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Visual Disability Access Survey for Buildings

Drone Site Surveys carries out Visual Disability Access Surveys to ensure your business is Approved Document M compliant.

We use aerial overviews, combined with 3D reality scans and online measuring tools to investigate how a person with a disability or impairment may interact when attempting to access your premises.

The survey will take in the approach routes, parking and drop off facilities, communal and private entrances, lift and stairs access, as well as all sanitary facilities available to your visitors.

Disability Access Survey

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Physical Features that we Survey

As per the Approved Document M guidance, we would take imagery detailing the performance of the building

  • Monitoring access to the building from the most likely approach
  • Monitoring access to the building from the most likely drop off point
  • How a person with a disability who can walk is able to navigate all accessible buildings on the estate
  • How visitors can access any habitable rooms and WC from the entrance reception area
  • Monitor whether it is step-free from the entrance to the nearest WC
  • Monitor whether any wall-mounted switches or sockets are accessible to people with reduced reach
DDA Audit

Contact Us to Get Started With a DDA Audit

Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) Access Survey

The Disability Discrimination Act came into effect in 1995 and was superseded by the Equality Act in 2010, except in Northern Ireland which still adheres to the 1995 act.

You can view the full Equality Act 2010 here on the government’s website.

The full Act is extremely comprehensive but we are only going to deal with the impact of visiting buildings and how a person with a disability or impairment is able to interact with your building when visiting. We concentrate on the physical features of and the approach to the building.

A Full Building DDA Audit will include all the physical features of the building. The physical features as defined by the Act include

• steps and stairways
• kerbs
• exterior surfaces and paving
• parking areas
• building entrances and exits (including emergency escape routes)
• internal and external doors, gates
• toilet and washing facilities
• lighting and ventilation
• lifts and escalators
• floor coverings
• signs
• furniture
• temporary or movable items (such as equipment and display racks).
• public facilities (such as telephones, counters or service desks)

Basic DDA Checklist

Please see a basic example of the types of physical features that we include when carrying out a DDA survey. This will give you an idea of what we are looking for to ensure compliance.

DDA Survey Pictures with measurements

Get accurate measurements from our Survey pics


• Even if the grounds around your premises are not owned by your business, you will need to ensure that there are no obstacles or impairments to people using sticks, crutches and wheelchairs and people with visual impairments.
• Is the pavement outside the premises free of potholes, uneven paving surfaces, etc?
• Is all vegetation cut back from paths leading up to the entrance?
• Is the route to the building kept free of leaves, snow and ice?
• If the route is not level, is there a slip-resistant ramp with handrails available?
• Are all paths free of obstacles, such as litter bins?
• Are all surgery signs clearly visible? Signs should be as visible and possible. Lettering needs to be large to help people with visual impairments.
• Is external lighting good enough to help people find their way to the premises?
• If you have a parking area, is there a reserved, wider bay for disabled people?


• Do you have alternative access, or a ramp, for people in wheelchairs? If the main entrance is not level or is inaccessible and hard to change in some other way, is there a rear or side entrance where level access is possible?
• Do the steps have a clearly visible handrail?
• Are the steps themselves clearly visible? Painting steps a different colour to the surrounding surfaces can make them easier for visually impaired people to see.
• Is the entrance well lit?
• Is there an accessible bell, or entryphone system, for people to use if they are having difficulties getting in? This would be particularly desirable if access is not ideal.


• Is the door opening wide enough for all users? Wheelchair users generally need at least 750mm clear opening width (the space available between the door frame and the door in the open position).
• Is the door-handle low enough for a wheelchair user to reach easily? The recommended height is 1000 mm.
• Are entrance mats flush with the floor so that the surface is even?
• If a door closer is fitted, does it have a delayed, or slow-action closure mechanism?


• Are there enough signs?
• Are signs simple, short and easy to read, and located at convenient levels for wheelchair users? Signs can be made clearer by using pictorial symbols and visual clues.
• Are aisles, corridors and areas near doors free of obstacles and wide enough for wheelchairs to manoeuvre?
• If there is a change of level, is there a platform lift available? If not, is there a permanent ramp that is wide enough for wheelchairs?
• Are internal steps, and other potential hazards, clearly marked and fitted with a handrail and ramp?
• Are all floor surfaces as level as possible, without the need for major adjustments? For example, are mats and joins between different floors, etc flush with the floor and each other?


• Does your reception desk have an induction loop? This is a relatively cheap and simple adjustment but may be necessary, particularly at a glass counter.
• Is the reception area reasonably quiet and located away from any noisy machinery?
• Is seating suitable for people with mobility impairments?
• Is there waiting space for a wheelchair user?
• Might it be possible to create a lowered section of the reception desk? If not, it would be advisable to provide some means of allowing wheelchairs users to sign forms,
etc, such as a lower writing shelf, or simply a clipboard. The staff could be encouraged to come out from behind high reception counters when a wheelchair user approaches.
• Are people standing behind reception well lit from the front, to make lip-reading easier?


• Are the toilets accessible, both in terms of getting to and using them? If there is sufficient space available, the toilet may need to be modified to full wheelchair-accessible standards.

The following practical suggestions should also be helpful

• fit grab rails to help people with limited movement, balance or grip
• ensure floor surfaces are non-slip
• install outward opening doors
• avoid shiny ceramic tiles and floors, which may cause reflection and glare


Your premises should make it as easy as possible for disabled people to communicate with your staff. Staff should show awareness of the needs and sensitivities of people with hearing impairments.

For example in situations where it is not reasonable to install an induction loop, staff should make the effort to communicate in other ways, such as exchanging written notes. Staff could be encouraged not to cover their mouths when speaking to patients in order to help people who lip-read. Allow extra time, and repeating back to the customer to check accuracy can also help, as even partially deaf people may lip-read.

Even if a few physical adjustments can be made, the attitude and awareness of everyone who deals with visitors are key. A clear willingness to anticipate needs and look for alternative solutions could go a long way to avoid any complaints or legal action against your business.

Who is this type of Visual Disability Access Survey Suitable for?

Our particular type of visual survey is great for business owners who want to ensure what they need for compliance with the Equality Act 2010.

We also carry out just the physical survey with no recommendations if you have Surveying consultants or if you are a Surveying practice.

Our Survey can include a 3D Interactive tour (with inbuilt measuring capabilities), 360 static panoramas, still 4K images, Video, Drone overview or any blend of all items listed.

Get in touch now if you would like to find out about all options available with our Visual Disability Access Survey.