The Equality Act 2010 aims to end the discrimination that many disabled people face. It replaces the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995, although the Disability equality duty in the DDA continues to apply. Anyone who provides a service to the public has duties and responsibilities under the Act to give disabled people access to goods, facilities and services on an equal basis with other customers.
All organisations that provide goods, facilities or services to the public, whether paid for or for free, are covered by the Equality Act, no matter how large or small they are. Given that Disabled people have an annual spending power of 50bn. Treating them fairly makes sense to your business.
The Act demands that businesses make reasonable changes to improve access, and therefore the need for improvements must be balanced against a cost which is sustainable. McCaren Access are experts in the field and can advise on what would be considered to be reasonable improvements for your particular premises.
The National Register of Access Consultants was established in 1999 and is an independent register of accredited Access Auditors and Access Consultants who meet professional standards and criteria established by a peer review system. It is currently the only UK-wide accreditation service for individuals who undertake access auditing and access consultancy. All members of the NRAC are required to adhere to a Code of Practice, hold professional indemnity insurance and undergo annual continuing professional development.
The NRAC is a resource for those seeking professional advice on how to make improvements to the built environment in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005 & Equality Act 2010. The NRAC was set up at a time when there was a growing concern that poor advice was being offered to private and commercial clients by people who were neither qualified nor experienced in the field of accessible buildings. This poor advice resulted in many examples of expensive and inappropriate alterations being made to buildings that did little or nothing to assist disabled people.
Click on the link to go to the National Register of Access Consultants website: http://www.nrac.org.uk/
If you are a company or organisation that provides goods, facilities or services to the public, then you have a duty to make your premises as accessible as is reasonably possible. You will benefit from commissioning an Access Audit because it will inform you how accessible your premises are and what improvements could reasonably be made.
For further information on the process and content of our Access Audits visit our services page.
Most interior alterations do not require Planning Permission, the exception being works to Listed Buildings. In this case your property may also be subject to additional rules regarding what you can and cant build, the materials you may use, and parts of the existing fabric of the property (interior and exterior) which you must protect.
If your property is not listed, but your plans involve work to the exterior (such as a domestic extension, or alterations to a shop front) it is likely that you will need to apply to the Local Planning Department for permission. With our specialist knowledge of architecture, McCaren can advise you on the need for planning permission and can design both exterior and interior alterations to your brief.
The Equality Act demands that businesses make reasonable changes to improve access, and therefore the need for improvements must be balanced against a cost which is sustainable. The scope and nature of our recommendations will be determined by the design and layout of the building concerned, and the feasibility of making changes within it. In all cases we consider practicality and economy as key factors in the recommendations we make.
The nature of the improvements which are required depends on the type and size of the business or service provider. For example a large Hotel attached to an international chain would be expected to install access ramps or lifts, accessible bedrooms and bathrooms; but a small village hall may only be required to make simple adjustments such as improving access routes and ensuring that they are free of clutter. McCaren Access are experts in the field and can advise on what would be considered to be reasonable improvements for your particular premises.
McCaren Access operate alongside our two sister companies McCaren Architecture and McCaren Interiors. If required, we can design access improvements and ensure that they are carried out to our specification.
We apply our extensive experience of architectural and interior projects to resolve access issues in the most appropriate and cost effective manner. We can present you with design options to suit your budget; apply for Planning and Building Regulations approval; manage the appointment of a builder to carry out the works; and administer the building contract on site.
Our unique combination of Architecture, Access, and Interior design expertise under one roof enables us to take a holistic view to ensure that all potential users’ needs are met in full.