SAAP has raised concerns about the McQueen Gin Visitor Centre development just north of Callander. Although the facility has many good points in its favour by re-purposing derelict farm buildings and bringing visitors to the area, there are some issues.
We have set out the issues we have identified below. We have provided these to the architect who commented: "We will look over this and amend the drawings to suit as best we can".
The information listed below provides an example of the detail with which SAAP typically covers Planning submissions that we review and comment on.
Approach and parking
There was no drop-off, or coach parking within the general parking provision which is useful for elderly and disabled visitors. Although the disabled parking provision was correct, there should have been a larger space (4.8m x 6mL) for WAV, side and rear entry vehicles. The path to the Visitor Centre may exceed the 45m rule in the Building Regs and it was an illogical route, when it could be direct. A shorter route would help the elderly, very young and disabled visitors.
Visitor Centre Entrance
Some form of weather protection should be installed outside the door.
There should be no threshold. The bi-folding doors should be powered, or ideally a sliding door of 1000mm clear width would be far better to accommodate electric mobility scooters, powered wheelchairs, double pushchairs, people with assistance dogs, and where there can be heavy pedestrian traffic.
All glazed doors and windows should carry permanent (blue) manifestations at two levels. Sand blasted patterns are nice to look at but may not be obvious to people with sight loss. An entrance flooring system should be present to remove water and debris from visitors shoes.
Two wooden benches near the entrance may be convenient to visitors in good weather. The Visitor Centre Lift should have control buttons and signage in Braille.
It was suggested that space and convenience could be saved by making them unisex. Not sure if the corner accessible WC near the 1st floor Café is the minimum of 2200mmL x 1700mm.
There wasn’t detail shown on the drawing, but we suggested grey colour contrast to the toilet seat and handrails. There should be a colostomy shelf and the spoon type flush handle should be to the centre of the room.
The ground floor WC should ideally be a peninsular type (2200W x 2400mmL) as this toilet layout allows for either side transfer from a wheelchair.
There was no separate or detailed baby changing facilities.
Seating in Cafes should have at least 20% with support arms to aid people sitting and exiting their seat. If the popularity of the facility continues to grow, the addition of a Changing Places Toilet should be considered.
Referred to the excellent Sign Design Guide for wayfinding.
Décor and Acoustics
We pointed out that some customers may have neurodivergent conditions, décor should be neutral and non-reflective, without strong patterns.
The floor should contrast with walls and ceiling. It would be highly beneficial if acoustic panels were used throughout, to minimise noise which may be upsetting to people with hearing issues in the Café and Lecture Room.
Signage indicating the provision of a hearing loop would again assist people with hearing issues in the Lecture Room.
Internal lighting should be to the appropriate level and without shadow or glare.
External lighting should extend from the car park, paths and all building entrances.
Fire Extinguishers / Fire Alarms
We suggested that all buildings, if possible should have fire extinguishers which are recessed in corridors. Fire alarms should be audible and visual type. Fire refuges should be clearly signed.
Dog Spending Area
Another suggestion of good practice was a small section for this purpose, primarily for the use of assistance dogs.
As discussed above, all the points raised for the Visitor Centre Toilets (excluding baby changing facilities) also applies to this building. It is excellent that the accessible toilet door opens to the Reception area.
It should have the following features:
- A lowered desk area with knee space to BS8300.
- Signed hearing loop.
- Seating for visitors which should include some seats with arm-rests.
There should be ground floor changing provisions (including parking) for any disabled employees.
As discussed before, it would be good if the entrance had weather protection, was flat and level, and doors were the powered sliding type with manifestations and no threshold.
The Reception Desk should have a lowered area with knee space and signage alerting people to provision of hearing loop. Low seating should be avoided in the Waiting Area.
Ideally, if there is no security reason, the internal double doors on the ground floor should be kept open on magnetic holders which are linked to the Fire Control System.
Again, excellent that the door of the corner accessible WC is correctly hinged.