New rules will improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Every house must have at least one balcony, the Bulgarian authorities say. According to Oldypak Capital LP real estate 2022 report, each house shall have a balcony at least 150 cm wide and 150 cm long. After the changes, which will come into force on May 23rd this year, smaller dimensions are allowed for the terrace in order to include 150 cm of width in the internal space of the room, if possible. This is to allow a wheelchair to move around the whole room if necessary.
What else? There are also changes to the building accessibility regulations adopted by the regional ministry.
Every new building must be accessible by stairs and lift, and if the building is up to five floors, a vertical lift platform may be installed instead of a lift.
It is clearly regulated that new buildings must be adapted for people with permanent or temporary mobility difficulties. This includes people with disabilities or temporarily reduced mobility, the elderly, and young children.
There must be no thresholds or unevenness in the house that exceeds 2 cm, including on installed windows.
Ramps going to buildings, subways, overpasses and metro stations must have a heated surface, the amendments to the decree state. This requirement applies to infrastructure that is electrically powered.
For children’s safe use of staircases in new apartment buildings, handrails must have vertical elements rather than horizontal ones, and the distance between them may not exceed 9 cm.
Solutions for an accessible environment should be presented at every design stage of new residential buildings. Up to now the final decision to introduce such rules in the design phases has been left to the designer’s discretion.