Ensure that public premises are accessible to and usable by all customers
If a customer or potential customer is unable to access and use a retail premises, they are likely to be disinclined or unable to purchase the products and services it provides. A building that is inviting and designed to be comfortable in its use by the widest range of people possible is critical to enabling as many customers as possible to buy new products and service or retain existing customer loyalty.
Directions and techniques
Follow universal design guidance for buildings (high priority)
The National Disability Authority publication ‘Building for everyone: Inclusion, access and use’ contains detailed guidance on all aspects of universal design of the built and external environment. The key issues for consideration are covered by this set of guidance documents, including the following:
- Management: Access handbook, access and safety,
responsibilities and commitment
- Transport: Getting to the building, location, set down
- External Environment: car parking, routes, ramps, steps
- Vertical and Horizontal Circulation: steps and stairs,
lifts, corridors and internal doors
- Facilities: reception, toilets, seating areas, changing
rooms, restaurants and refreshments
- Interior Design: lighting, colour and contrast,
- Evacuation: emergency equipment, alarms, signage,
evacuation equipment, evacuation plans
- Communication Facilities: signage, telephones, tactile
More detailed information on buildings accessibility is available on the built environment section of this website.
Building regulations concerning access should be complied with. These cover physical layout, signage, maintenance and cleaning practices, presence of customer service representatives, and so on.
In Ireland, ‘Part M of the Building Regulations’ is the collective term used to refer to the regulations that address access to and use of the built environment. Existing buildings must comply with the Building Regulations 1997 2010. Design specifications can be found in ‘Technical Guidance Document M: Access for People with Disabilities 2000’. Buildings built on or after 1st January 2012 must comply with ‘Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2010’. The new design specifications for these regulations can be found in ‘Building Regulations 2010: Technical Guidance Document M: Access and Use’.