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What is an access audit and what should be covered when carrying out access audits?

The purpose of an access audit is to carry out a detailed appraisal of the accessibility of an environment, its facilities and any services delivered from it.

Access audits are not a new concept, they are continually developing and are generally carried out by a number of different specialists some of which include architects, occupational therapists, access consultants and people with disabilities.

It is important to note that an access audit is not a checklist of guidelines that need to be adhered to and is much more than that. For example, an audit of the built environment should consider the day to day running of the building, the building type, management issues, maintenance and safety as well as the checklist of building design criteria. 

The Centre for Accessible Environments indicates that the purpose of an access audit is “to establish how well a particular building performs in terms of access and ease of use by a wide range of potential users, including people with mobility and sensory impairments” (Centre for Accessible Environments, 1999).

It is also important to be aware that an access audit should cover much more than an audit of the built environment.  Inclusive access will only be achieved by eliminating barriers, both physical, attitudinal and procedural, which may otherwise inhibit the full participation of the whole community. This means that when organisations are reviewing (auditing) the accessibility of their services they will need to consider their approach to such things as:

If you would like further information why not check out Access audits – Are you aware that an access audit is much more than an assessment of building accessibilityor some recent projects we have carried out in this area.

For details on upcoming training on access auditing click here.