ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland has published a free new white paper detailing the true cost of buildings not complying with the guidelines governing inclusive design. With systems that incorporate inclusive door opening solutions offering greater sales opportunities for fabricators, those in the industry can find out more by downloading the white paper from www.assaabloyopeningsolutions.co.uk/inclusivedesign
When talking about inclusive design, many people immediately think of those with a disability or specific, specialist requirements. While inclusive design encompasses the needs of these people, its key objective is to make a site inclusive for all, no matter what. In fact, despite public perception and the wheelchair being the symbol for accessibility, less than 8 per cent of disabilities require the use of a wheelchair. Whether it’s the elderly, disabled or children, everyone should be able to access and use a building and its facilities easily and safely.
Inclusive design is a key objective for most modern building environments today. Yet there is still evidence that suggests organisations from across the supply chain do not fully understand the benefits to be gained from meeting these requirements.
Titled Inclusive design – why should you care?, the new white paper illustrates the importance of inclusive design, and what the guidelines governing this state. These include Approved Document M and, crucially, BS 8300-1 and 8300-2:2018, which is a British Standard setting out how buildings should be designed, constructed and maintained to create an accessible and inclusive environment for all. It applies to both new builds and refurbishments.
The guidelines governing inclusive design also include the Equality Act 2010, which replaced the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 in Great Britain. Many in the built environment still refer to the requirements of the DDA, illustrating a considerable lack of understanding and knowledge about an Act affecting inclusive design that is now ten years out of date.
The white paper discusses the factors that need to be considered for door opening solutions too, and how to ensure solutions meet the necessary fire safety standards.
With this knowledge, fabricators can then educate their customers on why it is critical to ensure aluminium door hardware meets the demands of an inclusive environment, helping to realise new sales opportunities in the process.
“Everyone should be able to access and use a building and its facilities easily, comfortably and independently, including being able to escape in the event of a fire or other emergency,” explains Eryl Jones, Manging Director of the ASSA ABLOY Door Hardware Group.
“Key market drivers, such as an ageing population and consumer spending power, are having an impact on the need for inclusive building designs. For example, the UK government states that by 2037, those over 65 will account for nearly a quarter of the population, and disability charity Purple reports that businesses are losing approximately £2 billion a month by ignoring the needs of disabled people. The ‘grey pound’ also accounts for £320 billion of annual household spending, with the over-50s holding over three-quarters of the nation’s financial wealth.
“There are real benefits to be gained from buildings implementing inclusive solutions. This includes greater consumer loyalty and spending opportunities, as well as increased differentiation, credibility and brand awareness. With inclusive design a top consideration for buildings, the fabricator market is in a unique position to generate new sales opportunities with door and hardware solutions that can meet these demands.
“Our new white paper aims to demystify what the guidelines governing inclusive design state, providing all the key details that those in the building industry need to know to deliver accessible and safe building environments for everyone.”
Douglas Masterson, Technical Manager at the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI), adds: “It is refreshing in the current climate to see accessibility being placed firmly on the agenda through this white paper. At the moment, the headlines are rightly dominated by fire safety – following the Grenfell tragedy – and on-going issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic. While these are of huge importance, accessibility must always have room in any discussion relating to the construction industry.
“This paper states: ‘All those involved in the design and construction of a building should not simply be working towards inclusivity but demanding it every single time.’ The GAI is firmly in favour of this statement, and the correct specification of hardware in a building must have the issues of accessibility and inclusive design at its heart.”
Bob Perry, CEO of the Door Hardware Federation (DHF), comments: “It’s really good to see such an important message being highlighted in this white paper. Our society is changing – both in its demographics and its attitudes – and it is clear that any company that fails on inclusivity will be left behind. At the same time, however, the requirements around inclusive design are somewhat opaque and there is still much confusion in the industry.
“What this white paper from ASSA ABLOY does is present everything the industry needs to know about the issue. It outlines the relevant standards, explains what they really mean, and tells them exactly what they need to do to make sure their door hardware is compliant. On behalf of the DHF, I recommend that it is essential reading.”
To download the white paper for free, please visit www.assaabloyopeningsolutions.co.uk/inclusivedesign
 Disability Sport, ‘Facts and Figures About Disabled People in the UK’, www.disabilitysport.org.uk/facts-and-figures-about-disabled-people-in-the-uk.html