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Disabled access to facilities

by Waterman I and Bell J A

Butterworths Tolley LexisNexis, London 2002, ISBN 0 40696 423 8
102 pages, price 89.00
Some diagrams

Ian Waterman and Janet Bell, of Access Matters UK Ltd, have written what is described as 'a practical and comprehensive guide to a service provider's duties under Part III (2004) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995'. Janet, who was a speaker at the AGM in October, specialises in improving access to cultural activities while Ian's specialist area is physical access and ergonomic design. And this book is very comprehensive but let us get the grumbles out of the way first. The price of 89 pounds is rather steep for a book of 102 pages, although it is packed with information. The price is unfortunate as it could put people off from buying what is a useful guide covering many of the legal aspects of the DDA. Also the print is too small and light for comfortable reading in variable lights, but perhaps the publishers have an overall house style.

Putting aside the design faults, this book is what it says it is and guides the reader through the many complexities of the DDA. There are a few diagrams relating to Part M of the Building Regulations but these are a minor part of the publication. The detailed case studies are particularly useful. The book would have benefited from more of these as they can be related to real life situations. As all these books reviewed here overlap to some extent, the case studies could have been expanded and the audit checklist left out as it is adequately covered in other publications.

There were points raised on that neglected area, sensory access. It was good to see included, for instance, the use of sound 'to provide visually impaired people with vital clues for navigation'. This is something that should be fairly obvious and is very helpful, but not often used. The guidelines for the use of sound and visual information in lifts are also important points to remember. The measurements given for wheelchair accessible toilets provide useful guidance.

This review was first published in Barrierfree 16, Winter 2003-4. Barrierfree is the journal of the Museums and Galleries Disability Association.

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