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Prof. Subodh Shankar
Amity School of Architecture & Planning, Lucknow

Should disability become an obstacle to

Professor Stephen W Hawking

Disability need not be an

obstacle to success. I have
had motor neurone
disease for practically all
my adult life. Yet it has not
prevented me from having
a prominent career in
astrophysics and a happy
family life.

Dr. Suresh

Disability did not deter them to perform their best

Thomas Edison, Surdas, John Milton, Helen Keelar

More than 1 billion people are disabled in

the world in one form or the other- WHO
India has around 12 million disabled

Mental & Age based

UN definition of Disability

Persons with disabilities include those

who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or
sensory impairments which in interaction with various
barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in
society on an equal basis with others.

Disability and Indian Constitution

Constitution of India
resolves to secure to all its citizens
justice; liberty; equality; and fraternity.
Citizens with Disability are an essential part of human
Article 15 of the Constitution ensures the Right of Social
Equality and Equal Access to Public Areas

Accessibility for all is recognised as a basic

necessity and there are attempts all over
the world to ensure this.
Barrier-free features are now becoming
fundamental to all design concepts.

What is a Barrier-Free Environment?

A barrier-free environment is a space that allows for free
and safe movement, function and access for all, regardless
of age, sex or condition.
Space or a set of services that can be accessed by all,
without obstacles, with dignity and with as much
independence as possible.

Who all face barriers?

Wheelchair users
People with limited walking/ movement abilities
People with visual impairment or low vision
People with hearing impairment
Elderly and infirm persons
Pregnant ladies
People with temporary disabilities

Is it necessary to remove barriers?

Barriers make an environment unsafe and cause a high

level of difficulty to the user.

Barriers cause spaces to be out of reach, denying people
the opportunity of participation in various spheres of life.
This ranges from education, economic, social, cultural
and many other activities.
This loss of opportunity is not only a loss for the person
concerned but also societys loss which misses out on
their contribution.
A barrier causes exclusion

Access is a basic right

A barrier-free environment is a basic right of all. It is not a

matter of choice or option or be an aspect of sympathy.

Not allowing a person equal opportunities and

participation is an infringement on his/ her rights as a

citizen of this country.
Barrier-free design, therefore, is a professional obligation

as well as a societal commitment of design professionals.

Architects Viewpoint: Balkrisna Doshi

A universal design, not remaining synonymous only with

the provision of ramps, involves many more aspects
to consider. This neither implies an additional demand nor
involves an extra cost, if integrated right from the
conception of the design

Architects Viewpoint: Hasmukh C. Patel

We, as committed and concerned professionals, should
take up this responsibility of addressing these issues and
demonstrate through our work the benefits of a barrier-free
Access to public areas is not only a matter of dignity but
also the fundamental right of every person in our country

Indian Standards, Manuals & Codes

CPWD Guidelines & Space Standards for Barrier Free Environment

for Disabled &Elderly pesons-1998

Manual - Planning a Barrier Free Environment by Chief

Commissioner for persons with disability- 2002

TCPO Model Building Bye laws- 2004
Design Manual For a Barrier - Free Built Environment by UNNATI
Organisation for Development Education, Handicap International, Ahmedabad,

Bureau of Indian Standards: NBC 2005

Uttar Pradesh Model Building Bye- Laws 2008: Chapter- 11


National Building Code of India:2005

Clause 12.21 of Part -3

Special Requirements for Planning of Public

Buildings meant for use of Physically Challenged
Sub Clauses
Site Development
Design for Children

Requirements apply to all public buildings and

facilities which are to be made accessible to, and
functional for the physically challenged.



Site Development: Walks

Public Walks be at least 1200mm wide
Gradient not greater than 1 in 20.
Non-slip surface and have level surfaces at regular

Be of a continuing common surface not interrupted by
steps or abrupt changes in level.
Wherever walks cross other walks, driveways or parking
lots they should blend to a common level.

The minimum clear passage width for a single

wheelchair is 900 mm continuously.

An accessible route

should be 1200 mm wide to allow

both a wheelchair and a walking person

The minimum passage width for two wheelchairs to pass

side by side is 1500 mm.Preferable width is 1800 mm.

Site Development: Parking

Parking lots to be closest to the areas accessible to the

Design the spaces so that wheelchairs and individuals

using braces and crutches are not compelled to wheel or

walk behind parked cars.
Parking bays should be 2.7 to 3.0m wide

Parking Bays
with Aisle

For shorter distances Minimum Width 900mm
Gradient greater than 1 in 20 or maximum of 1 in 12 for short distance up to 900mm.
High Handrails preferably on two sides, extend 300mm beyond the top and bottom of the ramp.
Where major traffic is predominantly children, the height of handrails should be restricted to 760mm.
Level platforms at 10 m to 12m intervals. At turnings min. width- 1.5
Minimum width - 1500mm, If length exceeds 3.5m.
The Ramp shall have a level platform at the top which is at least 1800mm long, if a door swings out
onto the platform or toward the ramp. This platform shall extend at least 300mm beyond each side of
the doorway
Each ramp shall have at least 1800mm of straight clearance at the bottom.
For visually impaired people, ramps may be colour contrasted with landing.


Buildings: Entrances

At least one primary entrance to each building to be

wheelchairs usable and to be indicated by a sign and shall
on a level that would make the elevators accessible.

Buildings: Doors
Minimum clear width - 900mm. Single leaf non self closing
Not to open out into circulation spaces
400mm high kick plates be provided.
Public buildings - Sliding automatic doors.
Colour contrast with the adjoining wall..
Glazed doors to be marked with a coloured band or

Height of door handles and locks - 800mm from the floor.

Doors: Kick Plate & Colour Band

Buildings: Windows
To be designed to avoid the glare
Large glass areas close to circulation spaces be marked

with a coloured band or frame.

Sill not to be higher than 800mm
Be easy to open and close.
Controls be placed in the zone 900 to 1200mm from the


Window Openings

Buildings: Stairs
Stairs be supplemented by lifts or ramps.
Straight flights preferred.
Treads - 300mm and risers not higher than 150mm.
Steps to be of a consistent height and depth throughout.
Projecting Nosing to be avoided
Handrails on both sides of any stairway. And be

continuous and extend not less than 300mm beyond the

top and bottom step
Colour contrast



Buildings: Toilets
WC be at-least 900mm wide and 1500mmdeep.
Seat Height- 500mm from floor
Door width: Min. 800mm, swings out
Handrails on each side, 780mm high and parallel to the

floor, 40mm clearance between rail and wall, and

fastened securely at ends and centre
Wall-mounted water-closet with a narrow under-structure
that recedes sharply is most desirable.

Toilet: Plan & Section




Wheelchair Passage Width

The minimum clear passage width for a single

wheelchair is 900 mm continuously.

An accessible route should be 1200 mm wide to allow
both a wheelchair and a walking person
The minimum passage width for two wheelchairs to pass
side by side is 1500 mm.
Preferable width is 1800 mm.

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