Universal accessibility is a key concept stating all environments should be accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. Everybody is different and there is no ‘average’ person. As a result universal accessibility will benefit all, because people with disabilities, people of small or tall stature, parents with buggies, delivery persons and so forth will have greater access to the built environment.

Creating built environments and facilities that are accessible to all is a right protected by law in Australia. It is an indispensable pre-requisite for social inclusion, focusing on equal opportunity and diversity.

Accessibility to the built environment affects a large number of people within society in their day-to-day normal life, concerning their safety and physical, mental and social well being. Even a single step can deny entry to a person pulling a suitcase on wheels, or a person using a wheelchair or pose a safety hazard to anyone with impaired vision.

Definitions

Built environments - are those that have been created or modified, such as buildings, streetscapes, sports grounds, parks and gardens, transport facilities and the like. The term also includes fixtures, equipment, services, communiocations and other facilities.

Accessibility - Environments with greater accessibility are those that are easier, safer and more enjoyable to reach, use, experience and move around in.

Access Consultants - are those who offer advisory or other services in relation to accessible environments. Services include accessibility appraisals, audits, design, research, training, information on codes, and advice on good practice in accessibility.