Last edited 17 Mar 2017

Essential principles, Creating an accessible and inclusive environment

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) was established in 1988 to provide ‘…a single voice for professionals in all sectors of the built environment’. It is a forum for professional bodies, research organisations and specialist business associations in the construction industry.

On 9 March 2017, CIC launched: Essential principles, Creating an accessible and inclusive environment. The guide emerged from the Built Environment Professional Education Project, a government project now being taken forward by CIC. It was sponsored by Gardiner & Theobald.

CIC essential principles.jpg

The aim is to build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by helping change how inclusive design skills are taught in the UK.

The guide includes six principles to underpin decisions by clients, employers and the wider society which can help create an inclusive environment. The principles were first suggested by the Office for Disability Issues in the Built Environment Professional Education Project Report of Progress published in March 2016:

  • Contribute to building an inclusive society now and in the future.
  • Apply professional and responsible judgement and take a leadership role.
  • Apply and integrate the principles of inclusive design from the outset of a project.
  • Do more than just comply with legislation and codes.
  • Seek multiple views to solve accessibility and inclusivity challenges.
  • Acquire the skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence to make inclusion the norm not the exception.

The guide suggests that:

An inclusive environment recognises and accommodates differences in the way people use the built environment. It facilitates dignified, equal and intuitive use by everyone. It does not physically or socially separate, discriminate or isolate. It readily accommodates and welcomes diverse user needs — from childhood to adulthood through to old age, across all abilities and disabilities and embracing every background, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and culture.

An inclusive environment:

  • Creates buildings, places and spaces that can be used easily, safely and with dignity, by all of us, regardless of age, disability or gender.
  • Provides choice, is convenient and avoids unnecessary effort, separation or segregation.
  • Goes beyond meeting minimum standards or legislative requirements.
  • Recognises that we all benefit from improved accessibility, including disabled people, older people and families with children, carers and those of us who do not consider ourselves to be disabled.

The report recommends that all built environment professionals, institutions and related bodies adopt and subscribe to these essential principles for achieving an inclusive environment:

All built environment professionals have a significant role to play in helping to achieve an accessible and inclusive environment. Whether you are an architect, architectural technologist, town planner, landscape architect, civil, structural or building services engineer, surveyor, interior designer or facilities manager — you have a personal obligation to maintain and enhance your knowledge, skills and competence in your area of practice.

BEPE Project Board Chair Paul Morrell suggested that the industry should: “…always have in its mind the whole idea of accessibility: of welcoming the greatest possible number of people, in all the many guises we come in, into our buildings and our businesses, and designing into both whatever accommodations may be necessary to make them feel at home. To do that, all we have to do is first to care; then to know what to do; and then just do it..’’

Tony Burton, partner of Gardiner & Theobald said: “By embracing these six principles for achieving an inclusive environment the construction and property industry can achieve the same impressive levels of accessibility we saw in London 2012.”

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki