Transcript for presentation:

Method to Evaluate Accessibility in Built Environment


Sanna-Kaisa Timonen and Kirsti Pesola


E4. Accessibility in the built environment

Date and Time

2014-06-18, 10:10 - 10:30


MA 6

Presentation PDF

Short oral presentation

Transcript of the talk

>> Okay, it’s 10 past 10:00, so I think we should start this session. Welcome, all of you to this session, which would be about accessibility and the built environment. My name is Alyssa and I’ll be the moderator. We have four presentations this morning and I think this is a general procedure that the presentations will be 15 minutes and then we’ll have 5 minutes for questions. So my job is to see to it that people are keeping that time.
And the first speaker is Sanna-Kaisa Timonen who is going to talk about methods to evaluate accessibility in built environment.
>> Thank you.

Good morning, everyone. My name is Sanna-Kaisa Timonen and I work as an accessibility planner in ESKE from Helsinki, Finland. My presentation is method to evaluate accessibility in built environment.

Earlier, in Finland, accessibility was accelerated in many different ways depending on the evaluator’s background, experience and knowledge with very varying results.
The evaluation method ESKEH was created between 2007 and 2009 at the Finland Association of People with Disabilities.
ESKEH taught factual information on accessibility. This information is valuable to make decisions, for example, when planning the evaluation of the building.
Accessibility is not an opinion. A commonly agreed method and criteria was needed. In evaluating accessibility in the built environment, it’s a question of understanding the needs of disabled people and understanding and knowing the building codes and guidelines.
It is a question of understanding and knowing what measures have to be taken, of knowing each criteria. Knowing how to take the measures and how to write them down and how to analyze them. As well as knowing the tolerances.
At the end of the project, the content for a training program for accessibility evaluators was planned. The first course was organized together with the University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki. Today three other universities own this course.

A wide range of disability and cultural organizations, ministries, authorities and institutes were presented in the steering group and working groups of the project. The method was tested and commented by many, many more organizations.
Here are some pictures on testing the forms. Is this okay?
Shall we change something?

We had to have a person with an assistant talk in the working group.
The basis of all criteria at the Finland building regulations are quite general, including few re-orders or information. They are based more on the idea that architects and the other planners how to do. Over 20 Finnish and foreign practices were studied carefully to set the criteria and it was added with few others to quality of ESKEH.
Each of the 1,000 criteria had to be agreed on. This is where all that was needed.
How should good contrast be defined? How long must the lift door stay open? What is the good height for the preferred table and so on?

Accessibility can be measured. Every criterion can be measured. Every time a new criterion was added, the measuring method was concerned as well. There is exception. Sensory environments are partly evaluated by observation in the method ESKEH.
And here are some pictures about how to measure things, how they measure the door open. It’s a very simple task.
How they measured the dress hold. It’s not a question of the dress hold itself but the total height difference, so you need a level to assist the tool.
How to measure the force to open a door. A normal weight scale, for example, a suitcase, a simple tool for the purpose. Just place the hook around the door handle and pull.
Every detail has to be measured. Here is the size of the information. A manual was needed. How to evaluate ability of an environment is a manual for accessibility outdoors and those who need it. It includes four parts. The introduction, instructions for clients ordering accessibility orders, instructions for auditors and a model report.
It also includes main accessibility legislation.
The instructions for orders concerns preparations, information about tools, instructions for measuring acoustic visual environment, working in green areas, entrance, moving indoors, facilities, fire safety and accessibility, instructions for reporting is in manual too.
The result is reported in tabular form, including proposals, how to improve ability. Is there any danger? And so on.

All results are compared to criterion.
Since the method was developed, it has been extended to include new type of facilities. Last year the criteria for sports facilities were included. It will be followed this year by the ability criteria for the nature trails. And here is something we are going to do.
Thank you.


>> I have this manual with me. This is Finish, but I put it here, so if somebody is interested, please come and you can look at the picture and things that I have here with me.

>> Thank you very much, Sanna-Kaisa, for your presentation. You finished earlier, so we have time for more questions. So, please, are there any questions?

>> Very good. Dublin, Ireland. Two things. One, have you looked at the approach to the buildings, such as from the car park or the footpath outside the buildings? And number two, have you looked at this as an app to be used on a phone?
And the third question probably, have you translated it into any other language?
>> Yes. The first question, yes, both are included in this criteria. And, no, we haven’t translated yet. It’s in Finnish still.

Yes, all those tabular forms you can use on the Internet, so you can take it there whenever you like.

>> Any further questions?

I was thinking myself of something. You say you can measure everything. Is it necessary to measure everything?

>> Well, sometimes yes.
>> Is it possible at all? I’m thinking of the lecturer this morning who was talking about you could do everything according to measures — I mean, physical measures, but still the same maybe it’s not accessible or usable.
>> Yes, and that is why it took so long and that wide cooperation was needed because there were so many different people to do that exact thing, so everyone’s opinion has taken in there, so that’s why there’s so many things you’re measuring.
It’s not an opinion. It’s agreement. And that way — and then you have all those measures there that you can say why this should be like this. The dress hold is not about 2 or 3-centimeters. It’s exact thing.
>> That is quite easy to decide, but there are other things maybe that are not so easy to measure for.
>> It wasn’t easy. No, it wasn’t easy.
>> And did you have any difficulties in getting people to follow these recommendations? How was it approached by people who are going to use it?

>> We have now evaluators which have training, about 80 in Finland and about 40 of them are doing this evaluating in this method. And, actually, I don’t know — well, 40 are doing this now.

>> Thanks. I would be interested to know if you could outline a little bit the standards in Finland and what buildings it applies to and is it just public buildings and do that apply to private residences? And has there been an attempt in Finland, if not, to look at accessibility standards in relation to private dwellings?

>> There is no so much in the private buildings in the regulation and realize it’s more in public buildings.

>> So if there are no more questions, I think we proceed to the next speaker. Thank you once again for the presentation.

>> Thank you.


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