CAE’s response to House of Commons Women and Equalities inquiry: Disability and the Built Environment

Published: 29 Oct 2016

CAE submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee inquiry into disability and the built environment.

Based on over 40 years of experience leading on inclusive design research, training and consultancy, CAE has found that:

  • Where access standards are consistently applied across an area, developers will accept higher standards of access as the norm, which creates no additional costs if considered early
  • Well-intended inclusive design can become a missed opportunity: Architectural designs – even award-nominated ones – do not always reflect evidence-based standards such as the BS8300
  • Readily available information explaining why each access point matters in Part M Vol. 2 of the Building Regulations would benefit planners

Given the above, CAE’s written submission calls for:

  • More robust national accessible building standards for planning and building across the whole of the public realm (e.g. rail, local authorities, private roads, NHS estates, and other landowners);
  • Mandatory inclusive design training as a government priority for built environment professionals (e.g. educational projects such as BEPE and CABE);
  • Genuinely inclusive user consultation processes, and;
  • Stronger mechanisms to regulate how existing buildings are upgraded.

Our colleagues at Habinteg Housing Association also submitted evidence, which focuses on the need for increased accessible housing to:

“…meet the current and future demands of disabled and older people, and make a long-term sustainable return on public investment, lay the basis for inclusive communities, help address the challenges of an ageing population and help deliver savings in health and social care.”

Habinteg attended the Select Committee meeting on 26th October, where oral evidence was given by Disability Rights UK, Inclusion London, Mental Health Foundation, The Access Association, British Standards Institution, and Unity Law. CAE looks forward to further evidence sessions and developments in the coming months.

Read the Centre for Accessible Environments’ full response to the Disability and the Built Environment Inquiry.

Submissions by a wide range of organisations and individuals can also be viewed on the Women and Equalities Committee page.