Improving the accessibility of buildings and taking into account standard occupational health and safety provisions (such as handrails on stairs) will help meet the access needs of residents with disability and make life easier for many without. Physical accessibility also relates to recreational facilities, access between residences, parking bays and linkages with public transport, fire, evacuation, health, safety and security provision.
Accessibility can be in-built at very little additional cost, during refurbishment and new construction. Accessibility features might include, for example, any of the following:
- accessible rooms for wheelchair users or those with mobility difficulties
- full access to leisure and other facilities, for example, adjustable-height work surfaces in kitchens
- accessible rooms situated in and among other rooms in a range of accommodation so that students can both choose the style of accommodation they prefer, and live near their friends
- larger rooms for those with additional technology, with plenty of power points
- ensuring televisions in common rooms have Teletext
- contrasting paint colours for doors and corridors
- accessible parking spaces.
It is unlikely that every need can be anticipated, so set funds aside for extra adjustments such as:
- private fridges to store drugs
- Braille markings on microwaves etc
- extra shelving for Braille materials
- flashing light or other alerts for hearing-impaired students
- run for a guide dog
- adaptations to fire and other emergency procedures
- training for staff and other students in, for example, supporting someone having an epileptic seizure.