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AA Outils – Design for All
Present situation in Poland concerning accessibility problems and existing pedagogical fools.
(short report)

1. Accessibility of buildings
2. Transportation facilities
3. Urban accessibility
4. Existing pedagogical fools
5. Summary

1. Accessibility of buildings
The requirements for accessibility of buildings are provided by the building code (from july 1994). Particular part of Building Code called: “Technical requirements for buildings” contains among others also “specific functional requirements fulfilling the needs of disabled persons”.
Those requirements are concerning:
  • All kind of public buildings
  • Multifamily housing
  • All kind of commercial, service, transportation and other facilities accessible to the public.

For those buildings and facilities are foreseen specific solutions connected to:

  • Accessibility of buildings (width of paths and inclination of ramps)
  • number and size of parking places for disabled persons
  • dimensions of doors corridors and lifts
  • dimensions of toilets and bathrooms

It should be pointed that no design can obtain a building permit without complying to listed above conditions. By this way all buildings built after 1994 have to be accessible and all buildings being renovated or changing use have to comply too.
All cited requirements are of course mandatory also for all places of work when disabled persons could be expected. Therefore it can be stated that general problems of accessibility are solved on legal base. Hoverer one has to recognize a parallel lack of more specific design details as for instance the definition of appropriate height for door handle etc.

2. Transportation facilities
On this field differences exists between particular cities and only very detailed enquiry could reveal it. In Warsaw which is a capital of Poland and the largest metropolitan area the problem of access of disabled persons is solved on the principle that each 1,5 hour the special accessible train or bus is provided.
Of course the underground (metro) built during last decade is fully adopted to the needs.

3.Urban accessibility
(streets, parks, sport facilities)
The technical requirements for construction of roads, streets, parks and sport facilities are farseeing all necessary provisions, however in real urban space there is still a lot to do to provide full accessibility. At present it still seems that not enough impact is given to emphasize the openness of access. Also certainly financial limitations are not permitting the fast improvement of the existing situation. The is connected to the very limited funds for infrastructure at present, what possibly could improve as soon as Poland would become a EU member country.

4. Existing pedagogical fools
The present situations concerning pedagogical fools is not very satisfactory.
The two target groups which are students of architecture and architects are not getting necessary training in this field. There is 9 architecture schools in Poland but only in few of then a program concerning some elements of accessibility for disabled is taught.
The bibliography of the subject is not very extensive and counting no more than 15 titles (more of then very narrowscoped).
As far as it concerns contains professional training the situation is even worse because the governments is not spending any funds on this activity and the Architects Chamber, which would be an appropriate institution to organize it, is only in the process of creations.
An important element of the polish situation is however an existence of the public institution called “National Fund for Disabled” which can become a necessary support for developing particular pedagogical fools in this field.

5. Summary
In Poland the legal base for accessibility is provided and necessary parameters are defined and implemented thanks to professional procedures.
But important improvements are necessary when the pedagogical situation is concerned and quality of detailed design should be improved. It means as well improvement of university education, contains professional training but also laver promotions of design for all among the local government politicians. Impact provided by AAOutils can play important role in this undertaking.

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