A new standard released by the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) for improving and maintaining accessibility and inclusion for disabled people in the built environment, has been welcomed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
The standard, stems from an initiative announced by the government and the Mayor aimed at improving accessibility following the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Built Environment Professional Education Project (BEPE), funded by Department for Work and Pensions, Greater London Authority and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, is a five year project and forms part of the 10 year Olympic legacy programme to realise lasting change, which includes championing inclusive design, considered a gold standard for accessibility.
Following the development of the standards, the Mayor Boris Johnson said:
“I welcome the BIFM’s work to change its professional standards to explicitly address the access needs of disabled people. This will embed access and inclusion into the thinking of facilities management professionals in order to make a real difference to disabled people’s lives. This is a direct legacy of the trailblazing work undertaken throughout the delivery of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games to ensure that venues and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park were designed to be fully accessible.”
Mark Harper MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, said:
“London’s Paralympics have undoubtedly helped shift attitudes and perceptions towards disabled people. That also included recognising that disabled people should be able to have the same access to buildings and sporting stadiums as everyone else – which we saw with the award-winning Olympic Stadium where so many memories were made.
“I am delighted the British Institute of Facilities Management has put inclusive design in its professional standards. I want to see the architects and planners of the future be able to put accessibility at the heart of their designs – and I’ll be working with professional bodies and academics to make that happen.”
The standard will form part of BIFM’s FM Professional Standards Framework with new units on the topic in the BIFM Qualifications in Facilities Management. It will raise awareness of the issue of inaccessibility and drive an improvement in environments so that they become fully inclusive and enabling for all users.
Gareth Tancred, CEO of BIFM, and member of the BEPE Board, said:
“The BEPE initiative is all about going beyond legislation, to really inclusive and accessible work and leisure environments, so that disabled and elderly people can fully participate in our society. FM is fundamental to that and we are proud to be leading the way by setting out the professional standard to drive adoption and delivery in this area.
“I have personally seen many touching examples that inclusive FM practice can make on an individual’s life but unfortunately that is not necessarily the norm. We believe that adhering to the basic levels of practice set out by the law is simply not enough. FM must go beyond compliance if we are to create truly inclusive environments.”