ACAA would like to congratulate Michael Small on being awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study overseas researching best practice in the area of building access for people with disability. https://www.churchilltrust.com.au/news/2016-Churchill-Fellowship-Awardees-Announced/
Michael Small's Background
Michael has been very active involved in the development of the Premises Standards and access related changes to the BCA and over the past five years. He has also worked closely with designers, architects, builders and building approval authorities on their implementation.
For the Premises Standards to deliver their objectives, particularly in relation to upgrades or extensions to existing buildings. Michael’s experience has highlighted the need for a number of things:
1. Building professionals, including designers, architects, access consultants, builders and certifiers, who have the knowledge and skills to apply access requirements
2. Greater clarity and surety about the flexible application of access requirements with the use of Performance Solutions and the use of discretionary authority.
3. A compliance promotion program with resources and examples of good practice approaches.
4. Effective compliance monitoring mechanisms within the disability community and regulatory bodies.
5. Efficient, timely and transparent appeals mechanisms to deal with exceptional situations and questions of unjustifiable hardship.
During Michael’s Fellowship, he will be going to a number of countries with similar building law and human rights framework to Australia to get a better understanding the following:
• How they promote compliance using education, resources and technology to instil a deeper understanding of the importance of access for all of us
• How the disability community works with building professionals and regulators to encourage and monitor compliance
• How they support building professionals to confidently exercise professional judgment in relation to questions of performance, flexibility and discretion while ensuring robust decision making.
• How appeal mechanisms work when compliant access arguably cannot be achieved.
Michael is hoping to travel to the US, Canada, Ireland and the UK in April and May next year.
Whilst Michael has many contacts in these countries. If you have any useful contact in these or other European countries, please let him know via this email link…
Michael anticipates there will be more consultation and negotiation in 2017 arising from the review of the Premises Standards and the information from his research will hopefully contribute to the discussion.