedness: Managing the Safety of Employees with Disabilities,
Occupational Health & Safety. Sep 2004, Vol. 73 Issue 9
17
Logli, M 2009, ‘Developing Evacuation Plans’, Professional Safety, Aug 2009, Vol. 54 Issue 8, pp.44-45
18
United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, History,
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/history.shtml, viewed 18 August 2015
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
and resolutions.
The Universal Declaration is not a treaty, so it does not directly create legal obligations for
countries. However, it displays the fundamental values shared by all members of the international
community.19
The Declaration has significant influence on the development of international human rights law
and could be argued in some cases that by adhering to the Declaration for so long that is has
actually become binding as a part of customary international law.
The Universal Declaration has given rise to other international agreements which are legally
binding on the countries that ratify them, including the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
About the Convention
The UN General Assembly established an Ad Hoc Committee in 2001 to negotiate a new
Convention for the rights of people with disabilities. The first meeting was in August 2002, and
drafting of the text began in May 2004. In August 2006, the Committee reached agreement on the
text. Delegates to the Ad Hoc Committee represented Non-Government Organisations (NGOs),
Governments, national human rights institutes and international organizations. It was the first
time that NGOs had actively participated in the formulation of a human rights instrument such as
the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Purpose of the Convention
The purpose of the Convention is ultimately to promote, protect and ensure full and equal
enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. It includes a number of key areas such
as accessibility, personal mobility, education, health, employment, habilitation and rehabilitation,
participation in political life, equality and non-discrimination.
With the Convention came a shift in attitudes away from the previous social welfare issue to a
human rights issue. This shift acknowledged that attitudes, prejudices and societal barriers are
inherently disabling.
Countries that have signed and ratified the Convention show a strong commitment to develop and
implement new policies, laws and administrative controls that ensure the rights of people with
disability. This commitment also includes abolishing laws, regulations, customs and practices that
constitute discrimination.
Our Commitment to the UN Convention
Along with other signatories to the Convention, Australia has a strong regime of
19
Australian Human Rights Commission, What is the Universal Declaration on Human Rights?,
https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/what-universal-declaration-human-rights, viewed 18 August 2015
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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anti-discrimination legislation at both Commonwealth and State and Territory level. This
legislation aims to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. Australia signed the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disability on 30 March 2007, which were
subsequently ratified on 17 July 2008.20
Upon ratification the Convention the Australian Government made the following declaration as a
commitment to promote the equality of all people with disability.21
Australia recognizes that persons with disability enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with
others in all aspects of life.
Australia declares its understanding that the Convention allows for fully supported or
substituted decision-making arrangements, which provide for decisions to be made on
behalf of a person, only where such arrangements are necessary, as a last resort and
subject to safeguards;
Australia recognizes that every person with disability has a right to respect for his or her
physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others. Australia further declares its
understanding that the Convention allows for compulsory assistance or treatment of
persons, including measures taken for the treatment of mental disability, where such
treatment is necessary, as a last resort and subject to safeguards;
Australia recognizes the rights of persons with disability to liberty of movement, to freedom
to choose their residence and to a nationality, on an equal basis with others. Australia
further declares its understanding that the Convention does not create a right for a person
to enter or remain in a country of which he or she is not a national, nor impact on
Australia’s health requirements for non-nationals seeking to enter or remain in Australia,
where these requirements are based on legitimate, objective and reasonable criteria.
Relevant Parts of the Convention
The Convention outlines a series of ‘Articles’ which outline the obligations of each country (or
‘States Parties’) to ‘ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental
freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of
disability’.22 The Articles within the Convention cover an extensive range of areas, which have best
been summarised by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB):23
20
United Nations, Convention and Optional Protocol Signatures and Ratifications,
http://www.un.org/disabilities/countries.asp?navid=17&pid=166, viewed 27 August 2015
21
United Nations Treaty Collection, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-15&chapter=4&lang=en, viewed 19 August
2015
22
United Nations, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm#optprotocol, viewed 20 August 2015
23
Australian Building Codes Board 2014, Emergency Egress for Occupants with Disability Consultation Regulation
Impact Statement, p.15,
http://www.abcb.gov.au/~/media/Files/Download%20Documents/RIS%20docs/Consultation_RIS_Emergency_Egress_
for_Occupants_with_Disability.ashx?la=e, viewed 27 August 2015
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
• Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own
choices, and independence of persons
• Non-discrimination;
• Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
• Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human
diversity and humanity;
• Equality of opportunity;
• Accessibility;
• Equality between men and women;
• Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of
children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
Australia has also acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention and this came into force for
Australia on 20 September 2009. The optional protocol is a separate instrument to the convention,
which allows a UN Committee to receive complaints from individuals or groups who believe their
country has breached the Convention “after all domestic remedies have been exhausted.”24
The Convention has some key statements worth repeating within this Guide:
• Article 5 (Equality and non-discrimination) says:
• States Parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are
entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law
• States Parties shall prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to
persons with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all
grounds.
• In order to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, States Parties shall take all
appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided.
• Article 9 (Accessibility)
• To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects
of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities
access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to
information and communications, including information and communications technologies
and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in
urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and
elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:
(a) Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including
schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;
(b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and
emergency services.
• States Parties shall also take appropriate measures:
(a) To develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and
guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;
24
Australian Government Attorney-General Department, Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities,
http://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/HumanRights/Pages/UnitedNationsConventionontherightsofpersonswit
hdisabilities.aspx, viewed 20 August 2015
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
(b) To ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or
provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with
disabilities;
(c) To provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with
disabilities;
(d) To provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in
easy to read and understand forms;
(e) To provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and
professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other
facilities open to the public;
(f) To promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with
disabilities to ensure their access to information;
(g) To promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and
communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;
(h) To promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible
information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that
these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
• Article 11 (Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies)
• States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law,
including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary
measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of
risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence
of natural disasters.
• Article 27 (Work and employment)
• States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with
others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or
accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to
persons with disabilities.
• States Parties shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for
those who acquire a disability during the course of employment, by taking appropriate
steps, including through legislation.
The ABCB reported in their ‘Emergency Egress for Occupants with Disability Consultation
Regulation Impact Statement’ that “the Committee responsible for dealing with complaints
identified significant short coming relating to all Australians with disability” 25
Additionally, Item 23 of the United Nations 2013 report, ‘Committee on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities, Concluding observations on the initial report of Australia, adopted by the Committee at
its tenth session (2–13 September 2013)’ provided the following comment on Australia’s
commitment to the articles of the Convention:
25
Australian Building Codes Board 2014, Emergency Egress for Occupants with Disability Consultation Regulation
Impact Statement, p.15,
http://www.abcb.gov.au/~/media/Files/Download%20Documents/RIS%20docs/Consultation_RIS_Emergency_Egress_
for_Occupants_with_Disability.ashx?la=e, viewed 27 August 2015
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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The Committee calls upon the State party in consultation with people with disabilities, to
establish nationally consistent emergency management standards, that are implemented
across all three levels of government; to ensure inclusivity across diverse disabilities and to
cover all phases of emergency management preparation, early warning, evacuation,
interim housing and support, recovery and rebuilding. It further recommends inclusion in
National Plans of emergency response schemes for persons with disabilities.26
Universal Design
Universal design is a design movement that is steadily growing as awareness increases.
At the end of the 20th century, the world is very different than 100 years ago. People are living
longer and surviving better. Potential consumers of design who may be functionally limited by
age or disability are increasing at a dramatic rate. These populations are no longer an
insignificant or silent minority.
The current generation of children, baby boomers entering middle age, older adults, people
with disabilities, and individuals inconvenienced by circumstance, constitute a market majority.
All of these constituencies and indeed, all consumers, deserve to be recognized and respected.
Facilities, devices, services, and programs must be designed to serve an increasingly diverse
clientele.
The demographic, legislative, economic,
and social changes that brought us to this
point are increasing the momentum that
will propel us into a 21st century that will
need to be more accommodating of
individual differences. Universal design
provides a blueprint for maximum inclusion
of all people.27
This section provides a definition of universal design, considers its reference in the UN Convention
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and provides an overview of the development of the
universal design movement.
The 7 Principles of Universal Design are also presented and discussed in terms of building
evacuations.
Universal Design: A Definition
26
Australian Government Attorney-General Department,
http://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/HumanRights/TreatyBodyReporting/Documents/UN Committee on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Concluding Observations.doc, viewed 19 August 2015
27
Universal Design History, http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udhistory.htm, viewed 24 September
2015
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign
Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template
Universal design has been described by the late Ron Mace, one of the founders of the universal
design movement as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the
greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”28
Universal Design in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
In 2006, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the UN
General Assembly.
The convention has since been ratified by France, Germany, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada
and many other countries.29
The convention aims to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human
rights by persons with disabilities.”
Universal Design has also been defined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities:
“Universal design” with the means the design of products, environments, programmes and
services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for
adaptation or specialized design. “Universal design” shall not exclude assistive devices for
particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.30
Universal Design Movement
The United States Civil Rights Movement began in the 1960s, which subsequently inspired the
Disability Rights Movement which continues to influence legislation throughout the 1970s, 1980s,
and 1990s. These new laws prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities and provided
access to education, places of public accommodation, telecommunications, and transportation.31
Similarly, the barrier-free movement started in the United States in the 1950s and commenced a
process of change in public policies and design practices in response to demands by veterans with
disability and advocates for people with disabilities. At this time, physical barriers in the
environment were recognized as a significant hindrance to people with mobility impairments.
The 7 Principles of Universal Design
28
Universal Design History, http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/about_ud.htm, viewed 8 September
2015
29
United Nations, Convention and Optional Protocol Signatures and Ratifications,
http://www.un.org/disabilities/countries.asp?navid=17&pid=166, viewed 27 August 2015
30
United Nations, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm#optprotocol, viewed 19 August 2015
31
Universal Design History, http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udhistory.htm, viewed 8 September
2015
© Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com
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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0
Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0

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Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson Version 1.0

  • 1. ® Universal Design. Meets the Exit Sign. Performance Assessment Template by Lee Wilson MAIPM C. Build E MCABE PEng(UK) MSPE MWOBO Version 1.0 October 2015
  • 2. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Table of Contents 1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................1 Legislative References.....................................................................................................................1 Project Documentation...................................................................................................................2 Background......................................................................................................................................2 2. The ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’..........................................................................................2 About the Project ............................................................................................................................2 Accessible Means of Egress Icon ................................................................................................3 The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ Exit Sign.........................................................................3 3. Methodology.......................................................................................................................3 Performance-Based Approach to Compliance................................................................................3 Performance Assessment Method..................................................................................................4 4. Summary of Proposed Building Solution ..............................................................................4 5. Assessment Methodology....................................................................................................6 Building Code Objectives.................................................................................................................6 DO1: Access and Egress.............................................................................................................6 EO4: Emergency Lighting, Exit Signs and Warning Systems.......................................................7 Building Code Functional Statements.............................................................................................7 DF1: Access and Egress...............................................................................................................7 EF4.1: Emergency Lighting, Exit Signs and Warning Systems.....................................................7 Building Code ‘Performance Requirements’...................................................................................7 Relevant ‘Performance Requirements’ ......................................................................................7 Other ‘Performance Requirements’ to Consider .......................................................................8 Building Code Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Provisions............................................................9 Exit Signage Requirements.........................................................................................................9 Variation from the Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Requirements............................................10 Proposed Emergency and Exit Sign Designs.............................................................................10 6. Analysis.............................................................................................................................18 Assessment of the Proposed Variation to Prescriptive Requirements.........................................19 Overview........................................................................................................................................19 Objectives of The Accessible Exit Sign Project .........................................................................19 International Factors ................................................................................................................20 Local Factors.............................................................................................................................21 Emergency Planning .................................................................................................................22 International Law ..........................................................................................................................23 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.............................................................................23 About the Declaration.........................................................................................................23 The Founding of Human Rights...........................................................................................23 The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities......................................................24 About the Convention.........................................................................................................24 Purpose of the Convention .................................................................................................24 Our Commitment to the UN Convention............................................................................24 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page ii
  • 3. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Relevant Parts of the Convention .......................................................................................25 Universal Design............................................................................................................................28 Universal Design: A Definition..................................................................................................28 Universal Design in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ................29 Universal Design Movement ....................................................................................................29 The 7 Principles of Universal Design.........................................................................................29 PRINCIPLE ONE: Equitable Use............................................................................................30 PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use.......................................................................................31 PRINCIPLE THREE: Simple and Intuitive Use .......................................................................31 PRINCIPLE FOUR: Perceptible Information .........................................................................31 PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error....................................................................................31 PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort......................................................................................32 PRINCIPLE SEVEN: Size and Space for Approach and Use...................................................32 7 Principles and Universally Usable Design.........................................................................32 Universal Design Is Not a Synonym for Compliance with Access Standards ...........................33 Universal Design and Building Evacuations..............................................................................33 A Gap in the Legal Framework ......................................................................................................33 The Existing Gap in Evacuation Legislation ..............................................................................34 Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 ......................................................................34 Disability Discrimination Act 1992............................................................................................34 Disability Defined......................................................................................................................35 Occupational Health and Safety...............................................................................................36 Planning for Emergencies in the Workplace ............................................................................37 The Case for Accessible Exits.........................................................................................................38 People with Disability and the Need for Accessible Exits.........................................................39 Mobility Disabilities.............................................................................................................39 Vision Impairment...............................................................................................................40 Hearing Impairment ............................................................................................................41 Speech, Language and Communication Disorders..............................................................41 Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairments, Mental Health......................................................42 Temporary and other Emergent Impairments....................................................................43 “Do not use lifts if there is a fire”.............................................................................................43 Existing Japanese Style (or Running Man) Style Exit Signs.......................................................44 A Brief History of the Japanese Exit Sign (also known as the Running Man)......................44 A Non-Inclusive and Discriminatory Approach ...................................................................45 Effectiveness of Typical Exit Signs.......................................................................................46 Existing Wheelchair Symbols on Exit Signs...............................................................................46 The European Style Wheelchair on Exit Signs.....................................................................47 An Ambiguous Exit Sign Design...........................................................................................47 Risk Management and the Accessible Exit Signage..................................................................48 The Exit Sign ‘Gap’ and Reducing Risk.................................................................................48 A Recent Case Study............................................................................................................49 Occupant Expectations and Accessible Exit Signage...........................................................49 Quotes from Around the World ...............................................................................................50 Fire Engineering and Performance-Based Building Codes.......................................................51 Precedence in Performance-Based Exit Sign Solutions............................................................52 Support from Australian Building Codes Board References.....................................................53 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page iii
  • 4. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template An Ageing Population ...............................................................................................................53 Increased Child-Care Centres above Entry Levels of Buildings ................................................55 Obesity Trends..........................................................................................................................55 Accessible Means of Egress Concept ............................................................................................56 International Building Code 2012.............................................................................................56 A Means of Egress ....................................................................................................................57 The Exit Access ....................................................................................................................57 The Exit................................................................................................................................58 The Exit Discharge ...............................................................................................................58 The Public Way....................................................................................................................58 The Accessible Means of Egress...............................................................................................58 The IBC Commitment to People with Disability..................................................................58 The IBC Accessible Means of Egress....................................................................................58 Parts of an IBC Accessible Means of Egress..............................................................................59 Accessible Routes (including Accessible Ramps) ................................................................59 Stairways (Exterior or Interior)............................................................................................60 Elevators (Passenger Lifts)...................................................................................................60 Platform Lifts.......................................................................................................................61 Horizontal Exits....................................................................................................................61 Area of Refuge.....................................................................................................................61 Exterior Area for Assisted Rescue .......................................................................................62 Two-way Communication ...................................................................................................62 Accessible Signage...............................................................................................................62 Directional Accessible Signage............................................................................................63 Instructions on Signs ...........................................................................................................63 International Symbol of Accessibility..................................................................................63 Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 .......................................................................................63 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.........................................................................63 The ADA Accessible Means of Egress..................................................................................64 Australians and an Accessible Means of Egress.......................................................................64 The Accessible Exit Sign Project ....................................................................................................65 About The Accessible Exit Sign Project.....................................................................................65 Accessible Means of Egress Icon ..............................................................................................66 The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ Exit Sign.......................................................................66 Universal Design Approach .................................................................................................67 A Consistent Approach........................................................................................................67 A Sense of Movement and Motion .....................................................................................67 The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ Dissected................................................................68 Comparison to Applicable Technical Standards..................................................................68 Egress Group Pty Ltd.................................................................................................................69 Why Licence the Use of the Icon?............................................................................................69 Closing the Exit Sign Gap ..........................................................................................................69 Evacuation Guidebook ........................................................................................................69 Accessible Exit Signs for the Future.....................................................................................70 Wayfinding Principles..........................................................................................................70 Accessible Exits in Evacuation Diagrams.............................................................................72 Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign .......................................................................................73 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page iv
  • 5. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template A Truly Universal Design......................................................................................................73 The Problem with Existing Exit Signs...................................................................................73 Equitable Use of Exit Signs ..................................................................................................73 Simple and Intuitive Use......................................................................................................74 Perceptible Information......................................................................................................74 Tolerance of Error................................................................................................................74 Size and Space for Approach and Use.................................................................................74 Performance-Based Building Codes..............................................................................................74 Performance-Based Building Codes around the World ...........................................................75 Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee ..................................................75 International Building Regulations Reform.........................................................................76 International Fire Engineering Guidelines................................................................................77 Definition of Fire Safety Engineering ..................................................................................77 The Use of the International Fire Engineering Guidelines..................................................77 Benefits of Fire Safety Engineering .....................................................................................78 Uniqueness of Fire Engineered Solutions ...........................................................................78 Fire Engineering Brief Considerations.................................................................................78 Fire Engineering Occupant Evacuations..............................................................................79 Performance-Based Building Reform.......................................................................................81 Benefits of Performance-Based Building Codes.......................................................................82 National Construction Code .....................................................................................................83 Building Code of Australia Objectives.................................................................................83 Building Code of Australia Performance Hierarchy ............................................................83 What are Performance Solutions / ‘Alternative Solutions’?...............................................84 Building Code of Australia Assessment Methods ...............................................................85 Evidence of Suitability.........................................................................................................85 Verification Methods...........................................................................................................86 Comparison with the Prescriptive Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions ......................................86 Expert Judgement................................................................................................................86 A Performance-Based Mind-Set..........................................................................................86 Conditions of Approval..................................................................................................................87 7. Conclusions .......................................................................................................................88 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page v
  • 6. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Executive Summary The Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper presents the case for a new generation of exit signs to be used in all forms of public transportation, facilities and buildings. The White Paper discusses the many complex issues that have led to the development of this initiative and argues for the support of these new emergency and exit signs. The White Paper includes this Appendix, which is titled ‘Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign White Paper Performance Assessment Template’. The performance-based template provides support to accept the use of The Accessible Exit Sign Project signage as a variation from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions of the building code. The template also provides support for this approach with consideration to the content of the White Paper. It proposes the use of a performance-based building solution to accept that emergency egress and exit signage provided throughout the building will adopt a best practice ‘universal design’ approach and argues that this approach provides a safer solution for all building occupants, including people with disabilities. The proposed signs presented in the assessment form part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’, which adopt the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ on all emergency egress and exit signage used throughout the building. About the Author Lee Wilson MAIPM MWOBO C. Build E MCABE PEng(UK) MSPE is an accessibility, risk and building consultant in Melbourne, Australia. Lee commenced his working life in a construction trade, but has since been employed in the Australian Defence Force, Federal and local government, and private consultancies specialising in risk management and building compliance. For the last few years he has specialised in universal access and inclusive design for people with disability. He is an Accredited Member of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia, a Chartered Building Engineer with the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (UK) and a Professional Engineer with the Society of Professional Engineers (UK). After many years of study Lee has achieved academic under-graduate qualifications in building surveying, construction management and risk management. He also holds a post-graduate Masters of Project Management degree and a Graduate Certificate in Performance-Based Building & Fire Codes from Victoria University’s Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering. Lee is passionate about spreading the word about the need for an accessible means of egress from all buildings, for all occupants. In 2014 he released a free guidebook titled Evacuation of People with Disability & Emergent Limitations: Considerations for Safer Buildings & Efficient Evacuations. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page vi
  • 7. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Further Details Lee Wilson can be contacted via the following means: • Website: http://leewilson.com.au/contact/ • Email: lee@leewilson.com.au • LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/leewilson3 For information on the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ and the use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ please visit http://accessibleexitsigns.com/ This document forms part of a White Paper has been developed with the support of Egress Group http://egressgroup.net/. Images of the Icon are reproduced under licence, All Rights Reserved, AU Registered Designs 355564 and 355657, Egress Group Pty Ltd © 2015. Disclaimer Great care has been exercised in the preparation of this document, forming part of the ‘Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Accessible Exit Sign Project & Performance-Based Building Codes White Paper’, however, the content of this document could contain technical inaccuracies, typographical errors and the information may not be appropriate to all situations. The White Paper and this performance assessment template shall not be considered a substitute for sound technical advice or sound business judgment by the reader. Information provided here is the author’s views on accessibility and egress requirements within the built environment. It must be acknowledged that his views and interpretation of relevant legislation and standards could differ from other individuals or groups. The information has been made available to assist relevant building practitioners to develop their own specific design solutions. Any consideration of the use of performance-based building design to justify and accept the use of the accessible exit signs presented in the White Paper or this performance-based solution assessment template is hypothetical only. This document should not be considered to be an assessment for the purposes of certification of any proposed exit signage strategy in any building, facility or mode of transportation. Readers requiring project guidance in the use and acceptance of the accessible exit signs should engage a fire (safety) engineer familiar with their own particular factual situation for project advice. The information provided in Parts 1 to 7 of this document may be used to assist development of an approved / certified design, it does not constitute support for any specific design solution, nor should it be construed that the Author is in anyway providing such support. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page vii
  • 8. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template In no event shall the author be liable for any damages whatsoever, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other action, arising out of the use of the information in this assessment template or the White Paper, in connection with the use of these documents, or reliance on any of the information provided. Accessible signage used throughout this document uses sans serif style font, as well as Braille characters on some images. It is acknowledged that characters are shown for representative purposes only and any signage produced for buildings in Australia must comply with Specification D3.6 of the ‘National Construction Code, Building Code of Australia Volume 1’, (BCA), including compliant Braille characters, (or other requirements specific to the relevant location when outside Australia). Applicable legislation, the BCA, relevant Australian and overseas technical standards are amended and updated periodically. It must be understood that this could occur before this White Paper is updated. Creative Commons Use for Text Presented in Parts 1 to 7 Notwithstanding the general copyright licence provided on www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com, and with the exception of the Accessible Means of Egress Icon and photographic images used within this document or where otherwise noted, all text material presented in Parts 1 to 7 of this document is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence. You are free to: • Share — copy and redistribute the text material presented in Parts 1 to 7 (only) in any medium or format • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the text material presented in Parts 1 to 7 For any purpose, even commercially. The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow these license terms: • Use of any images within this document: o The use of any photographic images does not form part of this licence. This includes the cover photograph. o All other photographic images used in this document are subject to copyright © Lee Wilson 2015. o The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ and the combined ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ / Running Man images are subject to Copyright © ® ™ Egress Group Pty Ltd. o Permission may however be sought to use the Accessible Means of Egress Icon and The Accessible Exit Sign Project images from Egress Group Pty Ltd, info@egressgroup.com.au or http://egressgroup.net/ for the purposes of justifying the use of these signs. Fire Engineers, Designers, Project Managers, Wayfinding specialists, and the like are encouraged to do so. Please see http://accessibleexitsigns.com/use-of-the-accessible-means-of-egress- icon/licensing-enquiries/ © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page viii
  • 9. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template • Attribution: o When using the text presented in Parts 1 to 7 of this document you must give appropriate credit to the author – Lee Wilson, and provide a link to the license terms at http://universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com/white-paper-in-print/performance- assessment-creative-commons-licence/ or provide a link to the website in documents along with the authors name. A suitable citation is: Wilson L, 2015, Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance Assessment Template, Copyright © Lee Wilson 2015, www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com, viewed ## #### 20## (add date) o You must also indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. • No additional restrictions: o You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits. • Notices: o You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation. o No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material. Instructions: 1. Copy the following Parts 1 to 7 of this template into your own report format, add your own report cover, Table to Contents etc. 2. Do not re-use this cover provided in this template. 3. Refer to licence agreement above for details on acceptable use. 4. Please delete any sections that are non-applicable and tailor to your own project using The Accessible Exit Sign Project sign designs. Thank you, Lee Wilson © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page ix
  • 10. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template 1. Introduction Insert your name has been engaged to provide support for a performance-based approach to compliance in one aspect of the design of the insert project name and address. The performance-based assessment within this report includes acceptance that the proposed exit and emergency signage to be provided in the building is technically considered a variation from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions of the building code. The assessment addressed within this report includes reference to the relevant prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions and ‘Performance Requirements’. The proposed performance-based building solution seeks to accept that emergency egress and exit signage provided throughout the building will adopt a best practice ‘universal design’ approach and argues that this approach provides a safer solution for all building occupants, including people with disabilities. The proposed signs presented in this assessment form part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’, which adopt the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ on all emergency egress and exit signage used throughout the building. Legislative References • Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA) • Commonwealth Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 (the Premises Standards) • National Construction Code, Building Code of Australia 2015, Volume 1 (BCA) • Australian Standard AS 1428.1:2009 – Design for access and mobility, Part 1: General requirements for access – New building work (AS 1428.1) • Australian Standard AS 1735.12:1999 – Lifts, escalators and moving walks, Part 12: Facilities for persons with disabilities (AS 1735.12) • AS 2293: 2005 Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings, Part 1: System design, installation and operation • AS 2293: 2005 Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings, Part 3: Emergency escape luminaries and exit signs • Australian Standard AS 3745:2010 – Planning for emergencies in facilities (AS 3745) • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 21542:2011 – Building construction – Accessibility and usability of the built environment (ISO21542) • ISO 3864:2002 Safety colours and safety signs, Part 1: Design principles for safety signs in workplaces and public areas • ISO 7000:2004 Graphic symbols for use on equipment • ISO 7010: 2003 Graphic symbols – safety colours and safety signs – Safety signs used in workplaces and public areas • British Standard (BS) 5252:1976 Framework for colour co-ordination for building purposes © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 1
  • 11. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template • New Zealand Building Regulation 2012 • New Zealand Building Code • Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Accessible Signage Guidelines 2010National Building Code of Canada 2010 (Delete any non-applicable references, or add your own to meet local requirements) Project Documentation • List drawings • Reference Fire Engineering Brief, or Fire Engineering Report • Access consultant’s report • Electrical engineer report / drawings • List others Background Insert a section on your specific project The approach to provision of emergency exit signage for the project has been to adopt the design presented in The Accessible Exit Sign Project as a form of best practice. A critical part of this strategy for safe evacuations is to provide clear wayfinding information for all occupants, with appropriate exit signage to identify the accessible exits, refuge areas, evacuation lifts and other evacuation devices. 2. The ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ About the Project The Accessible Exit Sign Project is an international campaign that promotes the need for an accessible means of egress in all buildings. The concept has been developed by Egress Group Pty Ltd. The intention of The Accessible Exit Sign Project is to promote universal access and egress for all building occupants. Everyone deserves a safe means of egress from a building during an emergency, including those that may face some extra challenges negotiating an egress route. The Accessible Exit Sign Project website at http://accessibleexitsigns.com/ presents accessible exit signs adopting universal design principals. It is envisaged that in the near future these signs will become the norm and a minimum requirement in all new buildings around the world. The designs have started important discussions between industry stakeholders, disability groups, legislators, developers, and insurers etc., to look at better building design solutions that provide safer buildings, reduce risk and meet the needs of all occupants. The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ is a critical part of the solution to address these issues. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 2
  • 12. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Accessible Means of Egress Icon The introduction of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ onto exit signage changes the current discriminatory approach to exit signs in buildings and present a fully inclusive design.1 However, there are important issues to consider when using these images: 1. The design of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ is a new universal design concept and at the time of writing is not referenced within any technical standard or building code; and 2. Emergency exit signage using the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ should be considered as part of the overall exit signage solution for any public facility (which could include a building, open space, transportation hub, airplane, train or ship). 3. Dependant on local code requirements, the use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ may require approval from the relevant authority to permit the adoption of this new form of signage, confirmation will therefore be required from local authorities. This is certainly the case in Australia and other countries that performance-based building codes; 4. Use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ could replace existing building code exit sign requirements under a ‘performance-based’ solution, which is an accepted path to compliance in many parts of the world, including Australia. Alternatively, it could be used to complement local requirements, and enhance the minimum prescriptive requirements; and 5. A performance-based assessment, using fire engineering principles may be required to support the use of the designs presented in The Accessible Exit Sign Project. The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ Exit Sign The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ presents a fully inclusive universal design. It is inclusive and provides a clear pictographic indication of where an accessible exit is located. It can also be used to help identify features of the accessible means of egress, such as refuge areas, evacuation lifts, evacuation chairs, or areas of rescue assistance. 3. Methodology Performance-Based Approach to Compliance (Amend references below to meet local requirements from the local building code) A Building Solution will comply with the BCA if it satisfies the ‘Performance Requirements’ (BCA Clause A0.4). 1 GAATES Global Accessibility News, The Accessible Exit Sign Project, http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/12/09/the-accessible-exit-sign-project/, viewed 26 August 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 3
  • 13. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Compliance with the ‘Performance Requirements’ can only be achieved by one of the following methods: 1. complying with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions’; or 2. formulating a ‘performance-based’ Alternative Solution which complies with the Performance Requirements, or is shown to be at least equivalent to the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Provisions; or 3. a combination of both (BCA Clause A0.5). A Building Solution which complies with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Provisions is deemed to comply with the ‘Performance Requirements ‘(BCA Clause A0.7). There are some aspects of the proposed ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ signs that meet these prescriptive requirements. A performance-based ‘Alternative Solution’ must be assessed according to one or more of the Assessment Methods. An Alternative Solution will only comply with the BCA if the Assessment Methods used to determine compliance with the ‘Performance Requirements’ have been met. This assessment therefore considers the level of compliance, and suitability of the proposed ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ exit signs against the relevant ‘Performance Requirements’. Performance Assessment Method (Amend references below to meet local requirements from the local building code) The Assessment Methods available under BCA Clause A0.9, or any combination of them, can be used to determine that any Building Solution complies with the ‘Performance Requirements’. The assessment method used to complete this assessment principally relies on the use the A0.9(a), evidence to support that the design meets the applicable ‘Performance Requirements’. Furthermore, consideration of international design standards is made using a comparative analysis with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions in accordance with assessment method A0.9(c). One could also argue that by undertaking this assessment that the use of assessment method A0.9(d) Expert Judgement has also been inherently relied upon to some extent. 4. Summary of Proposed Building Solution The assessment addressed within this report can be summarised as follows, which includes reference to the relevant prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions and ‘Performance Requirements’. The proposed performance-based building solution seeks to accept that emergency egress and exit signage provided throughout the building will adopt a best practice ‘universal design’ approach to providing a safer solution for all building occupants, including people with disabilities. The proposed signs presented in this assessment form part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’, adopting the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ on all emergency egress and exit signage used throughout the building. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 4
  • 14. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Prescriptive Requirement Performance Requirement • The design of the pictorial element used on illuminated ‘required’ exit signs and directional exit signs does not strictly comply with AS 2293.1, in that they differ from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. Amend these references as required Clause E4.8(a) Amend these references as required EP4.2 • The design of the pictorial element used on photo- luminescent ‘required’ exit signs and directional exit signs does not strictly comply with AS 2293.1, in that they differ from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. Clause E4.8(b) EP4.2 • Technically, warning signs stating “Do not use lifts if there is a fire” must be displayed near every call button for a passenger lift or group of lifts throughout a building, but these are not being provided in this solution. This is due to the Fire Engineered solution (assessed separate to this assessment) providing for an Emergency Evacuation Lift under a performance-based solution meeting ‘Performance Requirement’ DP7. In lieu of the required warning signs the solution provides for suitable signage advising occupants of the availability of an Emergency Evacuation Lift. However, the sign design provides for a pictorial element used on ‘non-required’ Emergency Evacuation Lift signs which differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. Clause E3.3 EP3.3 DP7 • Braille and tactile accessible exit signs are ‘required’ in addition to illuminated and photo-luminescent exit signs ‘required’ by BCA Clause E4.5. These signs must state the word "Exit" and "Level" and either the floor level number or a floor level description, or a combination of both. They are to be installed I an accessible location, on the latch-side of each exit door. The proposed signs presented in this solution can comply with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions in all aspects. However, the design of the pictorial element to be used as an enhancement to the Braille and tactile information differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. The signs are included in this assessment for consistency purposes, and the design will provide a tactile pictorial element for those occupants that have a vision impairment. BCA Clause D3.6(a)(ii) EP4.2 DP1 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 5
  • 15. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Prescriptive Requirement Performance Requirement • Directional Braille and tactile accessible exit signs are not required by the BCA. The solution provides for these directional signs with Braille and tactile characters, which will use a pictorial element which differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. The signs will provide a tactile pictorial element for those occupants that have a vision impairment. BCA Clause D3.6(a)(ii) EP4.2 DP1 • Other ‘non-required’ emergency signage presented in this solution will to adopt a pictorial element which differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. This includes the use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ on signage identifying parts of an accessible means of egress, including: o Refuge Areas o Rescue Assistance Areas o Emergency Evacuation Chairs o Emergency Escape Masks The signs will provide a tactile pictorial element for those occupants that have a vision impairment. No DtS Requirement EP4.2 Note, for the purposes of this assessment: 1. Prescriptive Requirement has the same meaning as ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ or ‘DtS’; and 2. Performance Requirement means the minimum building code compliance requirements for any building solution Although some of the prescriptive requirements are not able to be met, ‘Alternative Solutions’, or performance-based solutions that meet the appropriate ‘Performance Requirements’ can still be considered. The ‘Alternative Solution’ and performance assessment within the solution verifies how the building solution meets the relevant ‘Performance Requirements’. 5. Assessment Methodology Building Code Objectives The relevant building code ‘Objectives’ relating to accessible egress and exit signs in buildings are: (Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local building code) DO1: Access and Egress © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 6
  • 16. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template The Objectives of this section of the BCA is to: (a) provide, as far as is reasonable, people with safe, equitable and dignified access to— (i) a building; and (ii) the services and facilities within a building; and (b) safeguard occupants from illness or injury while evacuating in an emergency EO4: Emergency Lighting, Exit Signs and Warning Systems The Objective of this Part is, in an emergency, to safeguard occupants from injury by— (a) having adequate lighting; and (b) having adequate identification of exits and paths of travel to exits; and (c) being made aware of the emergency. Building Code Functional Statements The relevant BCA Functional Statements relating to accessible egress and exit signs in buildings are: (Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local building code) DF1: Access and Egress A building is to provide, as far as is reasonable— (a) safe; and (b) equitable and dignified Access for people to the services and facilities within. EF4.1: Emergency Lighting, Exit Signs and Warning Systems A building is to provide with— (a) adequate lighting upon failure of normal artificial lighting during an emergency; and (b) adequate means— (i) of warning occupants to evacuate; and (ii) to manage the evacuation process; and (iii) to identify exits and paths of travel to an exit. Building Code ‘Performance Requirements’ Relevant ‘Performance Requirements’ When considering the suitability of any variation from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions, including the proposed ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ design exit signs, we need to assess the proposed variation to ensure that it satisfies the relevant ‘Performance Requirements’. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 7
  • 17. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template The specific BCA ‘Performance Requirements’ pertaining to emergency egress and exit signs to be used to assess the proposed solution are: (Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local building code) EP3.3 - Signs or other means must be provided to warn occupants against the use of a lift during a fire. EP4.2 - To facilitate evacuation, suitable signs or other means of identification must, to the degree necessary— (a) be provided to identify the location of exits; and (b) guide occupants to exits; and (c) be clearly visible to occupants; and (d) operate in the event of a power failure of the main lighting system for sufficient time for occupants to safely evacuate. Other ‘Performance Requirements’ to Consider However, when determining the suitability of the proposed exit sign designs and the impact of the variation from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions it is also important to consider the BCA ‘Performance Requirements’ pertaining to emergency egress: (Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local building code) DP4 - Exits must be provided from a building to allow occupants to evacuate safely, with their number, location and dimensions being appropriate to: (a) the travel distance; and (a) the number, mobility and other characteristics of occupants; and (b) the function or use of the building; and (c) the height of the building; and (d) whether the exit is from above or below ground level. DP6 So that occupants can safely evacuate the building, paths of travel to exits must have dimensions appropriate to— (a) the number, mobility and other characteristics of occupants; and (b) the function or use of the building. DP7 - Where a lift is intended to be used in addition to the required exits to assist occupants to evacuate a building safely, the type, number, location and fire-isolation must be appropriate to: (a) the travel distance to the lift; and (b) the number, mobility and other characteristics of occupants; and (c) the function or use of the building; and (d) the number of storeys connected by the lift; and (e) the fire safety system installed in the building; and (f) the waiting time, travel time and capacity of the lift; and © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 8
  • 18. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template (g) the reliability and availability of the lift; and (h) the emergency procedures for the building. Consequently, we need to consider if suitable exit signage is provided to warn occupants against the use of a lift during a fire and to help facilitate evacuation by providing suitable exit and emergency signs to clearly identify the location of exits and guide occupants to exits the degree necessary. One must also consider the ‘Performance Requirements’ pertaining to the provision of accessible signage and the identification of general accessways in terms of parts of an accessible egress path within buildings for people with disability: (Amend as required to meet local requirements, copy in the most applicable section from the local building code) DP1 - Access must be provided, to the degree necessary, to enable: (c) people to: I. approach the building from the road boundary and from any accessible carparking spaces associated with the building; and II. approach the building from any accessible associated building; and III. access work and public spaces, accommodation and facilities for personal hygiene; and (d) identification of accessways at appropriate locations which are easy to find Building Code Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Provisions When we consider the suitability of the concept of ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ signs to identify an access means of egress, we must first carefully dissect the BCA to consider all the requirements. Exit Signage Requirements The variations from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ exit sign provisions to be considered within this assessment are as follows: (Amend as the specific Clauses below to meet the requirements in local building code) • BCA Clause E4.8(a): Illuminated ‘required’ exit signs and directional exit signs (as per BCA Clause E4.5 and Clause E4.6) must comply with AS 2293.1, but the design of the pictorial element to be used on the proposed required exit signs, which form part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’, differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. • BCA Clause E4.8(b): Photo-luminescent ‘required’ exit signs and directional exit signs (as per BCA Clause E4.5 and Clause E4.6) must comply with BCA, Specification E4.8, but the design of the pictorial element to be used on the proposed required exit signs, which form part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’, differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.12293.1. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 9
  • 19. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template In order to achieve compliance with the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions of the BCA, the design of the required exit sign would need to include only the ‘Running Man’ pictorial element only. • BCA Clause E4.8(b): Illuminated and Photo-luminescent ‘non-required’ exit signs and directional exit signs will be provided at accessible heights to assist with wayfinding but these will have a pictorial element design which differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. This includes the proposed ‘non-required’ emergency evacuation lift, refuge area and other emergency fire safety signs, which also form part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’. • BCA Clause D3.6(a)(ii): Braille and tactile ‘required’ accessible exit signs are be provided to supplement and help identify illuminated and photo-luminescent exit signs ‘required’ by BCA Clause E4.5. These signs must state the word "Exit" and "Level" and either the floor level number or a floor level description, or a combination of both. These will be located on the latch-side of exit doors at an accessible height above floor level. The proposed signs can comply with this prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions, but the design of the additional pictorial element to be used as an enhancement to the signs, which forms part of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’, differs from that shown in Section 6 and Appendix D of AS 2293.1. • BCA Clause E3.3: A warning sign must be displayed where it can be readily seen near every call button for a passenger lift or group of lifts throughout a building, stating “Do not use lifts if there is a fire.” However the proposed use of the ‘Accessible Exit Sign Project’ emergency signs includes the capacity to provide suitable signage to identify the availability of an emergency evacuation lift provided under a performance-based solution meeting ‘Performance Requirement’ DP7. Variation from the Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ Requirements Proposed Emergency and Exit Sign Designs In summary, the accessible features of the proposed sign designs shown below present a more inclusive approach that aligns with human rights, disability rights and equal opportunity legislation. These enhanced signs have been proposed for the following applications: • Overhead Exit Signs • Directional Overhead Exit Signs • Directional Accessible Wayfinding Exit Signs • Low Level Wayfinding Exit Signs • Exit Door Signs • Refuge Area Signs © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 10
  • 20. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template • Assistance Rescue Area Signs • Emergency Evacuation Chair Signs • Emergency Evacuation Lift Wayfinding Directional Signs • Emergency Evacuation Lift Lobby Signs • Emergency Evacuation Lift Car Signs • Evacuation Diagrams The following are representations of what the signs will look like, though actual designs and the specific safety green colour will be confirmed later in the construction stage. (Delete those signs which are not part of this specific solution) (Amend and change the designs listed below to suit the local manufacturers’ actual designs) Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions Overhead Exit Signs Installed overhead above exit doors These are ‘required’ exit signs (illuminated and photo- luminescent) Similar design to DtS. Equivalent design to that specified in international standards. Exceeds DtS in terms of providing decision making information for people with disabilities, so that they can distinguish accessible and non- accessible means of egress. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 11
  • 21. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions Directional Overhead Exit Signs Installed overhead These are ‘required’ directional exit signs (illuminated and photo-luminescent) Similar design to DtS. Equivalent design to that specified in international standards. Exceeds DtS in terms of providing decision making information for people with disabilities, so that they can distinguish accessible and non- accessible means of egress. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 12
  • 22. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions Directional Accessible Wayfinding Exit Signs Installed at a mid- level accessible height on the wall on paths of travel These are ‘non- required’ exit signs (non-illuminated and photo-luminescent), mounted Similar design to DtS. Equivalent design to that specified in international standards. Exceeds DtS in terms of providing decision making information for people with disabilities, so that they can distinguish accessible and non- accessible means of egress. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. Signs feature all raised tactile aspects, including on the Icon. Braille and tactile characters provided. Low Level Wayfinding Exit Signs Installed at a low-level mounted at a skirting board level ‘non-required’ exit signs (non-illuminated and photo- luminescent), Similar design to DtS. Equivalent design to that specified in international standards. Exceeds DtS in terms of providing decision making information for people with disabilities, so that they can distinguish accessible and non- accessible means of egress. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 13
  • 23. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions Exit Door Signs Installed at a mid- level accessible height range on the wall close to the latching device (door handle) of the exit door. Representative examples only Exceeds DtS. Provision of pictorial element is additional enhancement from DtS. Providing decision making information for people with disabilities increases the level of safety. Occupants can distinguish accessible and non-accessible means of egress. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. Signs feature all raised tactile aspects, including on the Icon. Braille and tactile characters provided. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 14
  • 24. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions Refuge Area Signs Installed at a mid- level accessible height range in a Refuge Area (being a fire- isolated and smoke separated compartment) Representative examples only Not required in building code. Providing extra protection in a fire and smoke protected refuge for occupants unable to evacuate is desirable. Suitable signage would be required and is an equivalent design to that specified in international building codes. One could argue that not using the International Symbol of Access provides greater clarity in “access-in” and “egress-out” parts of a building. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. Signs feature all raised tactile aspects, including on the Icon. Braille and tactile characters provided. Assisted Rescue Area Signs Installed at a mid- level accessible height range in an Assisted Rescue Area (being non-fire isolated and smoke separated area, in a sprinkler protected building) Representative examples only Not required in building code. Providing suitable signage in a temporary holding area / assisted rescue area should be required and is an equivalent design to that specified in international building codes. One could argue that not using the International Symbol of Access provides greater clarity in “access-in” and “egress-out” parts of a building. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. Signs feature all raised tactile aspects, including on the Icon. Braille and tactile characters provided. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 15
  • 25. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions Emergency Evacuation Chair Signs Installed in Refuge Areas and Areas of Assisted Rescue Installed at a mid- level accessible height range Representative examples only Not required in building code. To be used to identify an evacuation device to complement the accessible means of egress. Signs feature all raised tactile aspects, including on the Icon and persons moving down the stairs. Braille and tactile characters provided. Emergency Evacuation Lift Wayfinding Directional Signs Installed at a mid- level accessible height range on the path to an evacuation lift Representative examples only Not required in building code. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. Signs feature all raised tactile aspects, including on the Icon and lift car enclosure and lift car buttons. Braille and tactile characters provided. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 16
  • 26. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions Emergency Evacuation Lift Lobby Signs Installed at a mid- level accessible height range in lift lobbies Representative examples only Not required in building code. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. Signs feature all raised tactile aspects, including on the Icon and lift car enclosure and lift car buttons. Braille and tactile characters provided. Can be enhanced with the wording “Use lift if there is a fire” or similar. Emergency Evacuation Lift Car Signs Installed at a mid- level accessible height range inside lift car Representative examples only Not required in building code. To be used to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. Signs feature all raised tactile aspects, including on the Icon and lift car enclosure and lift car buttons. Braille and tactile characters to be provided. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 17
  • 27. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Use Examples of Proposed Signs Comparison to Prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ (DtS) Provisions Evacuation Diagrams Installed at a mid- level accessible height range An added benefit as part of the performance-based approach, and not a ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy requirement. To be used to identify each accessible means of egress in each accessible part of the building. 6. Analysis Before assessing the proposed variation from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions, it is important to understand the intent of the access provisions related to the exit sign signage within any facility or building. The requirement to have suitable exit signs to minimise the risk of death or injury to occupants during an emergency because of an inability to find an exit. Signs must be clearly visible to occupants approaching the exit. They need to be located on, above or adjacent to the specified exits and doors. The requirement to have directional exit signs is to minimise the risk of death or injury to occupants during an emergency because of an inability to find their way along an exit path of travel. Exits may not be visible from all locations within a building. In such cases, exit signs with directional indicators (such as arrows) are required to clearly indicate the direction of travel to required exits. There is also the requirement to provide exit signs under each required exit sign, located on the wall adjacent to the exit door with Braille and tactile characters. In an emergency visually impaired occupants may retrace their steps via an access way to their point of entry if they are unable to detect the exit signs in a building. © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 18
  • 28. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template If the entry point is a lift, and the lift is not designed for use during an emergency event, and there are no fire-isolated stairs close to the lift, then visually impaired people will be unable to evacuate the building. The current requirements do not mandate for this level of informative signage in lift lobbies, exit paths or on the path of egress to fire-isolated stairs. Assessment of the Proposed Variation to Prescriptive Requirements As noted previously, the use of the proposed signs which vary from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to- Satisfy’ provisions essentially need to satisfy ‘Performance Requirement’ DP1, EP3.3, EP4.2. It must be noted however that DP1 only requires identification of ‘accessways’ and there are no current building code requirements to provide an accessible means of egress. Overview 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 means of egress, with appropriate emergency and exit signage. 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. 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. Australian Building Codes Board, 20142 Objectives of The Accessible Exit Sign Project The objective of The Accessible Exit Sign Project is to start discussions between industry stakeholders, disability groups, legislators, developers, and insurers etc., to look at better building design solutions that provide safer buildings, reduce risk and meet the needs of all occupants. 2 Australian Building Codes Board 2014, Emergency Egress for Occupants with Disability Consultation Regulation Impact Statement, p.11, http://www.abcb.gov.au/~/media/Files/Download%20Documents/RIS%20docs/Consultation_RIS_Emergency_Egress_ for_Occupants_with_Disability.ashx?la=e, viewed 27 August 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 19
  • 29. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template A critical part of any strategy for safe evacuations is providing clear wayfinding information for all occupants, with appropriate exit signage to identify the accessible exits, refuge areas, evacuation lifts and other evacuation devices. The ‘Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign’ concept presents a case to support the use of these signs in all buildings, which can help provide a safer and more inclusive built environment. The objectives being to help facilitate acceptance of the new Accessible Means of Egress Icon on a new era of exit signs and emergency signage. International Factors A gap exists in many countries legislation relating to the evacuation of people with disability under current disability discrimination, building and workplace safety laws. When we consider this issue from a global viewpoint, in 2009 there are 36 million people with a disability in the United States of America (U.S.) alone, of which 19.4 million have difficulties walking or climbing stairs3, which is equivalent to the entire Australian population in 2001.4 We’re also living in times when life expectancies are increasing, people are residing in higher density locations and in taller buildings. Worldwide, people with disability have increasingly moved into the mainstream of society5 6 and deserve to be afforded the same level of safety as they go about their day to day activities as other occupants of buildings. This includes being able to safely evacuate a building, facility or form of public transportation during an emergency. 3 Disabled World 2014, Latest U.S. Disability Statistics and Facts http://www.disabled- world.com/disability/statistics/census-figures.php, viewed 26 September 2015 4 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012b, 1370.0.55.001 - Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2012, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1370.0.55.001~2012~Main%20Features~Populatio n~3, viewed 26 September 2015 5 United States Fire Administration Federal Emergency Management Agency 1995, Emergency Procedures for Employees with Disabilities in Office Occupancies, p.1, http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa- 154.pdf, viewed 26 September 2015 6 US Fire Administration Federal Emergency Management Agency 2002, FEMA FA 235 Orientation Manual for First Responders on the Evacuation of Disabled People, p.3, http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/FA- 235-508.pdf, viewed 26 September 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 20
  • 30. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template The practical and equitable provision of safe evacuation for all building occupants has been a complex issue to resolve, with a general lack of awareness, understanding and a failure to provide a holistic approach from all parties. The issue of emergency egress within workplaces has previously been described as “opening the proverbial can of worms”, where employees with disabilities would rather keep quiet than cause any trouble or risk their own employment opportunities.7 This is not an acceptable situation and needs more consideration with formulated action. Local Factors Internationally, there are many countries that have a gap in the legislative frameworks relating to the evacuation of people with disability. This gap is also evident in Australia’s legal system, which exposes not just people with disability, but all people who for whatever reason may need some help to identify, register and respond to an alarm, as well as independently moving to a safe place outside the building. This gap exists in the Australian legal system and exposes those members of the community with disability and the elderly, particularly those with sensory or mobility disabilities to the risk of being delayed in their ability to evacuate a building or being entrapped within a building that has been evacuated. Even though there are statutory obligations within Australia that require employers, building or facility management, building contractors and building designers to contribute to a workplace that is “without risks to the health and safety of any person”.8 In 2009 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that there were four million Australians or 18.5% of the population with a disability.9 The following statistics released by the Australian Network on Disability10 provides an insight into the statistics of Australian workplaces: • 1 in 3 people have a disability or are likely to be close to someone with a disability. • 2.1 million Australians of working age (15 to 64 years) have a disability. • 3.4 million Australians (or 15% of the population) have a physical disability. • 1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss. • There are approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan (Australian Sign Language) users with total hearing loss. 7 The Northern Officer Group 1993, Personal Emergency Egress Plans, The Northern Officer Group, Wakefield, UK 8 Australian Government 2011, Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011, Sections 20, 21, 22 and 23, http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2011A00137, viewed 26 September 2015 9 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4430.0 - Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, p. 20, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4430.0, viewed 26 September 2015 10 Australian Network on Disability 2014a, Stats & Facts, http://www.and.org.au/pages/disability-statistics.html, viewed 26 September 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 21
  • 31. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template • Vision Australia estimates there are currently 357,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision. • Over 700,000 Australians have an intellectual impairment. • 10% of the population has dyslexia. • More than 90,000 people have a mental health disorder. • Almost 90 per cent of disabilities are not visible. This equates to a significant percentage of Australians who may have little consideration for their safe evacuation from a commercial building. Consideration of the needs of all occupants is especially important for those facing a vertical egress path (i.e. via a stairway) and this is obviously an issue that needs to be considered worldwide, not just within Australia. The use of passenger lifts during an evacuation is not generally possible, as lifts are pre-programmed to return to the ground floor during alarm-mode. They are therefore unable to be used for evacuation purposes. To put this issue into perspective, in 2013 a New York high school left two students who use wheelchairs behind in a third floor classroom while the remainder of the school buildings were evacuated. The evacuation was due to a fire and was not a fire drill.11 Similar events have recently occurred in educational facilities in Nova Scotia, Canada12 and Chicago, United States.13 Closer to home a student was reportedly left on Level 10 of a Swanston Street RMIT Academic Building in Melbourne during a fire evacuation in 2012.14 Though there is little evidence of this occurring in Australian workplaces, there are several reports of people with disability in the U.S., particularly those with mobility impairment, being left within buildings during evacuations and without the necessary alerts to warn them of a danger.15 The Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign concept aims to fill a part of this legislative gap. When an inclusive approach is adopted in a building it could be seen as a contingency when other parts of an emergency plan are not effective. For example, even if people were left behind in a building during an evacuation if there is audible and visual information provided to occupants they will have better chances of finding a suitable exit and moving to a safe place. Accessible exit signs forms part of this approach. Emergency Planning 11 NBC New York 2013, Westchester School Leaves Behind Disabled Students in Fire Evacuation, http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/New-Rochelle-High-School-Westchester-Leaves-Wheelchair-Students- Behind-Fire-Evacuation-193415871.html, viewed 26 September 2015 12 CBC News Nova Scotia 2013, Mom angry disabled daughter left behind in fire drills, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/mom-angry-disabled-daughter-left-behind-in-fire-drills-1.1316160, viewed 26 September 2015 13 CBS Chicago 2012, Parents Of Disabled Child Worried About School’s Evacuation Plan, http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/04/11/parents-of-disabled-child-worried-schools-evacuation-plan/, viewed 26 September 2015 14 James, F 2012, Student with disability forgotten in fire evacuation, City Journal, http://thecityjournal.net/news/student-with-disability-forgotten-in-fire-evacuation/, viewed 26 September 2015 15 National Council on Disability 2005, Saving Lives: Including People with Disabilities in Emergency Planning, National Council on Disability, Washington, pp. 26-28 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 22
  • 32. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Evacuation planning is especially important for building occupants who may not be able to use a fire escape stairway, detect auditory alarms, or recognize and respond to a danger during an emergency, including those with disability.16 Typically, dependent on the use of a building, a building could have occupants with a diverse range of ages, sizes, awareness and familiarity, cognitive skills, sensory and mobility abilities. It’s therefore critical that any plan has the capability to communicate to those with hearing and vision impairments and measures to assist those people who may find evacuating via an escape stairway challenging, difficult or not possible.17 Appropriate exit signage to identify the accessible means of egress is a critical component to the successful emergency planning for any building. International Law There are two pieces of international law that must be considered when we consider the needs of people in a building during an emergency: • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities The Universal Declaration of Human Rights About the Declaration The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 10 December 1948. The Declaration was the result of the experience of the Second World War, when at the end of that war, and with the creation of the United Nations, the international community vowed never again to allow such atrocities experienced in the conflict to happen again. World leaders agreed to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere. The document they considered would later become the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was taken up at the first session of the General Assembly in 1946.18 The Founding of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law. The core principles of human rights first set out in the UDHR, such as universality, interdependence and indivisibility, equality and non-discrimination, and that human rights simultaneously entail both rights and obligations from duty bearers and rights owners, have been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, 16 Loy, B, Hirsh, A, Batiste, LC 2004, Evacuation Preparedness: Managing the Safety of Employees with Disabilities, Occupational Health & Safety. Sep 2004, Vol. 73 Issue 9 17 Logli, M 2009, ‘Developing Evacuation Plans’, Professional Safety, Aug 2009, Vol. 54 Issue 8, pp.44-45 18 United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, History, http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/history.shtml, viewed 18 August 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 23
  • 33. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template and resolutions. The Universal Declaration is not a treaty, so it does not directly create legal obligations for countries. However, it displays the fundamental values shared by all members of the international community.19 The Declaration has significant influence on the development of international human rights law and could be argued in some cases that by adhering to the Declaration for so long that is has actually become binding as a part of customary international law. The Universal Declaration has given rise to other international agreements which are legally binding on the countries that ratify them, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities About the Convention The UN General Assembly established an Ad Hoc Committee in 2001 to negotiate a new Convention for the rights of people with disabilities. The first meeting was in August 2002, and drafting of the text began in May 2004. In August 2006, the Committee reached agreement on the text. Delegates to the Ad Hoc Committee represented Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), Governments, national human rights institutes and international organizations. It was the first time that NGOs had actively participated in the formulation of a human rights instrument such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Purpose of the Convention The purpose of the Convention is ultimately to promote, protect and ensure full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. It includes a number of key areas such as accessibility, personal mobility, education, health, employment, habilitation and rehabilitation, participation in political life, equality and non-discrimination. With the Convention came a shift in attitudes away from the previous social welfare issue to a human rights issue. This shift acknowledged that attitudes, prejudices and societal barriers are inherently disabling. Countries that have signed and ratified the Convention show a strong commitment to develop and implement new policies, laws and administrative controls that ensure the rights of people with disability. This commitment also includes abolishing laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination. Our Commitment to the UN Convention Along with other signatories to the Convention, Australia has a strong regime of 19 Australian Human Rights Commission, What is the Universal Declaration on Human Rights?, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/what-universal-declaration-human-rights, viewed 18 August 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 24
  • 34. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template anti-discrimination legislation at both Commonwealth and State and Territory level. This legislation aims to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. Australia signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disability on 30 March 2007, which were subsequently ratified on 17 July 2008.20 Upon ratification the Convention the Australian Government made the following declaration as a commitment to promote the equality of all people with disability.21 Australia recognizes that persons with disability enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life. Australia declares its understanding that the Convention allows for fully supported or substituted decision-making arrangements, which provide for decisions to be made on behalf of a person, only where such arrangements are necessary, as a last resort and subject to safeguards; Australia recognizes that every person with disability has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others. Australia further declares its understanding that the Convention allows for compulsory assistance or treatment of persons, including measures taken for the treatment of mental disability, where such treatment is necessary, as a last resort and subject to safeguards; Australia recognizes the rights of persons with disability to liberty of movement, to freedom to choose their residence and to a nationality, on an equal basis with others. Australia further declares its understanding that the Convention does not create a right for a person to enter or remain in a country of which he or she is not a national, nor impact on Australia’s health requirements for non-nationals seeking to enter or remain in Australia, where these requirements are based on legitimate, objective and reasonable criteria. Relevant Parts of the Convention The Convention outlines a series of ‘Articles’ which outline the obligations of each country (or ‘States Parties’) to ‘ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability’.22 The Articles within the Convention cover an extensive range of areas, which have best been summarised by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB):23 20 United Nations, Convention and Optional Protocol Signatures and Ratifications, http://www.un.org/disabilities/countries.asp?navid=17&pid=166, viewed 27 August 2015 21 United Nations Treaty Collection, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-15&chapter=4&lang=en, viewed 19 August 2015 22 United Nations, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm#optprotocol, viewed 20 August 2015 23 Australian Building Codes Board 2014, Emergency Egress for Occupants with Disability Consultation Regulation Impact Statement, p.15, http://www.abcb.gov.au/~/media/Files/Download%20Documents/RIS%20docs/Consultation_RIS_Emergency_Egress_ for_Occupants_with_Disability.ashx?la=e, viewed 27 August 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 25
  • 35. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template • Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons • Non-discrimination; • Full and effective participation and inclusion in society; • Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; • Equality of opportunity; • Accessibility; • Equality between men and women; • Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities. Australia has also acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention and this came into force for Australia on 20 September 2009. The optional protocol is a separate instrument to the convention, which allows a UN Committee to receive complaints from individuals or groups who believe their country has breached the Convention “after all domestic remedies have been exhausted.”24 The Convention has some key statements worth repeating within this Guide: • Article 5 (Equality and non-discrimination) says: • States Parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law • States Parties shall prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to persons with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds. • In order to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, States Parties shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided. • Article 9 (Accessibility) • To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia: (a) Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces; (b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services. • States Parties shall also take appropriate measures: (a) To develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public; 24 Australian Government Attorney-General Department, Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, http://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/HumanRights/Pages/UnitedNationsConventionontherightsofpersonswit hdisabilities.aspx, viewed 20 August 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 26
  • 36. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template (b) To ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; (c) To provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities; (d) To provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms; (e) To provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public; (f) To promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information; (g) To promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet; (h) To promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost. • Article 11 (Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies) • States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters. • Article 27 (Work and employment) • States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. • States Parties shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for those who acquire a disability during the course of employment, by taking appropriate steps, including through legislation. The ABCB reported in their ‘Emergency Egress for Occupants with Disability Consultation Regulation Impact Statement’ that “the Committee responsible for dealing with complaints identified significant short coming relating to all Australians with disability” 25 Additionally, Item 23 of the United Nations 2013 report, ‘Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Concluding observations on the initial report of Australia, adopted by the Committee at its tenth session (2–13 September 2013)’ provided the following comment on Australia’s commitment to the articles of the Convention: 25 Australian Building Codes Board 2014, Emergency Egress for Occupants with Disability Consultation Regulation Impact Statement, p.15, http://www.abcb.gov.au/~/media/Files/Download%20Documents/RIS%20docs/Consultation_RIS_Emergency_Egress_ for_Occupants_with_Disability.ashx?la=e, viewed 27 August 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 27
  • 37. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template The Committee calls upon the State party in consultation with people with disabilities, to establish nationally consistent emergency management standards, that are implemented across all three levels of government; to ensure inclusivity across diverse disabilities and to cover all phases of emergency management preparation, early warning, evacuation, interim housing and support, recovery and rebuilding. It further recommends inclusion in National Plans of emergency response schemes for persons with disabilities.26 Universal Design Universal design is a design movement that is steadily growing as awareness increases. At the end of the 20th century, the world is very different than 100 years ago. People are living longer and surviving better. Potential consumers of design who may be functionally limited by age or disability are increasing at a dramatic rate. These populations are no longer an insignificant or silent minority. The current generation of children, baby boomers entering middle age, older adults, people with disabilities, and individuals inconvenienced by circumstance, constitute a market majority. All of these constituencies and indeed, all consumers, deserve to be recognized and respected. Facilities, devices, services, and programs must be designed to serve an increasingly diverse clientele. The demographic, legislative, economic, and social changes that brought us to this point are increasing the momentum that will propel us into a 21st century that will need to be more accommodating of individual differences. Universal design provides a blueprint for maximum inclusion of all people.27 This section provides a definition of universal design, considers its reference in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and provides an overview of the development of the universal design movement. The 7 Principles of Universal Design are also presented and discussed in terms of building evacuations. Universal Design: A Definition 26 Australian Government Attorney-General Department, http://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/HumanRights/TreatyBodyReporting/Documents/UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Concluding Observations.doc, viewed 19 August 2015 27 Universal Design History, http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udhistory.htm, viewed 24 September 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 28
  • 38. Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Performance-Based ‘Alternative Solution’ Template Universal design has been described by the late Ron Mace, one of the founders of the universal design movement as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”28 Universal Design in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities In 2006, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the UN General Assembly. The convention has since been ratified by France, Germany, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and many other countries.29 The convention aims to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities.” Universal Design has also been defined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: “Universal design” with the means the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. “Universal design” shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.30 Universal Design Movement The United States Civil Rights Movement began in the 1960s, which subsequently inspired the Disability Rights Movement which continues to influence legislation throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. These new laws prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities and provided access to education, places of public accommodation, telecommunications, and transportation.31 Similarly, the barrier-free movement started in the United States in the 1950s and commenced a process of change in public policies and design practices in response to demands by veterans with disability and advocates for people with disabilities. At this time, physical barriers in the environment were recognized as a significant hindrance to people with mobility impairments. The 7 Principles of Universal Design 28 Universal Design History, http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/about_ud.htm, viewed 8 September 2015 29 United Nations, Convention and Optional Protocol Signatures and Ratifications, http://www.un.org/disabilities/countries.asp?navid=17&pid=166, viewed 27 August 2015 30 United Nations, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm#optprotocol, viewed 19 August 2015 31 Universal Design History, http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udhistory.htm, viewed 8 September 2015 © Lee Wilson 2015, www.leewilson.com.au www.universaldesignmeetstheexitsign.com Page 29