Research into the Effectiveness of Design and Access Statements in Wales

Since their introduction, DAS have been subject to praise, criticism and discussion. Many good designers produce design and access statements as a matter of course.

19th December 2012

Since their introduction, DAS have been subject to praise, criticism and discussion. Many good designers produce design and access statements as a matter of course. However, Access Groups have concerns about the effectiveness of the statements. It is considered from the information we have already that the perceived issues associated with DAS can be grouped into three areas:

• Delivery – that DAS have not delivered accessible quality outcomes;

• Complexity – that design and access statements have further complicated the system including validation; which adds delay to the planning application process and has led to inconsistencies between authorities;

• Duplication – that other regimes could be better mechanisms for improving delivery of some aspects of good design.

The Welsh Government’s Framework for Action on Independent Living went out to consultation on 20th September 2012. Under priority 6 of the framework, a review of DAS as a tool for achieving accessibility, including examining how DAS sits along side Building Regulations Access requirements is recommended. TAN 22 was introduced as the sustainable buildings policy to act as a stepping stone until Building Regulations, devolved in December 2011, have been reviewed by the Welsh government. TAN 22 sets an expectation of BREEAM ‘very good’ with an ‘excellent’ score for energy for non-domestic building and Code for Sustainable Homes score level 3 with extra credits for energy in new housing.For these reasons, the purpose of this research will be to gather evidence on the: effectiveness of design and access statements in influencing the final design of proposed developments as part of the planning application process; key perceived issues noted above and any other barriers to the delivery of good design through the mechanism of DAS; and to consider improvements to DAS or alternative mechanisms, including the role of future building regulations’ requirements.

The objective is to explore the effectiveness of the design and access statements, by reviewing current practice focussing on Delivery, Duplication and Complexity.

For more information visit the Sell2Wales website

Closing date for submissions is 4th February 2013