Access audit
What is an access audit?
By enabling more people with accessibility issues to use your facilities, you not only will meet legislative requirements, but also enhance peoples experience, and if you are a business or service provider, potentially gain new customers.

An Access Audit is an assessment of a building, an environment or a service against best practice standards to benchmark its accessibility to disabled people.

As an Access Auditor, Jamie Hanlon will assess, what, if anything, you may need to do to ensure your building meets the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 (which supersedes the Disability Discrimination Act 1995).

Disabled people of all ages are now protected by law and have the right to be free from discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 requires all businesses and service providers, large and small to assess how they meet the needs of disabled customers. They are also obliged to make reasonable changes to enable them to provide a service to disabled people on an equal basis with other customers.

Our Access Audits set out clear recommendations with priority ratings to enable you to plan and budget for any necessary adjustive works.

Unlike many of our competitors, we focus on reasonable adjustments and best practice standards, as required by the Equality Act 2010, thus avoiding unnecessary and costly measures.

An Access Audit or Consultancy involves monitoring the route that a disabled person would take in reaching, approaching and using a particular building. The Audit considers this journey from the point of view of a notional person having a wide range of disabilities including physical, sensory, and learning impairments. By monitoring the route in this way, the Audit identifies any physical and other barriers that may prevent, or make it unreasonably difficult for the disabled person to approach, enter and use the facilities available within the building. For this reason, it is useful for the Access Audit or Consultancy to be carried out when a property is occupied in order to observe the building in use.
Why do you need an access audit?
“Good accessibility benefits all visitors. Disabled people have the greatest need for accessible facilities and services but only around 8% use a wheelchair, with many more having other mobility, hearing or visual impairments. People with health conditions and impairments – and their travelling companions – spend £12 billion a year on tourism in England”.
(VisitBritain 2016)
It is more cost-effective to gain an overview of the barriers to and within a building, before beginning to implement access improvements. Therefore, having an access audit is the first step in planning for the necessary ‘reasonable adjustments’ that an employer or service provider may need to make in relation to their Equality Act 2010 duties, and to make their accommodation or business space more appealing and accessible for those with specific needs.

An access audit is a means of examining an existing building and/or an area of the built environment, together with its services and the way it is used against predetermined criteria designed to measure its accessibility and ease of use by people with disabilities.

The process begins a systematic appraisal of a building measured against an agreed set of standards, such as those outlined in British Standard BS 8300-2: 2018 “Design of Buildings and their Approaches to meet the Needs of Disabled People Code of Practice”.

An effective access audit should involve a thorough survey of the building. Key issues to be addressed in the audit will be the use of the building, the location and mode of entry of the building, circulation within it, and escape from it. Other issues such as maintenance programmes and management procedures (for instance Health and Safety, and Means of Escape procedures) should also be considered. Staff and other users of the building, including people with disabilities ought to be consulted.

The audit should include not only assessment of the internal features of buildings, but also their external surroundings, and facilities for car parking and pedestrian routes. Public art or street furniture require the same consideration for access as other external features; for example, colour contrast and tactile or non-slip surfaces.

To be effective the audit will embrace the needs of all disabled people and use the appropriate ‘best practice’ standards. It is important that the access audit is undertaken by people who have an understanding of the needs of all disabled people and ideally a knowledge of construction.