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Educational and Residential Buildings

Complex premises, such as schools and colleges, often consist of separate buildings built at different times with varying floor levels, presenting a challenge in terms of positioning of new lifts to maximise access to the upper floors. Our audits of this building type prioritise the improvements, so that the initial spending tackles the highest priority barriers to full access. For residential buildings, means of escape from bedrooms must be taken into account, because of the extra time a person with a disability will need to make their escape to a place of safety. We work closely with the building managers to devise workable access schemes within the required budget.

The Hurst Clun Shropshire The Hurst Clun ShropshireThe Arvon Foundation runs residential writing courses at this rural retreat in the former home of the playwright John Osborn. Purcell Architects' scheme to upgrade the buildings will include eight accessible bedroom suites within the listed main house and the clock house. We have advised on the location of these accessible bedrooms and on the strategy to provide accessible paths through the wooded grounds.

London Arts Music and Drama Academy London Arts Music and Drama Academy Jane Toplis Associates carried out an access audit of the West London headquarters of this prestigious theatre school and joined the design team as access consultants for Niall McLaughlin Architects' £6 million new-build extension. The scheme includes three floors of drama studios and a new theatre, and has received planning permission. Image © NMLA.

Cheltenham Ladies CollegeCheltenham Ladies College We collaborated with the Access Consultancy on the audit of this prominent independent girls school in Cheltenham and audited the whole campus, including several listed buildings.

Somerville College, OxfordSomerville College Oxford This pair of new-build residential blocks by Niall McLaughlin Architects are on a very thin site along the boundary of the existing Grade II* listed college compound. Our role as access consultants included an access audit of the college library, which adjoins one of the new blocks and in future will share lift access with the new residential building. The contactors  completed the works in 2012. Image © NMLA.