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Dementia and the use of the access audit: Identifying reasonable adjustment to buildings across all disabilities
This paper is part of the author's investigation of disabled access to goods and services, to assess whether current legislation, policing of that legislation and the processes adopted to facilitate the terms of the legislation are delivering as intended. Signs of dementia are often hidden, but they meet Equality Act definitions for the term ‘disability’. Dementia creates conditions that can make the use of buildings difficult. Having established the statutory position for providing equal access to goods and services, this paper looks at the building block of any access strategy — the access audit. Access audit templates are often used to undertake the survey part of an access strategy. These often refer directly to guide documents and standards. The paper investigates whether these templates, guides and standards contain the specific checklist items required to provide equal access for those living with dementia. It then measures some of the most commonly used guide documents and templates against a specific checklist for dementia, to see how the required adjustments are included. The research concludes by access auditing two case study buildings against the dementia checklist. The buildings have been significantly adjusted to offer enhanced disability access and the audit will establish if core adjustments for dementia are included among those measures. Unfortunately, the paper concludes by noting that in these case studies, they mostly have not.
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Simon Mclean is a Programme Director for Building Surveying at University of Salford, UK.