Reception desk area showing different levels for accessibility



A work of art, such as a painting or sculpture
Work in the graphic or plastic arts.
An illustrative and decorative element, such as a line drawing or photograph, used in a printed work, such as a book.


With respect to buildings, or parts of buildings, means that people, regardless of age, size, ability or disability, are able to both access and use the building and its facilities.

Accessible Design

Design focussed on principles of extending standard design to people with some type of performance limitation to maximise the number of potential customers who can readily use a product, building or service.

Accessible facilities

Facilities that are designed for all users of a building or external environment, including the young and old, and those of all sizes, abilities, and disabilities.

Access Route

Any route in an internal or external environment whether it is level, gently sloped, ramped or stepped that is available and understandable for a person to use. In external environments, access routes comprise paths, pavements and other pedestrian routes, such as a right of way through a public space.


Characteristics relating to sound


The word “autism” means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction. Although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviours, children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviours in any degree of severity.


A room comprising a bath, WC, washbasin, and associated accessories. Building – A permanent or temporary structure of any size that accommodates facilities to which people have access. A building accommodating sanitary facilities may include a toilet block in a public park or shower facilities at a campsite. A temporary building may include portable toilet facilities such as those provided at outdoor events


A beam is a structural element that primarily resists loads applied laterally to the beam’s axis. Its mode of deflection is primarily by bending. … Beams are characterised by their manner of support, profile (shape of cross-section), equilibrium conditions, length, and their material.

Building User

A person regardless of age, size, ability or disability using facilities in a building or associated external environment.

Building Regulations

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government publishes guidance called ‘Approved Documents’ on ways to meet building regulations. These contain:
-general guidance on the performance expected of materials and building work in order to comply with the building regulations
-practical examples and solutions on how to achieve compliance for some of the more common building situations.


Clinical diagnoses include autism, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and dementia. Less severe cognitive conditions include attention deficit disorder (ADD), dyslexia (difficulty reading), dyscalculia (difficulty with math), and learning disabilities in general.

Clear width

Refers to the width between handrails.


An area that a group of individual people will share for a common purpose. A communal changing area will be a room for people to change and will typically comprise an open area with minimal privacy

Door ironmongery

A collective term for components including hinges, handles, locks and self-closing devices, which are used to facilitate the correct functioning of a door. May also be termed ‘architectural ironmongery’ or ‘door furniture.
-In the context of this guide, ironmongery refers to door accessories such as hinges, handles, knobs, push plates, kick plates, locks and stoppers

Dropped kerb

A lowered section of kerb between a pavement and carriageway forming a level or flush crossing point. Also referred to as dished kerbs


A disability is any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restriction)


You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.


is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia.

Designated Car Parking

Car parking spaces reserved for the use of car users with disabilities, whether as motorists or passengers.


a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.


Independent emergence of a person from a building and the immediate vicinity.


Egress in an emergency situation, from a place of danger to a place of safety.

Family toilets

A toilet compartment or washroom designed to meet the needs of a family group or adults supervising young children, which provides a range of facilities including baby-changing area, children’s and adult WCs, in a single room.


A fall is defined as an event which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level. Fall-related injuries may be fatal or non-fatal(1) though most are non-fatal.

Glass manifestations

Relating mainly to workplace health safety the legislation is in place to, simply put, stop people from walking into your glass, by distinguishing the glass or window visually with the background. Placing markings at strategic points on the glazing makes the glass clearly visible and prevents accidents. Glass manifestation should be applied to what the building regulations refer to as critical locations, these could be floor to ceiling windows, glass entrance doors, a glass screen or a decorative glass partition.
-Manifestation markings need to be between and placed on the glass at two levels, 850mm and 1000mm, and between 1400mm and 1600mm above the floor. The material used on the glass must provide a contrast between the glass and the background, but maintaining the background seen through the glass

Grille or grill

An opening of several slits side by side in a wall or metal sheet or other barrier, usually to let air or water enter and/or leave but keep larger objects including people and animals in or out.


Referring to the layout of a room, this term means the provision of both left- and right-handed arrangements in a building

Health Building Note(HBN)

Health Building Notes (HBN)- Health building notes give best practice guidance on the design and planning of new healthcare buildings and on the adaptation or extension of existing facilities.They provide information to support the briefing and design processes for individual projects in the NHS building programme.Activity DataBase is a computer package to assist healthcare planners, architects, and teams involved in the briefing, design and equipping of healthcare environments.

Health Technical Memoranda (HTM)

give comprehensive advice and guidance on the design, installation and operation of specialised building and engineering technology used in the delivery of healthcare. The focus of Health Technical Memorandum guidance remains on healthcare-specific elements of standards, policies and up-to-date established best practice. They are applicable to new and existing sites and are for use at various stages during the whole building lifecycle.

Induction loop

An induction loop is a cable that goes around the listening area. It helps people who use a hearing aid or loop listener to hear sounds more clearly because it reduces or cuts out background noise.


A worldwide system of computer networks that uses the public telecommunication network to link millions of computers for communication purposes

Ironmongery (Door)

In the context of this guide, ironmongery refers to door accessories such as hinges, handles, knobs, push plates, kick plates, locks and stoppers.

Kerb upstand

Strip used to form a raised edge (for example 150mm high) at floor level

Ligature / Anti ligature

The CQC define a ligature point as “anything which could be used to attach a cord, rope or other material for the purpose of hanging or strangulation. Ligature points include shower rails, coat hooks, pipes and radiators, bedsteads, window and door frames, ceiling fittings, handles, hinges and closures.” Anti-ligature refers to products or design that prevents a ligature from staying secure. The aim is to eliminate the possibility of someone attaching a wire or cord around a product, so denying the means for inflicting harm to themselves or others. CQC Brief guide for inspection teams – Ligature Points

LRV (Light Reflectance Value)

Providing contrast between adjacent colours and materials helps people perceive their surroundings and environment more clearly. LRV measures the percentage of light a colour reflects and is measured on a scale ranging from zero (black) to 100 (white). When you deduct one LRV from another you have the LRV contrast rating. Manufacturers can confirm the LRV for individual products. Between adjacent materials, such as walls and floors, a minimum contrast rating of 30 points is recommended by The Building Regulations. Between adjacent floor finishes the contrast rating should not exceed 10 points as some may perceived this to be a change in level or an obstruction.

Lux level

Lux is a standardised unit of measurement of light level intensity.


Entrance Door Matting Systems set into a frame in the floor.

Passanger lift

A conventional motorised lift enclosed within a structural shaft and rising one or more storeys within a building. Lift and door movement is automatic.


A pedestrian route that has no adjacent vehicle carriageway and includes paths in countryside locations as well as paths in urban and residential environments


A pavement is the part of a roadway used by pedestrians and is adjacent to the vehicle carriageway.

The ProCure21+ Framework

is the recommended procurement method for publicly-funded capital projects over £1 million. The Principal Supply Chain Partners have developed a number of repeatable room arrangements for use in NHS Acute and mental health facilities, all of which are fully compliant with HBNs and Health Technical Memorandas (HTM).


The reflection of sound within a room or space.


The vertical portion between each tread on the stair

Sanitary facilities

A collective term for toilet, shower, bathing and changing facilities in buildings


A single facility, such as a shower or changing area that is enclosed by walls or cubicle partitions. A self-contained facility will provide greater privacy than communal facilities.


A designated area close to a building entrance or other facility where passengers can alight from a car or taxi.

Shower room

A room comprising a shower, WC, washbasin, and associated accessories, such as en-suite facilities in residential accommodation

Step nosing

The leading edge of a step or landing.

Tactile paving surface

A profiled paving or textured surface that provides guidance or warning to pedestrians with visual difficulties


The part of the stairway that is stepped on.


Facilities that are usable by males and females. Unisex toilets or changing areas may be located adjacent to single-sex washrooms or changing areas but have an independent access. Unisex accessible toilets may be accessed by a person with an assistant, carer, or companion of the opposite sex.

Universal Design=Useable=Understandable

Universal design is the process of designing an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. It is also about understanding user needs – For example an older person may require many resting places due to discomfort when walking for long distances

Visual impairment

also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses. Some also include those who have a decreased ability to see because they do not have access to glasses or contact lenses

Vision panel

A fixed, glazed panel set into a door that enables people to see through from one side of the door to the other. May also be termed ‘viewing panel.

Visual contrast

Colour and/or tonal contrast between surfaces and fixtures, designed to improve visual clarity.


The term for a room or area accommodating toilet cubicles and associated facilities, such as washbasins, hand dryers, and urinals (in facilities for males)

Way finding

A collective term describing features in a building or environment that facilitate orientation and navigation. Also Refersto information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space. … These information systems help people develop “mental maps” of the terrain and simplify their routes to the extent possible.

Wet room

A shower room in which the floor and walls are all waterproof. The shower area can be accessed without crossing a threshold or stepping into a shower tray.

Sound pressure

Sound pressure or acoustic pressure is the local pressure deviation from the ambient (average or equilibrium) atmospheric pressure, caused by a sound wave. In air, sound pressure can be measured using a microphone, and in water with a hydrophone. The SI unit of sound pressure is the pascal (Pa).

20n Force

value “N” is the Newton force exerted when the door closes. Part M of the building regulations indicates that there should be a limit on the opening of fire doors. Maximum force for a person to manually operate a self-closing door should be no greater than 20n.

Skip to content