Social sustainability toolkit: inclusive design

Sustainable development should address broader concerns than just environmental issues but typically many building assessment systems focus on environmental performance such as energy efficiency. We developed the Social Sustainability Toolkit as a method for assessing social criteria and helping to ensure that buildings are fit for purpose, providing maximum value and usability. The toolkit was developed by Sensory Trust and Eden Project and piloted in South West UK on a series of capital build projects supported by European funding.

The toolkit integrates inclusive design in all stages of the design and construction process for capital builds, from initial plans through to completion and building use. It aims to make a complex set of requirements as straightforward as possible. Working through it will help fulfil statutory obligations and ensure a high quality, fully accessible capital build.

Rather than providing general guidance, the Toolkit uses tools that dovetail with existing planning and design processes, for example as part of applications for planning and building control approval. It also includes a crib list, not intended as a checklist but to highlight the issues that need to be thought about and to give a means of recording decisions throughout the whole sequence from initial concept to completion and handover.

The toolkit provides a practical guide to inclusive design for built environment professionals and all those involved in the commissioning, planning, design, construction and evaluation of capital build projects. Use of the toolkit is now a requirement of the European funding programme for new capital build in south west UK.Recently, the toolkit has been used to guide the construction of a public education centre at the Eden Project in Cornwall and new enterprise and University campus buildings in Cornwall.

The Social Sustainability Toolkit: inclusive design was commissioned by the South West Regional Development Agency, funded by Cornwall Council and developed as a collaboration between Sensory Trust and the Eden Project.

Read more about the Toolkit >>

Eden's education centre, the Core

The Toolkit guided the inclusive design and build of Eden's education centre, the Core

design review session using the toolkit

We run design crits to share and review plans and ideas with design teams