The recent court ruling in Queensland reminds designers and builders not to ignore disability access. But many do, and that is probably because they are unlikely to be called to account. Complaints under the Disability Discrimination Act are rare. That’s because the person who experiences the discrimination has to make the complaint. And that’s tough. Court cases are very stressful.
The Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SSCU) was the subject of Peter Ryan’s complaint. He is legally blind and claimed disadvantage in the way access was provided for him. The SSCU supposedly complied with the National Construction Code and the Access to Premises Standard. However this was not the case and calls into question the issue of building certification.
This case highlights conflicts of interest could be more common than we know. Both the building certification firm and the access consultants are owned by the same group.
The building won numerous awards for Architecture. So this raises questions about what is judged as a good building. Time to start including accessibility for all in the judging criteria for these awards.
The bottom line is that the hospital must rectify the breaches of the the National Construction Code and Access to Premises Standard. And it is a long and expensive list.
Unfortunately Peter Ryan passed away before the Judge handed down his decision. A Sourceable article written by Bryce Tolliday has more detail. The title of the article is Non-Compliant Hospital Costs Queensland Taxpayers Millions.