In news

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published new guidance to ensure that inclusion and accessibility are considered at every stage of the design and construction process.  

The result of a multidisciplinary collaboration - including input from people with lived experience and experts from 25 built environment professions - the Inclusive Design Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work aligns with RIBA’s commitment to making the built environment accessible and welcoming for everyone.  

The guidance is intended to be widely understood and used by anyone involved in the built environment sector; it assigns clear responsibilities and tasks to the different roles involved in a building project – including client, project management, design, construction, and asset management teams.  

RIBA defines Inclusive Design as: 

  • Inclusive design seeks to create buildings and spaces that welcome everyone, regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender, health condition, disability, ethnicity, or religion. It means considering the needs of people with physical, cognitive and sensory impairments, including neurodivergence and dementia.  

  • Inaccessible design can systematically exclude people. Designing with human diversity in mind can remove barriers to access across the places people work, visit and live.  

  • Inclusive design is about more than buildings and the space around them. Enabling everyone to participate equally, confidently and independently in everyday activities is vital to creating a sense of belonging and making society more equitable.   

  • An accessible built environment is also vital for improving sustainability, as it is used more efficiently and is more flexible and adaptable for different users and uses.  

RIBA President Simon Allford said:   

“RIBA serves our members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities, and a sustainable environment – and inclusion is at the heart of this. The Inclusive Design Overlay will help not only our members but other design professionals to support wider communities, placemaking, and buildings, by designing for everyone.” 

Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy at Disability Rights UK said “This commitment to creating inclusive buildings and environments is very much welcomed. Disabled people make up over 20% of the population and it is essential that housing, workplaces, public buildings, retail and public spaces are all shaped with us in mind.”    

Find out more here.