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Access to commercial buildings, goods, services and employment

AdrianTagg
AdrianTagg Community member Posts: 8 Connected
edited August 2023 in Research and opportunities

Hello,

I am Adrian Tagg, an Associate Professor in Building Surveying at the University of Reading, I have an active research interest in disability in the context of accessing commercial buildings. In 2020 I published a report on research into Public and Commercial Attitudes to Disability in the Built Environment [ Public-and-Commercial-Attitudes-to-Disability-in-the-BE.pdf (ucem.ac.uk) ]. The findings overwhelmingly identified that:

·      Only those that recognise as having physical or mental impairment or those caring for someone with a physical or mental impairment can truly comment on the suitability of access provision to buildings, goods or services;

 

·      There is commercial and social value in providing an inclusive environment and

 

·      Commercial investors as well as those delivering goods and services should choose opportunity over obligation in the delivery of above legal minimum compliance regarding building access.

There is currently an obligation on commercial building owners and those delivering goods, services and providing employment to make ‘reasonable adjustment’ to facilitate this. This appears to place an emphasis on what is ‘reasonable’ to the service provider when it is the experiences of those with disability that really matter.

In order to move forward with developing appropriate access solutions, this needs to be driven by those who experience difficulties with accessing buildings, goods, services and employment.     

I have devised a questionnaire that seeks to understand the disability specific requirements for accessing goods, services and employment. It can be completed by a person who is disabled, or their carer. The questionnaire is directed to obtain responses from the person who is disabled. It is quite a long survey but it is important to obtain the opinions of those with a physical or mental impairment. This is based on INDIVIDUAL experience and needs for access concerning:

 

·      Essential Adjustment (personal critical needs for access).

 

·      Reasonable Adjustment (personal minimal or standard needs for access)

 

·      Desirable Adjustment ("nice to have" access requirements)

 

·      Optional Adjustment or N/A (not necessary or relevant for personal disability).

 

I appreciate your contribution and it is important to collect the best possible data. The survey has been distributed to over 50 charities and organisations representing a wide range of disabilities with a maximum of 15,000 responses permitted.

 

The survey will close on the 31st August 2023 or when 15,000 responses are received.

 

 The long-term aim is to use the results of the survey to drive change in commercial attitudes to creating an inclusive environment.

 

To access the survey please use the following link:

 

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BWG6P62

  

 Thank you

 

Adrian.   


Comments

  • Hannah_Scope
    Hannah_Scope Posts: 7,093 Disability Gamechanger

    The above post has been moderated and checked by the Scope Community Team

    The research and opportunities category is the only online community category that permits the publishing of an email, contact number or survey link.  

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  • AdrianTagg
    AdrianTagg Community member Posts: 8 Connected
    Thanks Hannah and there have been a number of responses to the online survey which I will be delighted to share once the data collection and analysis has been done. It will however be no surprise to know that initial data indicates that nearly 2 in 3 people with a disability DISAGREE that commercial buildings, goods and services are fully accessible. My previous research has identified a 'perception gap' (not dissimilar to the perception gap research of Scope). In summary those without a disability or those not caring for someone with a disability perceive access to commercial buildings, goods and services to be better than those with a disability. This is important as presently it is the service providers who have to make reasonable adjustment to facilitate access....how can they if they do not have experiential understanding of disability? Anyone completing the survey will add weight to what is a reasonable adjustment for those with disability and their specific access needs
  • JessieJ
    JessieJ Community member Posts: 405 Pioneering
    Many years ago, I & a few other people with varying disabilities, hearing & vision impairment, wheelchair user etc., were invited to a newly built & fitted out Sainsbury's supermarket. We were asked to go through the whole store & note any things that could be changed or improved for disabled. 

    I was in my wheelchair & found the deli, butchery etc., had reflections on the glass frontage that blocked me seeing the foods on display. They did actually take note & called me back in so they could adjust the lighting to put it right, so it was completely visible for all. There were a few other things that had been pointed out & they changed &/or adapted those too.

    For the life of me, I can't remember how we were chosen & called in, but it really was a super idea & one that I'd often thought & said about long before & I have often wondered if that is still carried out & do hope it is, although, it definitely won't be across the board, as some places are awful.

    Have you, @AdrianTagg or anybody else reading this, come across this happening now with new build commercial premises?
  • Jimm_Scope
    Jimm_Scope Posts: 2,285 Scope online community team
    edited August 2023
    I filled in the above survey but on the very first question when I tried to fill in other it said I hadn't answered it :P I assume just a mistake in the form formatting ^^

    Edit: It also forced me to answer the unemployment questions despite being  employed!
    They/Them, however they are no wrong pronouns with me so whatever you feel most comfortable with
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  • AdrianTagg
    AdrianTagg Community member Posts: 8 Connected
    Hi @Jimm_Scope, thanks for completing the questionnaire and I don't know why these two questions did not work for you. I've gone into the set up and it seems OK as well as going to the users side and it seems to work too. Sorry to hear you've experienced a couple of glitches, despite this your opinions on what is a reasonable adjustment to facilitate access to goods, services and employment are hugely valued, they will contribute to the findings.
  • AdrianTagg
    AdrianTagg Community member Posts: 8 Connected
    Hi @JessieJ, the notion of asking those with disability to critique access to a new build supermarket is simply brilliant and even more surprising that changes were made, therefore not just a check box exercise...so much of inclusive design is about listening to the experiences of those with disability. The truth is (believe it or not), a new build commercial property should be accessible. With the example you give, this is the service provider actually focusing on their role, they probably assumed that the actual building (parking, entrance, doors, circulation etc.) is already step free and accessible. Providing access to goods, services and employment requires a) the physical building to be accessible  and b) the service provided to be accessible. For example and cinema might be step free for a blind wheelchair user but there's no point if the film does not have an audio description, the end service is not accessible. 

    My research is looking firstly at whether buildings are accessible, if this is the case then there's little opportunity for service providers or employers to blame the building for not facilitating an inclusive environment. Depending on the outcome of the research, the next phase of this should be a pilot study to join accessible buildings with accessible service providers. This chooses opportunity over obligation and a collective cooperative of commercially accessible service providers creates a win/win for society and business. 

    Your comments so far have been most welcome and I'd encourage anyone else reading this to pop over to the "Research & Opportunities" page of this forum to complete the survey. Currently the responses are in the hundreds where as numbers in the thousands add much more weight to the findings.     
  • JessieJ
    JessieJ Community member Posts: 405 Pioneering
    Hi @AdrianTagg, it was a great experience & really, it is how it should work, if, going by what you say, the service provider was the team that pulled that together, it worked & so did they.

    I hope you do get a lot more folk to fill in your survey. I filled it in before I posted here.

Brightness

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