How to become an Accredited Member with ACAA?
An Associate member of ACAA must have suitable experience, been mentored and met a number of prerequisites before being considered suitable for an upgrade of membership to Accredited status.
The ACAA says that an accredited member:
- “supports the Objects of the Association;
- has full membership voting rights;
- participates in the Association’s Continuing Professional Development Program,
- is engaged in access consulting in some way on an ongoing basis, and
- has been an Associate Member for the specified period”.
From personal experience it is not easy to become accredited, and it takes a commitment from each individual to find a way specialise within the area of accessibility. Access Consultants come from a number of fields, such as architecture, occupational therapy, building surveying, disability care, aged care etc. What they all have in common is a desire to improve the built environment and give everyone the same rights of access to education, premises, public transport and the internet.
Choosing the Right Access Consultant
Choosing an Access Consultant to provide support and advice in any building project should be a priority. The ACAA also cautions that you should select the “most appropriate access consultant to suit your needs. As with any profession, there are various levels of acquired skills, competencies, area of expertise, experience, availability”
Once you find an access consultant, contact them and ask some questions to make sure they are the most suitable for the project. It is also worth considering the company the Access Consultant works for to determine if they have the capacity, resources and in-house collective expertise to meet your needs.
Access Consultants and ‘Alternative Solutions’
If the building project is likely to adopt some elements of ‘performance’ to meet the National Construction Code (Building Code of Australia Volume 1) relevant Performance Requirements (i.e. fire engineering), it is likely that there may be some need for accessibility ‘Alternative Solutions’. There could also be design changes during the project that impact on accessibility.
If you think this is the case, the Access Consultant must have a thorough understanding of performance based building codes, and know how to undertake a performance assessment.
By Lee Wilson, Disability Access Consultant / DDA Consultant, Melbourne, Victoria. Lee is an Accredited Member of the Association of Consultants in Access, Australia Inc.