Technical Standards in Accessibility
Many professionals within the built environment including architects, building surveyors, access officers, access consultants and auditors strive to make building and the environment more inclusive. Although legislation such as The Equality Act 2010 is key, many other technical standards need to be considered.
A pertinent detail to deliberate is that technical standards are continuously amended and updated. In particular Part ‘M’ of the Approved Document of the Building Regulations and the best practice standard for accessible design, BS 8300-1, and BS 8300-2. Therefore, practising professionals within the industry and other stakeholders alike must stay up to date with the latest amendments.
In addition to the above there are various other technical standards and supplementary guidance documents for accessibility which include specific direction on matters such as infrastructure design, changing places toilets, lighting standards and signage.
Guidance from an Access Consultant or Auditor
When an access consultant or auditor is advising clients about their properties and inclusion via an Access Audit or other service, they will often include both legislation-driven guidance and guidance on best practice for their client to incorporate within their design or maintenance plan for existing buildings with appropriate priority bandings.
Where the proposal is to deviate from a best practice standard, a reasonable justification needs to be provided and recorded which is often in the form of an Access Statement, however in our experience the approach taken by building control departments within local authorities are inconsistent on this matter.
If you are a service provider looking for a competent Access Consultant or Auditor to provide advice on your project or for accessibility improvements to an existing building or environment, then get in touch with our Accessibility team for a free initial consultation by calling 0203 876 5818 or sending us an email at email@example.com.