Are you considering a Building Audit of your business premises, but are wary of what it entails? You are not alone. The word ‘audit’ often holds negative connotations for businesses, but here at Adaptable Solutions, we want to show you how much a Building Audit can improve your business and ensure you are compliant with Irish Disability and Equality legislation.
We use the principals of Universal Design, as outlined in legislation for Irish Disability Act 2005, to identify any access barriers to your customers and employees.
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, size or disability. This includes public places in the built environment such as buildings, streets or spaces that the public have access to; products and services provided in those places; and the systems that are available including information and communications technology (ICT).
Disability Act 2005
Universal Design creates an inclusive environment that allows the maximum number of people to access your business, eliminating the need for specifically designated disability access. It fosters better social participation and inclusion for all members of our society, regardless of disability. A Building Audit using the principles of Universal Design will provide you with a clear view of any obstacles facing disabled customers and employees. This is much more than just the width of your doors and aisles and physical access barriers, it encompasses all cognitive barriers from sensory barriers to barriers between staff and disabled customers due to lack of equality training. Some examples of this are;
- Your website, is it optimized for individuals with sensory disabilities?
- Disabled car parking, is it within the recommended 50m of the front door?
- Is there a well-lit and safe path for disabled customers to access the car park and building?
- Does your staff have adequate knowledge and training to deal sensitively with the needs of disabled customers and colleagues?
- In the event of an emergency, are your emergency exit routes and warning systems adequate for people with disabilities?
- Advertising, are you alienating the disabled customer base through the placement and design of your publicity literature and media?
The above are as just a few examples of barriers that a properly executed Building Audit can identify. Although compliance with Irish Disability and Equality legislation is very important, another huge benefit of a building audit is the expansion of your customer base. One-In-Ten Irish people have a disability, that means if your business is not inclusive and accessible, you are automatically excluding one-in-ten potential customers. A Building Audit is the best way to identify and remove the barriers that are preventing this customer base from accessing your service, helping you not only stay compliant with the relevant legislation, but potentially increasing your revenue too.
If you would be interested in talking to someone at Adaptable Solutions about a Building Audit, you can contact us here.