Our Access Audit team offer a unique blend of disability awareness, legal knowledge, creativity and construction ‘know how’.
We ensure our clients receive practical, cost effective advice on how to meet their obligations under the Equality Act with a focus on reasonable measures.
What is an Access Audit?
An Access Audit (also known as a DDA audit, Disability Discrimination Act Audit or Disabled Access Audit) is an assessment of a building, an environment or a service against best practice standards to benchmark it’s accessibility to disabled people.
Our Access Audits set out clear recommendations with priority ratings and costs to enable you to plan and budget for necessary adjustive works.
Unlike many of our competitors we focus on reasonable adjustments, as is required by the Equality Act, thus avoiding unnecessary and costly measures which we often see in Audits prepared by less experienced and unqualified auditors.
So what is the DDA/Equality Act?
The Disability Discrimination Act came into force in 1996 and made it illegal to discriminate against a disabled person for reasons related to his or her disability. This covered the fields of employment, service provision, transport and education. The DDA required employers, service providers and education providers to make reasonable adjustments to avoid discrimination.
The Equality Act 2010 brought together all anti-discrimination legislation into one Act and covers disability, race, gender, religious, sex and age discrimination and supersedes the DDA but the requirements remain much the same.
The Equality Act has different requirements depending on whether you are an employer, service provider or an educational establishment. The best way to establish these is to call one of our Access Consultants who will be happy to advise how the Act applies to you.
How is the DDA/Equality Act enforced?
Unlike other statutory law there is no Local Authority or Government Officer who enforces the legislation it is left to an individual disabled person to bring a civil action against an organisation where they feel aggrieved.
Why do I need an Access Audit?
An Access Audit prepared by Evans Jones helps you to understand your obligations under the Equality Act. It identifies barriers to access, sets out options for removing these barriers, assesses which option is the most reasonable and then makes a clear recommendation as to which option to implement, when to do it and how much it will cost.
An Access Audit helps you to understand your obligations under the Equality Act and forms the basis of a plan of action to enable you to improve the accessibility of your building, environment or service over time.
By having an Access Audit and then implementing it’s recommendations you will be able to demonstrate that you have adopted a reasonable approach which will help you to defend a complaint or action brought against you by a disabled person but, more importantly you will be improving access for disabled people and, in all likelihood many other users.
The Equality Act Code of Practice states that the completion of an Access Audit by a ‘suitably qualified person’ will ‘help service providers to meet their obligations under the Act’.
What does the Access Audit Cover?
The scope of the audit will depend on how the Equality Act applies to you which we will discuss and agree with you before quoting. However our Audit will generally cover all elements of your building and environment following the ‘journey’ of a disabled user. Typically an audit would cover:
Approach and Car Parking
Horizontal Circulation – corridors
Lifts and Stairs
Signage and Wayfinding
Means of Escape for Disabled People
There are usually many other site specific elements which we also cover so please be assured we offer a comprehensive service.
As section 3 of the Equality Act covers all elements of your service we can also offer audits of other services such as:
Communication Audits (leaflets, menus guidebooks etc)
Website Access Audits – checking accessibility for users with visual impairments and learning difficulties
Policy and Procedure Audit – checking that you policies and procedures do not discriminate against disabled people
Our audits are presented in a user friendly format using photographs to illustrate each issue with clearly defined recommendations which are prioritised and costed. We are happy to supply an example on request.
Why Choose MOAT Studio for my Access Audit?
As all of our Access Consultants are Chartered Architectural Technologists, you can be sure that we have the necessary construction knowledge to fully understand the implications of what we recommend in terms of practicality and cost.
We give clear, unambiguous recommendations and are willing to commit to an opinion of what is reasonable under the Equality Act.
We focus on reasonable adjustments unlike many of our competitors, thus mitigating costly and unnecessary works.
As a multi-disciplinary practice we have the resources to support you from audit through to completion of adjustive works.