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Core curriculum topic: Inclusive environments

To help you gain the skills you need to practise architecture now and in the future as a RIBA Chartered Member, we have defined 10 mandatory core curriculum topics to address through CPD.

The topic Inclusive environments covers the legislation and principles that apply to creating inclusive environments which meet the diverse needs of the people who want to use them. It also covers having the knowledge and skills to develop and implement inclusive design strategies and methods at all spatial scales.

Inclusive environments

This competency potentially covers:

The five principles of inclusive design (Design Council CABE)

  1. Diversity and difference, placing people at the heart of the design process
  2. Offer choice when a single design solution cannot accommodate all users
  3. Provision of flexibility in use
  4. Communities that offer plenty of services, facilities and open space
  5. Buildings and environments that are convenient and enjoyable for everyone to use

Four principles of an inclusive environment for built environment professionals from the Construction Industry Council

  1. Buildings, places and spaces that can be used easily, safely, and with dignity, by all of us, regardless of age, disability or gender
  2. Provides choice, is convenient and avoids unnecessary effort, separation or segregation
  3. Goes beyond meeting minimum standards or legislative requirements
  4. Recognises that we all benefit from improved accessibility

Legislation, regulations and best practice: understanding of

  • The Equality Act 2010
  • Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO)
  • Special Educational and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA)
  • The 12 protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act
  • Building regulations, including Approved Document M, K and B
  • British Standards: BS 8300: 2009 + A1: 2010, 9999:2016 and BS9266:2013
  • Design standards and policy
  • Principal guidance standards
  • National Planning Policy Frameworks and SPG’s
  • Fire safety strategy and legislation

Planning and placemaking: understanding of (and see also Places, Planning and Communities topic)

  • Equality and inclusion in placemaking
  • Accessible pedestrian environments and routes
  • Consultation of user groups
  • Design reviews and appraisal
  • Community consultation and engagement and working with user groups
  • Support for planning, including access statements
  • Accessible neighbourhoods, homes for life, wheelchair and specialist
  • Creation of safe places in which to play, socialise and participate
  • Creation of green spaces in proximity to where people live
  • Equitable placemaking, shaped by and for diverse communities

LLDC inclusive design strategy for the 2012 London Olympics

  • Planning neighbourhoods with facilities that allow a wide range of disabled and older people to live independently within a community
  • Social infrastructure that provide places for everyone to meet
  • Housing that caters to changing needs over a person’s lifetime
  • Suitable homes for wheelchair users that allow people, their equipment and their families to live together as a part of the community
  • Providing larger and affordable homes that can help create mixed, sustainable neighbourhoods
  • Accessible pedestrian routes designed to minimise travel distances
  • Accessible public toilets with separate baby changing facilities allowing all users to participate fully in community life
  • Street furniture that is positioned to create a feeling of confidence and security to allow especially people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s to move around confidently and independently
  • Designing out crime by creating public spaces that are overlooked and less isolated
  • External environments that ensure wayfinding for all

Buildings and places in use: understanding of:

  • Inclusive lighting design
  • Accessible information
  • Accessible bathrooms
  • Wayfinding and signage
  • Refurbishment of historic and listed buildings and access
  • Analysis of the building management policies against legislative requirements
  • Different buildings and their uses and users
  • Using plans and understanding building access
  • Special issues for fire, security and egress

Detail design

  • The use of colour and contrast and understanding Light Reflectance Values (LRV’s)
  • Acoustics and sound enhancement
  • Fixtures, fittings and equipment
  • Doors and ironmongery, receptions and other fixed furniture
  • Relevant product specification
  • Lifts, sizing and suitability
  • Accessible bedrooms (hotels and student accommodation)
  • Changing places
  • Sanitary and change facilities
  • Kitchens
  • Wayfinding, signage and communications

Understanding all users, and the nine protected characteristics with particular reference to people with disabilities

  • Designing for diverse community, age, gender, religion, race …
  • Designing for those with multiple or profound needs
  • Designing for an aging population
  • Designing for dementia
  • Cognitive accessibility
  • Designing for those with sensory impairments (people with hearing impairments and who are deaf and those with visual impairments or blind).
  • Designing for those with physical limitations, dexterity, ambulant disabilities and wheelchair users

Access statements and strategies

  • Understanding, writing and implementing access statements
  • Access statements and strategies and how to write them
  • Access auditing and the Equality Act
  • Access audits of existing schemes audit of existing premises
  • Design reviews of schemes

Find CPD on this topic

You must take two hours of CPD on this topic every year.

Find RIBA accredited CPD on Inclusive design through RIBA Academy.

Related courses include:

Find related CPD offered by our partners on the CPD Providers Network.

Podcasts, videos, articles, and other offers can also contribute towards your CPD requirements.

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