How to choose an Inclusive Design and Access Consultant – a checklist
Here are some questions to ask yourself when selecting an access consultant:
- Is your consultant on the National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC)? The NRAC comprises appropriately qualified and experienced access consultants and auditors who have demonstrated their expertise in access matters to the satisfaction of the NRAC Admissions Panel. All members adhere to a code of practice. The NRAC is not a kite mark but it’s the nearest you will get to a quality standard demonstrating skills/experience.
- What are the qualifications of your inclusive design and access consultant? These consultants come from various fields of expertise. Some are trained in building architecture, some in landscape architecture, some in building control, health and safety or Occupational Therapy or even have a planning background. There are particular post graduate qualifications in Inclusive Design such as that from Reading University; graduates from here tend to be highly skilled and capable.
- Where (on what type of projects) has the consultant most recently been working? Standards change from time to time and knowing what is current best practice in the particular field is an advantage.
- Does the inclusive design and access consultant belong to other significant organisations of relevant expertise, such as The Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE) which provides training and carries out research into inclusive environments? The Access Association is another relevant group, it is a national network of individuals who promote inclusive design and access through providing peer support and sharing knowledge.
- Does the consultant have personal experience of disability? This is possibly going to bring an extra benefit, as the individual is more likely to have an understanding of the nature that some challenges present.