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Q: How can I improve the accessibility of buildings?

Access Audits

An access audit is a way of finding out how accessible a building or an organisation is and what adjustments or changes can help to make the building accessible to disabled people. Those changes don't necessarily have to be expensive.

We can put you in touch with qualified access auditors who can help your organisation offer better service to disabled people.

When thinking about using an auditor to carry out work of this sort, you should bear in mind that:

  • Some offer limited access audits at low prices - others only offer a very full service at commercial rates.

  • Some do audits for any organisation - others only work for voluntary groups, or may offer them special prices

  • Some say clearly that they are committed to working within the Social Model of Disability, and some may consider that access audits are only valid if carried out by disabled people - others do not see these things as essential to their access work.

  • Some only offer advice on physical changes to buildings - others offer advice on the changes in the way a business operates, or on the staff attitudes that also help improve accessibility.

  • Some only offer advice on accessibility for people with particular impairments (for example visual impairment or mobility difficulties) - others offer advice on a wide range of impairments.

With any work that is contracted to external advisers, you should ask auditors for detailed written quotations - and try to see examples of their work, or talk to previous customers.

One national organisation - the National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC) - provides a national register of accredited Access Auditors and Access Consultants.

Can I get a grant to make accessibility adaptations?

Commercial organisations are usually unable to get funds from charitable or government sources to help make changes which are required by law - for example to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (1995). Further advice for commercial organisations is available through the Equality and Human Rights Commission, (sucessor to the Disability Rights Commission) or through the other organisations listed in the Business FAQs.

The Church Urban Fund had some grants available for places of worship -  or other buldings associated with them - to help make them more accessible for community activities. This involved any denomination or faith (not just Christian churches) - but funds were only available in areas classified as most deprived. Contact the Fund  for more details of availability.