Kiwi Property has become New Zealand’s first property company to have all shopping centre locations receive accessibility accreditation from Be. Lab.
Be. Lab is the New Zealand based global network for design and access innovation. Lead by founder Minnie Baragwanath, Be. Lab aims to make everything, everywhere, accessible for everyone.
Two of Kiwi Property’s shopping centres achieved platinum ratings while the other four were rated gold. These accreditations come after two years of hard work put in by management and staff at the shopping centres.
Kiwi Property general manager, asset management, Linda Trainer says: “We’re incredibly proud that our shopping centres have been Be. Lab accredited. We believe strongly in the importance of making our properties highly accessible to all New Zealanders. Our next priority will be getting our office portfolio accredited and we are already talking to our communities about potential ideas and strategies to help us get there.”
Accessibility is a top priority for a large number of retailers in 2020, as they strive to make their shopping experience more pleasant for all of its customers.
Recently Countdown introduced a quiet hour each week to allow customers with sensory disorders to shop with dimmed lights and no music.
The Warehouse Group has also gained the Accessibility Tick which shows their commitment to not only customers, but to staff. Their goal is to remove accessibility barriers to make team members and customers feel safe and confident.
A holistic research-based assessment is used by Be. Lab to determine a property’s accessibility level. A group of citizens with accessibility issues are asked to discuss solutions that the property could implement to help those with visible and hidden access needs. From here a specific plan of action is made for the property based on what is already going well and what could be improved.
Two years of work lead Kiwi Property to makes changes within many areas of the centres. This included review of public transport routes, clear signage and wayfinding, safety and ease of access, lighting and floor treatments, suitability of rest, toilet and changing areas as well as safety of emergency procedures.
Be. Lab’s Baragwanath said, “In engaging with Be. Lab and doing the work to achieve accreditation, Kiwi Property has raised the bar for New Zealand enterprise. Their work across their shopping centres represents a significant commitment to access and possibility thinking that will help them connect and sustain with their local and visitor community, with economic, social and cultural benefits both within their business and outside it.”