Public Space, Urban Design, Landscape
From the moment a person leaves their home, they are within the public domain. Ensuring that spaces work for all, whether a park, street or curtilage of a site, the legislation has a variety of demands.
In the UK the main legislative influence on external spaces is the Equality Act (EA) and to some degree health & safety and planning legislation. The main query with external spaces is the lack of statutory and best practice guidance. Building Regulations only applies to routes to the main entrance from any site boundary and parking or drop off positions. There are a number of key best practice documents, such as, BS8300 and guidance from the Department for Transport but these cover only a limited number of elements.
A new British Standard is being developed for external spaces to alleviate some of the lack of guidance, although this is unlikely to be published until 2016. However, Jane is a member of the drafting board and is fully aware of progress.
There are various ways in which JSA can assist; we can undertake risk assessments, or ensure usability of elements of the external environment. An assessment is conducted against the full diversity of people, whether they have sensory or cognitive impairments, have a mobility or dexterity disability, or, are young or old; taking into consideration site conditions and budget constraints.