Economy

Residential storey buildings to have lifts for disabled

disability

A group of disabled people head to a media briefing in Nairobi on December 2, 2020. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

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Summary

  • The new draft code published on Friday in the Kenya Gazette notice for public input states that residential buildings with over two floors must have lifts, ramps, special toilets and vehicle parking slots reserved for people with disability (PWDs).
  • According to the new code, a new building shall be designed in a manner that facilitates access to the building, and to the use of its facilities, by a person living with a disability.
  • They come at a time owners of public transport vehicles will now be forced to adjust their vehicles to suit persons with disabilities if MPs pass a Bill.

Every building with more than two floors coming up must now have special amenities for the disabled, according to proposed building regulations.

The new draft code published on Friday in the Kenya Gazette notice for public input states that residential buildings with over two floors must have lifts, ramps, special toilets and vehicle parking slots reserved for people with disability (PWDs).

“All buildings shall be planned for use by PWDs and this includes an access with no stairs, steps, kerbs, steep ramp, door or a doorway that would impede a passage of a wheelchair or access by a person living with disability,” states the regulations.

According to the new code, a new building shall be designed in a manner that facilitates access to the building, and to the use of its facilities, by a person living with a disability.

“At least one parking or one percent of parking space whichever is greater shall be reserved as a parking space for differently-abled,” says the code.

“A lift shall be provided for every floor to facilitate access by people living with disability,” it adds.

Other provisions include handrails, water closet, doors corridor and ramps all to improve access for the PWDs. The new regulations are meant to eliminate discrimination against the disabled, guaranteeing their access to public buildings.

They come at a time owners of public transport vehicles will now be forced to adjust their vehicles to suit persons with disabilities if MPs pass a Bill.

The Bill sponsored by Majority Leader Amos Kimunya and set to be introduced for first reading in the National Assembly however stipulates that the government shall pay 25 percent of the direct cost the transporter will incur in the modification.

“A registered owner of a public transport shall adjust the vehicle to suit persons with disabilities in such a manner as may be specified by the council of persons with disabilities in consultation with the relevant government agencies,” reads the Bill, which also imposes a fine not exceeding Sh200,000 or jail term not exceeding one year or both to a parent, guardian, next of kin or a head of an institution that denies the disabled opportunity.

Should it become law, no building shall be issued with a certificate of completion or allowed to take occupation if it fails to comply with the regulations.

“The Cabinet Secretary responsible for matters relating to building standards shall prescribe standards to ensure a barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities,” it reads.

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