What is an accessibility appraisal and why is it important?
An accessibility appraisal is reviewing the architectural design and other plans before they are actually implemented or constructed. Getting an accessibility appraisal is helps to ensure that the upcoming infrastructure is universally designed for this beginning that will result in a space that is usable by all, it will also ensure sustainability and zero cost for future retrofitting. Therefore engaging an accessibility consultant at a early stage of designing is a good idea. In addition to reviewing the facility design the auditors may be invited for architectural meetings to enable all stakeholders (including the architects and other consultants involved in the project) to understand various accessibility requirements and assist in development of designs that are inclusive.
What is the right time to engage with an accessibility consultant?
An Access Appraisal should be conducted on the drawing board stage, as soon as the layout plans (architectural drawings) are complete and of course before the construction is to begin. However, if the constitution has already begun even then an appraisal will be useful.
Can an Access Appraisal also be done at the time of Building Refurbishment or Renovation?
Yes, an Access Appraisal can and should be conducted for a space being that are being refurbished or renovated to enhance its usability. The process is similar to an Access Appraisal of an upcoming building or space, and involves studying the proposed plans to ensure accessibility is incorporated and the cost is equated in the refurbishment budget.
What is expected from the client interested in conducting an Access Appraisal for an upcoming facility?
For an Access Appraisal the accessibility consultant will need the following support:
- Be provided with all Architectural Drawings/Layouts in PDF Format
- A walkthrough of the proposed design with the consultant
What will the access consultant deliver?
The accessibility consultant will study/evaluate all drawings in detail and provide a technical report which recommendations on the following areas:
- Accessibility in the external pedestrian environment (within the scope of the compound)
- Accessibility within the built environment (structural)
- Signage Accessibility (to enhance way finding and locating) if signage design is provided.
Once an technical report is submitted, the accessibility consultants will be available to provide support and clarify any doubts pertaining to the recommendations provided in the report.
The Access Appraisal reports submitted by the consultant will help you comply with the prescribed accessibility Standards.
What is the estimated cost of an access appraisal?
The charges for an access appraisal will be dependent on the size and complexity of the building structure however the charges are insignificant when compared to the total project cost and the benefits of an inclusive and accessible building/space.