Section 2: Access into buildings other than dwellings

  1. Section 2

    Section 2


    2.1 The aim for all new buildings is for the principal entrance or entrances and any main staff entrance, and any lobbies, to be accessible.

    2.2 Where it is not possible, e.g. in an existing building, for the principal or main staff entrance or entrances to be accessible, an alternative accessible entrance should be provided.

    2.3 It is important to reduce the risks to people when entering the building.

    Accessible entrances

    Design considerations

    2.4 Steeply sloping or restricted sites sometimes make it impossible for the principal or main staff entrance to be accessible, in which case an alternative accessible entrance may be necessary.

    2.5 Accessible entrances should be clearly sign-posted and easily recognisable. Any structural elements, for example supports for a canopy, are useful in identifying the entrance, but should not present a hazard.

    2.6 The route from the exterior across the threshold should provide weather protection, and not present a barrier for wheelchair users or a trip hazard for other people. A level threshold is preferred, especially for doors in frequent use.

    Note: Guidance on sign-posting is given in BS 8300, Inclusive mobility and the Sign design guide.


    2.7 Accessible entrances will satisfy Requirement M1 or M2 if:

    a. they are clearly sign-posted, incorporating the International Symbol of Access, from the edge of the site and from the principal entrance (if this is not accessible);

    b. they are easily identified among the other elements of the building and the
    immediate environment, e.g. by lighting and/or visual contrast;

    c. any structural supports at the entrance do not present a hazard for visually impaired people;

    d. there is a level landing at least 1500 x 1500mm, clear of any door swings, immediately in front of the entrance and of a material that does not impede the movement of wheelchairs;

    e. the threshold is level or, if a raised threshold is unavoidable, it has a total height of not more than 15mm, a minimum number of upstands and slopes, with any upstands higher than 5mm chamfered or rounded;

    f. any door entry systems are accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people, and people who cannot speak;

    g. weather protection is provided at manual non-powered entrance doors;

    h. internal floor surfaces adjacent to the threshold are of materials that do not impede the movement of wheelchairs, e.g. not coir matting, and changes in floor materials do not create a potential trip hazard;

    i. where mat wells are provided, the surface of the mat is level with the surface of the adjacent floor finish;

    j. where provided as an alternative accessible entrance, an accessible internal route is provided to the spaces served by the principal or main staff entrances.

    Doors to accessible entrances

    Design considerations

    2.8 Doors to the principal, or alternative accessible, entrance should be accessible to all, particularly wheelchair users and people with limited physical dexterity. Entrance doors may be manually operated without powered assistance, or power operated under manual or automatic control. Entrance doors should be capable of being held closed when not in use.

    2.9 A non-powered manually operated entrance door, fitted with a self-closing device capable of closing the door against wind forces and the resistance of draught seals is unlikely to be openable by many people, particularly those who are wheelchair users or who have limited strength.

    2.10 A powered door opening and closing system, either manually controlled or automatically operated by sensors, is the most satisfactory solution for most people. An automatic sliding door arrangement is particularly beneficial as it avoids the risks associated with automatic swing doors and its use can make it possible to reduce the length of any entrance lobby.

    2.11 Once open, all doors to accessible entrances should be wide enough to allow unrestricted passage for a variety of users, including wheelchair users, people carrying luggage, people with assistance dogs, and parents with pushchairs and small children. It should be noted that double buggies are wider than wheelchairs and that, where relevant to the building type, this should
    be borne in mind when determining an appropriate effective clear width for an entrance door. There may be circumstances in existing buildings where it is not practicable or cost-effective to adopt the preferred effective clear widths for new buildings.

    2.12 People should be able to see other people approaching from the opposite direction, thereby allowing sufficient reaction time for both parties to avoid a collision. Exceptions may be acceptable for reasons of privacy or security.


    2.13 Doors to accessible entrances will satisfy Requirement M1 or M2 if:

    a. where required to be self-closing, a power-operated door opening and closing system is used when through calculation and experience it appears that it will not be possible otherwise for a person to open the door using a force not more than 30N at the leading edge from 0° (the door in the closed position) to 30° open, and not more than 22.5N at the leading edge from 30° to 60° of the opening cycle;

    b. the effective clear width through a single leaf door, or one leaf of a double leaf door, is in accordance with Table 2, and the rules for measurement are in accordance with Diagram 9;

    c. they are installed in accordance with Approved Document K, section 10.

    Table 2 Minimum effective clear widths of doors

    Table 2 Minimum effective clear widths of doors

    9 Effective clear width of doors

    Diagram 9 Effective clear width of doors

    Manually operated non-powered entrance doors

    Design considerations

    2.14 Self-closing devices on manually operated non-powered swing doors disadvantage many people who have limited upper body strength, are pushing prams or are carrying heavy objects.

    2.15 A space alongside the leading edge of a door should be provided to enable
    a wheelchair user to reach and grip the door handle, then open the door without releasing hold on the handle and without the footrest colliding with the return wall.

    2.16 Door furniture on manually operated non-powered doors should be easy to operate by people with limited manual dexterity, and be readily apparent against the background of the door.


    2.17 Manually operated non-powered entrance doors will satisfy Requirement M1 or M2 if:

    a. the opening force at the leading edge of the door is not more than 30N at the leading edge from 0° (the door in the closed position) to 30° open, and not more than 22.5N at the leading edge from 30° to 60° of the opening cycle;

    b. there is an unobstructed space of at least 300mm on the pull side of the door between the leading edge of the door and any return wall, unless the door is a powered entrance door (see Diagram 9);

    c. where fitted with a latch, the door opening furniture can be operated with one hand using a closed fist, e.g. a lever handle;

    d. all door opening furniture contrasts visually with the surface of the door and is not cold to the touch.

    Powered entrance doors

    Design considerations

    2.18 Activation (e.g. motion sensors and push buttons), safety features and the time-lapse allowed for entry and exit through powered door systems should be carefully considered to suit the needs of people who cannot react quickly.

    2.19 Manual controls for powered entrance doors should be clearly distinguishable against the background and not located so that a person, having used the control, needs to move to avoid contact with the door as it opens.

    2.20 Revolving doors are not considered accessible. They create particular difficulties, and risk of injury, for people with assistance dogs, people with visual impairment or mobility problems and for parents with children and/or pushchairs. If a revolving door is used, an entrance door complying with 2.17 or 2.21 should be provided immediately adjacent to it and signed to show that it is accessible.


    2.21 Powered entrance doors will satisfy Requirement M1 or M2 if:

    a. they have a sliding, swinging or folding action controlled:
    – manually by a push pad, card swipe, coded entry or remote control, or
    – automatically by a motion sensor or other proximity sensor, e.g. a contact mat;

    b. when installed, automatic sensors are set so that automatically operated doors open early enough, and stay open long enough, to permit safe entry and exit;

    c. when they are swing doors that open towards people approaching the doors, visual and audible warnings are provided to warn people of their automatic operation when both opening and shutting;

    d. they incorporate a safety stop that is activated if the doors begin to close when a person is passing through;

    e. they revert to manual control or fail safe in the open position in the event of a power failure;

    f. when open, they do not project into any adjacent access route;

    g. any manual controls for powered door systems are located between 750mm and 1000mm above floor level, operable with a closed fist and, when on the opening side of the door, are set back 1400mm from the leading edge of the door when fully open and contrast visually with the background against which they are seen.

    Glass doors and glazed screens

    Design considerations

    2.22 People with visual impairment should be in no doubt as to the location of glass doors, especially when they are within a glazed screen. The choice of a different style of manifestation for the door and the glazed screen can help to differentiate between them.

    2.23 The presence of the door should be apparent not only when it is shut but also when it is open. Where it can be held open, steps should be taken to avoid people being harmed by walking into the door.


    2.24 Glass doors and glazed screens will satisfy Requirement M1 or M2 if they comply with Approved Document K, Section 7.

    Entrance lobbies

    Design considerations

    2.25 There are a number of reasons for providing a lobby:
    • to limit air infiltration
    • to maintain comfort by controlling draughts
    • to increase security
    • to provide transitional lighting.

    2.26 The provision of a lobby may make it possible for an external door to have a
    self-closing device with a lower power size rating than might otherwise be the case. However, even in these circumstances, it may not be possible for the entrance door to meet the opening force criterion of 30N at the leading edge from 0° (the door in the closed position) to 30° open, and not more than 22.5N at the leading edge from 30° to 60° of the opening cycle (see 2.9).

    2.27 The lobby should be large enough and of a shape to allow a wheelchair user or a person pushing a pram to move clear of one door before opening the second door.The lobby should also be capable of accommodating a companion helping a wheelchair user to open doors and guide the wheelchair through. The minimum length of the lobby is related to the chosen door size, the swing of each door, the projection of the door into the lobby and the size of an occupied wheelchair with a companion pushing. Where both doors of a lobby are automatic sliding doors, the length can be reduced as no door swings are involved, nor is space required for manual operation. Similarly, if ‘reduced swing’ door sets are used, the length can be reduced because the projection of the door into the lobby is reduced.

    2.28 The aim should be to reduce potential hazards from local obstructions within the lobby and minimise distracting reflections from glazing. It is also desirable if rainwater from shoes or the wheels of wheelchairs is not taken into the building where it becomes a potential slip hazard, e.g. by the use of cleaning mats.


    2.29 Entrance lobbies will satisfy Requirement M1 or M2 if:

    a. their length with single swing doors is in accordance with Diagram 10;

    b. their length with double swing doors is at least (DP1 + DP2 + 1570mm);

    c. their width (excluding any projections into the space) is at least 1200mm (or (DL1 or DL2) + 300mm) whichever is the greater when single leaf doors are used, and at least 1800mm when double leaf doors are used;

    d. glazing within the lobby does not create distracting reflections;

    e. floor surface materials within the lobby do not impede the movement of wheelchairs, e.g. not coir matting, and changes in floor materials do not create a potential trip hazard;

    f. the floor surface helps to remove rainwater from shoes and wheelchairs;

    g. where mat wells are provided, the surface of the mat is level with the surface of the adjacent floor finish;

    h. any columns, ducts and similar full height elements that project into the lobby by more than 100mm are protected by a visually contrasting guard rail.
    10 Key dimensions for lobboes with single leaf doors

    Diagram 10 Key dimensions for lobbies with single leaf doors