Access for All Guidance note 9: Customer Services

Customer services start before a person enters the building, and include provisions for car parking (see Design Note No 12 – Car parking), and use of outdoor facilities such as automatic telling machines (ATMs) and petrol stations. Access to and into the building also needs to be considered (see Design Notes No 1 – Approaches and entrances and No 11 – External environment).

  • Routes should be kept free of obstruction.
  • Points where assistance may be obtained should be clearly identified.
  • Overhead signs indicating produce location should have large lettering, be prominently located and well lit (see Design Note No 4 – Wayfinding and signs).
  • Wide checkouts should be provided, distributed along the whole length of the checkout line, be easily identified, have a minimum width of 1200mm and should be always available. The height of the conveyor should be not more than 850mm above floor level.
  • Facilities for disabled people should be clearly identified (see Design Note No 4 – Wayfinding and signs).
  • Customer areas should be accessible to all, including interview rooms where confidential discussions may need to be held.
  • Counters and desks should be no higher than 760mm with knee recess not less than 700mm high, 900mm wide, and 500mm deep
  • Communication with staff behind glazed panels should be possible for those with impaired hearing, by the use of an induction loop or infrared system (see Design Note No 7 – Entertainment and places of assembly).
  • There should be an unobstructed space in front of an ATM, at least 1500mm x 1500mm.
  • Controls should be a maximum height of 1250mm above floor level (lower if recessed) to ensure they can be reached and seen by people in wheelchairs.
  • Controls and their functions should be easily identifiable by colour contrast, together with raised letters, numbers or Braille.
  • If possible, the screen should be positioned so that it does not become
    unreadable in bright sunlight.

Consideration should be given to providing one or more such machines at a height and location such that a wheelchair user could operate them.

  • At least one should be accessible to wheelchair users.
  • Telephone receiver and coin or card slots should be not higher than 1250mm.
  • Where a shelf is provided, it should be at a height of about 750mm and should not obstruct access to the receiver.
  • Acoustic canopies and the like should not obstruct access for wheelchair users or partially sighted people.
  • Handsets incorporating an induction loop system should be provided for people with hearing difficulties, and appropriately signed.

Restaurants and bars should be designed to enable independent use by disabled people. Attention should be paid to providing sufficient circulation space and access to bars, self-service counters and seating areas.

  • Adequate circulation space between tables should be provided.
  • Service counters and bars should have a section at 750mm to 800mm above floor level that wheelchair users can comfortably use.
  • At least half of the seating should be accessible.
  • Fixed seating is not ideal but where it is used, spaces for wheelchairs should be left.
  • Spaces for wheelchairs should be integral with the seating plan so that those in wheelchairs do not obstruct circulation spaces or feel conspicuous.
  • There should be a clear height under tables of at least 700mm, and gaps between table legs should be at least 750mm, to accommodate a wheelchair.
  • Suitable access to the shop should be provided (see Design Note 1 –
    Approaches and entrances).
  • Access should not be blocked with displays or goods.
  • Where toilets are provided for customers, a unisex wheelchair accessible toilet should be provided. Its location should be clearly signed and unless locked only with a RADAR lock, it should be kept open whilst the filling station remains open (see Design Note 5 – Accessible toilets).


A system to enable disabled drivers to summon assistance should be installed. This might be with the Servicecall system and/or by the more basic means of sounding the horn or by flashing the car headlights.
Servicecall enables drivers who have the appropriate transmitter in their car to send an infrared beam to a receiver in the station kiosk, alerting the staff that assistance is required.
Information on the systems in operation should be clearly marked on or near the pumps. Where a system is installed, staff should be properly trained in its use. The equipment should not be switched off while the station is open to the public.

Visitor attractions should cater for both physically disabled people, and those with sensory impairments, so that they can enjoy them on the same terms as all visitors. Various relevant publications, including information on the National Accessible Scheme (NAS), can be obtained from VisitBritain.