ConstructionPlanning and Building Control - Access Statements

Access Statements

It makes good economic sense to create buildings and places that everyone can use with dignity, confidence and safety.

Early consultations with all those involved including designer, developers, planners, building control, and all potential users is key to any successful inclusive development. The Production of an ‘Access Statement’ is seen as an important means of achieving this goal.

The access statement should clearly identify:

right arrow greenThe philosophy and approach to inclusive design being adopted

right arrow greenThe key issues of the particular scheme including any environmental constraints

right arrow greenThe source of advice and guidance used and specialist consultations

right arrow greenHow the principles of inclusive design have been implemented into the scheme

right arrow greenHow inclusion will be maintained and managed once the building is in use

The size and level of detail in the statement is likely to reflect the size and complexity of the proposed development and may therefore vary considerably.

The recommendation to provide an access statement is introduced in the Approved Document Part M (2004 edition). However, recent guidance on access in the planning system (‘Planning and Access for Disabled People – A Good Practice Guide’[3]) recommends provision of an Access Statement at the planning stage. The Access Statement is an attempt to encourage designers and developers to consider access issues at the earliest possible stage of the development process. It is also a useful tool to encourage innovation and flexibility in design approach.

The compilation of an Access Statement should begin at the pre-planning stage. It is intended to be a ‘living document’ that grows in detail as the project proceeds. In this way it will help to provide an audit trail to demonstrate whether particular matters have been considered adequately and with the benefit of the client and any future occupiers where such matters are material to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

By considering access issues for all members of society at the earliest opportunity steps can be taken to ensure facilities are suitable for use, and accessible by everyone. The process will also help inclusive design proposals to be fully integrated into the design from the beginning rather than considered towards the end of the process when only ineffective, compromise solutions can be achieved.

Further guidance on Access Statements can be found at:

right arrow green Internet Link


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This page was last reviewed 18 March 2015 at 10:31 by Neil Perrett.
The page is next due for review 14 September 2015.
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