In the Secretary of State’s view Requirements M1, M2 and M3 will be met by making reasonable provision to ensure that buildings are accessible and usable.
People, regardless of disability, age or gender, should be able to:
• gain access to buildings and to gain access within buildings and use their facilities, both as visitors and as people who live or work in them.
Where the requirements apply
Application of Part M
0.1 Requirements M1, M2 and M3 apply if:
a. a non-domestic building is newly erected;
b. an existing non-domestic building is extended, or undergoes a material alteration; or
c. an existing building or part of an existing building undergoes a material change of use to a hotel or boarding house, institution, public building or shop.
The terms ‘institution’, ‘public building’ and ‘shop’ are explained in regulation 2.
It should be noted that, regardless of compliance with Building Regulations, there will be obligations under the Equality Act 2010 for service providers and employers to consider barriers created by physical features in buildings.
0.2-0.4 Text deleted.
Extensions of non-domestic buildings
1.5 An extension to a non-domestic building should be treated in the same manner as a new building, as regards its own compliance with Part M. Under Requirement M2 there must be suitable independent access to the extension where reasonably practicable. Under the Limits on Application, Requirement M2 does not apply where the building that is extended complies with Requirement M1(a) so as to provide suitable access through the building to the extension. The concept of access encompasses access from the boundary of the site and from on-site car parking where provided.
1.6 If the owners of a building prefer not to provide independent access to a
planned extension, it is open to them either to demonstrate that the existing building and the approach to it already comply with Requirement M1(a), so that the Limit on Application of Requirement M2 applies, or to modify the existing building and/or the approach to it so that the Limit on Application applies. Such modification work would be a material alteration. The extensions and the alterations of the existing building could be planned and carried out as a single project.
1.7 In judging whether access provision relying on the existing building is sufficient for the Limit on Application of Requirement M2 to apply, and in judging whether it is reasonably practicable for suitable independent access to be provided, practical constraints and cost considerations will be relevant – see also ‘Access Strategies’ paragraphs 0.20 and 0.25 below.
1.8 Under Requirement M3, if sanitary conveniences are provided in any building that is to be extended, reasonable provision must be made within the extension for sanitary conveniences. However, under the Limit on Application of Requirement M3, this requirement does not apply if there is reasonable provision for people using the extension to gain access to and to use sanitary conveniences in the existing building. As in the case of access to an extension, it is open to building owners preferring not to make provisions for sanitary conveniences in a planned extension either to demonstrate that reasonable provision already exists in, or to modify, the existing building so that the Limit on Application of Requirement M3 applies. In this case, too, the extension and the modifications to the existing building could be planned and carried out as a single project.
Material alterations of non-domestic buildings
1.9 Under regulation 4, where an alteration of a non-domestic building is a material alteration, the work itself must comply, where relevant, with Requirement M1. This means that alterations to features relevant to the compliance of a building with Part M, such as entrances or arrangements for people to get from one level to another within the building, must result in features that comply with Requirement M1. Where new features relevant to the compliance of a building with Part M are provided, these must also comply with Requirement M1. Reasonable provision must be made for people to gain access to and to use new or altered sanitary conveniences. The building as a whole, including access to it from the site boundary and from on-site car parking where provided, must be no less compliant with Requirement M1 following a material alteration of a building. In the context of a material alteration of a building, it is not necessary, as regards the Building Regulations, to upgrade access to the building entrance from the site boundary and from on-site car parking where provided. However, attention is drawn to the note in paragraph 1, above about the Equality Act.
Material changes of use
1.10 Under regulation 6, as amended, where there is a material change of use of the whole of a building to a hotel or boarding house, an institution, a public building or a shop, the building must be upgraded, if necessary, so as to comply with M1 (Access and use). The terms ‘institution’, ‘public building’ and ‘shop’ are explained in regulation 2. In particular, it should be noted that ‘shop’ includes use as a restaurant, bar or public house.
1.11 Under regulation 6, as amended, if an existing building undergoes a change of use such that part is used as a hotel or boarding house, an institution, a public
building or a shop, such work if any shall be carried out as is necessary to ensure that:
• there is reasonable provision for people to gain access to that part from the site boundary and from on-site car parking where provided, either by means of an independent access or by means of a route to and through the building;
• that part itself complies with M1 (access and use); and
• any sanitary conveniences provided in, or in connection with, that part comply with Requirement M1: if users of that part have the use of sanitary conveniences elsewhere in the building, there must be reasonable provision for people to gain access to and use that sanitary accommodation, upgraded if need be.
Developers will need to agree how they have assessed what is reasonable provision with the relevant building control body as set out in paragraphs 0.20 to 0.25.
1.12 Where a material change of use results in a building being used in part as a hotel or boarding house, institution, public building or shop, and in part as a dwelling, regard should be had to the guidance in Sections 1 to 5 of this Approved Document in relation to the relevant non-domestic accommodation and to the common parts (see also MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT under Use of Guidance).
Car parking and setting down
1.13 Part M applies to those features, outside the building, which are needed to provide access to the building from the edge of the site and from car parking and setting down points within the site.
What requirements apply
1.14 If Part M applies, reasonable provision should be made:
a. so that people, regardless of disability, age or gender, can reach the principal entrance to the building and other entrances described in this Approved Document from the site boundary, from car parking within the site, and from other buildings on the same site (such as a university campus, a school or a hospital);
b. so that elements of the building do not constitute a hazard to users, especially people with impaired sight, but rather assist in wayfinding;
c. so that people, regardless of disability, age or gender, can have access into, and within, any storey of the building and to the building’s facilities, subject to the usual gender-related conventions regarding sanitary accommodation;
d. for suitable accommodation for people in wheelchairs, or people with other disabilities, in audience or spectator seating;
e. for aids to communication for people with an impairment of hearing or sight in auditoria, meeting rooms, reception areas, ticket offices and at information points; and
f. for sanitary accommodation for the users of the building.
1.15 From 1 April 2001, maintained schools ceased to have exemption from the Building Regulations. Certain school-specific standards relating to Parts K and M contained in the DfES 1997 Constructional Standards as described in Circular DfES/0142/2001 are subsumed in this revision to AD M (see 1.33 – Note re: (l) and (m), 1.36, 1.37 (b).
1.16 Purpose-built student living accommodation, including that in the form of flats as defined in regulation 2(1), should be treated as hotel/motel accommodation in respect of space requirements and internal facilities (see 4.17 to 4.24).
1.17 Historic buildings include:
a. listed buildings,
b. buildings situated in conservation areas,
c. buildings which are of architectural andhistorical interest and which are referred to as a material consideration in a local authority’s development plan,
d. buildings of architectural and historic interest within national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and world heritage sites,
e. vernacular buildings of traditional form and construction.
1.18 The need to conserve the special characteristics of such historic buildings must be recognised. They are a finite resource with cultural importance. In such work the aim should be to improve accessibility where and to the extent that it is practically possible, always provided that the work does not prejudice the character of the historic building, or increase the risk of long-term deterioration to the building fabric or fittings. In arriving at an appropriate balance between historic building conservation and accessibility, it would be appropriate to take into account the advice of the local authority’s conservation and access officers, and English Heritage, as well as the views of local access groups, in order to make the building as accessible as possible.
1.19 Particular issues relating to work in historic buildings that warrant sympathetic treatment and where advice from others could therefore be beneficial include:
a. restoring the historic character of a building that had been subject to previous inappropriate alteration,
e.g. replacement windows, doors and rooflights;
b. rebuilding a former historic building (e.g. following a fire or filling in a gap site in a terrace);
c. the choice of appropriate construction materials and techniques, e.g. making provisions enabling the fabric to ‘breathe’ to control moisture and potential long- term decay problems: see Information Sheet No. 4 from The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).
1.20 It is important that applicants clearly communicate to the building control body how their chosen approach to meeting the accessibility needs of the likely end-users of a building and its facilities demonstrates compliance with the requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations. The guidance in this Approved Document is designed to indicate only one way in which those requirements may be met. Whilst alternative, equally satisfactory ways of meeting the requirements can be adopted depending on the size, scale, nature and intended use of the building they must still demonstrate compliance with the relevant functional requirement.
1.21 Where alternative solutions are proposed, the onus remains with the applicant to demonstrate that those solutions are appropriate and meet the requirements, for example by showing that it is equivalent to the provisions set out in this Approved Document. This should include the use of appropriate research evidence or reference to recognised British Standards as necessary to support the chosen approach. It is advisable to ensure that the appropriate level of provision is agreed with the building control body
prior to commencing building work, as retrospective alterations can be costly and disruptive.
1.22 Applicants should therefore seek to engage with building control bodies at the earliest possible stage to identify key issues and risks, and to discuss the best way to demonstrate the access strategy for the building work taking place. To ensure satisfactory outcomes, communication between applicants and building control bodies should focus on areas where proposals diverge from the guidance in this Approved Document rather than providing an exhaustive explanation where features are in accordance with the guidance.
1.23 Provision of a written Access strategy is not required to accompany a building control application though it may be useful in some circumstances. The key focus should be on ensuring that applicants and building control bodies are agreed as to the appropriate level of provision in the completed building work.
1.24 In smaller or simpler works this could be achieved by having a conversation to review the proposals and recording the outcome of discussions by correspondence. In large, complex works or where there are significant constraints imposed by an existing site, this might involve a written document setting out key aspects of the access approach, supported by annotated drawings as well as face to face meetings to resolve key issues. It is for the building control body and applicant to agree which, if any of these proposed approaches should be used on a case by case basis to ensure that the functional requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations are satisfied. Whichever approach is adopted, the agreed level of provision should be clearly recorded.
1.25 It should be noted that approval of proposed works by a building control body does not by necessity indicate compliance with duties under the Equalities Act 2010. Applicants need to consider these wider equality obligations when undertaking building work and whether provision in some circumstances should exceed that set out within this Approved Document. The relationship between Part M of the Building Regulations and the Equality Act 2010 is set out on page 7 of this Approved Document.
1.26 The following meanings apply to terms throughout this Approved Document.
Access, approach, entry or exit.
Accessible, with respect to buildings or parts of buildings, means that people, regardless of disability, age or gender, are able to gain access.
Contrast visually, when used to indicate the visual perception of one element of the building, or fitting within the building, against another means that the difference in light reflectance value between the two surfaces is greater than 30 points. Where illuminance on surfaces is greater than 200 lux, a difference in light reflectance value should be a minimum of 20 points. Where door opening furniture projects beyond the face of the door or otherwise creates enhanced differentiation and shade, a minimum difference in light reflectance value of 15 points is considered adequate. For further information, reference should be made to Colour, contrast and perception – Design guidance for internal built environments – Reading University.
Dwelling, means a house or a flat (‘flat’ is defined in regulation 2(1)). However, new blocks of flats built as student
accommodation are to be treated as though they are hotel/motel accommodation in respect of space requirements and internal facilities (see 4.17 to 4.24).
General access stair, a stair intended for all users of a building on a day-to day- basis, as a normal route between levels.
Illuminance, the amount of light falling on a surface, measured in lumens per square metre (lm/m2) or lux (lx).
Level, with respect to the surfaces of a level approach, access routes and landings associated with steps, stairs and ramps means predominantly level, but with a maximum gradient along the direction of travel of 1:60.
Light reflectance value (LRV), the total quantity of visible light reflected by a surface at all wavelengths and directions when illuminated by a light source.
Principal entrance, the entrance which a visitor not familiar with the building would normally expect to approach.
Suitable, with respect to means of access and facilities, means that they are designed for use by people regardless of disability, age or gender, but subject to the usual gender-related conventions regarding sanitary accommodation.
Usable, with respect to buildings or parts of buildings, means that they are convenient for independent use.
Utility stair, a stair used for escape, access for maintenance, or purposes other than as a usual route for moving between levels on a day-to-day basis.