A) Barrier-Free car park
- Additional room alongside each of the car park spaces at SIA House allow disabled drivers and passengers to get in and out of their vehicle easily. There are no special markings or signage, indicating its accessibility – every space is available for use by disabled and non-disabled visitors alike. The photovoltaic canopy covers 50% of the car park spaces, meaning that disabled people can transfer in and out of their vehicles in bad weather without getting themselves, or their wheelchair, wet.
B) Environmentally sustainable
- The building's eco-friendly design shows our commitment to preserving our environment, and means minimal overheads for SIA. The innovative use of photovoltaic cells in the car park canopy generates the building's electricity. They convert light directly into power, even in cloudy conditions, generating up to 34 kilowatts an hour. Solar collectors on the roof take in energy from the sun through vacuum tubes to heat the building's water.
C) Accessible toilet facilities
- All four of the building's toilets are wheelchair accessible, have left and right-handed transfer layouts and include low-level sinks and hand driers. The two larger toilets in he main body of the building include automatic sliding doors, showering facilities and a rest area. They also include ceiling hoists to enable people to transfer easily from their wheelchair to the toilet, day bed or shower.
D) State-of-the-art kitchen
- Our state-of-the-art kitchen features include fully height adjustable storage cupboards and work surfaces, and an accessible fridge, freezer and dishwasher. It provides catering facilities for meetings taking place in the adjoining Training Room, to form a self-contained conference suite.
E) Flexible conference facilities
- The spacious training room is used to host SIA's own conferences, meetings, workshops and events, and can also be hired by external organisations and companies that require accessible facilities to host their own events. The room can accommodate 24 wheelchair users when set up in boardroom layout, and up to 60 delegates in theatre-style. An interactive whiteboard and induction loop system provide flexible and accessible audiovisual technology. Two additional small rooms provide quiet space for research and/or study.
F) Evolving building
- The building design allows the physical structure of SIA House to evolve to reflect the changing and expanding needs of the organisation. The wood and glass panels, which form the building's exterior, can be removed and replaced as parts of the building take on different functions, and have the capacity to add further office space in the future by expanding out into the garden area.
G) Multi-functional roof
- Being a single storey building, the roof of SIA House is an active part of its structure, and has been utilised in the planning of light, ventilation and energy efficiency for the building. The living green roof (a covering of low-maintenance alpine plants) super-insulates the building and contributes to the eco-system by attracting wildlife. The different roof sections provide spaces to filter light into the depth of the building. Excess water is collected from the roof to provide grey water to flush the toilets.
H) Environmentally responsive
- The building has been designed to adapt to its internal and external environment. Under-floor heating and electronically-operated windows are thermostatically controlled to respond to fluctuations in temperature. Internal lights dim according to the amount of light entering the building from outside and operate on sensors to switch on and off according to movement to save electricity.
I) Open plan office
- Wherever possible, SIA House is open plan and therefore barrier free. The main office space accommodates SIA´s Services, Fundraising and Public Affairs directorates, which are arranged to provide a logical flow of communication throughout the organisation. The colour scheme of light walls and dark doors, along with the dark and light patches created by the tilted ceiling helps people with visual impairments by giving them orientation. The massive floor area, due to SIA House being a single storey building, functions as the main heating element for the building, through its under-floor heating system. The main office area also houses the SCI Research Library, where visitors can access information through printed materials and multimedia formats.
J) Green Surroundings
- Wherever possible, the established trees and hedging have been preserved, which give shading in the summer, and deciduous varieties allow warmth and sunlight through in the winter. Landscaping work has involved replanting original trees, and the tank traps around the perimeter of the grounds are planted with prickly but flowering plants not only give security and discourage trespassers, but also decoration. There are several doors giving access to the outside areas and all the pathways are non slip and gently sloped to allow anyone with mobility difficulties safe and easy access around the building.