In principle, buildings should be accessible for everyone. In practice, however, disabled people or people with additional needs are often confronted with many obstacles. The first of these are encountered in the car park and on approaching the building. They then have to struggle with electronic or mechanical entry systems and, once inside the building, find doorways that are too narrow or doors that are difficult to open. There may be thresholds, varying floor levels or floors that are too smooth, or perhaps not smooth enough. Sometimes a lack of handrails is the problem, or too little space for manoeuvring (particularly in cubicles).
There are many facilities that can make life easier for disabled people. Switches and control systems (e.g. for heating, lighting and blinds) and sanitary facilities that are easy to operate are examples, as are clear tactile, visual and audio signposting solutions and internal communication systems.
When designing a building, it is important that you are able to put yourself in the position of disabled users of the building. This is not an easy thing to do, as there are many forms and degrees of disability. Some people have difficulty controlling their movements, while others are wheelchair users, or are deaf or blind. Others may be suffering from a temporary ailment, such as a broken leg. However, no matter how difficult the task may be, everyone deserves to be supported by the buildings they use.