Use of Guidance



    This document is one of a series that has been approved and issued by the Secretary of State for the purpose of providing practical guidance with respect to the requirements of Schedule 1 to and Regulation 7 of the Building Regulations 2010 for England and Wales (SI 2010/2214).

    At the back of this document is a list of all the documents that have been approved and issued by the Secretary of State for this purpose.

    Approved Documents are intended to provide guidance for some of the more common building situations. However, there may well be alternative ways of achieving compliance with the requirements. Thus there is no obligation to adopt any particular solution contained in an Approved Document if you prefer to meet the relevant requirement in some other way.

    Other requirements

    The guidance contained in an Approved Document relates only to the particular requirements of the Regulations which the document addresses. The building work will also have to comply with the requirements of any other relevant paragraphs in Schedule 1 to the Regulations.

    There are Approved Documents which give guidance on each of the Parts of Schedule 1 and on Regulation 7.


    In accordance with regulation 8, the requirements in Parts A to D, F to K (except for paragraphs H2 and J7) of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations do not require anything to be done except for the purpose of securing reasonable standards of health and safety for persons in or about buildings (and any others who may be affected by buildings or matters connected with buildings). This is one of the categories of purpose for which building regulations may be made.

    Paragraphs H2 and J7 are excluded from Regulation 8 because they deal directly with prevention of the contamination of  water. Parts E and M (which deal, respectively, with resistance to the passage of sound, and access to and use of buildings) are excluded from Regulation 8 because they address the welfare and convenience of building users. Part L is excluded from Regulation 8 because it addresses the conservation of fuel and power. All these matters are amongst the purposes, other than health and safety, that may be addressed by Building Regulations.


    Any building work which is subject to the requirements imposed by Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations shall be carried out in accordance with regulation 7.

    Guidance on meeting these requirements on materials and workmanship is contained in Approved Document 7.

    Building Regulations are made for specific purposes, primarily the health and safety, welfare and convenience of people and for energy conservation. Standards and other technical specifications may provide relevant guidance to the extent that they relate to these considerations. However, they may also address other aspects of performance or matters which, although they relate to health and safety etc., are not covered by the Building Regulations.

    When an Approved Document makes reference to a named standard, the relevant version of the standard to which it refers is the one listed at the end of the publication. However, if this version has been revised or updated by the issuing standards body, the new version may be used as a source of guidance provided it continues to address the relevant requirements of the Regulations.


    In mixed use developments part of a building may be used as a dwelling while another part has a non-domestic use. In such cases, if the requirements of the Regulations for dwellings and non-domestic use differ, the requirements for non- domestic use should apply in any shared parts of the building.


    The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 as amended by The Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2174) contain some requirements which affect building design. The main requirements are now covered by the Building Regulations, but for further information see: ‘Workplace health, safety and welfare. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, Approved Code of Practice’ L24. Published by HSE Books 1992 (ISBN 0 7176 0413 6).

    The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 apply to the common parts of flats and similar buildings if people such as cleaners and caretakers are employed to work in these common parts. Where the requirements of the Building Regulations that are covered by this Part do not apply to dwellings, the provisions may still be required in the situations described above in order to satisfy the Workplace Regulations.


    The Equality Act 2010 (the EA) brings together existing equalities legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, with the aims of strengthening and also harmonising existing provisions into a single streamlined framework of equalities legislation to deliver better outcomes for the protected groups listed.

    The EA ( ukpga/2010/15/contents) imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustments to a physical feature in order to comply with the requirements set out in section 20 of the EA. The duty is set out in Schedule 2 (in relation to public functions and service providers); Schedule 8 (in relation to employers) and Schedule 15 (in relation to associations) of the EA.

    Although the guidance in this Approved Document, if followed, tends to demonstrate compliance with Part M of the Building Regulations, this does not necessarily equate to compliance with the obligations and duties set out in the EA. This is because service providers and employers are required by the EA to make reasonable adjustment to any physical feature which might put a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person. In some instances this will include designing features or making reasonable adjustments to features which are outside the scope of Approved Document M. It remains for the persons undertaking building works to consider if further provision, beyond that described in Approved Document M, is appropriate.

    10 Year Exemption for service providers, local authorities and associations
    An exemption setting out when an adjustment is not reasonable in relation to design standards is provided in regulation 9 (Reasonableness and design standards) of and the Schedule to the Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010 (the Regulations).

    Regulation 9 prescribes circumstances in which it is not reasonable for a provider of services, a public authority carrying out its functions, or an association to remove or alter a physical feature which has been provided to assist access to the building or its facilities and which accords with the relevant design standard. The Schedule to the Regulations provides that a physical feature satisfies the relevant design standard if it complied with the objectives, design considerations and provisions set out in the edition of Approved Document M that applied at the time the building works were carried out.

    This provision will not apply where more than 10 years have elapsed since:
    – the day on which construction or installation of the feature was completed; or
    – in the case of a physical feature provided as part of a larger building project, the day on which the works in relation to that project were completed.

    Applicants should be aware that this is not a blanket exemption from duties under the EA, and relates only to the duty to make reasonable adjustments to physical features built in strict accordance with the guidance provided in the relevant approved document. As with all other types of building work, service providers will still need to consider the needs of disabled people which are outside the scope of Approved Document M. It is for applicants, not building control bodies, to consider how these obligations are to be met.


    Where applicable, parts of this Approved Document state that the requirements of Part M will be satisfied by compliance with the applicable parts of the guidance within Approved Document K (Protection from falling, collision and impact). Compliance with these applicable requirements set out in Approved Document K in these circumstances will be regarded as compliance with a relevant design standard for the purposes of regulation 9 and the Schedule to the Regulations.