Support for the Built Environment Professional Education project on its second anniversary

Office for Disability Issues

December 23
14:52 2015

Justin Tomlinson MP, the Minister for Disabled People, has given his ongoing support to the Built Environment Professional Education project as it marked the second year since its launch in 2013.

The project aims to embed inclusive design into the training and education of all built environment professionals. It was inspired by:

  • the achievements of London 2012, the most accessible Olympic and Paralympic Games ever
  • the continuing work in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, now a benchmark for achieving an inclusive environment

The Minister said:

I am proud to be leading the BEPE project, which could have a substantial impact on the lives of disabled and older people.

Considering the needs of all users of our built environment is simply good design. We all have different needs and none of us want to be excluded because of poor design, poor construction or poor management.

Through the BEPE project I am excited to be working towards ensuring that inclusive design is the norm in all design and building projects by embedding it in built environment professional education and training.

I want to thank everyone for their support, ideas and enthusiasm so far. The project has continued to make good progress in its second year, and Im excited to see what happens next.

Second anniversary

The second anniversary of the project was marked in a similar way to the first anniversary last year, by a reception for built environment educators, practitioners and professionals, hosted at City Hall by Munira Murza, Deputy Mayor for London.

In her welcoming speech Munira said:

The legacy of this project is something that goes far beyond London and far even beyond the UK, its about trying to change attitudes in the built environment towards disabled people. Its very much about a long term change and designing in an approach to accessibility which is at the heart of built environment professionals.

I am delighted that 18 professional bodies have now endorsed the project and are represented here and are helping to deliver this approach in universities and in professional training environments.

So we are really proud to support this project.


Rebecca Ford from the Royal Society of Arts, in outlining the new Inclusive Cities Student Design Award, talked of her delight at the support from the Office for Disability Issues.

It will help to foster a broad understanding of inclusion amongst the thousands of emerging designers that work on the RSA design briefs. It will really help students to think about how to design for people and think about what we want and need from our built environment.

Professor Gavin Brooks Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Reading then spoke about the work that the university is doing to embrace the BEPE project. Their Breaking down Barriers project is working to embed inclusive design into all built environment professional education courses at the university. Particularly exciting are plans to embed inclusive design into the new architecture course being launched in the autumn of 2016.

Representatives from two of the professional institutions also spoke at the reception:

  • Virginia Newman, Diversity and Inclusion Champion at the Royal Institute for British Architects and
  • Janet Askew, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute

They outlined the steps they have taken and are planning to take to embed inclusive design in their professions.

View the speech by Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People, giving his ongoing support to BEPE:

Minister for Disabled People, supports the Built Environment Professional Education Project.

Read the BEPE reception speech transcripts (ODT, 25.9KB)


Since the project was launched in December 2013, 18 key professional institutions have given their support. The project is also working with the education sector for example the Architectural Educators Association published an article on the project in volume 2 of their online journal Charrette.

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