SURFACE provides a range of consultancy services, underpinned by a sound academic evidence base, 'real world' experience and continuous professional development in inclusive design. We assist clients in reaching their full potential as employers, procurers and developers; making their processes and products accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

Our consultancy clients benefit from our in-depth knowledge of the latest legislation, best practice and innovative thinking in inclusive design and accessible corporate practice. Led by Marcus Ormerod, a member of the UK National Register of Access Consultants, we excel both in advising clients on requirements for new developments and appraising the existing built environment, from neighbourhood scale down to the interiors of individual buildings. Our portfolio includes:

SA1 Swansea Waterfront

©Jim Young: http://jimyoung14.blogspot.comSURFACE acted as Inclusive Design Consultant to the Welsh Development Agency on this £200m public/private waterfront development, which was conceived of as a sustainable new extension to Swansea City Centre. Involved from masterplanning through to detailed design, we played a particular role in the creation of the Sail Bridge, one of two new pedestrian / cycle crossings over the River Tawe. The sweeping design of the bridge, characterised by a curved deck, inclined 50m high central mast and radiating cables, was drawn up by Wilkinson Eyre Architects in association with the engineering partnership, Flint & Neill. Opened in June 2003, the project won various local and national design awards, including the Civic Trust's 'Welsh Regeneration Award' 2004.

Fountains Learning Centre, York St John University

Copyright Watson Batty ArchitectsDesigned by Bond Bryan Architects, this building acts a gateway to a tightly knit collegiate campus in the historic city of York. A completely new structure of some 5,400sqm, it is the first landmark element in a ‘learning curve’; a site masterplan linking contemporary and existing properties (many of which are listed). The building houses a Learning Resource Centre, 200-seater lecture theatre and other shared student resources and was designed to be as sustainable and inclusive as possible; a key challenge within an urban conservation area. SURFACE provided Accessibility and Inclusive Design Consultancy services to the university client, contributing to the development of a three-storey beacon for collective learning and community engagement.

The Foss Building, York St John University

The Foss Building is located on the eleven-acre site of York St John University in northern England. Located on the edge of campus, just off Lord Mayor’s Walk, it faces the medieval gothic York Minster across the city walls. Together with the adjacent Skell Building (and the Fountains Learning Centre; all by Bond Bryan Architects ), the building forms a 9,400sqm ‘learning curve’ welcoming visitors to the historic campus, many parts of which are architecturally listed. As with a number of other facilities on site, SURFACE provided Accessibility and Inclusive Design Consultancy services for the project, which houses an indoor sports facility and hi-tech laboratories for Sports Science, Health and Psychology.

De Grey Court, York St John University

Copyright Riverside Design StudioSited between the main vehicular and pedestrian entrances to the historic York St John University campus, De Grey Court is a landmark educational building in the centre of an urban conservation area. A multi-award-winning project, roundly praised for its design excellence, it was completed in November 2008 at a cost of £9m, achieving a BREEAM rating of Very Good. The sweeping façade of local hand-made bricks, render and timber demarcates the boundary of the collegiate campus, behind which is laid out some 4,800sqm of teaching and administration space. Signalling its commitment to high-quality inclusive and locally-sensitive design, the university sourced Rivington Street Studio architects through a competition, having consulted SURFACE on universal design and accessibility issues.

In addition to our work on building, engineering and infrastructure projects, SURFACE is committed to promoting full access to opportunities and services. We are often asked to help develop operational policies and procedures, such as Disability Equality Duty schemes for major public organisations. We have, for example, provided this service to the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships, both now part of the Homes and Communities Agency (UK).

Image credits: SA1 Swansea Waterfront (top of page) ©Jim Young:;
Fountains Learning Centre, York St John University (middle of page) © Watson Batty Architects;
De Grey Court, York St John University (bottom of page) © Riverside Design Studio. With thanks.