Laidlaw Balustrades Case Study – The Equality Act 2010 (formerly The DDA) Refurbishment
Project: Headquarters Ambulance Station, Hellesdon, Suffolk
The use of Laidlaw Balustrades systems
Hellesdon is the headquarters of the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust, which covers the counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Since the Trust is defined as a â€˜service providerâ€™ under Part lll of The Equality Act 2010 (formerly The DDA), it is their duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled members of the public are not discriminated against because of their disability.
In this case, the Trust decided that they needed to install a ramped access, in addition to the steps already provided and, because the ramp needed to be more than 2m long, they followed the recommendations in BS 8300 that there should be handrails on both sides. Also, even though there is no requirement for guarding under Part K of the Building Regulations, the Trust wanted to provide protection so that wheelchair users could not inadvertently roll under the rampâ€™s handrails.
Laidlaw Balustradesâ€™ Combi system, with nylon-sleeved steel balustrades top rails and stainless steel uprights, was selected for the refurbishment on the basis that the nylon gave a hand hold that was not cold to touch, yet the stainless steel was compatible with the design of the rest of the building. For the ramp access, a balustrades infill of stainless steel strained wire was selected to minimise the visual impact and a lower rail of stainless steel was used as a physical barrier to wheelchairs at ground level.
The guarding, which runs from the end of the ramp access to the entrance of the building is at a higher level and includes glass infill panels. These are etched with manifestation (the name and badge of the ambulance service) to make the presence of the barrier apparent to visually impaired people leaving the building.
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