FURNITURE AND FITTINGS

BACK to BUILDINGS MENU.

FURNITURE DETAILS.

LIFTS and STAIRS.

TOILETS and BATHROOMS.

HOMES.

Back to MAIN MENU.

RECEPTION COUNTERS and DESKS

These are probably the first pieces of furniture that a visitor comes to in a building. Provisions here will give an immediate message to people with impairments as to whether the organisation is disability aware.

A lower section with knee space under will help wheelchair users approach the counter, be seen and to write or sign on documents. Maximum height for the top surface should be 760mm to 860mm with 700 to 750mm clear height beneath and 500 depth of leg space (or 400mm where customers and staff are directly facing each other). The lower section also helps shorter or younger people. Similar provision on the other side will also help employees who are shorter or who are wheelchair users. The need for security can get in the way of ease of access but lower portions can be provided with glazed security screens in front, as long as attention is paid to how communication will take place through the screen.

INDUCTION LOOPS and CLIP BOARDS

An induction loop and a symbol to indicate its presence at least at one counter position will help people with hearing impairments, particularly if they wish to speak confidentially or if there is a degree of background noise. The induction loop should be left switched on when the counter is in use, so that the visitor does not have to draw attention to their disability in asking for it to be switched on.

Induction loops should be regularly tested, probably weekly, particularly if they use a battery in the microphone.

A pair of clip boards kept in this area can be useful for communication or for signing and writing on documents.

CASH DESKS and COUNTERS

The guidance for cash desks and counters is similar to that for the Reception Desks and Counters above. Many customers like to see a display of what is being entered or registered in tills, so that they can follow and check what is going on. The display should be at a suitable height for wheelchair users and shorter people.

Induction loops are important for communication here too, particularly where there is considerable background noise, such as in a drive through servery or at a bar in a public house or restaurant.

DISPLAYS and SHELVES

There should be sufficient space between display shelves for a wheelchair user to turn and face the shelving. A clear width of 1200 to 1400mm is recommended. 1000mm will only permit sideways approach.

The most accessible shelf heights, from a seated position, are between 665 and 1060mm above floor level. The length of reach into them will affect this and a maximum shelf depth of 220mm is recommended. Higher shelves should have particularly clear labelling on the front edge.

TABLES and SEATS

There should be enough space around tables and seats for wheelchair users to manouevre around the area. Some seats should be movable so that wheelchair users can sit up to the table or in the area of seating.

Tables should have a clear knee space of 700 to 750mm beneath them. This should be clear of any horizontal supports to the edge of the table. The table top should be around 800mm above the floor. Not all chairs should have arm rests, though it is useful if some do.

In areas such as lounges or dining rooms, many people with disabilities would prefer the furniture such as seats and tables to look as normal as they would anywhere else. If there is a large table, it could be supported more from the middle than the edges. This would avoid the need for table legs round the edges which can get in the way of anyone seated at the table. Chairs could have seats at 450 to 480mm above the floor and have a fairly firm but slightly padded seat. This can make them easier to transfer into.

In lounges, it can be useful to have one or two chairs with higher level seats for people with back or leg impairments.In large areas of seating, such as waiting rooms, it helps to have a range of seats at 380mm, 480mm and 580mm high. Backrests should be 300mm above seat level and arm rests, where provided, at 200mm above.

CHANGING ROOMS IN SHOPS

This particularly applies to clothes shops. At least one changing room should have minimum floor dimensions of 1400mm by 1800mm. A drop down seat is useful to many wheelchair users and people with mobility impairments. A firm horizontal grabrail on the wall by the drop down seat will help wheelchair users transfer onto the seat.

VENDING MACHINES and PEOPLE'S REACH

The Centre for Accessible Environments have published a guidance booklet on factors to consider when designing Automatic Telling Machines. The booklet has helpful diagrams detailing limits of peoples' reach and vision when standing or in a wheelchair. These principles could also be applied when considering the suitability of vending machines. Details for contacting the CAE can be found under DDA and SOURCES OF INFORMATION.