For many business and building owners, financial barriers are the differences between wanting to make their space more accessible and having these goals realized. Business owners understand the art of economy: every choice is an investment, and they want to invest wisely. Few business owners want to devote huge funds to anything with little return. However, creating an accessible space not only promises great financial returns but can also be affordable. Yes, making your space accessible is financially achievable.
In Nova Scotia, both our provincial and federal governments want to create spaces that welcome people of all abilities. To aid this goal, the government offers various grants and funding to assist local businesses in upgrading access to their space.
Beyond this funding, accessibility is also a worthwhile investment. Because 1 in 3 Nova Scotians identifies with a disability, inaccessible buildings forgo a sizable demographic of prospective customers and employees. A building that is accessible is visited by countless Nova Scotians and province visitors who otherwise might never enter. Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certified (RHFAC) Professional, Kristen Habermehl with Habermehl Contracting says that she sees it all the time. When a place is genuinely accessible, people return and spread the good news.
Getting your building to this point of increased traffic does not always mean rehauling your entire space. Kristen recommends starting with the areas that you know have restricted access. Can people easily navigate the layout of your building with the current signage? Can anyone independently use your washrooms? Are your doors wide and not too heavy? Kristen states, “There are many places [in which] we are not aware we have created barriers.” Not sure where to start looking for these barriers? You can have an accessibility professional come to your location and review the access of your building in detail, helping you spot the hidden barriers and prioritize modifications.
Many barriers can be addressed at little to no expense. Improvements like lighting might cost as little as a lightbulb but will reduce numerous hazards. Taking a moment to move an object out of the path of travel can reduce fall risks and increase independent navigation.
The impact of a welcoming and accepting environment is priceless. The price of these modifications might be less than you think. Contact Habermehl Contracting today to discuss your building needs.
- Rachel Habermehl, January 30, 2023