For almost 10 years now, the University of Poitiers has been pursuing an ambitious policy of providing for people with disabilities by ensuring buildings are accessible to all in order to promote the inclusion of all people regardless of their situation.

15 million euros have already been spent in order to achieve a 90% accessibility rate.

Accessibility has been a priority of the University of Poitiers since 2009, and it has been accompanied by a major works program to bring its buildings up to current accessibility standards, with 147 buildings spread over three French counties (Vienne, Charente and Deux-Sèvres).

In response to the French accessibility law of 11 February 2005, the University of Poitiers has already spent 15 million euros on building works in order to provide premises adapted to people with Reduced Mobility. New elevators have been installed and existing ones upgraded. Toilets have been upgraded. Access ramps have been built and tactile floor strips have been installed to facilitate access to buildings. Reserved parking spaces have been provided etc. Thanks to these efforts the University of Poitiers has now achieved a 90% accessibility rate.

Taking into account all disabilities

A new ordinance passed in 2014 applied more stringent standards to organizations with buildings open to the public – (whilst also extending the deadline for meeting these standards) – by covering all types of disabilities (whether motor, visual or auditory). In order to meet the new requirements, the University of Poitiers adopted a disability plan in June 2015. The objective of this plan was to establish a Programmed Accessibility Agenda. This plan will be implemented by 2023, over three three-year periods, in order for all university buildings to meet the new accessibility norms.

To do so, the University of Poitiers has committed a budget of €8.7 million to carry out the necessary additional work:

  • Achieving accessibility from arrival on site to building reception, in order to allow users to move around freely and independently without encountering any obstacles.
  • Providing toilets with lights and auditory guidance systems in case of fire
  • Providing secure waiting areas equipped with fire doors and a telephone line
  • Creating reception banks accessible to all
  • Installing specific sign markings both outside and inside all buildings
  • Bringing all stairways up to standards (the first and last steps being identifiable by a colored strip and tactile floor surface)

Of the 62 buildings which did not originally obtain the French accessibility certificate, 6 were awarded it in 2018 and 38 building works are scheduled for 2019 (in those premises catering for the largest number of students) at a total cost of €275,000. The provision rate for all disabilities now stands at 40%. Regarding new buildings, all the necessary requirements to obtain the certificate have of course been taken into account.

Going beyond the regulations

Just because a building complies with the regulations does not mean it is necessarily sufficient and appropriate. Therefore, to ensure the practicality of the building works, tests are carried out which sometimes lead, for certain developments, particularly those related to mobility, to the redefining of mobility routes (accessibility chain) to offer greater fluidity and ease of access to buildings.

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