Accessibility of premises

Government agencies have a special responsibility to ensure accessibility to public premises, activities and information.

Indicative is the Regulation (2001:526) on the responsibility of Government agencies for the implementation of disability policies. The Regulation states that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities shall be indicative.

Prerequisites for physical accessibility on premises

Higher demands are placed on the premises of public services than the minimum requirements of Building Regulations. All public services shall endeavour to maintain the level of requirements specified by the Swedish Agency for Participation in their accessibility guidelines whereupon each authority must analyse its own activities and decide what requirements of accessibility apply specifically to them. Not all premises at Umeå University are deemed public areas. Thus, it is important for each project to consider which parts of the project must fulfil the requirements for public services and which may be adapted, if required. All university premises are designed in a way that allows for easy change should the need arise and the University's basic requirement is that everyone complies with the law.
Work premises should generally be accessible and usable unless this cannot be justified by the activities for which the premises are used (Chapter 8, Section 6 of the Planning and Building Act). Exceptions may include, for example, general clinical laboratories. As an employer, Umeå University endeavours to treat students and employees in an equal way. In addition to accessibility in general, students and employees may have individual needs for accessibility.

Accessibility on existing premises

In 2005 - 2012, all premises used by the University underwent a comprehensive inventory in line with the current guidelines of the Swedish Agency for Participation. Since then, the so-called 'principle of opportunity' has been applied to all post-inventory conversion projects. This means that poor accessibility has been addressed in connection with refurbishment of premises regardless of the reason for such refurbishment.

Accessibility in projects

All projects are subject to an accessibility review. In small and medium-sized projects, the accessibility review is carried out by the Project Architect or by him/her appointed consultant. In larger projects, the accessibility review is carried out by an external accessibility specialist. The accessibility review forms part of the Specification for Proposed Refurbishment.

Individual accessibility measures

Individual student accessibility is handled in accordance with the procedure as defined and adopted in 2017. Individual employee accessibility is basically handled in the same way though not in accordance with the procedure of 2017 mentioned above. Instead, employee accessibility is handled on a case-by-case basis by the Facilities Planner and Head of Department or Head of Office and always given the highest priority.

Frida Fjellström
8/10/2021