Disabled access and facilities in business premises

Removing physical barriers to access


The physical features of your business premises can create barriers that can put people with a disability at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people when accessing your goods or services.

Definition of a physical feature

A physical feature:

  • is determined by the design or construction of the building
  • forms part of the approach, entrance, or exit to your property
  • can be fittings, fixtures, furniture, equipment, machinery, or materials
  • is any other physical element on your business premises

Examples of a physical feature

Examples of physical features include:

  • steps, stairways, kerbs
  • floors and paved areas
  • doors and gates
  • toilets and washing facilities
  • lighting and ventilation

Legal requirements on physical barriers

Under the Disability Discrimination Act you must make reasonable adjustments to ensure those with a disability overcome any potential physical barriers. You can do this by:

  • removing the physical feature altogether
  • changing it so it no longer creates a physical barrier
  • providing a reasonable means of allowing disabled people to avoid using the physical feature

Reasonable adjustments

You are required to make reasonable adjustments to your business premises, to the way you do things or by providing auxiliary aids or services where disabled customers and potential customers may be at a substantial disadvantage compared with non-disabled customers. See disability - what the law says.

See reasonable adjustments - Equality Commission guidance.

Removing barriers created by physical features

Examples of removing barriers created by physical features to help people with a disability access your goods and services include:

Car parking spaces

Providing a wider car parking space in your customer or staff car park reserved for use by Blue Badge holders.


Replacing steps with temporary or permanent ramps at the entrance of your premises.

Hand rails

Fitting hand rails to help disabled people use small steps, eg one or two steps.


Widening doorways so that wheelchairs can pass through easily.


Making signs easier to read, eg you could supplement written signs with pictures and visual signs.


moving furniture or other obstacles to allow a clear passageway for people with a mobility or visual impairment.

See Disability Action's guidance on reasonable adjustments in the workplace to help make your business premises accessible to everyone.