Norway's Initial Report

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Accessibility to buildings and outdoor areas in general

57. Universal design is one of the purposes of the Planning and Building Act, along with other key considerations that must be taken into account in central, regional and municipal planning. The Act and regulations to the Act therefore set guidelines for political priorities and require that new projects have universal design of buildings, installations, and outdoor areas for public use. Many measures have been implemented to follow these guidelines, including a National Development Programme for Universal Design in Counties and Municipalities (2009–2013) and a website providing information on good local and regional practice and examples.
58. For several years, positive developments in the scope of plans containing provisions or guidelines for universal design have been registered in Norway's national information system KOSTRA (Municipality-State-Reporting). Regional authorities provide guidance for these activities. To safeguard national interests in the planning process, regulations provide the possibility to raise objections if the principles of universal design are not satisfactorily complied with in local and regional plans.
59. The Norwegian Building Authority and the Norwegian State Housing Bank have devised a programme to develop expertise in universal design among municipal employees and politicians, and an information programme for universal design for the building sector. Project planning tools, handbooks and competence plans have also been developed for different target groups, as well as information for consumers on how to improve accessibility in existing housing in line with universal design principles.
60. The Technical Regulations to the Planning and Building Act require that information be easy to read and understand. The contrast between text and background must be clearly visible. Important information must be made accessible in the form of text and sounds or Braille in order to ensure that information is designed to be understandable by as many as possible. The Technical Regulations also require audio and speech transmission equipment to be installed in most buildings for public use. Induction loops for persons with impaired hearing is one example of this.
61. Underlying undertakings and institutions receiving grants must account for their work on accessibility and universal design in management dialogues; see the Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act. This also applies to new ICT systems intended for use by the public.
62. The Norwegian Building Authority contributes towards increasing knowledge about building quality, regulations and the application processes in society in general and in the industry and the municipalities in particular. Supervisory measures must safeguard public interests so that buildings hold a high quality and protect users from injury and inconvenience. Supervision is a municipal responsibility. Orders can be imposed to rectify or stop work. The planning and building authorities may impose coercive fines to enforce such orders. The Building Authority has prepared a guide for supervision of universal design. It also publishes information on universal design and accessibility online.
63. Statsbygg's primary objective is that all building projects should comply with the principles of universal design and that all buildings managed by Statsbygg should be universally designed by 2025. The website Bygg for alle [Buildings for Everyone] shows the location of the accessible buildings managed by Statsbygg. This enables members of the public to check out in advance everything from building entrances to the various rooms to be visited in advance. More than 700 state-owned buildings are now registered on the website. Statsbygg has developed accessibility indicators, and all of them show a positive trends tendency from 2010 to 2014.
64. The Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs will present statistics and indicators for the building sector on its website. These statistics will provide a better overview of the degree of accessibility and universal design in the building sector.

Accessibility to ICT

65. In recent years, Norway has focused heavily on increasing the level of digital participation in the population. Because technology development means that progressively more areas of everyday life are conducted via the internet, good living conditions, individual freedom and equality are conditional on people using the digital services available to the public and on having access to digital information on equal terms. To increase the level of digital participation, ICT systems must be accessible to everyone. The training and education sector is currently not subject to the duty to ensure universal design.
66. The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act contains a specific provision regarding universal design of ICT. The Act provides the legal basis for the Regulations for Universal Design of Information and Communication Technology Solutions , which specify who must comply with the statutory requirements, which ICT systems must be universally designed, which requirements must be met, and when the requirements enter into force. These regulations entered into force on 1 July 2013 and required new ICT systems to comply from 1 July 2014. Existing ICT systems must meet the requirements from 2021. Responsibility for meeting the requirements lies with the undertakings or organisations that use ICT systems as their main means of communicating with the public. The requirements apply to all types of main systems, and the number of users will be a key criterion for determining whether or not a system is deemed to be a main system. Net-based systems must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Self-service machines must be designed to comply with at least ten different international standards. The choice of standards must cover all the main criteria for disabilities and the main categories of functions for self-service machines.

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