Great design is inclusive from the start

For your development to be truly sustainable it will need to go beyond simply satisfying the minimum requirements of legislation. You will need an inclusive design team that understands people; their needs, concerns, what they really want from an environment and the experience they will have within it.

The long-held view that designing for disabled people is sufficient doesn’t take into account the wider range of considerations you need to make, for example suitability for older people or families? Although diverse, the unifying aspect is that we’re all people – and will have different requirements throughout our lives.

Setting inclusive design standards

By planning for inclusivity from the outset our inclusivity designers can deliver high quality environments that meet the needs of your users and integrating this service into both the design and management strategies of your project.

We are thought leaders and have experience of working at the strategic level of planning. As part of our masterplanning role for the Olympic Park and its legacy we wrote the award-winning Inclusive Design Standards for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. These were subsequently praised as ‘the most accessible games ever’. More recently, we are involved in the £4 billion Brent Cross Development, where we have successfully integrated our strategy document across a number of separate developments.

Many skills, one team

At the same time we work effectively to support multi-disciplinary design teams delivering complex projects such as the Haramain High-Speed Rail in Saudi Arabia. Here we worked alongside our structural engineersbuilding services (MEP) engineers, and infrastructure teams, not only addressing contractual compliance with standards, but also delivering a high quality passenger experience.

You will need a team that understands the concept of universal design; the needs and concerns of people, what they want from an environment and the experience they will have within it.

Our inclusive design services include:


  • Strategic masterplanning advice
  • Consultation/engagement with disabled people/ user groups
  • Code compliance monitoring
  • Support for planning, including access statements
  • Design reviews and appraisal
  • Analysis of the building management policies against inclusivity legislative requirements
  • Access audits of existing buildings
  • Development of inclusive design standards and policies
  • Inclusive design and management training

There are now many examples of built projects that demonstrate best practice, such as the award winning Library for Birmingham designed by Mecanoo Architects. Buro Happold’s Inclusive Design team provided access advice throughout the design and planning process, helping to make the library an exemplar [of inclusive design] as per the client’s brief.”

Julie Fleck, Office for Disability Issues, Department for Work and Pensions

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