This page provides guidance for designers in relation to access and facilities within buildings for people regardless of disability' age or gender.
People should be able to gain access to and within buildings and use the facilities both as visitors and as people who work in them.
All new buildings (including dwellings) should comply with the requirements, as well as certain alterations or extensions to existing buildings.
The following list highlights the sections and requirements covered within Approved Document M relating to buildings other than dwellings:
Access statements must be submitted as part of the building regulation application in order to identify the philosophy and approach to inclusive design that has been adopted together with the key issues of schemes to assist building control in making judgements. The statement can be used to support a departure from the guidance given in Part M giving the reasons and the rationale for the approach taken or to identify any constraints imposed by an existing building and propose alternative or compensatory measures
Approach to building from site boundary/ car parking provision
Level/ramped/stepped approach to building
Hazards on access routes
Accessible entrances / doors and lobbies
Horizontal circulation in buildings including entrance halls, reception areas, internal doors and corridors
Passenger lifts, lifting platforms and wheelchair stairlifts
Audience/spectator facilities in sports/entertainment buildings
Sleeping accommodation in hotels/ student accommodation
Use of switches/socket outlets and controls
Aids to communication
Sanitary accommodation/changing and shower facilities
Further guidance can be found in BS 8300.
The following list highlights the sections and requirements covered within Approved Document M relating to new dwellings:
Approach to dwelling - level / ramped / stepped approaches
Access into dwelling
Corridors/internal doors within entrance storey
Vertical circulation within entrance storey
Accessible switches and socket outlets
Lifts/common stairs in flats
Sanitary accommodation in entrance storey
The regulations require that reasonable provisions are made for a disabled person to approach and gain access to the dwelling from the point of alighting from a vehicle.
The provisions are expected to enable occupants with disabilities to "stay put" longer in their own homes but are not necessarily expected to facilitate fully independent living for all people with disabilities.
This Act became fully operational in October 2004 and could require "service providers" to remove or alter physical features in their premises that make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to use the service.
Equality Act 2010
The Act unified legislation which previously covered different aspects of discrimination separately. Previous legislation including the Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005 were repealed. The Equalities Act imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustments to a physical feature in order to comply with section 20.
Although the guidance in Approved Document M, if followed tends to demonstrate compliance with Part M of the Building Regulations, this does not necessarily equate to the obligations and duties set out in the Equalities Act. This is because service providers and employers are required by the Equalities Act to make reasonable adjustments to any physical feature which might put a disabled person in a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person. In some instances this will include designing features or making reasonable adjustments to features that are outside the scope of Approved Document M.