Buildings to be more accessible to all ages

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is looking to make buildings in Singapore more accessible to users of all ages, as it reviews the current Accessibility Code.

To be completed by year's end, BCA hopes to incorporate principles of Universal Design (UD), such as the provision of nursing rooms and smaller toilets for children, in the enhanced code.

The Accessibility Code was introduced in 1990 and its mandatory requirements ensure that new buildings are constructed with accessibility features, like wheelchair and elderly-friendly facilities. It has been reviewed and enhanced thrice.

To improve the accessibility of existing buildings built before 1990, BCA has in place a 5-year $40 million Accessibility Fund (AF) to defray upgrading costs for owners of private sector buildings.

BCA announced today that it will extend the fund by another five years to 2016.

The fund co-pays up to 80 per cent of the cost for providing basic accessibility features to existing private buildings (except landed residential properties), subject to a cap of $300,000 per project.

Dr John Keung, CEO of BCA, said, "The ageing issue is very real not only in Singapore but in other cities as well.

"Everyone has a role to play in a community, whether you an architect, developer, building owner, public agency or a member of the public, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of the elderly, persons with mobility challenge, children, etc., as we work towards a 'City for all ages'."

For its current review of the Accessibility Code, BCA will work with various stakeholders, including the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA), National University of Singapore (NUS) and voluntary welfare associations such as Handicaps Welfare Association (HWA) and Singapore Action Group of Elders (SAGE).

adrianl@sph.com.sg

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