Section 2: Category 2 – Accessible and adaptable dwellings
Section 2A: Approach to the dwelling
2.1 The provisions of Section 2A apply only where a planning condition requires compliance with optional requirement M4(2) for accessible and adaptable dwellings (see paragraphs 0.3 to 0.6).
2.2 The provisions of Section 2A apply to external and internal areas and elements that form part of the approach route to the individual dwelling and fall within the plot (or curtilage) of the dwelling or the building containing the dwelling.
2.3 The provisions also apply to the approach route between the dwelling and the point, or points, at which an occupant or visitor, including a disabled person, would expect to get in and out of a This point, or points, of access may be within or outside the plot of the dwelling or the building containing the dwelling (typically a block of flats). These provisions do not apply beyond the curtilage of the development.
2.4 Reasonable provision should be made to ensure that the approach route to any communal facilities that serve the dwelling meets these Communal facilities include storage areas, such as those used for depositing refuse and recycling, but not plant rooms or other service areas unless occupants need regular access, for example for meter reading.
2.5 For a house (or other dwelling that sits within its own plot) the approach route will often only involve a driveway, or a gate and a path, but for a dwelling within a larger building (typically a block of flats) the approach route will usually involve one, or more, communal gates, paths, entrances, doors, lobbies, corridors and access decks, as well as communal lifts and stairs.
2.6 The approach route should be safe and convenient, adopt the shallowest gradient that can reasonably be achieved and be step-free, irrespective of the storey on which the dwelling is located.
2.7 Where it is not reasonable to achieve a step-free approach route to the principal private entrance, a step-free approach route should be provided to a suitable alternative private entrance The provisions for approach routes (other than those relating specifically to step-free access) should still apply to both the route to the principal private entrance and the route to the alternative private entrance.
2.8 Where a communal ramped approach route is provided and has an overall rise of 300mm or more, an additional stepped route meeting the requirements of paragraph 2.11 should also be provided.
2.9 An approach route for a Category 2 dwelling should comply with all of the following.
a. The approach route is level, gently sloping or, where necessary, ramped.
b. Private parts of the approach route have a minimum clear width of 900mm or 750mm where there are localised obstructions.
c. Communal parts of the approach route (except communal stairs) have a minimum clear width of 1200mm or 1050mm where there are localised obstructions.
d. Any localised obstruction does not occur opposite or close to a doorway, or at a change of direction, and is no longer than 2m in length.
e. All external parts of the approach route have a suitable ground surface.
f. Every gate (or gateway) along the approach route has both:
- a minimum clear opening width of 850mm
- a 300mm nib to the leading edge of the gate.
External and internal ramps forming part of an approach route
2.10 To enable people to use a ramp safely, the ramp should comply with all of the following.
a. The gradient is between 1:20 and 1:12.
b. The length of each flight at a given gradient meets the provisions of Diagram 2.1.
c. Flights within a private approach route have a minimum clear width of 900mm.
d. Flights within a communal approach route have a minimum clear width of 1200mm.
e. Every flight has a top and bottom landing.
f. An intermediate landing is provided between individual flights and at any change of direction.
g. Every landing is a minimum 1200mm long, clear of any door (or gate) swing.
External steps forming part of an additional route
2.11 To enable a wide range of people to use steps safely, a stepped approach should comply with all of the following.
a. Steps are uniform with a rise of between 150mm and 170mm and a going of between 280mm and 425mm (for tapered steps measured at a point 270mm from the ‘inside’ (narrow end) of the step).
b. Steps have suitable tread nosings.
c. No individual flight has a rise between landings of more than 1800mm.
d. Every flight has a minimum clear width of 900mm.
e. Top and bottom and, where necessary, intermediate landings are provided and every landing has a minimum length of 900mm.
f. Every flight with three or more risers has a suitable grippable handrail to one side, (or to both sides where the flight is wider than 1000mm). This grippable handrail is 850-1000mm above the pitch line of the flight and extends a minimum of 300mm beyond the top and bottom nosings.
Car parking and drop-off
2.12 Where a parking space is provided for the dwelling, it should comply with all of the following.
a. Where the parking is within the private curtilage of the dwelling (but not within a carport or garage) at least one space is a standard parking bay that can be widened to 3.3m.
b. Where communal parking is provided to blocks of flats, at least one standard parking bay is provided close to the communal entrance of each core of the block (or to the lift core where the parking bay is internal). The parking bay should have a minimum clear access zone of 900mm to one side and a dropped kerb in accordance with paragraph 2.13d.
c. Access between the parking bay and the principal private entrance or, where necessary, the alternative private entrance to the dwelling is step free.
d. The parking space is level or, where unavoidable, gently sloping.
e. The gradient is as shallow as the site permits.
f. The parking space has a suitable ground surface.
2.13 Where a drop-off point is provided for the dwelling, it should comply with all of the following.
a. It is located close to the principal communal entrance of the building containing the dwelling.
b. It is level or, where unavoidable, gently sloping.
c. It has a suitable ground surface.
d. Where a dropped kerb is provided, it is a minimum of 1000mm wide, reasonably flush with the adjoining ground and has a maximum gradient of 1:12.
Principal communal entrance
2.14 The principal communal entrance should comply with all of the following.
a. There is a level landing a minimum of 1500mm wide and 1500mm long directly outside the entrance and clear of the swing of any door.
b. The landing is covered to a minimum width of 1200mm and depth of 900mm.
c. Lighting is provided which uses fully diffused luminaires activated automatically by a dusk to dawn timer or by detecting motion.
d. The entrance door (or gate) has a minimum clear opening width of 850mm, when measured in accordance with Diagram 2.2.
e. Where there are double doors (or gates), the main (or leading) leaf provides the required minimum clear opening width.
f. A minimum 300mm nib is provided to the leading edge of the door (or gate) and the extra width created by this nib is maintained for a minimum distance of 1200mm beyond it.
g. The reveal on the leading side of the door (usually the inside) has a maximum depth of 200mm.
h. The threshold is an accessible threshold.
i. Where there is a lobby or porch, the doors are a minimum of 1500mm apart and there is a minimum of 1500mm between door swings.
j. The ground surface (or entrance flooring) does not impede wheelchair movement.
k. Door entry controls, where provided, are mounted 900-1000mm above finished ground level, and at least 300mm away from any projecting corner.
Other communal doors
2.15 Every communal door, or gate, along the approach route should comply with provisions d. to k. of paragraph 2.14.
Communal lifts and stairs
2.16 A wide range of people, including accompanied wheelchair users, should be able to access and use the Every passenger lift that gives access to the dwelling should comply with all of the following.
a. There is a clear landing, a minimum of 1500mm long and 1500mm wide, directly in front of the lift door at every floor level.
b. The lift is equivalent to or meets the requirements of BS EN 81-70:2003 for a type 2 lift.
c. The car is a minimum of 1100mm wide and 1400mm deep inside.
d. Doors have a minimum clear opening width of 800mm.
e. Landing and car controls are 900-1200mm above the car floor and a minimum of 400mm (measured horizontally) from the inside of the front wall.
f. The lift has an initial dwell time of five seconds before its doors begin to close after they are fully open.
2.17 The principal communal stair that gives access to the dwelling should meet the requirements of Part K for a general access stair.
This section of the approved document deals with the following optional requirement from Part M of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010.
Part M access to and use of buildings
Category 2 – accessible and adaptable dwellings M4(2) optional requirement
(1) Reasonable provision must be made for people to—
(a) gain access to; and
(b) use, the dwelling and its
(2) The provision made must be sufficient to—
(a) meet the needs of occupants with differing needs, including some older or disabled people; and
(b) to allow adaptation of the dwelling to meet the changing needs of occupants over time.
Limits on application
Optional requirement M4(2)—
(a) may apply only in relation to a dwelling that is erected;
(b) will apply in substitution for requirement M4(1);
(c) does not apply where optional requirement M4(3) applies;
(d) does not apply to any part of a building that is used solely to enable the building or any service or fitting in the building to be inspected, repaired or maintained.
In the Secretary of State’s view, optional requirement M4(2) will be met where a new dwelling makes reasonable provision for most people to access the dwelling and incorporates features that make it potentially suitable for a wide range of occupants, including older people, those with reduced mobility and some wheelchair users. Reasonable provision is made if the dwelling complies with all of the following.
a. Within the curtilage of the dwelling, or of the building containing the dwelling, it is possible to approach and gain step-free access to the dwelling and to any associated parking space and communal facilities intended for the occupants to use.
b. There is step-free access to the WC and other accommodation within the entrance storey, and to any associated private outdoor space directly connected to the entrance storey.
c. A wide range of people, including older and disabled people and some wheelchair users, are able to use the accommodation and its sanitary facilities.
d. Features are provided to enable common adaptations to be carried out in future to increase the accessibility and functionality of the dwelling.
e. Wall-mounted switches, socket outlets and other controls are reasonably accessible to people who have reduced reach.