PAN 78: Planning and Building Standards Advice Note: Inclusive Design

Advice on improving the design of places so that they can be used by everyone, regardless of age, gender or disability.


Scottish Parliament at HolyroodInformation & Organisations

1. Information

The purpose of this section is to provide an introduction to the information and resources that are available to all parties involved in developing the built environment.

Disability Legislation


  • Scottish Executive planning documents
    The Scottish Executive publishes a wide range of policy and advice relating to the workings of the Scottish planning system. Such documents are available free of charge from the Executive's website at .
    Some planning publications may be available in hard copy. Please contact the Scottish Executive Planning Division on 08457 741 741
  • Scottish Building Standards Agency Technical Handbooks - guidance on compliance with Scottish building standards
    Relevant when applying for a building warrant, or carrying out other work that is subject to the building standards, the Domestic and Non-domestic Technical Handbooks are the principal reference sources for compliance with the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004. These give the functional standards that a building must meet to comply with building regulations and offer guidance, citing the most common means of meeting these standards.

    The documents are divided into seven sections, with accessibility issues being addressed within Section 4 (Safety), Section 3 (Environment) and Section 2 (Fire). A revision of standards relating to accessibility and use of buildings is being planned for May 2007.

    These documents, and a range of other helpful publications, are available to download from the Agency website at .
  • British Standards Institute (2001) " BS8300: 2001 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people - Code of practice"
    This publication should be a key reference for anyone considering the needs of disabled people when designing new buildings, or altering existing ones. The document considers the design of buildings and the spaces surrounding them up to the site boundary. The recommendations in this standard are based on user trials and validated desk top studies which formed part of a research project commissioned in 1997 and 2001 by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The document was last revised in June 2005. This is available at a charge from the British Standards Institute
  • Department for Transport (2002) "Inclusive Mobility: A Guide to Best Practice on Access
    to Pedestrian and Transport Infrastructure"

    This publication brings together good practice from around the world on making the pedestrian environment more accessible to disabled people.
    The pedestrian environments, including public open spaces, are the links between buildings. The design and management of pedestrian environments is key
    to many disabled peoples ability to move around easily and safely. This document gives technical design advice on most aspects of the design of this environment and should be the first point of reference for streetscape and landscape designers. The bibliography contains a useful list of reference material. This publication can be downloaded
    free of charge at
  • City of Edinburgh Council (2004) "Access to the Built Environment"
    This document was produced by the City of Edinburgh Council to ensure that development proposals and streetscape works provide a barrier free, accessible environment for all, including disabled people, children, parents and older people. The document also provides guidance for property owners and agents on adaptations for access provision within Edinburgh's historic environment. This document describes key principles which should be considered when adapting an environment and refers to technical documents, such as BS8300:2001 and the Department of Transports guide on Inclusive Mobility. The publication can be downloaded free of charge from the City of Edinburgh Council website
  • Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (2004) "Inclusive Projects"
    This guide offers good practice advice on how all participants in the development process can contribute to the delivery of a high quality inclusive environment that provides access to all members of society, including disabled people. In particular the document gives guidance on writing a project brief to ensure inclusive design principles are included from the outset and it introduces the concept of an "Access Champion". The guide gives information on what should be considered at key stages throughout the design and construction process. This publication can be downloaded free of charge at
  • Disability Rights Commission (2004) Access Statements
    This is a guide on how to write access statements. Access statements are written to justify how a design will address inclusive design issues. These statements can also be used to justify deviation from recognised standards or, in the case of an alteration to an existing building, justify why a barrier to access cannot be improved. This publication can be downloaded free of charge from the DRC.
  • Fieldfare Trust (1997) "Countryside for All Good Practice Guide: A good practice guide to countryside access for disabled people"
    The Accessibility Standards in this publication remain a benchmark for good practice in meeting needs of disabled people seeking access to the countryside. The standards provide practical advice to countryside access managers on how to develop and manage accessible paths through all countryside environments. The publication was last revised
    in 2005. The original document was based on the findings of the BT Countryside for All project between 1993 and 1997. This publication can be ordered online for a charge at the fieldfare trust website.
  • CADW Welsh Historic Monuments (2002) "Overcoming the Barriers: Providing Physical Access to Historic Buildings"
    The primary aim of this document is to demonstrate to local authorities who consider applications to alter historic buildings and service providers who deliver services from historic buildings that it is possible to improve access to their services while respecting the historic fabric of the building. This document provides guiding principles rather than prescriptive standards.
    This publication can be downloaded free of charge from the CADW website.
  • English Heritage (2004) Easy Access to Historic Buildings
    This English Heritage access policy document builds on the 1999 edition. The document describes the process and issues which should be considered, when improving access to listed buildings. The document reflects changes in thinking on improving access to listed buildings. It also reflects changes in Part M of the English Building Regulations, which in 2004 for the first time applied when altering existing building and the publication of BS8300:2001. Being a policy document this English Heritage publication is more strategic than technical but there is already a lot of technical good practice guidance on creating accessible environments. The case studies and interpretation of reasonableness in balancing the character of listed buildings with improving access is extremely useful.
    This publication can be downloaded free of charge from the English Heritage website
  • English Heritage (2005) Easy Access to Historic Landscapes
    This publication was written by the sensory trust and was funded by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, with advice from Historic Scotland, the National Trust, Countryside Agency and the Historic Houses Association. The document was produced to help owners and managers to make their historic landscapes more accessible. This document is also aimed at designers, planners and policy makers. The key aim of the document is to reconcile improving accessibility with conservation interests. This is a useful policy document which should be read alongside technical documents such as BS8300 and the Fieldfare Trust publication Countryside for All.
    This publication can be downloaded free of charge from the Historic Scotland website.

2. Organisations

This section gives a summary of organisation websites which may be helpful when developing inclusive design Strategies.

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee ( DPTAC)

DPTAC advises the UK government on access for disabled people to transport and the built environment. There are a series of different publications including Inclusive Projects which can be downloaded from the website.

Disability Rights Commission ( DRC) Source of legal advice and information.

Historic Scotland administers the statutory powers and duties of Scottish Ministers to prepare the schedules of ancient monuments and to list buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

Further information on listed buildings, listed building consent, scheduled ancient monuments and scheduled ancient monument consent can be found at

Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland ( MACS)

MACS advises Scottish Ministers on the interests of disabled people in the formation of transport policies. MACS produces some guidance for transport operators which is available on their website. Technical disabled people's transport matters are dealt with by DPTAC.

National Register of Access Consultants ( NRAC)

The NRAC is the only recognised body to accredit access consultants. An online register of members is available on its website.

Centre for Accessible Environments ( CAE) A charity concerned with the practicalities of inclusive design in the built environment. CAE provides information, design guidance, training and consultancy services.

Royal National Institute for the Blind ( RNIB) Scotland

Royal National Institute for Deaf People ( RNID) Scotland

Scottish Disability Equality Forum ( SDEF)

The umbrella body for most access panels in Scotland with an online directory of panels.

The Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh


Tom Lister


Enquiries about the content of this Planning Advice Note should be addressed to Sue Stirling, Scottish Executive Development Department, Planning, 2-H, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ (0131 244 7148) or by e-mail to: Further copies may be obtained by telephoning 0131 244 7543. A copy of this PAN is also available on the Scottish Executive planning website at



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