Melbourne Access Audits (MAA) offer a range of other disability access consulting services in accessibility and DDA. Our areas of expertise include desktop design reviews, Performance Solutions, professional opinions, peer reviews, feasibility reports and general access advice during building works. We have years of consulting experience. We can help identify non-compliances or risks and recommend strategies to mitigate or remedy any issues identified.
An Access Peer Review conducted by MAA involves a review of a professional opinion, expert opinion, Performance Solution (Alternative Solution) or other report prepared by another Access Consultant. The concept is comparable to the dual certification system used in structural engineering, and the peer review system used in fire engineering and can help reduce risk and confirm compliance with the Performance Requirements.
A Performance Solution is a building solution that complies with BCA performance requirements, other than satisfying the Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions. At MAA, we have experienced Accredited Access Consultants who have completed building surveying degrees and the Victoria University graduate certificate course in performance-based building and fire codes who are experts at preparing Performance Solution or Alternative Solution reports.
When building work is planned in an existing building it triggers two important concepts prescribed in the Premises Standards and Building Regulations. The first is the ‘new part’. The second is the ‘affected part’, which is defined as the continuous accessible path of travel from the new works back to the existing principal pedestrian entrance. MAA can provide advice on upgrades of existing conditions.
A change of use of a commercial building will trigger the need to consider the disability access provisions of the BCA/Premises Standards. Generally, any change of use of a building triggers the need for a building to fully comply. MAA can assist any owner or tenant to navigate the complexity in applying disability access provisions to an existing building, whilst helping to minimise impact and cost.
MAA can review any stage of design documentation to provide practical advice on whether the design complies with the prescriptive requirements of the BCA and Premises Standards. This is critical in the early stages of a project, as identifying the need for a passenger lift, ramp or increased corridor width in a later stage could have a significant cost or time impact on any advanced design.
Due diligence involves an investigation of a design or building by MAA prior to undertaking a commitment for building works or a tenancy agreement. Due diligence could also be applied prior to lodging a town planning or building permit application. Due diligence could avoid an unnecessary situation resulting in loss of income, unexpected upgrade costs, delays, or negative media attention.
MAA has been involved in many events, including many POPE Occupancy Permits. From this experience, MAA has a unique understanding of the fast-paced event management industry. MAA can assist with an initial review of the event plan or risk management plan, a walk-through of the proposed site, review of layouts, and assistance in the lead up to the event to help identify any access barriers.
An Accessibility Feasibility Report assesses potential solutions to a development, building upgrade or refurbishment and determines which of these are viable for further analysis. MAA can help navigate through the disability and building legislation to determine the impact of the planned works on the site or building, and identify any subsequent triggers for compliance in other areas.
The Livable Housing Guidelines (LHG) have been developed to provide assurance that a home is easier to access, navigate and live in, as well more cost effective to adapt when circumstances change. The LHG has a certification process, based upon being judged against 15 different criteria. A minimum of 8 criteria must be met to achieve silver accreditation. MAA has a Registered Livable Housing Design Assessor.
Disability and building legislation can be unclear when applied to different circumstances. Additionally, concessions and exemptions can be interpreted differently. This might not be crystal clear to the designers, building surveyor or stakeholders. When situations arise, MAA can provide a Professional Opinion Report clarifying the disability access requirements of the BCA and Premises Standards.
Risk mitigation is taking steps to reduce a negative outcome and thereby decreasing the riskiness of a project. Typical risks to consider during a building project generally relate to those that will increase costs or cause delays in scheduling. Engaging MAA to review designs and project plans to identify any disability access issues can help reduce risk, and ensure a project stays on budget and schedule.
Investors often purchase a standard residential home, as a Class 1a building, and convert the use to a rooming house. When this happens, the building goes through a change of use from Class 1a to Class 1b and triggers full compliance with the BCA disability access provisions. MAA can advise on the best course of action to reduce the impact on the existing building.