From From Chin Chi Leong Group Director, Building Plan and Management, Building and Construction Authority:
We thank Mr Ivan Phua for his letter "Code for more family-oriented spaces?" (Sept 21).
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) champions a built environment that is friendly for all - the old and young, people with different abilities and families - through barrier-free accessibility and Universal Design features.
Singapore's built environment has become more accessible since the Code on Barrier-Free Accessibility in Buildings was legislated in 1990. It was introduced to ensure that buildings are accessible to people with disabilities. In 2007, it was expanded to cover our entire built environment and a wider spectrum of needs, improving accessibility for wheelchair users, the ambulant disabled, senior citizens and families with children in strollers.
The BCA is committed to making our built environment friendlier for families with young children and babies. We have emphasised the importance of barrier-free accessibility and the inclusion of family-friendly facilities to businesses and professionals.
We have introduced design guidelines which serve as a good-practice guide for developers, architects and other professionals on how to provide family-friendly facilities in their buildings and projects.
Due to the BCA's promotion of Universal Design to the industry, there are more frequently used public places and shopping complexes with facilities such as nursing rooms, diaper changing stations, washrooms with child-friendly fittings and larger car park spaces.
This year, 14 developments were winners at our BCA Universal Design Awards. Silver awardee Changi City Point, a shopping complex, incorporated Universal Design and barrier-free accessibility features. These included a sheltered bus-stop, taxi stand, passenger drop-off/pick-up points and walkway as well as family-friendly amenities, from a nursing room for children to first-aid rooms for the elderly.
The BCA also has a website (www.friendlybuildings.sg) with a "Find a friendly building" search function for information on whether a building has accessible or family-friendly facilities.
To improve accessibility and make buildings friendlier, the BCA is now reviewing the Code. One of the review considerations is the provision of family-friendly facilities for places where families frequently access, for example, large shopping complexes and transport interchanges.
We will conduct a public consultation on the revised Code early next year. Together, we can make Singapore a barrier-free, all-inclusive society.