A potential customer visits your office but gets no further than the front door because she is a wheelchair user and your building isn’t accessible.
An awkward apology is not how to start a business relationship, especially if you were planning to reflect expertise and quality.
You can avoid this by having an access audit of your premises. It won’t cost the earth but it could make a world of difference to disabled people who work at or visit your firm. And that will make a world of difference to your business.
‘Inclusive design and management is a cornerstone of modern business, no matter what your company does’
Inclusive design and management are a cornerstone of 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 does an access audit involve?
We visit your location and identity issues that may be a problem for disabled people. And there’s a lot more to consider than how wheelchair accessible a building is.
‘Many barriers and hazards might not be obvious’
Many barriers and hazards might not be obvious to people who are not access experts. They still need to be identified and dealt with, to meet legal requirements if nothing else. For example:
- Over-polished floors can cause not only a slip hazard but also visual glare problems;
- The weather can have a big impact on different users. The effects of cold mornings, hot summer days or wet, icy and snowy conditions need to be addressed.
As inclusivity and accessibility are about more than the physical aspects of a building, we will also provide you with management practices that will:
- Help you meet your responsibilities under the Equality Act;
- Find the best solutions to your specific challenges.
‘Our report will explain clearly where these barriers exist in your premises’
Reporting barriers, providing solutions
As specialist access consultants, we will produce a report that highlights what you can act on.
Barriers to inclusion can be:
- Sensory; and
Our report will:
- Explain clearly where these barriers exist in your premises;
- Provide solutions and a prioritised action plan;
- Include designs and diagrams to help you eliminate barriers;
- Help you create a more inclusive environment.
What does an access audit include?
Our access audits start outside your building. We look at external areas and approaches.
- How easy it is for people to find your building? For example, we would look at the signage in the street and on your building;
- How easy is it to get to your entrance? For example, we would assess the availability of dropped kerbs and drop-off points.
We then review the entrance and reception: for example, looking at how the doors open and the height of the reception desk.
‘Our audits start outside … and then we work our way through the entire building, reviewing to your preferred level of detail’
Then we work our way through the entire building, reviewing (to your preferred level of detail):
- External approaches, transport access, car parking and setting down;
- Visual identification, which considers how easy it is for people to identify the building and its entrance
- General circulation, which considers how easily people can move around the inside of the building;
- Entrances and doors;
- Lifts, ramps, handrails, steps and stairs;
- Sanitary facilities;
- Visual contrast, which considers whether lighting allows people to navigate safely and easily around the building;
- Lighting, signage, communication systems and the acoustic environment;
- Management and maintenance
‘Emergency exits are an essential consideration when making buildings easily accessible for everyone’
Emergency exits are an essential consideration when making buildings easily accessible for everyone.
Disabled staff and visitors need effective strategies to get out of a building in an emergency, and so egress is a fundamental part of our approach to access auditing.
‘Having an audit every few years will give your business valuable, accurate data’
When and how often should my business have an access audit?
Having an audit every few years will give your business valuable, accurate data:
- About the accessibility of your property. This can be invaluable when giving customers and staff information about your building, and managing your estate portfolio;
- To help you plan and manage your facilities better, and to provide cost effective and timely adjustments to meet your statutory duties under the Equality Act;
- To capture all your issues and barriers before a refurbishment programme, to help you take rather than miss opportunities to improve access.
‘Proudlock Associates wants to help you run a modern inclusive building that welcomes everyone’
Why choose Proudlock Associates for your access audit?
Proudlock Associates wants to help you run a modern inclusive building that welcomes everyone.
We can help you develop a tailor-made audit that suits your exact needs and keeps costs at a minimum.
Our expertise and experience in professional access audits are backed by our auditor and consultant member status of the National Register of Access Consultants.
We have provided access auditing to:
- Public bodies, such as the Welsh Assembly, the University of Leeds and the University of London;
- Charities, such as the Zoological Society of London, Action on Hearing Loss and the NSPCC;
- Global media companies, such as Warner Bros TV UK and IMG Media.
If you think 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.