BS9999 and Disability Discrimination Act – Introduction

Before we go into the detail of BS9999 and the Disability Discrimination Act in this guide, let’s build some context around the broader subject of health and safety.

In the UK today, the health and safety of the public is taken very seriously. To the extent that there are various regulations and legislations in place, which businesses and individuals must adhere to. This rings especially true when it comes to planning ahead for any potential emergencies that might arise in the future.

Fire safety is essential when planning the construction of a building or managing one that’s already in place. There are a number of published legislations supporting the proper management of evacuations during an emergency. Two of these legislations include the BS9999 and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

In this guide, we’ve highlighted the key elements of the BS9999 and the DDA in terms of fire safety and evacuation. We also discuss how businesses and individuals can comply with these legislations during emergencies.

The BS9999 Fire Safety – Code of Practice

What is the BS9999?

The BS9999 is a legislation that has been put in place by the British Standards Institution. Its full title is the BS9999 Fire Safety in the Design, Management and use of Building – Code of Practice.

The BS9999 was originally published in 2008, replacing the DD 9999 and some parts of the BS 5588 codes of practice.

BS9999 aims to offer information to building designers, architects, surveyors and managers, as well as building control officers. The standard also helps the fire and rescue services to effectively carry out their role. Not to mention, acts as guidance for many fire risk and access consultants too.

Key elements of the BS9999

This particular code focuses on providing specialist advice on how to achieve acceptable fire safety levels for a building. The information provided can be used by those designing and constructing a building, as well as those managing and making use of the building.

BS9999 manages to provide advice on various aspects of building design and management, in terms of fire safety. This is something which many other regulations fail to do.

It provides recommendations based on a flexible design approach, and makes sure to include information on more intricate details. Such as, for example, escape route door widths.

As mentioned previously, professionals working on the design and construction of a brand new building can use the BS9999 code of practice. Its recommendations can help to work fire safety into the structure of the building. Ultimately, it will help to protect individuals who make use of it in the future.

The BS9999 can also be used by managers looking to implement, maintain or improve fire safety measures, through the testing of access to exits, the training or employees and the organising of emergency evacuations. This also involves information surrounding the requirements of emergency evacuation power lifts for use in emergency situations.

9 years after the first BS9999 was published, a revision of the legislation was published (January 2017). This revision included further details for its readers, including a flowchart for building designers. Updates were also applied to fire safety guidance and further recommendations provided for smoke and heat control.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

What is the DDA?

In 1995, the DDA was first established and was introduced to highlight various elements of discrimination against individuals with a disability. The DDA explains the unlawful mistreating of those with disabilities, as well as the duties of professionals and service providers, to ensure the law is adhered to.

The DDA is now more commonly known as the Equality Act 2010 in England, Scotland and Wales, but still contains the same key information as the original DDA, along with additional information from its various revisions.

Key elements of the DDA

The DDA offers up a definition of disability as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

The legislation also provides key examples of discrimination.  This is valuable for professionals when developing design parameters that promote equality. The types of discrimination highlighted in the DDA include:

  • Direct discrimination, which is seen as treating individuals with a specific disability unfairly, such as individuals who require a wheelchair
  • Discrimination relating to a disability, such as refusing access to a blind person because of their guide dog
  • Failure or refusal to make appropriate adjustments to a public space for anyone with a disability to have better access

When it comes to fire safety, the DDA highlights the responsibilities of building designers, constructors and managers. Specifically, in ensuring there is adequate access in and out of the building for anyone with a disability. The DDA provides offers requirements for implementing a fire evacuation process. With the inclusion of how anyone with a disability can exit the building in the case of an emergency.

It’s within this section of the DDA that the use of emergency evacuation power lifts can be assessed.

Here we have highlighted two of the most important legislations to bear in mind when planning to make use of lift power systems for emergency purposes. At PSI, we have developed a range of solutions that meet the requirements of the BS 9999 and the DDA.

Find out more about our emergency evacuation lifts power systems here.