Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Building a national central bank on Universal Design principles

The Central Bank of Ireland recently moved into a new office facility in Dublin, and a key objective was to ensure that the building met Universal Design principles and was fully accessible for all. Hundreds if not thousands of accessibility measures were addressed, and an Access Officer is continuously improving accessiblity with trainings of personnel and additional innovations.

“The building at North Wall Quay has removed all of the barriers to accessibility and usability, I can now navigate my workplace fully independently.”

Tony MurraySenior Solution Architect
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Building a national central bank on Universal Design principles
Organisation:Central Bank of Ireland
Country
of Implementation
Dublin, Ireland

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Reception desks with split-level counters and hearing enhancement
  • Door design providing visual contrast, vision panels, easy operation, and generous width
  • Large lifts with good signage, clear controls, light floor finishes, contrasting handrails, and half-height mirrors

PROBLEMS TARGETED

The Central Bank of Ireland recognized that its staff and visitors may have had difficulty accessing their buildings, their services, and the information that they provide.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

By moving into a new state-of-the-art facility, the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has recognised that Universal Design needs to be addressed under three major headings: (1) strategic policies, action plan, and services; (2) design and build, incorporating Universal Design; and (3) operations (e.g., events, training, facility management). The many accessibility measures that were implemented include:

  • Accessible parking and set-down Areas
  • Reception desks with split-level counters and hearing enhancement
  • Waiting areas to accommodate diverse users
  • Door design providing visual contrast, vision panels, easy operation, and generous width
  • Large lifts with good signage, clear controls, light floor finishes, contrasting handrails, and half-height mirrors

The waiting room of the central bank of Ireland.Construction of the new CBI building has increased awareness among bank staff of the importance of embedding accessibility into the project and into all aspects of the bank’s environment. By including staff with disabilities in focus groups and during the construction process, they had the opportunity to share their experiences and be a part of the reshaping of the bank.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

CBI has also established an Access network called BankAbility, that is sponsored by senior management and made up of staff directly or indirectly impacted by disability; has developed a building based on Universal Design; is The toilet with accessibility features.formulating an accessibility policy and a three-year action plan; is rolling-out additional staff training; and continues to make improvements to the building (e.g., additional accessible signage and more accessible door handles). Once the policies and action plan are in place, the bank intends to continue improving access to information and services.
The project could be used as a good practice example of how accessibility and Universal Design should be integrated into the design and construction of a building to ensure that it is fully accessible, including its services and information. Case studies of how the bank successfully delivered an accessible building could also be developed.
The CBI, including the accessibility of the building and its services, are funded by its ongoing operations as an independent central bank.
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