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Introduction

Welcome to our new website!

At Classic Architectural Group, our customers are our number one priority. We are constantly looking for new avenues that will enable us to increase and improve interactions with our clients, partners, regulators, surveyors and of course all of those who use our products.

We intend our new website to be an ideal platform for finding, understanding and sharing information on products, exciting new innovations, as well as standards and opinions from us and our extended ecosystem of experts, regulators and thought leaders. We invite full participation from everyone.

Working Towards Access for All

‘Access for All’, this has always been a thought provoking topic that I hold close to my heart. I have been interested in the issue of public safety and their access to public spaces since I was a child, and this passion continued to grow stronger as the years went by. Now, as a father and a concerned citizen, I am always thinking of what these challenges are today, what would they be in the future and how can I work with my team at Classic and my industry colleagues to find new ways to improve safety and community access to public spaces.

Humans have always pushed boundaries, and sometimes we may even take things a little too far. As intelligent beings, it is only natural that we aim to achieve excellence in everything we do. The world around us is constantly changing, and time doesn’t wait for anyone. It is up to us to adapt to these changes and implement improvements that will benefit the entire community for years to come. Great things can be achieved when we work together to improve our standards of living and achieve a common goal.

Even with the best of intentions, there is always an element of risk taking – and sometimes this can physically harm us. That scenario is one thing, but when people get hurt whilst undertaking mundane tasks or moving about their environment – that is another matter entirely. Walking up the stairs or crossing the road may seem like a simple task, but poor planning or implementation can result in dangerous hazards that place people at serious risk of injury – and that is never acceptable.

Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips and falls are one of the most common injuries experienced both at work and in public spaces. Between 2003-15 , 386 workers died in Australia due to slips, trips and falls. When you consider the fact that this doesn’t even include injuries sustained by the public going about their daily duties, this is a concerning figure. These injuries are entirely preventable, with more than 56% of all injuries being caused by environmental factors. It could be something as simple as electrical wiring strewn across the floor, uneven pavements or a slippery surface that lacks traction or wasn’t cleaned properly – but all these things can be prevented.

Stairs, windows, balconies, verandas, roofs and guttering are the main areas where incidents occur, and the elderly, sick and children are most at risk. Business owners have a duty of care for their employees as well as their customers, and by implementing good design and a few clearly defined guidelines the risk of injury can be significantly reduced. Not only would the increased foot traffic be great for business, it would also help to improve community wellbeing by enabling easier access to services and places for socialising with others.

Road Trauma

The roads and footpaths are used by almost every Australian, whether as a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian. We all expect to get to our destination safely, yet all too often we hear about serious incidents on Australian roads. Most of these incidents involve collisions with other cars, but in 2017 there were 159 pedestrian deaths and 38 cyclist deaths. The majority of pedestrian incidents happen when crossing the road, with the children, vision impaired and elderly particularly at risk.

The Australian government spends an average of $27 billion per annum on road crashes, but the number of road deaths per annum is on a decline thanks to improvements in car safety, road and infrastructure design and investment in road safety programs. In 1970 there were 3,798 deaths on Australian roads, whilst in 2017 there were 1,225 (provisional). This figure is still high, and there is more that can be done to ensure we all get home safely.

Poor design is one of the biggest contributors to road accident statistics. We need to start paying closer attention to the way that each user interacts with their environment, as this will enable us to put measures in place that will improve safety for all.

Impacts of the Ageing Population

The Australian population is aging, with a 2001-02 data showing that around 13% of Australians were aged 65 or older, compared to a figure of just 8% in 1970-71. These figures will continue to climb over the next 40 years. We all grow old, but the fact remains that life is here to be enjoyed, and public spaces should be accessible for everyone.

Age brings with it various challenges, including both mental and physical limitations. Visual impairment is one of the most common age-related diseases, and there are currently around 384,000 people in Australia suffering from this disability. This figure will continue to rise in the coming years, so now is the time to start making streets, shopping centres, transport and recreational areas safe and accessible for all.

Tactile floor indicators are now mandatory for new public spaces, and they have been shown to improve safety for all members of the public – whether they are fully able or not. This is just one of the many ways in which innovative products can be used to improve access and safety in public spaces.

The Way Forward

The government, lobby groups and non-profit organisations work hard to promote public safety. Education programs, clearly defined regulations and awareness campaigns are all great ways of bringing attention to the issue and keeping it at the front of our minds. Keeping up to date with the latest developments and standards is great for society, but it’s imperative for the folks involved with the construction of infrastructure.

Australia is in a fortunate position, as we have the Building Code of Australia (BCA), National Construction Code and Australian Standards. These regulations and codes are clearly defined in both regional and national capacities, and they help to ensure everything is built to a high standard with the utmost care and consideration for safety. Without these codes in place, the goal of achieving access for all would be almost impossible to achieve.

We as citizens have a role to play too. As citizens we hold the power for change, and our contributions do not go unnoticed. It could be something as simple as helping to keep public spaces clean, by picking up litter when we see it or reporting overflowing bins to the local authorities. We should also take care to prevent damage to safety products, after all, they are only effective when properly functioning. By using and educating others on the value these products provide, we can start to make positive changes. The product of our social activism will likely be vibrant, thriving communities where everyone can feel like they belong.

With great power comes great responsibility, and the onus is on us to maintain a civil and ordered society. Taking responsibility for our actions is a great place to start. As we navigate our way through the modern world, we will be faced with new challenges. Technology is advancing rapidly, and new man-made structural marvels are popping up everywhere we look. It is up to us to make sure that these structures are not only safe, but that they can be accessed and enjoyed by absolutely everyone – no matter whether they are a child, adult or differently abled person.

Closing Statement

At Classic, I am proud to be part of a team that shares a common goal. Day in, day out, every individual at Classic follows the motto – Enhancing the safety and access of Public Spaces. We firmly believe that the services we offer and the products we design, manufacture, supply and install are our greatest contribution to the lives of both current and future generations. We will continue to work tirelessly in close consultation with architects, builders and contractors as we strive towards building a safer, more inclusive world for all.   

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