This section investigates what an access audit report should cover. It will first look at what the introduction should entail and investigate what to look for in the building design. Finally as no access audit would be complete without providing recommendations or an action plan, this section will describe how best to approach this.
It is important to give the reader a summarized version of the access audit report, so that they can identify the key information quickly and accurately. The executive summary should be included at the beginning of the report and should highlight the main positive and negative accessibility features of the building and identify the key findings from the audit. According to Sawyer and Bright (2004) the executive summary "should also draw attention to issues of building operation and procedure and set out how the audit fits into the access improvements process. It is critical that the audit is seen in the context and as the first part of the process not the conclusion".
The first section of the access audit report should provide the reader with some background to access auditing. It may contain some definitions of access auditing as described in section 0 above. It will highlight the relevant legislation, standards and best practice that currently affect accessibility (Part M of the Building Regulations; Equality Legislation; Building for Everyone; etc). In general it will provide an overview and set the scene.
This section will highlight the purpose of the access audit, the scope of the audit, the approach to the study, equipment used in the audit, etc.
The purpose of this access audit is to assess the accessibility of the hospital's buildings and surroundings for all its users. The audit examined management issues, external environments, horizontal and vertical circulation, interior design, facilities, communication, and evacuation. The study aims to identify the positive and negative accessibility issues relating to the Cruz Hospital at 23 Roberts Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
There are a number of methods of assessing the built environment. These include an access audit or an access appraisal. The difference between the two is that for an audit the assessor assesses the existing building through a site visit while appraisals are produced from the analysis of plans. This study used the principle of access auditing to assess the accessibility of the building.
This part of the report should highlight the building type. Bright and Di Giulio (2001) describe building types in four distinct building categories/classifications of use. These are:
These should be described to the user and the user should then be made aware of what category the building type falls into.
The building category that these offices would fall into would be free entry/controlled movement. This means the building has a main or central entrance but control is needed in order to restrict people from various parts of the building.
This section should also describe the building in detail giving information on the layout, description of facilities and services offered and discussions on the main functions of the organisation.
It is important for both the auditor and client to understand who uses the building. This section will highlight who uses the building, what facilities people are using and at what time of the day people use the building.
Both employees and members of the public use Lee House. Approximately 65 members and 60 staff use the building on a daily basis. The building is also used for interviews, meetings, training days, seminars and meetings and, therefore, is used by a wide range of people with various abilities on a regular basis. The library-learning centre is open to all staff members but not members of the public. It was clear from the interviews that staff with disabilities and members of the public with disabilities use the building on a regular basis. The building is used between 9.00am and 5.00pm from Monday to Friday. On some occasions meetings take place in the evenings.
This section of the report is the core element of the access audit and highlights the main findings. Section 0 above lists the main criteria that need to be examined as part of a comprehensive access audit (e.g. external environment, facilities, information and publicity etc.). Once the audit has been completed the findings are inserted into the "Main Findings" section. The results can be in tabular or narrative format. This section should include the following:
So far the audit report should have listed the barriers that restrict people of all abilities using the building with safety, comfort and ease of use. The final part of the access audit should highlight the way forward for the client and inform them how they can overcome these barriers. This can be done in tabular or narrative format and it should contain:
For further details see examples below.
Section A highlights the concerns that have been identified with the main entrance. These include no handrails on the steps and lack of contrast between the steps and street paving. Redesign of this entrance should be considered which would incorporate moving the reception to a location that does not block circulation and providing an automatic door, which will eliminate having to go through two sets of double doors. Building for Everyone gives examples of how to design main entrances so as they are accessible for all. For further details see page 92 Entrances, page 95 Entrance lobbies and page 95 Reception areas and waiting rooms. Immediate action is required as the entrance is currently failing to comply with Part M of the Building Regulations and it is estimated that refurbishment will cost €2000.
|Reference||Feature||Action||Priority||Cost||Person Responsible||Date Completed||Checked By|
|Refer to relevant section of access audit||Correct configuration of accessible parking bays||Rearrange the accessible parking bays so that they are of the correct configuration||Immediate action - as failing to comply with legislation||€500 per accessible parking bay|
|Section x.x||Signage||Install accessible signage to identify the location of the Reception||Action to be implemented as soon as practicable||€45 per sign|
|Section x.x||Flooring in toilets||As part of building maintenance, replace the flooring with a slip-resistant surface. In the interim, provide hazard signs whenever the flooring is wet||Work to be included as part of maintenance programme||Further investigation required|