Access and facilities for disabled people


There are around 200,000 disabled people in Northern Ireland. You must not discriminate against disabled people who use your goods or services. You are also required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

Businesses that provide a service to the public are legally required to make reasonable adjustments to the physical features of their premises where they put disabled people at a substantial disadvantage compared to non disabled people. This is in addition to other duties not to discriminate and to make reasonable adjustments.

This guide covers ways of making your premises accessible to disabled people that would otherwise put them at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people in accessing to your services.

When a person is considered disabled

In general, a person is considered disabled for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) if he or she has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial, long-term and adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Impairments include:

  • physical, eg mobility impairments
  • mental, eg learning disabilities and some mental illnesses if severe and long term
  • sensory, eg hearing impairments or visual impairments

Substantial means more than minor or trivial.

Long term means the impairment has lasted, or is likely to last:

  • for at least 12 months
  • for the rest of the life of that person

Normal day-to-day activities means activities that are carried out by most people on a regular and frequent basis.

Conditions that are not considered to be an impairment for the purposes of the DDA include:

  • addiction to alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs – unless they result from drugs that have been prescribed by a doctor
  • seasonal allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • a tendency to start fires
  • a tendency to steal
  • a tendency to physically or sexually abuse other people
  • exhibitionism
  • voyeurism

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