Why you should care about inclusive design

Assa Abloy Opening Solutions UK and Ireland has published a free new white paper detailing the true cost of buildings not complying with the guidelines governing inclusive design.

The key objective of inclusive design is to make a site inclusive for all; despite the wheelchair being the symbol for accessibility, less than 8% of disabilities require the use of a wheelchair.

Inclusive design is a key objective for most modern building environments. However, there is still evidence that suggests organisations from across the supply chain do not fully understand the benefits to be gained from meeting these requirements, Assa Abloy said.

Approved Document M covers inclusive design, as does BS 8300-1 and 8300-2:2018, which is a British Standard setting out how buildings should be designed, constructed and maintained to create an accessible and inclusive environment for all. It applies to both new builds and refurbishments.

Furthermore, the Equality Act 2010 replaced the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 in Great Britain. Many in the built environment still refer to the requirements of the DDA, illustrating a considerable lack of understanding and knowledge about an Act affecting inclusive design that is now 10 years out of date.

The white paper discusses the factors that need to be considered for door opening solutions too, and how to ensure solutions meet the necessary fire safety standards.

With this knowledge, fabricators can then educate their customers on why it is critical to ensure aluminium door hardware meets the demands of an inclusive environment, helping to realise new sales opportunities in the process.

“Everyone should be able to access and use a building and its facilities easily, comfortably and independently, including being able to escape in the event of a fire or other emergency,” Eryl Jones, managing director of the Assa Abloy Door Hardware Group, said.

“Key market drivers, such as an ageing population and consumer spending power, are having an impact on the need for inclusive building designs. For example, the UK government states that by 2037, those over 65 will account for nearly a quarter of the population, and disability charity Purple reports that businesses are losing approximately £2 billion a month by ignoring the needs of disabled people.

“The ‘grey pound’ also accounts for £320 billion of annual household spending, with the over-50s holding over three-quarters of the nation’s financial wealth.

“There are real benefits to be gained from buildings implementing inclusive solutions. This includes greater consumer loyalty and spending opportunities, as well as increased differentiation, credibility and brand awareness. With inclusive design a top consideration for buildings, the fabricator market is in a unique position to generate new sales opportunities with door and hardware solutions that can meet these demands.

“Our new white paper aims to demystify what the guidelines governing inclusive design state, providing all the key details that those in the building industry need to know to deliver accessible and safe building environments for everyone.”