Why Should a Business Have an Access Audit?

Tracey Proudlock on July 24, 2015

Why Should a Business Have an Access Audit?

It won’t cost the earth to have an access audit performed for your business but it could make a world of difference to your disabled staff and customers.

An audit of your building involves us visiting your locations and identifying issues that may be a problem for disabled people who work at your firm or who are visiting your company.

Wheelchair

If you want to reflect expertise and quality, an apology is not the answer! How sure are you that you can meet your Equality Act duties?

Inclusive design and management is a cornerstone in modern business, no matter what your company does. It looks good and it feels good to deliver inclusivity and it is a legal requirement to address accessibility.

What is Involved with an Access Audit?

People used to think that an access audit looked simply how wheelchair accessible a building is. Although we have moved on from this time there are still many aspects of an access audit that are new to people, but are nonetheless necessary in terms of legal requirements. Access audits examine both the physical features of your building as you may expect, however we will also provide you with management practices that will assist you to meet the Equality Act. As a result, you will be running a modern inclusive building that welcomes everyone.

Lift

The access audit will identify appropriate solutions for your management practices. For example, something as simple as over polished floors can cause not only a slip hazard but also visual glare problems.

People also often fail to think about the effects of weather when they are coordinating access. It may not seem obvious initially but cold mornings, hot summer days or wet, icy and snowy conditions have a huge impact on different users and it is important to address this with the appropriate response. Many people would fail to recognise such issues but as specialist access consultants we would highlight these matters for your attention.

Any barriers to inclusion – physical, sensory, intellectual – that we may identify are explained clearly in a report that also provides you with solutions and a prioritised action plan. The report will include designs and diagrams to assist you with eliminating barriers and creating a more inclusive environment.

How do we Perform an Access Audit?

Our access audits start outside your building; we look at external areas and the approaches and assess how easy it is for people to find and arrive at your building. We then review the entrance and reception before working out way through the entire building, reviewing (to your preferred level of detail) the following:

Access Audit Checklist

Transport access;
Car Parking and Setting Down;
Visual Identification;
External Approaches;
General Circulation;
Entrances and Doors;
Lift;
Ramps;
Handrails;
Steps and Stairs;
Sanitary Facilities;
Visual Contrast;
Lighting;
Signage;
Communication systems;
The acoustic environment; and
Management and Maintenance

Making buildings easily accessible for everyone has to go hand-in-hand with improving emergency egress arrangements. Disabled staff and visitors need effective strategies to get out of a building in the case of an emergency and so egress is also treated as a fundamental part of our approach to access auditing.

When Should you Have an Access Audit?

It is recommended that companies have an access audit every few years; having data on how accessible your property is can be invaluable when communicating information about the building to users and when managing your estate portfolio.

An access audit will help you to plan and manage your facilities better, providing cost effective and timely adjustments to meet your statutory duties under the Equality Act.

You might want an access audit just before a refurbishment programme, this way you can capture all your issues and barriers ahead of major changes to your buildings.

Why Choose Proudlock Associates for your Access Audit?

Proudlock Associates are a leading disability and inclusive design consultancy with both auditor and consultant member status on the National Register of Access Consultants. We provide professional access audits to help businesses remove disabling barriers.

If you feel that your business could benefit from an access audit contact Proudlock Associates today and one of our friendly, expert team will be happy to answer any questions. We can help you to develop a tailor-made audit that suits your exact needs and keeps costs at a minimum.