It is too easy for the majority of people to take mobility for granted. Most people, at least until old age, are able to negotiate going up and down stairs. They can walk as much as they like and easily get access to any building where entry is permitted. However, there are those people for one reason or another who do not have that ‘freedom’. It may be a result of sight problems but even more frequently it is because of being confined to a wheelchair either from birth or from some accident or illness that they have suffered.
Quite rightly, this is something that society in recent decades has recognised. Many things are enshrined in law to insist that companies, governments and local authorities make provisions so that their buildings and public transport facilities are accessible to all.
Those provisions come in many forms. The most important element is to ensure that the entrances to buildings and access to public transport looks accessible. First impressions are important; that starts with the external appearance of a building. Handicap access must be clearly visible and clearly negotiable. That is often in the form of a ramp with slip proof matting, or entremåtter, so that those in a wheelchair or using sticks to walk can be confident that there is sufficient grip to help them. Such matting has to be durable and easy to clean so that it does not detract from the quality of the entrance.
It is something that the construction industry and developers should think about from the outset. Architects will draw up plans that will need planning approval. Such approval is unlikely if the plans do not include provision for handicapped or disabled access and internal layouts that allow such people to move around comfortably.
When it comes to discussing the makeup of the access, it is important for those in charge of purchasing to do their research and find companies specialising in things such as matting that can meet the standards required to handle the traffic that a popular building can expect. The Internet is the obvious place to go for more information. It is also the place where businesses are increasingly marketing themselves by providing details of the product range they have and the benefits of buying those products.
In today’s society, every member of the community has the right to expect consideration. Those who live with disability of any kind, as well as older members of the community, should be able to have a good degree of independence. The simple ability to get around using public transport and enter libraries and places of entertainment and leisure is a right. The companies whose products help ease of access are doing their bit; the rest is up to those who buy.
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