Tag Archives: access

Whats the pickup speed of an escalator

Timber Escalator MaceyWhats the pickup or step on speed of an escalator, its a question I have recently asked, and as yet, I am not getting a reasonable answer, my father recently went “A over T”  on an escalator in Birmingham, the staff recorded he must have passed out, but as he has no history of this, I thought I would start to look into why he fell.

First thing I did was to take him onto another escalator to see how he managed, is clears, at 87 he finds them difficult, with his walking stick in hand he has to grab onto the black rail and manage the step onto the moving platform, all in one movement. Just as a passing comment, have you noticed the way the black rail moved quicker than the tread !.

I watched as he tried this manoeuvre, and for a second it looked like he was going to do the same thing, but managed to stay upright, I was right behind him so no harm could be done, but it showed me that the old have a problem with these stairs.

I thought, ok how would he manage with a bag, his stick and an escalator, simple answer he did not, the step was a step to far and I had to hold onto him. the black band was to much for him, it pulled as he stuttered to step onto the tread, and he was almost over.

So my initial thoughts are, did he really pass out, well he might have done, but I think it was not the result of a faint attack, it was more like the impact of his head on the metal tread.

My next step is to look into the laws that covern the use and design of moving platforms or walkways and stairs. BS EN 115: 1995 is the main doc, and a vey useful HSE doc called “Guidelines for the safe operation of escalators and moving walks” runs through the main points but as yet I can find no information on the access or mounting point, and the speed. BS5656-2 might have some points again I have it on my list to review.

Next I thought I would phone the HSE to get a comment, no joy here, all requests for information need this need to be put in writing, so an email has been sent, again watch for the update to this post.

So whats next, a manufacturer, I did a search and as predicted i got loads, I chose one I recognised instantly and rang their tech help line, to asked the simple question what work can I read on the mounting speed of escalators, no joy, answer phone !. so another message left.

Next port of cal is Google Cite, new we are getting somewhere, loads of stuff, far to much to review today, but it looks like I might find something here.

Thats it, a little research has thrown up a lot of questions and as I thought, a lot of reading material. Shall I take my father on another trip, depends on him, but I think its highly possible, he is “pissed off “people telling him he passed out, he has a point to make. I plan to do an update to this in the very near future, perhaps as a technical paper.

One thing I failed to do was conduct my test in a busy time, we did it early one morning, it was quiet, and no pressure from other passengers, another factor I want to add into the report.

Todays photo is of a timber tread escalator in New York USA, I think it was Macey’s, slow and easy to use, plus it looks and feels right.

Architectural Technologist – More on google Docs

Following on from my articles on google docs, I found this nice little video for accessing and using google docs away from you main laptop or desk top machine, and on your iPad.

Unfortunatly Google presentations are available to view but not to generate them, bit of a bummer for me, but the doc and spreadsheet, options are, and they are great.

I use google docs on a lot so having access via my iPad is a huge bonus, I am writing a couple of books at present, and they are all on google docs. For straight text there is no better, adding pictures and formatting I find fiddlley, but then I use Apple Pages for that, ,,,,,, google can't have it all !!!.

You might want to add this to your general CPD file on office and development,


Architectural Technologist – Dark Fibre

A Mast @ RossmoreAs if its a big sup prise to any one, that Google , Facebook, and properly Apple, are buying up the remains of the dark Fibre, you know the fibre optic cable left over from the last internet bubble, thats never been used.

If there is one thing that mucks up any overseas holiday, or my travel plans to visit universities to mark, is the crap service wifi and internet access via mobile pnesnwe get, particularly overseas, why oh why do I have to pay so much, and be limited in what I send, O2 have a 50mb limit, what !,  I make a few photos and some video, and my mobile is looking to upload it to both Flickr Google, Apple and Dropbox, thats the first few days only of photos that eaten up the allowance, after that I am looking for free to access wifi, certainly thats what happened in the USA in October when we made a visit.

You might be wondering why I mention it on a CPD blog site, simple, it’s part of my running a practice whilst I travel rant. I need to keep in touch, I can more or less do this anywhere in the UK, I even take a peek at several sites that show the phone towers  to see if I am heading into trouble, its even influenced my hotel choice, never believe a hotel when it says they have wifi, they might have, but it’s limited, or only free for 10 mins after which there is a huge fee. so now I look for masts. look at this database of mast sites, the map is very useful, zoom in to your location, the mast locations do not show until you really get close on.

So back to the original article, Google and the big boys buying up dark fibre, why not, its must be a major chink in their development plans to be controlled by these tin pot ex phone companies who control our access to the net, so why not start to deliver it them selves, best way to allow innovation, and stop the control.

so there it is, the CPD is check out the phone mast to get a reasonable signal, and if your overseas, check the hotel wifi first, it saves frustration and anger.

Architectural Technologist – Travelling with no WiFi

I have been travelling, in fact as I speak, or write, I am still travelling, it's the longest I have been away travelling for,,,, well since before wifi. But now I am seeing the limitations of the access mobile phone operators put on us, the country segregation, and the way they play with my account.

Let me explain, I told O2, lets not hide the bad guys here, I told them I was to be away, they said, we will charge you extra for Internet access, £6.50/mb with a max charge of £40, after that we want £140 for just a litle more access, the cap is 50 mb, now my phone is linked into all sorts of systems, like Google+ and Facebook, plus my auto backups and Flickr for my photo saves, plus Skype, so 50mb is laughable.

Ok I was thinking that this might be a problem before I left, so I turned of what I could, but you know me I live on the net, I need access. I even purchased onboard Internet access on the ship, but after a few days, I wanted to access the net while we were in a port, with access to a land system, to send photos and the like, so I relented, within days, or was it hours , I got messages from O2 saying i was near the limit and they will cut me of the net when I reach 50mb, or pay £140 for more Internet access. Why not just use the ships wifi, you ask, well let me warn you, it sucks, it so slow,,,,,,,, my system timed out.

So stuff it, I went mad a sent and photo to my cousin, and blew it. Now all I have is an iPhone with voice only, it's like cutting of a leg, it's useless, text only, no Facebook and no Google+. I have to rely on local free wifi access and the ships system, fine for simple things, but lousy for a full featured iPhone. Oh and the ships phone system is just as laughable, it stifles to send just text, and as for voice forget it.

There is CPD here, it's about keeping in touch with your office, we just don't realise how much band width we use until some jerk puts a ridiculous cap on my access, I have a planning email sent to me, could I access it, no not until I went into Apples 5th Avenue store New York, and got a decent link up. Why should I be controlled like this, I have not spent nearly seven years or so building up my online network my practice, and nearly four years for this site, to be told, their business strategy is more important than mine, sorry, I'm the customer here, and I'm using the only lever I have.

I know I'm on holiday, my good lady keeps reminding me, but i need to keep in touch, with short burst of access, that's quick and simple to do, not having to wait for slow and I mean slow connections, and having to negotiate complex ships login systems, and be wary of bandwidth limittions. The ships system is one area I can't do much about,. But the land based side is another story.

So I will be defiantly moving from O2, I want an honest provider, I want global access to the net, no caps, and no cut off points. I don't care who's signal I log onto, I just want access with no cap. why does not Apple come down on these so call service providers, Apple provides such a nice phone, but it's now limited to just poor quality phone calls, and poor quality text, no Internet tht I rely on, my iPhone is so much more than that.

Today's photo, was to be off our cabin, small but comfortable, and home for almost three and a half weeks. Plus the rest of the magnificent Queen Mary 2. But I thought no I'll show the small set of figures, from the wind in the willows. I liked them !,,,,,, but no the system just would not load.


Architectural Technologist – Google iPad app



Jon Pickup put a small article up on his open web site blog on the apps he was promoting to a friend who has just purchased an iPad, I added a long ish list of program's I thought might be an addition, but one I did not add is the google app, it is an all singing and dancing app, that has the opening screen with links to all the google service I use, from gmail, though to reader and translate.

But what's so good is the search bar which has a small microphone to the one side. Press this and just speak your search, google takes the search, and off it goes, I was amazed by the clarity of the dictation, I gave it a long request, and it got it word for word, just perfect.

You might know I use google docs almost constantly, so when I get online with my other directors, trying to flesh out some marketing copy, we use google docs, its a scary place three of us typing, but that and Skype is easy to discus something and type at the same time. Not, I might add, altogether on the iPad more on the Mac PC that I use.

The same goes for translate and calendar, so having al these links in one place is just convenient, and best of all it's a free app. But is this CPD well probably, I have listed it under the general office Catergory, but students might want to learn how to use the google docs and other apps such as my lovely Evernote, which I'm pleased to say the dictation tool also works so well in. In fact this is a great way of putting notes in very quickly whilst you're not having to look at the typewriter at the same time.

Take for instance notes that you need from a book, why not read the book into the dictation tool within Evernote, saves typing, I have done this several times to collect research material for a new blog.

You might also want to learn how to swap apps I usually have three or four apps running at the same time and this allows me to pick up information from these different applications such as another Word documents perhaps my diary my Google email account and my calendar, all running at the same time it's so easy just to double tap on the button on the side and then pick the applications up from the bar at the bottom, I tend to use notes to quickly take note into the iPad, which I then copy and past into Blogsy..

Architectural Technologist – Blind and Partially sighted reading list

Truncated domes (or tactile paving) can be see...

Image via Wikipedia

I recently started to look about the web for interesting articles and links for blind and Partially sighted people in Architecture, mostly to keep up my interest and expertise in this subject and see if there is anything new. This is no more than a list, some of the links are vague, in that they are not directly associated with the subject, but are interesting all the same.  CPD here is huge, its a good hours reading list, with research and followup I can easily see two hours or more I have added it to my CPD list and claimed 2 hours.

Adrian Cave

This blind Architect  has lots to say, and all of it is very relevant, his site is always worth looking at and keeping in touch with.



I have several blogs on this subject, so for convenience I have included one  here, Design and access statements, but use the search box to find more



English Heritage

Although well covered in the building regs, this is a useful article on Tactile Paving, 



Newcastle Disability Forum

This is an excellent site, a lot of links and very useful articles


Nation Ecenter

This is a long article on Sensory Augmentation System – The use of technology to provide complementary information

for people who have a sensory impairment to enable them to travel safely and comfortably, but its well worth a read.

Deaf Organisations
A very usefull list of deaf organisations in the UK

National Trust
Great article on the nation Trust views on access for the BLind into their properties

Newcastle Disability Forum 

This link wil open up a DOC article, it actually downloaded it to my system, but its a great read full of useful information


Shared Surface Street Design

This article from the Guide Dogs is well worth a read, and outlines this serious problem in big city centres


Mr Stephen E Cumbers

No information, but he lists himself as Architect and Accomodation needs of the disabled Personal injury rehabilitation reports Assessment of existing accomodation and recommendation of housing adaptations/alterations Care,


CIAT Technical Task Force

The use of Light Reflectance Values (LVRs) in achieving visual contrast

Museums, galleries and heritage sites: improving access for blind and partially sighted people.
This document is intended as a practical guide for all those responsible

for improving access in museums

Beyond Appearances – Architecture and the senses

A trans script of a very interesting conversation on senses that are used to feel a building

Colour Schemes for Partially Sighted People

A very useful guide for “Specifying Colour & Colour Schemes” showing 4 examples of colour schemes ideal for partially sighted people.


RNIB – Information for NHS professionals

Again a useful link with good reading



I love this site, VocalEyes has been leading the way in the development of Audio Described architecture tours in the UK., spend some time here and support them


British Journal of Visual Imparment

An interesting site, with an article on the TeDUB system is a new method for providing access to graphic information for blind people, using synthetic speech, sounds and forcefeedback information from a joystick. I think this deserves a separate article on its own, so I will research this a little more and write a new article specific to TeDUB, but in the meantime read this article


Notes from the “First-ever International Blind Architects Conference”

This is one of those meets I wish I had attended, still visit the site for a read through their notes


Navigating cities for the blind

A short article but interesting al the same


Designing for the Blind

Short article


Chris Downey

Newly blind architect puts his expertise toward blind-friendly buildings, I like this and included it just to show people can live on after blindness also visit his web page




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Architectural Technologist – Design and Access Statement

This is the internationally recognized symbol ...

Image via Wikipedia

Part of any applcation we put into planning has to have a design and access statement, it’s role is to define, the project, why it being done, this way, what areas of note apply, the way disabled people have been dealt with as far as access is concerned and their use of the building, materials, visual appreance, it’s possition in the landscape and what efect it will have on local amenaties,

We, that is my practice, spend a lot of time developing this document as part of our planning submission, and its  skill that any Technologist can and should acquire. Looking at local authority planning applications is a great start, there you will the good the bad and the down right ugly examples, search’s via google bring up loads of examples, but at the end of the day, it has to be clear concise, and well laid out, we have developed our own checklist of items, and we refine this for each project, talking through each section before we start, adding one liner points until we have a feel for that particular section, then filling out with comment. Linking into the plans as required to emphasise a point.

We have also started to take this fuerther into building reg applications, amending it to allow certain points such as Part M, and the DDA to be enhanced to show just why and where we think the regs apply. Several local autoriies have commented on this as a usefull document.

We seem to have specialised in Blind, partially sighted and the disabled, in this the DDA comes into its own, but again it depends on the building in question, how these rules are applied, the design and access statement will help define that route and show the planners your thought process, sometimes thats all they require.

Large projects often contain an Access Statement, where the author must have been paid on the word count, is this necessary, often the answer is yes, but they should make it easier to navigate and read, with more complex index’s, perhaps a overview of executive summary.

In all, this is a great CPD subject, and just might at the end of your research, be a subject that will enhance you or your practice, I know it has helped us in both our own applications and as a consultant to others.



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