The Victorian Government has updated their universal design policy which applies to the whole of government. Previously it sat within the health and building department. The policy is not just an empty statement – it has actions embedded. These actions begin with the procurement process for built environment projects.
Universal design is a design philosophy that ensures products, buildings, environments, programs and experiences are innately accessible to as many people as possible regardless of age, disability, background or any other differentiating factors”Victorian Government
The policy is structured around the classic 7 Principles of Universal Design. The aim is for all Government departments and agencies to apply the principles to all stages of the project from the project proposal to the implementation and operation of the project. Specifically:
- Undertake user engagement and co-design processes
- Incorporate universal design principles into procurement and function briefs
- Incorporate universal design principles into design standards
The summary document provides a detailed explanation of how each of the 7 principles might be applied.
The main document has more detail including how to apply universal design across the lifecycle of a project and co-design methods. The 7 Principles of Universal Design are expanded to include both good and poor examples of design outcomes. In short – what to do and what not to do.
Both documents are in Word format for easy access for all. This is also a good example of getting the message across with as few words as possible – another universal design feature.
The Victorian Government has been leading the way on universal design for some time. Other states could benefit from following their lead. See also Victoria’s Health and Building Authority policy as well.