The Dublin 2019 Worldcon Bid take access extremely seriously, and we are already working to make sure that if we win the Bid, our convention is as accessible as possible. Earlier this year, we got our access team to tour the CCD with a specific remit to examine the venue. Their report is below:
Access Report – CCD.
With a small team of people with specific Access needs we assessed the CCD with regards to:
- Wheelchair access and mobility
The CCD is a relatively new building, and has clearly been built with a strong eye to access and mobility. There is a handout and information on the website available to all visitors about this, but we also wanted to highlight some of the areas that were particularly praised by our tour.
Of particular note was the fact that at no point during the tour did we have an issue with access or moving around the building. This included using the lifts, access into rooms, corridors and the auditorium.
- All rooms are accessible.
- Most rooms have power switches at a low height for doors, and where there aren’t, the doors are lightweight. All of our team were able to open them easily.
- Flat screens outside the doors (showing what is on inside the room) can be easily reached and seen by wheelchair users.
- All rooms have individual panels on the walls to control air conditioning and the lighting/blinds. These can be easily reached and seen by wheelchair users.
- Adjustable lighting and curtains (including blackout curtains in all rooms).
- When using the CCD during Dublin Comic Con (DCC) for a panel, we did not experience any sound bleed (and our panel room backed onto the fan village).
- The CCD has a number of different seating types, including sofas and chairs with firm backs. Our Bid Team member who needs to sit often tried several different types which were in use.
- All signs are marked with braille in both Irish and UK English.
- There are 2 lifts on each side of the CCD in addition to the constantly moving escalators. The lifts have safety “door open” buttons. When pressed, the doors to the lift do not close until explicitly told otherwise.
- Subsequent to this we have requested a list of furniture and its dimensions, in order to compare types of seating, height of registration desks etc.
- Seating can be moved according to need.
- Large mobility scooter area at front of stage. (This depends on how the stage is set up. The larger the stage the less room for seating – we saw the stage at its smallest.) Chairs can also be removed to make more space here.
- Level 5 (the top area of the auditorium) also has wheelchair accessible seating, which is especially useful for people who may be late.
- Seating for larger people.
- Lift up to the stage is quite slow but there is also backstage ‘ramp’ access (it’s not a ramp, it’s a sloping corridor). Although at a steeper incline than other areas in the building which are usually flat, there are regular flat areas on the ground to break up the incline. Our wheelchair user said that it was easy to navigate.
- At least one changing room backstage is wheelchair user compatible
- Showers and toilets in all of the changing rooms
- Back of house is as accessible as front of house
- Triple strength hearing loops in the auditorium.
- There is a sharper ramp in this area, but the loading bay is wheelchair accessible.
- There are 10 access toilets – 2 per floor (this does not include the backstage toilets).
- There are unisex toilets on each floor.
- Toilets are generally located at the front of the building, opposite the lifts, or towards the back of the building on either side. There are larger toilets on the ground and first floor.
- The LUAS has good access and was easy to use.
Most of these were external to the CCD or will be integrated into our ongoing negotiations with the CCD. At this point we are glad to have been able to have already seen the CCD in action, and to identify elements which we might want to do differently.
Food in the CCD
- Getting cheap snack food in the CCD seems to be difficult. At DCC, we saw a small kiosk that had been set up to sell coffees and snacks. It was not cheap, and the food was fairly limited. One of the sandwiches was also mislabeled, which could have been quite a serious issue for vegetarians / people with allergies.
- Although there was a food court around the back outside, this needs to be really flagged up if we decide to take this direction.
- As one of our Volunteers commented; the moment that an attendee leaves the building to seek greater comfort (food, a lie down), the less inclined they are to return.
- we are currently investigating the idea of having a ‘farmers market’ of vendors on site at the back of the building, and Facilities will be discussing this situation with the CCD as part of our ongoing negotiations with them
- There are accessible toilets at each end of each floor. However, they only have a regular toilet for one gender at each end. So at one end is a non-gendered accessible toilet and a men’s toilet; at the other end same set-up only a female toilet. This means that at the one end the women (without access needs) may use the accessible toilet and at the other end it will be the men. We will think about ways to make sure that this does not happen and discuss this with the CCD.
- The CCD themselves are aware that their front doors are rather cosmetic and cause crowding issues at the very least. They did not use these for entry during DCC (12 000 people), and instead use the much wider, accessible side doors on both sides of the building, which were staffed by security and door staff.
- If they could replace those front entry doors with a slider or one wide door that swings open that would be great.
- The small double doors at the front may be an issue for a larger person.