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Inclusive design

Inclusive design is when a buildings external spaces other than homes are designed in a way that allows everyone to use them no matter what their needs.

This is designing for people who:

  • have physical, sight or hearing difficulties
  • have mental health or learning disabilities
  • can't walk far because of an injury or illness
  • are old or frail; or
  • have young children

Inclusive design should be considered by developers at the beginning of the design process, and remain an important part throughout.

What can you do?

Building Standards

There is a range of standards that apply to buildings. These include providing:

  • access up to, into and within the building
  • accessible toilets
  • safe escape routes; and
  • communication equipment and appropriate signage (including induction-loop, infrared and radio-transmission systems).

These items should be considered before applying for a building warrant. A building warrant is required to carry out most building work, including altering and extending buildings.  

Get help or do-it-yourself

You should ask a specialist designer or access consultant to help prepare your plans if you don't have the knowledge or experience needed. Before you send us your plans, please contact us. One of our Building Standards surveyors will be happy to meet with you to discuss any inclusive design issues.

Advice on producing access statements is available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

Additional guidance is available in the Scottish Association of Building Standards Managers' Inclusive design handbook. You can get a copy from your local Planning and Building Standards office. It challenges designers to think about everyone when designing facilities.

For more information contact Planning and Building Standards Headquarters.