Phillip Thompson graduated with a bachelor of Architecture Degree from the University of Kwazulu Natal and also holds a diploma in Integrated Environmental Management from the University of Cape Town, as well as a diploma in Corporate Governance from the Institute of Directors. He has practiced as architect, urban planner since and Universal Design specialist since 1980. In 1989 he was involved in an aircraft accident in Mozambique, which resulted in T12/L1 paraplegia.As an executive member of Disabled People South Africa from 1991 to 1999 he was directly responsible for the restructuring of the disability sector, in addition to chairing the South African Federal Council on Disability from 1994 to 1999. In 1992 he started the National Environmental Accessibility Programme the first comprehensive programme to address accessibility in South Africa.
He was the Executive Director of the South African Federal Council on Disability from 1999 until his resignation in 2004, to allow him to focus on consulting and his corporate governance roles. He has been directly involved with a number of significant national development programmes and community facilitation processes.He served as a Trustee and Executive Member of the Thabo Mbeki Development Trust for Disabled People from its inception in 1999 to 2011. He was a Board member of the South African Tourism Board from 1997 to 2000 and has been directly involved with evaluating and developing standards related to the tourism industry for persons with Disabilities since 1990. He chaired the SATOUR Standards and Grading Committee to the implementation of the South African Tourism Grading Council (SATGC) and was a member of the SATGC Council member, representing persons with disabilities until 2012, as well as a board member of the Tourism and Sport, Standard Education and Training Authority, fulfilling a similar role.In the corporate world Phillip chaired the Transnet Retirement Funds Property Trust and was a director of South Africa’s transport parastatal Transnet, the V and A Waterfront Holding Company, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Pty Ltd as well as Chairing the Board of the Victoria and Alfred Marina in Cape Town, as well as a board member of Equity Aviation, Africa’s largest ground handling aviation company. He is one of the principal member of the IDC Consultant Group a consulting network that offers a range of services including social upliftment and development, architecture, Universal Design and universal access.
Having embraced the philosophy of Universal Design and universal access, his consultancy has been commissioned as specialist advisors to national agencies such as the Airports Company of South Africa, the South African Rail Commuter Corporation, Metrorail, the City of Cape Town, the City of Durban, the University of KwaZulu Natal, the National Department of Public Works, the Western Cape Provincial Government, and the South African National Parks. Private clients who have commissioned IDC Consultants services include Sanlam, ABSA Bank, Discovery Health, Shell South Africa, Protea Hotels, Southern Sun Hotels, Premier Hotels, the Kersner Hotel Group, Golden Arrow Bus Company, the University of KwaZulu Natal, the University of the Western Cape, the University of Cape Town, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the Nelson Mandela Museum and the Robben Island Museum. In addition to local consulting in South Africa he has undertaken universal access consulting in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America for the built environment as well as tourism and transport agencies. He is currently a member of the Global Alliance for Accessibility Technology and Environments (GAATES). He is also a member of the National Building Regulations Technical Committees, informing the review and revisions to the South African National Building Regulations. He undertakes work with the global consulting consortium Universal Design Associates (UDA) in the Middle East and Asia.
He has completed detailed UA evaluation programmes for the Gautrain and the 2010 World Cup, as well as the PRASA operational UA plan and undertakes universal access specialist consulting work with the United Nations and the World Bank.He is currently undertaking universal access consulting work on the eThekwini George and Ekurhuleni Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks and the evaluation of the National Guidelines and Standards for the Metrorail Commuter Rail Network upgrading for PRASA, as well as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of Cape Town. He is heading the TC60 task team reviewing and making recommendations on the upgrading of the 10400S Code of Practice for the South African Bureau of Standards. Phillip is also a director of UD Africa which is a forerunner in the field of Universal Design which strives for Universal Access.