What the Access Statement should contain
The exact form of the Access Statement will depend on the size, nature and complexity of the building or space. However, each statement (in so far as it is relevant) should contain the following information.
1. A brief explanation of the policy and approach to access being adopted including reference to the inclusion of disabled people.
2. A description of how the sources of advice and technical guidance (relevant to the building and/or space its context and use) have been followed.
3. Details of any consultation planned and undertaken, including users and the degree of weight attached to it.
4. Details of any professional advice being followed including recommendations from access audits or appraisals.
5. An explanation of any specific issues effecting access to the particular building and/or space or service and details of any access solutions introduced to overcome them (including those which deviate from recognised sources of good practice.
6. Where good practice is not met, the Access Statement should say why and what the implications are for users.
7. Details of all management and maintenance practice necessary to maintain the accessibility of the building and/or space...
If appropriate to the size, nature and complexity of the building or space, a marked-up plan may be necessary illustrating routes into and out of the building and/or space, routes around it (both horizontal and vertical internal routes), access to car parking and public transport, and any other relevant features.
In the case of a new build, preparation of an Access Statement commences at the project brief stage as an expression of intent, but as the project develops, the statement is expanded to encompass planning, design, management and maintenance.
In the case of refurbishments of existing buildings and spaces the Access Statement will allow the designer to identify the constraints and opportunities of the existing features and show what measures have been taken to ensure that the building or space facilitates inclusion both in terms of any proposed physical features and management practices.
The Access Statement should ideally be a ‘living’ document. This means that it should be updated at every stage of development, and whenever there is a change to the building and/or space that will have an impact on access to the building or space for any of its users or potential users.
It is therefore recommended that as well as forming part of an application for approvals, any references to access issues, should be copied and held in a dedicated Access File for that building, space, premises, development or unit. It is also recommended that a designated individual should be identified as being responsible for its maintenance.
It is recommended that the Access Statement be developed and signed by a person that has the responsibility for employment and service provisions for the building. This person should be able to control and influence the use and maintenance of the building.
The Access Statement must be submitted to the Building Control Authority before formal approval of any Building Regulation application for commercial work.