147 buildings tested for accessibility in Flanders, all fail
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
Out of 147 buildings examined for accessibility to people with disabilities, none of them complied with the law, a new report by expertise centre Inter says.
Inter followed a sample of buildings from permit application through to realisation, according to Het Nieuwsblad, Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen.
Wendy Metten, Inter’s general director, sees several reasons why the ordinance, which imposes basic accessibility in public buildings and other buildings frequented by many people, remains a dead letter. “People still fear that paying attention to accessibility costs a lot of money. It really doesn’t have to be that way.”
“What’s more, architects and civil servants are still not sufficiently familiar with the legislation. And accessibility is like an exam that you know in advance that you will be deliberated for. There is no one who comes afterwards to check whether everything is in order.”
Metten will bring the report before the Flemish Parliament. Maurits Vande Reyde, an MP in the Flemish Parliament, has been working on the issue for some time now and endorses her opinion that more awareness needs to be raised. “Good accessibility is a bonus for everyone”, according to Vande Reyde. “Women in heels, for example, also benefit from it.”
Vande Reyde advocates the inclusion of accessibility in anti-discrimination legislation.