The Paralympic Games finishes today and after a fantastic 12 days of sporting events, our network lead for the Kier Ability Network Alex Conway, tells us how the Paralympics have directly led to accessibility and inclusion regulations today.
"The Paralympics have become the world's number one sporting event when it comes to driving social inclusion. And this reaches far beyond the stadium; over the years, the Paralympics have challenged people's beliefs around disability.
At the same time, cities submitting bids to host the Paralympics have increasingly recognised the importance of making facilities accessible for all, and that's had a wider impact on construction. Accessible cities and communities have become one of the legacies of the games, having a long-lasting, positive impact on people's lives.
Whether you are a wheelchair user, an amputee, a person with a visual or intellectual impairment or even a parent with a pushchair, the build environment is now easier to navigate for all.
The London 2012 bid committed to delivering 'the most accessible Games ever', setting an important precedent in inclusive design. For the first time, people with disabilities could get involved in all aspects of the Games, including the opening and closing ceremonies and volunteering, as employee areas were accessible.
This legacy has influenced design standards and building regulations across the country. Since London 2012, planning guidance has been updated to set out inclusive design requirements and specific design policies set out to promote social inclusion and seeks to help eliminate discrimination within the built environment. Building Regulation Approved Document M was also updated to include findings from the extensive work carried out at the games.
By showcasing the power of the human spirit, the Paralympics are challenging outdated stereotypes of what disabled people can do and how we experience the buildings and infrastructure that we live, work and play in everyday."