Burdus Access Management


Newcastle Gateshead Quayside

ACCESS 'CASE STUDY' BP Headquarters Building, 1 S James Square, London.

In 2001, BP Global Property Management and Services (GPM&S) decided to examine how it delivered inclusive design on its projects, looking at how they identified, considered, delivered and recorded access for disabled visitors and staff.
It was decided to commission Burdus Access Managment to produce a project manager’s checklist of accessible design tasks and issues set within the RIBA work plan. The checklist was agreed by:

  • BP GPM&S project manager
  • The BP ‘Brand’ consultants, FCP
  • Facilities Mangers – Johnson Controls

BP GPM&S then applied the checklist to the fast track refurbishment of its headquarter office at 1 St James Square, London. The building comprised an 11 storey building with basement parking, lower ground cafeteria and auditorium, office, meeting, executives and chairman’s office, boardroom, central atrium with glass roof.

Accessible provision

Accessible design features in the refurbished building include:

  • Platform lift with battery back up replaced steep and difficult ramp
  • Text phone to reception area
  • Manifestation to glass doors and panels
  • Steps upgrade for vision-impaired people including user-friendly handrail, tonal contrast to nosings, side lightng and corduroy profile warning surface
  • Addition of 4 large unisex wheelchair accessible cubicles with accessible showers, toilet bidet facilities, adjustable height sinks and improved colour contrast
  • Improvements in legibility and braille to evacuation procedure signs
  • Hold open door systems to many main circulation routes
  • Power assisted door openers to main toilets
  • Main toilets including power doors, large cubicles and wheelchair access sinks
  • Reduced swing doorsets to unisex toilet cubicles
  • Communication aids for hearing aid users at reception, meeting rooms and auditorium
Britannic House Access Audits


Burdus Access Management were engaged to review accessibility and advise on upgrades to Britannic House, the 'old' BP Headquarters building before the move to 1 St James Square.

Work included an access audit and report on the historic core of the Lutyens designed building including the listed stair case.


Sage Gateshead manifestation and handrail nipple


Access consultant workscope for 1 St James Square design team:

  1. Access technical meetings
  2. Monthly Disability Discrimination Act compliance review meetings
  3. Access specific briefs for signage, lighting and communication aids
  4. Key RIBA stage access reports
  5. DDA report at tender completion
  6. Access reviews of architect's drawings and instructions
  7. Access consultant attendance at site/progress meeting
  8. Accessible design workshops
  9. Site ‘access visits’ for sample assessment and snagging
  10. Final report to client - measured against project access standards, indicators and briefs
  11. DDA compliance record – all design decisions were tracked and recorded along with the access standards used.
Awarenss impacts on design


Project and Design Teams, Facilities Management received access awareness to understand the impact of space, surface treatment, clolour, light and finishes on disabled and vision impaired people. This had a major impact on inclusive design and specifically the lighting strategy - notably the cold cathode tube set into the floor of the foyer to guide visitors from the main entrance doors to the reception desks.

Intelligent lifts and power assisted door openers


A notable outome of the Burdus Access consultancy was the development of a successful lighting strategy for vision impaired people including:

  • Inset guidance light in floor from entrance to reception desk
  • Reception pod under lights
  • Lighting to side of atrium steps
  • Lighting defining to atrium balustrade
  • Light definition of lift door reveals
  • Floor lighting to define doors
  • Reflected and diffused light to meeting rooms and escape stairs
  • Variable lighting in auditorium and meeting rooms
  • Highlighting to columns
  • Lighting wash to Deli walls
  • Back-lit signs to toilets
  • Visual fire alarms
  • Low level LEDs to define escape routes and cores


1 St James Square was a fast track project with only 8 months from start of design to the completion of fit out designs.  The quality of the finished accessible design is due to BP GPM&S commissioning a robust access management regime throughout the project that promoted:

  • Team ownership of accessible design
  • ‘Joined up’ and creative design solutions rather than the access consultant coming in late and trying to enforce a policy of damage limitation to fixed.

Critically, the Brand Consultant did an excellent job as Access Champion, with the authority to call meetings, site visits, instruct design team members and take important issues to the client for arbitration.

BP GPM&S believe the Access Champion - Access Consultant double act to be central to the Design Team’s access success on this project.

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