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Thumbs Up to Improve Inclusivity

04 December 2013 | Updated 01 January 1970

Six leading professional institutes have signed up to a new government backed education project to promote accessibility in the built environment, as part of the International Day of Disabled People, including the British Institute of Facilities Management.

The inspiration for this step was given greater momentum following the success of London 2012, seen as ‘the most accessible Games ever’. It is recognised as having stimulated a drive to ensure that all buildings, places and spaces are designed ‘inclusively’ for the future.  

The importance of inclusive design will increase for facilities management professionals as the proportion of people over 65 expands and as older people strive to retain their independence and dignity as they age, many of whom will continue to live in our cities.  The number of people over 65 in the UK is set to increase by 49% over the next 20 years, to 16.4 million.  

Using London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Park and venues as an exemplar of inclusive design, the Built Environment Professional Education Project (BEPE) aims to change the education and training of built environment professionals so that their work is fully inclusive from the outset. 

BEPE is being funded by Department for Work and Pensions, Greater London Authority and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Within 10 years, nearly one third of all built environment professionals will be proficient in inclusive design. 

Gareth Tancred, Chief Executive, BIFM, stated: “We are delighted to support this great initiative. The BIFM looks forward to working with partner institutes to ensure that the access needs of older and disabled people are met to achieve inclusive access for all. We have been supporting members in understanding the importance of inclusive access for many years. This support is crucial as facilities managers are at the forefront of making their buildings accessible to all; their role helps improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through improved access and workplace conditions.”

Other professional institutes that have signed up to the project include the Royal Institute of British Architects, Institution of Civil Engineers and the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 04 December 2013


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