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Universal Design index FAQs

Why is there a need to encourage the adoption of Universal Design for the built environment? 

As Singapore strives towards being an inclusive society and prepares for an ageing population, our built environment must be ready to support as many users to the greatest extent possible.

The adoption of universal design principles during the process of design and construction, with the provision of user-friendly features would bring about more comfort and convenience for users. This is especially for user groups who may have specific needs, such as persons with disabilities, the elderly, families with young children and expectant or nursing mothers.

Many of these user-friendly features are unlike equipment which can be simply installed and used immediately. Such features have to be planned for and built within the building to benefit users who need them.

What is the Universal Design index? 

The Universal Design index (UDi) measures the level of user-friendliness of buildings through its provision of user-friendly features.

How does the UDi help Qualified Persons and developers consider user-friendly designs? 

The UDi Checklist, with the accompanying guide (https://go.gov.sg/bcaudi), provides a list of user-friendly features which QPs and developers can consider during building design.

QPs and developers can also instantly obtain an indicative measure of the level of user-friendliness for their building upon completing the form.

How is UDi different from the mandatory requirements in the Code on Accessibility in the Built Environment? 

The requirements in the Code on Accessibility (“Code”) stipulates the minimum requirements to ensure persons with disabilities, the elderly and families with young children are able to access and utilise the building.

In reality, depending on each specific building and its target user group, the design and provision of user-friendly features may need to go beyond the minimum standards of the Code.

Architects, designers and developers are therefore in the best position to determine the appropriate level of user-friendly provisions for their own projects. The UDi is designed to complement the design decision process with the list of possible user-friendly features that could be implemented and the provision of an indicative measure of the level of user-friendliness.

Is there a minimum score under the UDi to be achieved? 

No. The UDi provides an indicative measure of the level of user-friendliness beyond the baseline set by the minimum requirements specified in the Code on Accessibility in the Built Environment.

Compliance with the requirements in the Code on Accessibility in the Built Environment remains a statutory requirement under the Building Control Act and Regulations and will continue to be assessed during application at BP and TOP/CSC.

When and how does the UDi Checklist need to be submitted? 

The completed UDi Checklist is to be submitted as part of the documentation for BP, TOP or direct CSC processing. The completed UDi Checklist can be submitted at https://go.gov.sg/bcaudi-sub 

QPs and developers are however encouraged to make use of the checklist as early as possible during the planning and design stage of their project in order to consider the provision of user-friendly features and to set targets for levels of user-friendliness for their project.

Prior to application for TOP or CSC, we encourage Qualified Persons to fill in and submit the UDi Checklist early when the user-friendly provisions have been firmed up.

Which projects do not require the submission of UDi? 

• Non-building, such as linkways, covered drop-offs, bus stops, pedestrian overhead bridges, underpasses and the like; or
• Landed residential; or
• Building with a total GFA of 500m2 or less

What information would I need to complete the UDi? 

The inputs required are either quantitative or Yes/No options. You would need the number of accessible and user-friendly features as well as an overall understanding of the design provisions in the development.

How is the rating in UDi different from the UD Mark? 

UDi refocuses on the principles of universal design, which is to design for as many users to the maximum extent possible. Therefore, the UDi first measures how well a building caters to the needs of four key user groups - persons with disabilities, the elderly, families with young children and expectant or nursing mother – through the provision of user-friendly features.

The aggregation of the level of user-friendliness across the user groups would then give the UD index and rating to indicate how successful they are in user-centric design and implementation.

Will projects with exemplary incorporation of universal design principles be recognised? 

Yes. Based on the submitted UDi at TOP/CSC, exemplary projects will be shortlisted for consideration for the new Universal Design Excellence Award annually. BCA would contact the project team of shortlisted projects to seek their interest in participating in the award.

How will the UDi and the information provided in the form benefit the public? 

The level of user-friendliness of buildings will be published for the public’s information.

The availability of selected user-friendly features may also be shared to allow users with specific needs to pre-plan their visits to buildings.

What are the differences between the star and the alphabetical ratings? 

The star ratings represent how user-friendly the building is to a specific user group (i.e. persons with disabilities, the elderly, family with young children and nursing / expectant mothers).

The aggregate of the star ratings will provide a Universal Design index for the building with corresponding ABCDE ratings to indicate how successful they are in universal design implementation.

With the implementation of UDi, how would the UD Mark certification scheme be affected? 

As the UDi would provide the level of user-friendliness for all projects through integration with the building plan approval process, the voluntary UD Mark certification scheme has been phased out.

What has the BCA UD Mark certification scheme achieved during its run? 

The BCA Universal Design Mark certification scheme was introduced in October 2012. Through this voluntary scheme, we have accorded recognition to the project teams of more than 190 developments that had adopted a user-centric philosophy in their design, operations and maintenance. This process has also involved almost 100 stakeholders (architects and developers) in our discussion about universal design for our built environment.

There were 18 projects accorded the highest Platinum award across different building typologies. These include residential developments, schools, offices, shopping centres, business park, hospital, community and integrated developments.

How does the BCA UD Mark ratings compare to the new UDi ratings? 

The comparison is as shown in the table below.

New UDi Rating Previous BCA UD Mark Rating
A Platinum
B GoldPLUS
C Gold
D Certified
E
(Code Compliant)
No equivalent under UD Mark
What recognition would there be for developers and architects who have implemented outstanding user-friendly provisions in their development? 

BCA would introduce a Universal Design Excellence Award to recognise exemplary projects that have incorporated UD philosophies and user-friendly features.

Exemplary projects would be invited for further assessment based on the submitted UDi at TOP.


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