Our team of NRAC Registered Access Consultants provide access statements that offer a unique blend of disability awareness, legal knowledge and construction ‘know how’.
Our Access Consultants have a wealth of experience ranging from extensions to some of the largest developments in the UK. We always focus on practical and cost effective design solutions and as all of our Access Consultants are also Chartered Building Surveyors, you can be sure we will always offer practical design advice.
What is an Access Statement?
An Access Statement (also known as a Disability Access Statement, Disabled Access Statement or DDA Statement) is a Statement setting out the design philosophy and key design issues posed by a new development.
The Access Statement should be prepared at the formative stages of a design and sets out the design standards for accessibility, as well as identifying key issues that the design will need to address. The Access Statement is designed to evolve as the detailed design is developed and may prove a means to justify why an alternative design solution has been arrived at, where current best-practice has not been followed.
We have also come across clients who offer a simple statement to visitors, setting out a factual record of the accessibility of an existing building or environment, which may also be called an Access Statement. This type of access statement is designed to convey information to a disabled visitor in advance of a visit, to allow him or her to plan accordingly. We have prepared this type of access statement for many tourism businesses, where it is most widely used.
So, what is a Design and Access Statement?
A Design and Access Statement is a defined document which is required to accompany all planning applications, save for simple householder applications. The Design and Access Statement sets out the designers approach to all aspects of the design, including Disabled Access, and thus should include an Access Statement.
When is an Access Statement required?
An Access Statement, in the form of a Design and Access Statement is required by Planning Authorities as part of the Planning Application process and is compulsory for all but the most simple householder applications.
A Building Control Officer may require an Access Statement as part of a Building Regulation application, to provide a commentary on the design as a whole, or to deal with a specific issue where the designers wish to adopt an alternative design solution. In our experience, the requirement for Access Statements is not consistently applied by Building Control Officers across the UK.
These are the only two instances where it will generally be compulsory for you to provide an Access Statement. However the provision of an Access Statement presents best practice when preparing any design, as it ensures that the design team remain aware of any access issues throughout the design process and thus ensure that they are addressed.
What does an Access Statement include?
An Access Statement will typically include a statement of the design philosophy, a list of design guidance that will be followed, an assessment of the key access issues and then a commentary on the design solution, setting out justification where an alternative design solution has been employed.
The Access Statement is designed to evolve with the design process and may be incorporated in a Post Occupancy Statement, which sets out any management or maintenance procedures necessary to maintain the accessibility of any specific design features.
Our team of Access Consultants will initially prepare a detailed desktop appraisal of the design and then work with the design team to find solutions to access barriers, giving the client added assurance that they have met their obligations under the Equality Act. This process will then be documented in the final Access Statement, giving the client a clear audit trail of decisions taken.
Evans Jones are typically appointed to deal direct with Local Authority Planning and Access Officers where complex issues arise and can support you all the way through the design process.