Access Appraisal

Why is an Access Appraisal important and for whom?

As an owner, builder or a manager of a new upcoming building it is important for you to ensure that your building is made accessible from the start. Ensuring accessibility to your new building is not only going to result in a space more usable by all, it will also ensure sustainability and zero cost for future retrofitting.

Accessibility and design universality should be one of the key criteria in the requirement brief that you provide to your architect, so that it can be included in their design.

It may be a good idea to involve an access consultant in the early stages of designing. Having them present at some planning meetings may be a good idea as it will enable all stakeholders (including the architects and other consultants involved in the project) to understand various accessibility requirements and assist in development of designs that are inclusive.

What is the right time to get an Access Appraisal done?

An Access Appraisal should be conducted on the drawing board stage, as soon as the layout plans(architectural drawings) are complete and of course much before the construction is to begin. However, if involving an access consultant at a very early stage is not possible then one must engage them to undertake an access appraisal of all CAD drawings that are developed.

Can an Access Appraisal also be done at the time of Building Refurbishment or Renovation?

Yes, an Access Appraisal can and should be conducted for a space being refurbished or renovated to enhance its usability. The process is similar to an Access Appraisal of an upcoming building or space, and involves studying the proposed plans to ensure accessibility is incorporated and the cost is equated in the refurbishment budget.

What is expected from me as the Owner, Developer, Project Consultant or an Architect who is interested in conducting an Access Appraisal for my upcoming project?

For an Access Appraisal you will need to provide the access consultant with the following support:

  • Provide all Architectural Drawings/Layouts in CAD Format
  • Do a walkthrough of the proposed design with the consultant

What will the access consultant deliver?

The access consultant will then study/evaluate all drawings in detail and provide a technical report which recommendations on the following areas:

  • Accessibility in the external pedestrian environment (within the scope of the compound)
  • Accessibility within the built environment (structural)
  • Signage Accessibility (to enhance way finding and locating)

Once an exhaustive technical report is submitted, the access consultants who work on the report will be available to provide support to the architect, developer, landscaping consultant, signage consultant and other stakeholders to clarify any doubts pertaining to the solutions in the report or towards its implementation.

The Access Appraisal reports submitted by the consultant will help you comply with the American Accessibility Standards (ADA), the British Accessibility Standards (DDA) or any other accessibility standards (national or international compliance standards).

What is the estimated cost of an access appraisal?

The charges of the access consultant for an access appraisal will be dependent on the size and complexity of the building structure however the charges are insignificant when compared to the total project cost and the benefits of an inclusive and accessible building/space.

How does one select an Access Consultant for an appraisal?

Since Access Appraisal involves an in depth understanding and technical expertise in the area of architecture, construction management and a thorough understanding of the needs of persons with disabilities, you must ensure that your consultant has the required technical qualification, the experience and the right team. A background check on the kind of projects one may have undertaken in the past and reference checks with previous clients could help one take that decision.

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