Design guidelines in place for disabled-friendly buildings
Foundation laid for enhancing productivity of
DESIGN GUIDELINES: The official launch of Sri Lankan Standards
SLS ISO TR 9527:2006 providing design guidelines in building
construction to suit the requirements of differently-abled persons, took
place at the auditorium of the Ministry of Science and Technology, in
The need for the protection of the rights of persons with
disabilities was first officially recognised in 1996 through the
publication of legislation for the protection of the rights of disabled
persons with the enactment of the Disabilities Act No. 28 of 1996.
However regulations under this Act were not made until October 2006.
In these regulations, provision was made to make it mandatory that
all existing buildings, public places where common services are
available etc. shall within a 3-year period be made accessible to
persons with disabilities.
Secretary to the Ministry of Science and Technology A. N. R.
Ameratunga, said all may become disabled one day, especially in
childhood and in old age we have to depend on others. ‚ÄúEven in other
phases of life, we may fall sick or meet with accidents and become
This new policy to be implemented when building public buildings will
help to avoid the difficulties that disabled people come across and
would enable them to lead their lives with dignity.‚ÄĚ
Secretary General of Idiriya, Dr. Ajith C. S. Perera, a voluntary
organisation campaigning for ‚ÄėEnabling Environments for All‚Äô stated that
this approach has become very important for two reason, viz. it is the
foundation for a successful solution to reach against a problem ever
increasing and with national importance.
According to the 17th page of Mahinda Chinthana, a very important
issue that affects the productivity of the population (30%) of a country
is a procedure to be followed when erecting buildings enabling
accessibility for everyone.
The 16th page of Mahinda Chinthana also mentions creating ‚Äėan
honourable society‚Äô. Dr. Perera said, 30 per cent of the Sri Lankan
population is affected with some sort of disability due to various
reasons. ‚ÄúThis number is ever increasing.‚ÄĚ
He also stated that this approach can de defined as a very positive
and effective approach taken by the Ministry of Science and Technology
and the Sri Lanka Standards Institution, for the betterment of society.
The year 2007 has already been declared ‚ÄėYear of Accessability‚Äô, towards
making this concept a true and meaningful reality.
The design guidelines in building construction established by the Sri
Lanka Standards Institution must be made an integral part of the
development process, from the design stage itself.
Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Tissa Vitarana, said that
according to this legislation we need to enforce this law within a
period of 3 years by taking action to construct new public buildings to
suit the requirements of disabled people and to modify the existing
buildings according to these requirements.
Prof. Vitarana also said there should be attitudinal changes in our
society. ‚ÄúOur sympathy towards disabled people will not make any
difference to their lives. What we should do is to think of the kind of
facilities that need and provide them with those to enable them to lead
their lives independently. We should make a big difference in their
lives by putting our words into action.‚ÄĚ