Access audits & inclusive design opportunity – when the builders are in…

Tracey Proudlock on February 9, 2016

Access Consultants Proudlock Associates discuss access audits & opportunities that come from a refurbishment.

 A refurbishment is the perfect opportunity to improve inclusive facilities for all the disabled people who may use your building. Why not make a tangible difference to disabled peoples’ lives by upgrading your disabled access facilities above and beyond the minimum requirement? Access audits can strengthen your profile as an inclusive company and positive work environment- and your thoughtfulness could mean a real improvement to the day to day life of your workforce.

If you are renovating your WCs for example it’s important to have the equivalent facility for disabled people.  Did you know the female / unisex / male ‘designation’ of WC’s also impacts on the required level of accessibility under the Equality Act?  So remember to ensure that you upgrade as necessary when making changes to the use of the WC’s between sexes – or your work could be going down the pan

Disabled access WC - access audits and inclusive design could make a real difference
It is important to monitor the refurbishment work to ensure that the end result matches up to what was asked for.

You need to meet building regulations of course, but with just a little bit of extra consideration you could provide some best practice facilities that delight disabled people. A little bit of pre-planning and you can go beyond mere compliance.

For example, if you’re looking to remove steps, a 1:12 ramp with handrails is the obvious choice for one or two steps but if you can make the gradient less than 1:20, this makes it more inclusive (and can remove the need for handrails).

It is often a good idea to have an access audit of your building before starting major works: an access audit will identify barriers that may exclude disabled people and the recommendations can be used to specify the detailed designs for the refurbishment.

How frustrating would it be to spend thousands of pounds on your refit only to discover when the builders have left that some barriers remain and disabled people are still not satisfied? A situation like this will inevitably lead to complaints and suggestions of exclusion or even discrimination, which is exactly what you don’t want and could be a potential failure in meeting your Equality Act duties.

Disabled access ramp - access audits and inclusive design could make a real difference

Proudlock Associates are a leading disability access 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 organisations remove disabling barriers and provide for inclusion in design and management.

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 and talk to you about our approach. We can help you to develop a tailor-made access audit that suits your exact needs and keeps costs to a minimum.