The Disability Discrimination Act was introduced in a bid to end unfair treatment of disabled people in every area of life. It is therefore of vital importance to anybody in business, whether as an employer or as a provider of goods, services or facilities.
For the construction industry, the effects will be far-reaching. Not only will the Act cover industry workers but it will also force changes to the design and construction of new buildings, as well as the refurbishment of existing ones.
Recent revisions to the Building Regulations take account of the needs of the disabled and introduce new requirements to allow ease of access. The Act will create the need for some construction work, as many existing buildings will require quite extensive alterations to bring them into line.
Although the Act gained Royal Assent in 1995, it will not be fully enacted until 2004. Here, we explain some of the workings and ramifications of the Act.