We thank Mrs Goh Ai Lian for her letter "All public facilities must be disabled-friendly" (ST Forum Online, 11 October).
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) champions a built environment that is friendly for all Singaporeans - elderly, young or people with different abilities - through barrier-free accessibility and Universal Design features.
Since 1990, all new and existing buildings that undergo major renovation works are required to provide barrier-free accessibility features. An example is the Ang Mo Kio Public Library. It was built before 1990 but the National Library Board (NLB) upgraded the building in 2002 with barrier-free features including independent accessible toilets on every floor.
Besides NLB, BCA works with other public agencies to improve the accessibility of their buildings under their respective upgrading programmes. To date, close to 100% of our public buildings and spaces have basic levels of accessibility. They include housing estates, public transport infrastructure, parks, community centres, hawker centres and libraries.
For the private sector, BCA introduced the S$40-million Accessibility Fund in April 2007 to help building owners defray part of the costs in retrofitting basic accessibility features for their buildings. Because of the Fund, more than 70 buildings, such as shopping complexes and religious institutions, are accessible to all today.
To help plan their visits, visitors can access BCA's friendly buildings portal (www.friendlybuildings.sg) and use the "Find a Friendly Building" search function to check if a particular building has accessible facilities.
BCA will continue to work with all stakeholders to improve our built environment's accessibility so that no one is left behind and everyone can participate to make a difference in the community.
Chin Chi Leong
Group Director, Building Plan and Management
Building and Construction Authority