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Building construction – Accessibility and usability of the built environment

Name: Building construction - Accessibility and usability of the built environment

Identifier: ISO 21542:2011

Issuing Organisation: ISO

Country: International

Language: English

Organization website (opens in new window):

Link to standard (opens in new window):

Availability: Available to Purchase

Type: Standard

Issue Year: 2011

Forward Review Date: Not known

Fields: Built Environment and Outdoor Spaces  Housing and Care Facilities 

Intended Audiences: Private Sector Bodies and Governmental and Public Sector Bodies


This International Standard specifies a range of requirements and recommendations for many of the elements of construction, assemblies, components and fittings which comprise the built environment. These requirements relate to the constructional aspects of access to buildings, to circulation within buildings, to egress from buildings in the normal course of events and evacuation in the event of an emergency. An informative annex is also included which deals with aspects of accessibility management in buildings.
This International Standard contains provisions with respect to features in the external environment directly concerned with access to a building or group of buildings from the edge of the relevant site boundary or between such groups of buildings within a common site. This International Standard does not deal with those elements of the external environment, such as public open spaces, whose function is self-contained and unrelated to the use of one specific building, nor does it deal with single family dwellings, other than those circulation spaces and fittings that are common to two or more such dwellings.
For existing buildings there are options included in some paragraphs which appear as “exceptional considerations for existing buildings in developing countries” and as “exceptional considerations for existing buildings” where a lesser standard than expected in new developments is accepted on the grounds of technical and economic circumstances only.
The dimensions stated in this International Standard, relevant to the use of wheelchairs, are related to the footprint of commonly used wheelchair sizes and users. The footprint for a wheelchair within this International Standard is based on ISO 7176-5 and ISO/TR 13570-2 ) and is 800 mm wide and 1 300 mm long. For larger wheelchairs and scooters, dimensions will have to be considered accordingly.

Relevance to Active and Healthy Ageing: High

Older Person Specific: No

Usage / Adoption status: Not known


First international standard on the accessibility of the built environment. The European works of prEN 17210 (M/420) took this document as a base for its 1st draft.
It provides clear figures that help to understand the requirements given in the document.
ISO 21542 is currently under revision, in order to improve and update the document. Fire safety for all, visual impairments and hearing impairments are some of the key elements that are being revised.

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