Access Strategies

Tracey Proudlock on December 17, 2018
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Access Strategies

Access Strategies are an essential part of completing a building before occupation.

Access Strategies are written to finalise the design and explain and justify how the standards for disabled access have been met. They are developed with input from the client, architect and building consultants to demonstrate that the inclusive design and management for the building is seamless. They may include a Part M schedule in RIBA Stage 4, and are a requirement for Building Control purposes. They are developed further by updating as the work heads for a final ‘sign-off’ prior to a building being handed over and occupied.

When you need an Access Strategy

Expect to need an Access Strategy for almost any built development, including any that have needed an Access Statement:

● residential
● commercial premises
● public venue
● buildings requiring a Heritage Statement
● role of Proudlock Associates

Purpose of an Access Strategy

An Access Strategy finalises how your proposed development:

● is inclusive in how it is designed and managed
● addresses disabled peoples’ needs, including for known disabled users as residents or employees in the building.

It is a stand-alone report.

Other uses of an Access Strategy

An accurate, concise Access Strategy is a valuable document and is generally required as a Building Control submission. However, you can also easily use it to develop:

● a detailed handbook or guide for disabled people using the development, for example explaining how emergency egress works, or where the accessible WC’s are located
● marketing material to attract positive interest in your proposal

Writing an Access Strategy, needs expertise similar to writing an Access Statement, but also detailed Equality Act knowledge is required because it concerns more than Building Regulations compliance, for example:

● legal requirements need to cover both the design and management practices
● detailed construction knowledge in relation to co-ordinating with other consultants such as those working on fire safety, transport, fit-out architects and final products / finishes etc. that are used
● knowledge of best practice in inclusive design is required
● addressing accessibility issues of both individual disabled people as well as disabled people in general is required

We’ve got that expertise, so contact us for details on how we can help.

*Access Strategies are sometimes also called Disability Access Statements or Access Statements. However, the correct terms are explained here and in our section on Access Statements. Both Access Strategies and Access Statements are distinct and different from Access Audits. In general, the progression through the RIBA Stages for a refurbishment involves firstly an Access Audit, an Access Statement and then an Access Strategy. For new buildings, a Plan Appraisal is provided instead of an Access Audit.