Disabled Access to Dwellings
Access to and Use of Buildings
This information gives a guide to how the current approved document M of the building regulations combines with Equality Duty to achieve an access for all approach.
Previous versions of Part M set down certain minimum standards for disabled access for such items as steps and ramps, door widths, accessible toilets etc., but did not go into much detail and consider the problems of disabled people and their enjoyment of services.
The current Part M came into affect on the 1st May 2004, now incorporating 2010 amendments.
Both the requirements of Part M and the text of the Approved Document reflect a much greater extent that people's abilities are not uni-dimensional and change over time and with family and personal circumstances.
The aim of current legislation is to make buildings accessible to, and usable by, disabled people towards an aim to make buildings accessible to and usable by, everyone - including people with disabilities. More combined aims of the Equality Duty Act (2010), and good practice access design guides included, rather than the outdated minimum standards older legislation.
The guidance points out that the present exemption for 10 years for work carried out in accordance with existing Part M provided in relation to service provision only applies to work that complies with the objectives, design considerations and provisions of the 1992 and 1999 editions of Approved Document M and explains that the Government is considering whether the exemption should be extended to cover features constructed in accordance with the 2004 edition.
The new requirements apply to:
- Access to and use of new buildings
- Access to extensions to buildings other than dwellings
- Sanitary conveniences in extensions to buildings other than dwellings
- Sanitary conveniences in dwellings
The current edition's application of Part M has been widened to include existing non-domestic buildings undergoing extension, a material alteration or a material change of use, when the work being undertaken will have to make reasonable provision for access in compliance with Part M. In addition, in the case of extensions and changes of use of part of a building, there must either by suitable independent access to that part of the building or suitable access through the building.
Special guidance is provided for historic buildings.
|View Part M (Access to and Use of Buildings) here|
These are of particular relevance for existing non-domestic buildings undergoing a change of use or extension, for new buildings where there has been a departure from the guidance in AD M, and to balance the sometimes competing priorities of access and conservation.
An Access Statement should be provided at the start of, and during, the building control process, and should accompany deposited plans. This should help building control bodies to make judgment on whether building development proposals make 'reasonable provision' for access. It can be used to allow the applicant to identify the constraints imposed by the existing buildings, and should record where the applicant wishes to depart from the guidance in AD M in order to provide a better solution to meeting the requirements of Part M.
'Reasonableness' is a new aspect of Building Regulations that runs parallel with similar consideration in the Code of Practice, BS 8300 (2009) with the Equality Duty Act (2010)
Please note: The 2010 amendments to the 2004 edition mainly reflect the number changes as a result of re-ordering. There have been no amendments to the substantive requirements in the schedule.
Last updated: 5th April 2012