Building regulation is a highly contested space, especially in relation to disability access. So the Norwegian Building Authority decided that standards and codes should be based on evidence rather than the views, compromises and experience of interest groups. The Norwegian Research Laboratory for Universal Design was set up to focus on access solutions using established research methods. But this brings about a dilemma.
People with disability have fought for many years to have equal access to the built environment. “Some of the criteria have been based on compromises and “old truths”. These criteria are now put under scrutiny. This examination and possible reversal of minimum requirements may feel like a slap in the face of those who have fought for these rights. But what is the possible downside?”
Their research results are based on the 90th percentile. But what happens to those who are outside the 90%? Who pays for the compensatory adaptations or assistance? This is where it becomes political. Nevertheless, research by the Laboratory suggests that “those who cannot manage the minimum levels cannot manage any level”.
The paper provides some interesting research results on doorway approaches and ramp gradients. A relatively short paper with some good food for thought.
The title of the paper is, Deregulation of the Building Code and the
Norwegian Approach to Regulation of Accessibility in the Built Environment.
Abstract: Deregulation is on the political agenda in the European countries. The Norwegian building code related to universal design and accessibility is challenged. To meet this, the Norwegian Building Authority have chosen to examine established truths and are basing their revised code on scientific research and field tests. But will this knowledge-based deregulation comply within the framework of the anti-discrimination act and, and if not: who suffers and to what extent?