The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act imposes a requirement to make reasonable adjustments to a public building, Within this blog post, we will explain what the Equality Act is, what it means for building owners and how lifts can play a part.
Th Eauality and Human Rights Commision (EHRC) is a non-departmental public body in England and Wales that came into being in 2007, effectively combining the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and taking on the responsibility for protecting and promoting equality and human rights in general.
11 million people in the UK are identified as having a disability. Equality legislation has been in place in the UK since the mid-1970s. Over time, the laws have become more complex as our understanding of what is meant by equality has become more sophisticated. It is the EHRC's role to make equality a reality for everyone, by reviewing laws, providing advice and guidance and taking legal action when required.
What is the Equality Act?
The Equality Act came into force from October 2010 providing a modern, single legal framework with clear, streamlined law to more effectively tackle disadvantage and discrimination. The Equality Act replaced the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) ,or DDA, and is a vital piece of legislation to bear in mind for buildings.
The Equality Act imposes a requirement to make reasonable adjustments to a building, where a disabled person is at a substantial disadvantage to a non-disabled person. That requirement is similar, but not identical, to the DDA's test of a physical feature, which made it unreasonably difficult or impossible for disabled people to use a building's facilities.
Where does it apply?
The Equality Act applies to all service providers and those providing goods and facilities in Great Britain. This includes, for example, those providing information, advice and day care or running leisure centre facilities. It applies to all services, whether or not a charge is made for them. It also applies to private clubs and other associations with 25 or more members which have rules about membership and select their members. Under this legislation, service providers must make adjustments where disabled people experience a 'substantial disadvantage'.
What does this mean for service providers?
Where the building(s)or policies put a group of people at a disadvantage, for example disabled, then a change may be required. The building owner will then need to make the change, which could be:
- A change of policy, in the way that things are done
- A change to the built environment, improving access
- To provide auxillary aids and services (e.g. hearing loops)
For any proposed building change, the most practical choice will often be dictated by the cost and potential customer benefit.
An access statement, which provides information on the accessibility of your venue’s facilities and services, enables those with access needs to know they can visit/shop/eat in your building and helping you to promote your business to potential customers. It also helps you as a building owner to identifying areas of your building that could be improved upon, perhaps even by installing an Equality Act lift (or most commonly referred to as DDA lifts). There is guidance for building owners on writing your access statement available from Visit Britain.
Where do lifts play a part?
It's possible to install one or more disabled access lifts in most buildings that have two or more floors, or to provide a ramp or step lift where there is a short flight of stairs. Any lift adds value to the commercial property it's placed in by speeding up the movement of people up and down the building, and helps the building owner meet the requirements of the Act.
What are the benefits of access for all?
The Equality Act 2010 requires that service providers think ahead and take steps to address barriers that impede disabled people. You should not wait until someone experiences difficulties, as this may make it too late to make the necessary adjustments and could damage the reputation of your business.
By having good access to your building and throughout it brings benefits to other customers (e.g. ramps and lifts assist customers with small children or those with heavy luggage) and enables disabled people to use your services. With the purple pound valued at £249 billion (combined income of the disabled in the UK) put simply, can your venue afford to miss out?
How can Stannah help?
Stannah has worked across the UK with thousands of shops, restaurants, museums and visitor centres to enable access for all, including placing a range of lifts in ss Great Britain in Bristol, Bug World in Liverpool and the Olympic park in London to name three, with thousands more locations across the U.K that we could add to the list.
So if you are considering a DDA lift to help provide access for all in your building we know that with our broad range of access lifts we can help.
Any questions? No problem! Get in touch to speak to one of our lift experts
Stannah offer a wide range of access lift solutions to move people and goods. With nearly 50,000 installations across the UK and over 90,000 units on our service portfolio, we know we can help.