Business, Law & Money


Bureau Veritas has pledged its full support to the Government’s long-awaited response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s (WEC) inquiry into disability and the built environment – saying that the proposed provisions will go a long way in enabling improved access for all.

In April 2017, the Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) published ‘Building for Equality: Disability and the Built Environment’; a document which highlighted the challenges facing disabled people in accessing homes, public spaces and other buildings. The overall consensus was that the Government must take action to lead the charge in improving access and inclusion in the built environment.

Just a little under a year later, and the Government recently launched its response detailing a number of provisions and tactics designed to address the issues raised – which Bureau Veritas, a leading provider of building control services to developers and construction companies across the UK, has been quick to welcome.

Andy Lowe, technical director for Bureau Veritas’ Building Control division, comments: “This inquiry was incredibly significant, and is set to shape the continued development of Building Regulations to ensure that disabled people can easily access homes, buildings and public spaces.

“Having followed the inquiry closely over the past year, we very much welcome the Government’s recent response which affirms a considered and intelligent course of action which we believe will make a significant and positive impact.”

In terms of the key overall approach, the Government has asserted that it will meet the WEC’s call for a more concerted focus on ‘individual components of the policy framework’ by enhancing existing legislation and policy rather than bringing forward new strategies.

In response to concerns that Part M of the Building Regs is not based on the latest BS8300 code of practice, the Government has confirmed that the BRAC (The Building Regulations Advisory Committee) is already reviewing the guidance as necessary, along with other key stakeholders such as the Department for Transport.

Further key points included clarification that planning guidance will be strengthened by the revised National Planning Policy Framework (due to be published in summer 2018), to include aspects of inclusivity, and greater support for expertise in inclusive design for planning departments, enabled through increased fees and the recent 20% uplift in actual planning application fees.

Andy adds: “All in all it appears that the accessibility aspect of regulation is to be overhauled and standards updated in line with the latest research and we applaud that. It will bring much needed equality for disabled persons throughout the built environment. We look forward to seeing the impact of the various provisions as they come to fruition.”

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