Architectural and Build Services

Everyone needs to access historic places. It is everyone’s right to access their heritage place and culture. Unfortunately, not everyone can access historic places and buildings. Some people need guidance. What are ways of making heritage work for everyone? Thus, what must you do, as an owner and manager of heritage property, to make them more accessible by everyone?

 

You need to guide people on how to use heritage sites for their benefit. Moreover, you should commit yourself to creating a conducive environment that makes it possible for anyone to access your building. A heritage site should be all-inclusive. People, despite their disabilities, should not have a hard time accessing a site.

Making heritage work for everyone can be a tough call, though. On the one hand, you want to preserve the special and valuable qualities of a building, landscape or townscape. On the other hand, you want to ensure no-one is left out.

True. It is important to preserve your building from decaying and deteriorating. However, you also need to lift barriers that prevent people from accessing every facility, services and information within and without your building. Be sure to make your visitors feel more welcome and free.

Making Heritage Work for People with Disabilities

The elderly, people with learning disabilities, parents and small children should access historic buildings and sites with ease. Besides, people with autism, people with sensory or mobility disabilities and people with temporary disabilities because of injury or sickness should access your property without difficulty.

The Disability Discrimination Act has provisions for people with disabilities. However, the buck of maintaining a historic site and altering it according to the Building Regulations stops with you.

In this regard, let us look at some ways property owners and managers can remove the barriers to ensure everyone enjoys access to historic places and buildings.

Install Appropriate Signage

People with learning disabilities face a hard time to interpret symbols, especially if they are inconsistent. It is even worse if there are no symbols at all. Thus, ensure that your buildings contain signs that are symbols, which are clear and big.

Making heritage work
Above: A signage indicating the direction of exit in case of fire emergency

A user needs to understand the role of symbols in different spaces of your site. For example, signage indicating where to sit or where to spit. Besides, you can employ colour coding to guide people to various sections of your property.

Thus, paint walls and floors with colours of contrasting shades. Try to space the signs as much as possible to avoid crowding. Also, be sure to use large and simple text fonts, which contrast to accompany the symbols and pictures.

Hire and Train Personnel

As a property manager, you need skilful personnel who can understand and exploit people’s needs and wants. Remember that same standard do not apply to every site. Thus, ensure you train your staff properly and ensure that they are aware of the potential pitfalls of conventional standards. They should also be aware of people with disabilities. This is especially so when a visitor requires personal assistance.

Insert Portable and Removable Aids

Sometimes, it is not necessary to install permanent aids, especially if visitors use them rarely. It is understandable that you cannot access every technology and that you may have budget constraints. However, no man is an island. Ensure you consult with stakeholders and user groups. They will help you identify problems and assess possible solutions.

Adopt Flexible Plans and Initiatives

Visitors have different needs and want. It may not be possible to address all these problems while renovating and maintaining the property. Thus, you need to be careful not to destroy the building’s fabric in the name of enhancing accessibility; hence, preserve architectural heritage.

Sadly, though, if you own an old building like a military fort or castle, it may be impossible to make every part accessible. The building designers intended that they should not be accessible. Otherwise, you risk damaging the architectural heritage of the building.

In conclusion, do not simply alter your historic structure without considering its aesthetic value. You may have the urge to provide for accessibility and social inclusion, but be careful to preserve the architectural heritage and fabric of your property. Making heritage work for everyone means small children and people with disabilities can access your building.

Here at Hanzo Design, we can offer you clues and strategies of how you are going to remove the barriers that prevent everyone from getting the most out of your building. We will guide you on how you can preserve the architectural beauty of your building, townscape or landscape. Be sure to contact us, and we will be happy to serve you wholeheartedly.

 

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