The Business Benefits of improving the Accessibility of Buildings
The prospect of improving our health and wellbeing via the inclusive design of buildings and environments is commonly recognised. However, the business benefits of such considerations are often arduous to measure, therefore in this blog, we will be discussing the rationale behind the acknowledged benefits and the importance of quantifying the difference made by incorporating inclusive design.
The provision for linking accessibility and disabled peoples’ lives to the design of buildings was first considered in legislation within 1971, where building professionals were urged to implement accessible building features such as accessible entrances, lifts and toilets. In 1985, Building Regulations necessitated for all public buildings to incorporate inclusive design, with particular provision to create accessible buildings for people with disabilities. Although it is important for new buildings and infrastructure is designed inclusively, it is just as important to adapt our existing buildings and environments.
At a time where 1 in 5 people in the UK have reported a disability and 19% of those are working-age adults, it has never been more important to create truly accessible and inclusive workplaces and businesses
Our increasingly older and disabled population with 14.1 million disabled people in the UK (Source: Family Resources Survey 2018-19), whom hold cooperative spending power, have indicated interest in inclusive design. It is therefore important to consider the potential benefit of increased revenue through accessing a broader market by providing an inclusive service for all.
Major retailers and larger corporations have often justified their expenditure on inclusive design through increased retail figures and as such continue their spending on improving their stores nationwide however, we have found that small to medium sized businesses are often reluctant in reserving expenditure for improving the accessibility of their premises.
Having an inclusive workplace and business with corresponding management is commonly recognised as the cornerstone of successful businesses. Ensuring everyone can access your store or offices is good practice as it allows engagement and improves user experience for all visitors, therefore elevating your brand, besides ensuring that you are in compliance with your duties as a 'service provider' in pursuant of The Equality Act 2010.
Workforce Motivation, Morale & Motivation
A workforce who prioritises inclusive design and equality is more likely to find meaningful purpose in their work and in turn are likely to stay at their company, besides promoting their employer outside of work.
At a time where 1 in 5 people in the UK have reported a disability and 19% of those are working-age adults (Source: Family Resources Survey 2018-19), it has never been more important to create truly accessible and inclusive workplaces and businesses. Once achieved, employers have detailed higher productivity, higher employee morale, increased problem solving and increased creativity and innovation.
How to improve the accessibility of an existing building
When considering accessibility improvements for an existing building, it is pertinent to speak to an Access Consultant in the first instance to discuss any specific requirements for any known staff or visitors with particular disabilities. The next step is to instruct an appropriately qualified and experienced Access Auditor to carry out an Access Audit at the premises to identify any barriers to potential visitors with cognitive, sensory or mobility impairments, as well as considering the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 which superseded the Disability Discrimination Act 1996.
The Access Audit can then be used to build an action plan by implementing the ‘reasonable adjustments’ identified and documented within the Access Audit Report to improve the accessibility of the building in addition to any recommendations to implement changes to policies and procedures.
We are highly experienced in carrying out Accessibility Audits of various building types for both Public and Private sectors and would be more then happy to discuss your specific requirements. You can request an online quote, email us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Accessibility Division on 020 3876 5818.