11 January 2018
Lancaster University has undertaken a comprehensive accessibility audit of BS8300 best practice requirements across campus to determine a prioritised programme of works. Aimed at improving campus under the guidance of the current British Standards, the audit will provide an insight in to meeting the needs and expectations of disabled people, from an architectural perspective.

‌What is BS 8300?

BS 8300 looks at the design of buildings and their ability to meet the requirements of disabled people. By offering best practice recommendations, this standard explains how architectural design and the build environment can help disabled people to make the most of their surroundings. BS 8300 looks at how some facilities, such as corridors, car parks and entrances, can be designed to provide aids for the disabled. It also demonstrates how additional features, including ramps, signs, lifts and guardrails, can be installed.

What this means to the University.

Legislation requiring buildings to be accessible is comparatively recent. In construction legislation, Part T: Facilities for the disabled was first introduced in to Building Regulations in 1985. Subsequently, the content and scope of the accompanying Approved Document has increased; however, the requirements cannot be applied retrospectively.

Lancaster campus was first developed in 1968 and since then has expanded almost year on year. New buildings have been developed throughout this period with over £500million invested since 2003. Each newly constructed building was designed to meet standard of best practice at the time of construction. However, over time, these standards have been raised. More has been done to make buildings accessible, meaning that parts of campus may not be as compliant as a new build might be.

All recent projects at Lancaster University have met or exceeded compliance in-line with the latest British Standard BS8300. The most recent example of this is the Spine Remodelling Project, once complete; the thoroughfare will provide a completely accessible route through the heart of Campus from end to end. The University has also created its own benchmark to exceed requirements set out in the British Standard. Further to this, the University has now appointed an external Project Manager to co-ordinate a comprehensive audit across campus in its entirety.

Working closely with the UKs leading provider of access information DisabledGo, the audit will provide a crucial insight in to the campus in its current state, allowing the University to prioritise both occupied and external areas for improvement outside of the requirements specified in the current British Standard.

This work will provide detailed information about the campus and will include a prioritised list of recommendations that will form a schedule of works for the University to co-ordinate, in parallel with the Campus Masterplan.

Why it matters.

Around 8% of the population at Lancaster University have at least one disability which equates to roughly 1000+ people. The University actively encourages and supports people with disabilities to work or learn on campus and as such, strives to ensure the highest standards are met by the 600+ strong team of Facilities staff.

The University understands the physical barriers that people with disabilities face. Providing support and adjustments can remove these barriers and support the development of an inclusive environment.

The quality of the physical environment can encourage forms of social interaction and enrich the staff and student experience. The ability to access these facilities easily is detrimental in achieving this environment. The University has established a network of students and staff with impairments to verify that their requirements are being considered when planning and reviewing changes to construction programmes.

What next?

The project will be conducted in various stages listed below:

Stage 1: Analysis of Occupied Buildings and External Areas. This stage of the project is complete for external areas, resulting in a total of 21 audit reports. These reports have been reviewed by the University.

Stage 2: Identify a prioritised list of improvement project requirements with delivery timescales. Using the audit reports identified in stage 1, a schedule of works has been agreed. Prioritised by identifying the areas with highest footfall on campus, the works will be conducted in the Red Zone first, folllowed by the Amber Zone and finally the Green Zone which is shown on the Footfall Map

Stage 3: Phased programme handover.

Stage 4: Final summary report of accessibility on campus.

 

If you have any further questions or would like any further information, please contact the Facilities Helpdesk via email: facilities.helpdesk@lancaster.ac.uk or phone: 01524 593333.