Inclusive Design

Creating places that work for people

Top view miniature people

Our team of specialists combine technical, engineering and social understanding to create welcoming spaces that promote participation and work seamlessly for everyone. We go beyond access for disabled people to successfully meet the requirements of diverse, global populations. Informed by research, data and evidence, we deliver project-relevant, future-proofed solutions that serve end-user requirements relating to age, gender, gender identity, disability, faith and cultural background.

Our solutions

  • Buildings

    We are devoted advocates of design excellence. Inclusive design ensures buildings go beyond the basics of disabled access to successfully, and often invisibly, meet the requirements of a diverse population, both now and in the future.

  • Public realm and external environments

    We create public areas and external environments that work for a diverse range of people and provide safe, useable routes, places and spaces. We take an inclusive neighborhood approach to our work. From urban sites and masterplans to writing national standards relating to inclusive design requirements, we collaborate to create high-quality, people-focused spaces that are convenient, welcoming and aid social interaction.

  • Workplaces

    We are passionate about creating workplaces that work for people. We work with developers to create commercial buildings, campuses and developments that offer a high level of usability and inclusion. We provide inclusive design insight, guidance and strategy for office portfolios, new and existing buildings and transformational change. Our team has experience in designing and facilitating stakeholder engagement programs to understand workplace opportunities and post-occupancy evaluations.

Contact us for more information

Get in touch

Inclusive Design Guidance Document

We produce bespoke inclusive design guidance and documentation for global clients using a data-informed approach from the outset. Inclusive design takes the broadest possible view to consider how to design for 100% of the population and this is reflected in our content. Our highly accomplished team have a diverse skill sets which allows us to offer distinctive and innovative perspectives in all the guidance we offer.

Our experience in producing dynamic, relevant and future-proofed resources and documentation supports and empowers project teams to embrace an inclusive design approach in their work.

Meet some of our Inclusive Design team


Jacobs Head of Inclusive Design

Rachel Smalley

Rachel is the Head of Inclusive Design at Jacobs, a Chartered Building Engineer and a Chartered Town Planner. She was appointed as a special advisor to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee in 2016 and led the Access Association as their national president for seven years. She sat on the British Standards committees for more than 15 years and is the committee chair responsible for the BS8300 suite of documents relating to creating accessible and inclusive environments. While working for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Rachel developed and delivered one of the new building safety regimes, “planning gateway one” of the new building safety regime. She has worked for the current and previous Mayors of London as a principal advisor on access and inclusion, drafting the current London Plan policy on inclusive design, accessible housing and fire safety. Rachel has also worked in local authority building control and served on the Building Regulations Advisory Committee from 2015 to 2020. 

Q&A with Rachel


Jacobs Associate Director - Inclusive Design

Kate McGechan

Kate is a highly experienced architect (ARB / RIBA) and inclusive design (NRAC) consultant. She has led a series of award-winning education, housing and community projects, and in 2021 she won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Southeast Architect of the Year Award. She has led a project that won the Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design and received an honorable mention in UIA’s Friendly and Inclusive Spaces Awards 2021. Kate has a unique blend of design expertise, inclusive design knowledge and construction experience. Kate is chair of the Access Association London Region and is a member of London Legacy Development Corporation’s Built Environment Access Panel. Kate is an assessor for the Civic Trust Awards which champion design quality and celebrate the very best of inclusive design. She also represents the RIBA as a co-member of the International Union of Architects (UIA) Region 1 Architecture for All Work Group.

Nuala O’Sullivan MA (Cantab) NRAC

Jacobs Senior Inclusive Design Professional


Nuala is a talented inclusive design (NRAC) consultant with a wealth of experience in providing technical inclusive design guidance across all project stages and sectors. This includes mixed-use and residential masterplans, commercial, transport (rail, bus, and active travel) and universities. She was commended by The Royal Town Planning Institute’s Excellence in Planning for Health and Wellbeing in 2022 for a project that champions the safety of women and girls. Nuala is a passionate advocate for socially equitable, data-driven design solutions in the built environment. With a focus on design for a wide range of groups with complex and intersecting needs, Nuala aims to create sustainable cities that are futureproofed against demographic fluctuations and resilient to local and global drivers of change. She is experienced in developing environments that are safe, foster community resilience, and promote racial equity. Nuala has gained NRAC accreditation and is a data analyst with experience using a range of tools from Python to Power BI for data analytics, process automation and visualization.