The primary objective of this report, drawn up by Central Public Works Department (C.P.W.D.), Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment, India, is to frame guidelines for non-ambulant (chair bound), semi-ambulant (lower limb impairments), visual, and hearing disabled persons.
This construction and maintenance standard should be followed in all categories of buildings and facilities used by the public for making design accessible to, and functional for, physically disabled persons. Although the recommendations are concerned exclusively with the requirements of disabled people, but the facilities will invariably make buildings more convenient for elderly persons and persons suffering from any kind of physical aliments. A safer, easier environment for the physically disabled benefits everyone. The main purpose is to integrate disabled and elderly persons fully into the society. The presumption that all elderly are handicapped, is an over simplification of the needs of both groups and is a disservice to both.
Builders, designers and architects are ultimately the users of this standard to ensure that the specific environment created by them is suitable for all categories of people. The standard also indicates that barrier-free design can be achieved without economic burden to the client, builder, designer and the architect. It will help to provide a framework for developing policies to ensure a barrier-free environment and eliminate the lack of awareness in both the public and private sectors to the problem of accessibility.
Excerpts from Guidelines and Space Standards for barrier-free built environment
for Disabled and Elderly Persons
Central Public Works Department, Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment , India, 1998
The C.P.W.D. guidelines are recommendations for designers and architects and cover the following areas:
- Type of disabilities
- Mobility devices
- Constructions and maintenance standards
- Classification of buildings
- Minimum access provisions required in various types of buildings
- Design elements within the building premises (public buildings)
- Guiding/warning floor material
- Other facilities
- Design elements outside the building
- Residential buildings
- Railway stations
- Model building bye-laws
A barrier-free environment is one which enables people with disabilities to move about safely and freely and to use the facilities within the built environment. The goal of barrier-free design is to provide an environment that supports the independent functioning of individuals so that they can get to, and participate without assistance in everyday activities such as procurement of goods and services, community living, employment, and leisure. The fundamental principles should be followed in developing standards/norms for various facilities to meet disabled people’s standards for safety, convenience and usability. Barrier free design standards should satisfy anyone who is hampered in his mobility or functioning (as compared with a non-disabled person) as a result of obstacles put in his way by the design of a building, the choice of hardware and equipment, and the arrangement of outside space.
The primary objective of this report is to frame guidelines for non-ambulant (chair-bound), semi ambulant (lower limb impairments), visual, and hearing disabled persons. This construction and maintenance standard should be followed in all categories of buildings and facilities used by the public for making design accessible to and functional for physically disabled persons. Although the recommendations are concerned exclusively with the requirements of disabled people but the facilities will invariably make buildings more convenient for elderly persons and persons suffering from any kind of physical ailments. A safer, easier environment for the physically disabled benefits everyone. The main purpose is to integrate disabled and elderly persons fully into society. The presumption that all elderly are handicapped are elderly, is an over simplification of the needs of both groups and is a disservice to both.
Building types to which the recommendations may be applied are residential buildings other than domestic buildings, healthcare institutions, educational establishments, community and religious centres agriculture and transport facilities. The guidelines have also indicated the minimum access provisions required in various types of buildings.
This standard shall be a valuable document to exchange comments between disabled consumers architects and others interested in an environment which does not exclude disabled people. This may also generate research activities to provide required knowledge base.
Type of disabilities
Various disabilities which have been considered while preparing the guidelines for barrier-free built environment are broadly classified under four categories
1. Non-ambulatory: Impairments that, regardless of cause or manifestation, for all practical purposes, confine individuals to wheelchairs.
2. Semi-ambulatory: Impairments that cause individuals to walk with difficulty or insecurity. Individuals using braces or crutches, amputees, arthritics, spastics and those with pulmonary and cardiac ills may be semi-ambulatory.
3. Sight: Total blindness or impairments affecting sight to the extent that the individual functioning in public areas is insecure or exposed to danger.
4. Hearing: Deafness or hearing handicaps that might make an individual insecure in public areas because he is unable to communicate or hear warning signals.
- Adequate space for persons using mobility devices
- Adequate space should be allocated for persons using mobility devices, e.g. wheelchairs, crutches and walkers, as well as those walking with the assistance of other persons.
- The range of reach (forward and side; with or without obstruction) of a person in a wheelchair should be taken into consideration.
- Attention should be given to dimensions of wheelchairs used locally. Standard size of wheel chair has been taken as 1050mm x 750mm.
- Locking and opening controls for window and doors should not be more than 1400mm from the finished floor usable by one hand.
- Switches for electric light and power as well as door handles and other fixtures and fittings should be between 900 mm-1200 mm from finished floor.
- Power point for general purpose should be fixed between 400-500 mm from the finished floor.
- A wheelchair user’s movement pivots around his or her shoulders. Therefore, the range of reach is limited, approximately 630 mm for an adult male.
- While sitting in a wheelchair, the height of the eyes from the floor is about 1190 mm for an adult male.
- A wheelchair has a footplate and leg rest attached in front of the seat. (The footplate extends about 350 mm in front of the knee). The footplate may prevent a wheelchair user from getting close enough to an object.
- Manually operated equipment must be designed to be easily accessible from a wheelchair.
- Make sure that the coin slots of vending machines, etc, are located no higher than 1200 mm.
- Allow a space at least 350 mm deep and 700 mm high under a counter, stand, etc.
Construction and maintenance standards
A) Non-ambulatory disabilities
- Persons restricted on wheelchairs should use the facilities within the built environment alone without a helper’s assistance.
- A wheelchair may be operated by the user alone or with a helper’s assistance. However, wheelchair design must assume that the user should be able to operate the wheelchair without help.
- The width and length of the wheelchair, its control and the diameter of the casters decide the following:
- Width of entrances and exits (clear 900 mm)
- Width of the passage/corridor (min. 900mm)
- Slope of the climbing (min. ramp slope 1:12)
- Passing over different levels and grooves (Grating with narrow slots in the direction of movement and level difference to limit to 2 cm or less)
- Transferring from wheel chair (adequate space is required to transfer from wheelchair to toilet seat and bed.
B) Semi-ambulatory disabilities
Persons in this category are those who use walking aids such as crutches or canes, who are amputees, who have chest ailments or heart disease. The persons in this category include those who can not walk without a cane and those who have some trouble in their upper or lower limbs although they can walk unassisted.
- Width of passage for crutch users (min. 900 mm).
- Finishes of floor surface with non slip floor material.
- Installation of handrail to support the body weight at critical places, for example staircase, toilet, ramp, passage with a change of level (800-850 mm).
- Extension of handrail on the flat landing at the top and bottom of the stairs (300 mm).
- To prevent a cane or crutch tip from slipping off the side of the stairs or ramp, install a 20 mm high lip on the exposed edge.
Persons in this category are blind or with impaired vision. Visually impaired persons make use of other senses such as hearing or touch to compensate for the lack of vision. It is necessary to give instructions accessible through the sense of touch (hands, fingers or legs). While walking with a cane the person may bump his or her head or shoulder against protruding objects. Persons with may be able to discriminate between dark and bright shades and defferences in primary colours.
- Use of guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision to guide them within the buildings and facilities and outside the building. (Refer details of guiding/warning blocks).
- Installation of information board in Braille.
- Installation of audible signages (announcements).
- Removal of any protruding objects and sufficient walking space for safe walking.
- For persons with limited vision: use of contrasting colour arrangements.
- Provision of information board in an easily understandable manner.
- Provision of illuminated signages, layout diagrams to help people easily reach the desired place.
Elderly persons may suffer impaired mobility. Sight disabilities (partially or fully), hearing disabilities or any other physical difficulties, for which the design guidelines for them within and outside the buildings and facilities shall be similar to those for other physically disabled persons.
Minimum access provisions in various types of buildings
- Single detached, single dwelling units: A minimum of 2% total number of units to be constructed with barrier-free futures
- Staff housing, multiple dwelling and high rise residential units and tenements: A minimum of 1 unit for every 25, plus 1 additional unit for every 100 units thereafter. Entrances and exits to be accessible.
- Tenement houses, row houses, apartments and town houses: A minimum of 1 unit for up to 150 units, and a minimum of 1 additional unit for every 100 units thereafter to be accessible.
- Post offices, banks and financial service institutions: A minimum of 1 lowered service counter on the premises. A minimum of 1 lowered automatic teller machine (ATM) / cash disbursement point on the premises. Stamp vending machine.
- Shophouses and single-storey shops: Accessible shopping area.
- Places of worship: Entrances and exits and main area of worship to be accessible. Mosques: access to area for ablutions; Churches: access to confessionals, fonts and chapels; Temples: access to shrines and courtyards.
- Food centers: A minimum of 1 table without stools or seats attached t the floor for every 10 tables. A minimum of 2 tables without stools or seats attached to the floor for the whole premises. Accessible entrance
- Community centers, village halls, auditoria, concert hall, assembly halls, cinemas, theaters and other places of public assembly: Accessible entrances, exits, aisles and main community or public gathering areas. Accessible toilet facilities should be nearby. Seating for persons with disability to be provided for persons in wheelchairs throughout the main seating area. A minimum of 4 wheelchair spaces for seating capacity from over 100 to 400 seats
Walks and paths
- Walks should be smooth, hard level surface suitable for walking and wheeling. Irregular surface as cobble stones, coarsely exposed aggregate concrete, bricks, etc, often cause bumpy rides.
- The minimum walkway width would be 1200 mm and for moderate two way traffic it should be 1650 mm-1800 mm.
- Longitudinal walk gradient should be 3 to 5% (30 mm-50 mm in 1 metre)
- When walks exceed 60 metre in length it is desirable to provide rest area adjacent to the walk at convenient intervals with space for bench seats. For comfort the seat should be between 350 mm-425 mm high but not over 450 mm.
- Texture change in walkways adjacent to seating will be desirable for blind persons.
- Avoid grates and manholes in walks. If grates cannot be avoid then bearing bar should be perpendicular to the travel path and no opening between bearing bars should be greater than 12 mm in width.
For parking of vehicles of disabled people the following provisions shall be made:
a) Surface parking for two care spaces shall be provided near the entrance for physically handicapped persons with maximum travel distance of 30 m from building entrance.
b) The width of parking bay shall be minimum 3.60 metre.
c) The information stating that the space is reserved for wheelchair users shall be conspicuously displayed.
d) Guiding floor materials shall be provided or a device which guides visually impaired persons with audible signals or other devices which serves the same purpose shall be provided.
- The main purpose of signs should be to provide a clear designation of places, warnings and routing information. A person in a wheelchair is less than 1200 mm high. A person who is partially sighted needs contrasting texture along side walkways and audible signs for dangerous areas. Signs should be useful to everyone, easily seen from eye level, readable by moving the fingers and well lighted for right time identification.
- Signs shall indicate the direction and name of the accessible facility and incorporate the symbol of access.
- The size, type and layout of lettering on signs shall be clear and legible.
Signs should be in contrasting colours and preferably be embossed in distinct relief to allow visually impaired persons to obtain the information they contain by touching them.
- Simple symbols and contrasting colours which are universally recognised should be used, for example, green for safety or go, yellow or amber for risk or caution, and red for danger.
Guiding/warning floor material
Shapes of guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision
(1) Shape of liner block
(2) Shape of spot block
Places to instal guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision
- Immediately in front of a location where there is a vehicular traffic.
- Immediately in front of an entrance/exit to and from a staircase or multilevel crossing facility.
- Entrance/exit to and from public transportation terminals, or at boarding areas.
- Sidewalk section of a guiding or approaching road to the building.
- Path from a public facility which is frequently visited by persons with impaired vision (e.g. city hall or library) to the nearest railroad station (to be installed at intervals).
Other places where installation of a guiding block for persons with impaired vision is considered effective (for example, locations abruptly changing in level or ramp) are:
Entrances: Example using 30 cm square flooring material
On premises: Intersection/L-shaped intersection/T-shaped intersection
To make a counter easily accessible for a wheelchair user, allow a space about 700 mm high and 350 mm deep under the counter.
Water fountains (Drinking)
Allow sufficient space around the water fountain to make it easily accessible for wheelchair users. Depending on the type of water fountain allow a space about 700 mm high and 350 mm deep under the fountain.
Allow a space about 700 mm high and 350 mm deep under the telephone stand. The telephone receiver must be placed at a height of 110 cm or less.
The mail slot must be located at a height of 1200mm or less.
The coin slot must be located at a height of 1200mm or less.
Counter/drinking water fountain
Telephone stand/wall-mounted telephone
Design elements outside the building
- Two rows of guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision should be provided 300 mm. away from the bus stop pole on the sidewalk.
- The bus stop pole should be clearly visible after dark.
- The bus stop area should be equipped with a roof and bench.
Example of guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision installed at bus stop
- Information on the names of all stops along a bus route should be indicated inside the bus displaying text in a suitable position. Preferably, this information should also be announced verbally.
- Information on a route and its final destination should be displayed outside the bus in large text, especially on its front and side. This information should be illuminated by an internal light to make it readable in the dark.
- Guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision.
- Two rows of guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision should be provided 300 mm. away from the taxi stand pole on the sidewalk.
- The taxi stand pole should be visible after dark.
- For wheelchair users to be able to approach a taxi easily, sudden level differences from the taxi stand to the road need to be eliminated.
- Illumination and guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision.
- Sufficient floor or ground space for a forward or parallel approach by a wheelchair user should be provided near telephone booths.
- The highest part of a telephone should be within reach of a seated person.
- Knee space should be provided under telephones.
Approach to station
- The approach should not have a different in level. If this is unavoidable, install a ramp or a ramp plus staircase.
- The ramp should comply with the guidelines for “Ramps” and the stair should comply with those for “Steps and Stairs”.
- Pathways should be constructed of non-slip material. At places where there is a difference in level, such as where staircases meet floors, it is desirable that the appearance of the surface material be changed using colour contrast both immediately before and after that area.
- The approach pathway should have guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision (see “Guiding Blocks”).
- If the approach pathway is parallel to a road for vehicles, enhance the safety of pedestrians by installing guard rails.
Platform entrances and exits
- The station entrance/exit should not have a difference in level. If a level difference is unavoidable, install a ramp or a ramp plus staircase.
(The ramp should comply with the guidelines for “Ramps” and the stair should comply with those for “Steps and Stairs”).
- It is desirable that space be marked out near the entrance/exit for vehicles carrying wheelchair users. (For the details about parking lots, see “Parking Space”).
Reservation or information counters
- Reservation or information counters should have unobstructed approaches for wheelchair users.
- Counter heights should not be in excess of 850 mm.
- The width of the concourse should be at least 1800mm.
- The concourse should not have a difference in level. If a level difference is unavoidable, install a ramp or a ramp plus staircase.
- (The ramp should comply with the guidelines for “Ramps” and the stair should comply with those for “Steps and Stairs”).
- The floor surface of a concourse should be made a non-slip material. At places where there is a difference in level such as stairs, it is desirable that the appearance of the surface material be changed using colour contrast.
- Install a lift (elevator) as a means to enable passengers with disabilities to move between floors.
- For the lift (elevator), install two guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision 300 mm. away from the call button.
- Install a toilet and washstand suitable for use by wheelchair users and other passengers.
- At least one of the ticket gates should be wide enough to allow wheelchair users to pass through easily.
- One of the ticket gates should have a continuous line of guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision.
- The platform should have one row of dotted guiding blocks for persons with impaired vision, 800 mm. or more from the edge.
- The paved surface of the platform must be made with a non-slip material.
- Stairs, kiosks and dustbins on the platform must not hinder the clear passage of persons with impaired vision and wheelchair users.
- A bench should be installed on the platform, with a guiding block around it.
Railway and subway cars
- Car doors should be wide enough for wheelchair users (minimum 900 mm).
- The gap between car doors and the platform should be reduced to an absolute minimum.
- Aisles should be wide enough for the passage of wheelchair users.
- A space for a wheelchair should be indicated inside and outside the car by using the universally recognised symbol for wheelchair accessibility.
- Install a ring-strap or other appropriate safety grip for wheelchair users to hold on to.
- An appropriate numbers of designated seats for passengers with disabilities and for elderly people should be provided near doors.
5. Building requirements
The specified facilities for the buildings for physically handicapped persons shall be as follows:
1. Approach to plinth level
2. Corridor connecting the entrance/exit for the handicapped.
6. Drinking water
5.1 Approach to plinth level: Every building should have at least one entrance accessible to the handicapped and shall be indicated by proper signage. This entrance shall be approached through a ramp together with the stepped entry.
5.1.1 Ramped Approach: Ramp shall be finished with non-slip material to enter the building. Minimum width of ramp shall be 1800 mm with maximum gradient 1:12, length of ramp shall not exceed 9.0 metre with 800 mm high handrail on both sides extending 300 mm beyond top and bottom of the ramp. Minimum gap from the adjacent wall to the handrail shall be 50 mm.
5.1.2 Stepped approach: For stepped approach size of tread shall not be less than 300 mm and maximum riser shall be 150 mm Provision of 800-mm high handrail on both sides of the stepped approach similar to the ramped approach.
5.1.3 Exit/entrance Door: Minimum clear opening of the entrance door shall be 900 mm and it shall not provided with a step.
5.1.4 Entrance landing: Entrance landing shall be provided adjacent to ramp with the minimum dimensions 1800 mm x 2000 mm. The entrance landing that adjoins the top end of a slope shall be provided with floor materials to attract the attention of visually impaired persons (limited to coloured floor material whose colour and brightness is conspicuously different from that of the surrounding floor material or the material that emits different sound to guide visually impaired persons hereinafter referred to as “guiding floor material” (Annexure-I). Finishes shall have a non slip surface with a texture traversable by a wheelchair. Curbs wherever provided should blend to a common level.
5.2 Corridor connecting the entrance/exit for the handicapped: The corridor connecting the entrance/exit for handicapped leading directly outdoors to a place where information connecting the overall use of the specified building can be provided to visually impaired persons either by a person or by signs, shall be provided as follow:
a) ‘Guiding floor shall be provided materials’ or devices that emit sound to guide visually impaired persons,
b) The minimum width shall be 1500mm.
c) Ina case there is a difference of level slope of 1:12.
d) Handrails shall be provided for ramps/slope should be ways.
5.3 Stair-ways: One of the stairways near the entrance/exit for the handicapped shall have the following provisions:
a) The minimum width shall be 1350mm.
b) Height should be not be more than 150 mm and width of the tread 300 mm. The steps shall not have abrupt (square) nosing.
c) Maximum number of risers on a flight shall be limited to 12.
d) Handrails shall be provided on both sides and shall extend 300 mm. on the top and bottom of each flight of steps..
5.4 Lifts: Wherever lift is required as per bye-laws, provision of at least one lift recommended for passenger lift of 13 persons capacity by Bureau of Indian Standards.
Clear internal depth: 1100 mm.
Clear internal width: 2000 mm.
Entrance door widt : 900 mm.
a) A hand rail not less than 600 mm long at 1000 mm above floor level shall be fixed adjacent to the control panel.
b) The lift lobby shall be of an inside measurement of 1800 mm x 1800 mm or more.
c) The time of an automatically closing door should be minimum 5 seconds and the closing speed should not exceed 0.25 Metre/Second.
d) The interior of the cage shall be provided with a device that audibly indicates the floor the cage has reached and indicates that the door of the cage for entrance/exit is either open or closed.
5.5 Toilets: One special W.C. in a set of toilet shall be provided for the use of handicapped with essential provision of wash basin near the entrance for the handicapped.
a) The minimum size shall be 1500 mm x 1750 mm.
b) Minimum clear opening of the door shall be 900 mm and the door shall swing out.
c) Suitable arrangement of vertical/horizontal handrails with 50mm. clearance from wall shall be made in the toilet.
d) The W.C. seat shall be 500 mm from the floor.
5.6 Drinking water: Suitable provision of drinking water shall be made for disabled people near the special toilet provided for them.
5.7 Designing for children: In buildings meant for the pre dominant use of children, it will be necessary to suitably alter the height of the handrail and other fittings and fixtures, etc.
Guiding/warning floor material
The floor to guide visually impaired persons, with a change of colour or material with conspicuously different texture and easily distinguishable from the rest of the surrounding floor materials, is called guiding or warning floor material. The material with different texture gives audible signals with sensory warning when a person moves on this surface with walking stick. The guiding/warning floor material is meant to give the directional effect or warn a person at critical places. This floor material shall be provided in the following areas:
- The access path to the building and to the parking area.
- The landing lobby towards the information board, reception, lifts, stair cases and toilets.
- Immediately at the beginning/end of walkway where there is vehicular traffic.
- At the location abruptly changing in level or beginning/end of a ramp.
- Immediately in front of an entrance/exit and the landing.
- Appropriate identification of specific facilities within a building for disabled persons should be done with proper signage. Visually impaired persons make use of other senses such as hearing and touch to compensate for the lack of vision. Visual signals benefit those with hearing disabilities.
- Signs should be designed and located so that they are easily legible by using suitable letter size (not less than 20 mm high). For visually impaired persons, information board in Braille should be installed on the wall at a suitable height and it should be possible to approach them closely. To ensure safe walking there should not be any protruding sign which creates obstruction in walking. Public Address System may also be provided in busy public areas.
- The symbols/information should be in contrasting colour and properly illuminated because people with limited vision may be able to differentiate amongst primary colours. International symbol mark for wheelchair should be installed in the lift, toilet, staircase, parking areas, etc, that have been provided for disabled people.