Our team is a community of experts, each with a different perspective on inclusive design. Together, we form a group of academic high achievers, with vital links to clients and users and a skill set rooted in industry, advocacy and government.

Professor Marcus Ormerod

Originally working in industry as an RICS-accredited Chartered Surveyor, Marcus moved into academia in 1991 and, alongside Rita Newton, founded SURFACE in 1995. A skilled teacher of both the principles and techniques of access auditing, he has been a registered Access Consultant since 1999 and sits on the Advisory Panel for the National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC). He has worked to champion change at national and international levels, sitting on the British Standards Committee on Accessible Housing and the Department for Trade & Industry's Global Watch Mission on Intelligent Housing, as well as working closely with the Access Association. He is part of the international group of Universal Design Educators Online and, when not promoting inclusive design, enjoys making country wines and tinkering with his classic land rover (though not all at the same time!). Email:

Rita Newton

Rita is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors with a postgraduate Master of Education from the University of Manchester. She moved into the discipline of inclusive design in the mid 1990s and helped establish SURFACE with Marcus: contributing to the research projects; and managing the MSc in Accessibility and Inclusive Design. As a Senior Lecturer, her particular areas of interest are understanding user needs and exploring ways in which they can be documented, interpreted and met within the built environment, particularly at neighbourhood scale. In her spare time, Rita enjoys walking the dog, fund raising and drinking Marcus' country wine! Email:

Professor Fernando Moreira Da Silva

Fernando has been involved with the University of Salford for over 15 years: primarily as a Masters and Doctorate student; and latterly as an Honorary Researcher for SURFACE. A graduate of the Fine Arts School in Lisbon, he is Professor Catedrático at the University of Lisbon (the only Full Professor in Design in Portugal) and President of its “Excellent” rated Research Centre for Architecture, Urban Planning and Design (CIAUD). Conversant in six languages, Fernando has lectured and mentored worldwide, held membership of many influential organisations and published widely. He enjoys travelling and experiencing diverse cultures, feeding his particular enthusiasm for colour and its impact on all types of contemporary design. 

Dr Hamish McLennan

Hamish graduated from the University of New South Wales in Sydney with an Honours Undergraduate and Master of Science Degree in Building and a Postgraduate Diploma in Urban Planning (1963 – 1977). Having worked on the Sydney Opera House in 1969 as Chief Site Engineer, he went on to have an award-winning career in both urban development design and academia – rising to Director of Postgraduate Studies in Building at the University of Technology in Sydney (1995) – as well as to establish what is now one of the largest consultant fire engineering practices in Australasia. He has received many honours from the ACEA and ACENZ, sat on state-level task forces and advised and published widely, particularly on fire safety and human movement in the built environment. His international-calibre research expertise is in the life safety aspects of inclusive design and he has recently completed a PhD with SURFACE, supported by an international scholarship from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Email:

Dr Maria O'Sullivan

Maria was born in Colombia and studied Architecture at the country’s National University. Upon graduating, she moved into professional practice; working on both public and private commissions while teaching at La Salle-Cesmag in San Juan de Pasto. To further her expertise in supportive environments, she joined the Accessibility and Inclusive Design course at the University of Salford, graduating with a Diploma in 2008 and, together with her son, moved to the UK. She has recently been awarded a PhD in inclusive outdoor environments for children at SURFACE, supported by an EPSRC scholarship. Email:

Diane Bright

Diane is a graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and a registered Occupational Therapist. Building on her early career developing assessment standards for home and workplace rehabilitation, she has thirty years professional experience advocating inclusive design within the public and private sectors. Diane has published and presented widely at international level, often on the parallels between UK and US best practice, and retains membership of many campaigning organisations. Having secured an MSc with Distinction in Salford’s Accessibility and Inclusive Design course (2007), she now mentors at the University and is a SURFACE Research Associate.

Rachel Russell

Rachel qualified as an occupational therapist in 1994, specialising in community care practice and the use of housing modifications to support the health and wellbeing of individuals. An MSc graduate of the SURFACE Accessibility and Inclusive Design course with Distinction, her specialist interest is in understanding user requirements for housing modification and assistive technology/devices. She is currently completing an EPSRC-sponsored PhD with SURFACE on the impact of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology on understanding the holistic needs of end users of buildings. A member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists, she spends her free time outdoors, enjoying long distance walking, orienteering and Canadian canoeing. Email:

Professor Edward Finch

Edward is a member of the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers, with an MSc in Energy & Buildings (1986, Cranfield University) and a PhD in Construction Management (1989, University of Reading). Professor in Facilities Management at the University of Salford (2009-2012), he is former Editor-In-Chief of the journal Facilities, which he developed into a widely recognised academic publication over a 17 year period. His recent work reflects the conjoint interaction between building users, energy and organisational change and he has used a timeline approach to understanding building use based on models of 'loss and grieving'; a way of understanding facilities management as a dynamic phenomenon. As such, issues relating to territoriality, accessibility and energy use are analysed in terms of the personal and organisational dynamic of transitions.

Dr Jim Kempton

Jim is a Chartered Builder, Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has worked extensively in housing maintenance and asset management, winning a national prize for his work on the relationship between social and occupancy factors and housing asset management systems. Awarded a number of degrees related to the built environment and a PhD in Building Surveying, he has worked in research roles with the BRE and in academia and currently teaches at Salford on a range of postgraduate and undergraduate programmes, as well as supervising a number of PhD students. He has published and presented widely on the subject of surveyor accuracy in condition surveys and on the impacts of a range of policy developments as they relate to housing asset management.