This was the first time I ever heard the term “access design”, but its meaning made me aware of how important this discipline is. It was introduced to me by Vin Goodwin, an access consultant at Design=Access, a company that advises on inclusive design of the built environment taking into account the needs of everyone, including disabled people. By providing successful design solutions for architects, designers, developers and building owners and managers they manage to make well-designed environments available to everyone.
To me, it has always been clear that design has a business function in company, but the implications are also social. Signage that directs people accordingly in the building, taking into consideration issues such as disabled peole, faith or gender are very important need their fair share of acknowledgement and proper measures.
The involvement of Access=Design starts early in the design process, as they can assist in developing the access design brief and establish appropriate standards and design guidance. As the design develops they provide ongoing assessment and advice to ensure that relevant legislation and good practice standards relating to disabled access are met. It has been interesting for me to discover the lenght to which Vin is able to go in order to design a proper access for various needs. For example, one of his papers is named “Accesible Toilet Resources”, making it clear that his approach is very thorough and Access=Design leaves nothing to chance when it comes to access in every type of building.