Show Filters
Part M Access and Use Dwellings

M2: Access and Use of existing buildings other than dwellings

Share

The guidance in Section 2 applies to certain elements and features of existing buildings other than dwellings and their environs.

The guidance in Section 2 also applies to the common areas of existing apartment blocks and their environs.

This Section should be read in conjunction with Section 1 and is intended to provide additional guidance on certain elements and features for existing buildings types as mentioned above.

2.0 Introduction

Section 1 sets out the minimum level of provision for the following buildings to meet the requirements of M1:

(a) buildings other than dwellings and their environs; and

(b) common areas of apartment blocks and their environs

Section 1 applies to new and existing buildings. This section provides additional guidance on the minimum provisions for certain elements and features of existing buildings where it is not practicable to achieve the provisions set out in Section 1. Where works (e.g. material alterations and certain changes of use, etc) to existing buildings are carried out in accordance with Section 1 and 2, this will prima facie indicate compliance with Requirement M1.

Reference should be made to 0.6 and 0.8 for the application of Part M to existing buildings and 0.7 for considerations that should be made when determining ‘practicability’.

This section (Section 2) mirrors the structure of Section 1. The provisions in Section 1 apply to existing buildings unless additional guidance on minimum levels is provided in this section.

Works to existing buildings can present many design challenges because of the individual character, appearance and environs of existing buildings. Each existing building and site will present its own unique access opportunities and
constraints, which are likely to result in different ways of addressing accessibility. However, the fundamental priorities of accessibility should be the same as those set out in M1, i.e. accessing and using a building, its facilities and environs.
Whilst the provisions of the Building Regulations do not relate to management or maintenance and compliance with the Regulations is not dependent on these, it is acknowledged that they are important functions and contribute to the ongoing accessibility of the building. Key issues such as arranging furniture appropriately, keeping circulation routes clear, facilities clean, equipment (lifts, communication aids, etc.) functioning, along with staff
training and awareness campaigns are generally the responsibility of the management and or maintenance teams.

For guidance on managing buildings refer to Building for Everyone, BS 8300: 2009, the NDA publication ‘Access Handbook Template’ and www.nda.ie.

When considering works to an historic building, it is important to establish what is important or significant about the building. Historic buildings can be significant in many different ways, for example, in its physical fabric, in its
historical associations or in its archaeological potential. The better the understanding of what is important, the easier it will be to design appropriate accessible solutions.

Information about the significance of a building may be obtained from a conservation plan or statement, where these exist, or from the architectural conservation officer from the relevant local authority.

Historic buildings include Protected Structures, which are included by each Planning Authority on a Record of Protected Structures. These buildings have been identified as having particular cultural significance and heritage value.

The adoption without modification of the guidance in this document may not, in all circumstances, be appropriate for historic buildings. Liaison with the local Building Control Authority on alternative approaches based on the principles
contained in this document may be more relevant and should be considered. For further guidance on access to historic buildings refer to ‘Advice Series: Access – improving the accessibility of historic buildings and places’ by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

2.1 Approach to existing buildings other than dwellings

2.1.1 Objective

The objective is to provide independently accessible means of approach to the accessible entrance(s) of an existing building and means of circulation around an existing building.

2.1.2 Introduction

The guidance in 1.1.2 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide both approach routes, as defined in 1.1.2, at least one approach route to
an accessible entrance of an existing building should be in
accordance with the relevant guidance given in 1.1.2 and 1.1.3, (2.1.2 and 2.1.3, where necessary);

(b) where it is not practicable to provide circulation routes, as defined in 1.1.1

(c) and (d), that comply with section 1.1.2 and 1.1.3 (2.1.2 and 2.1.3, where necessary) then similar facilities should be provided within the building or its environs which are
accessible to people with disabilities;

(c) where steps provide the only access to an existing building (i.e. there is no ramp), the stepped approach may need to be modified or an alternative provided. Refer to 2.1.4.5 (d)).

(d) where level, gently sloped, ramped and stepped access routes exist they should be in accordance with 1.1.3 (2.1.3 where necessary).

2.1.3 Access routes

2.1.3.1 General

The guidance in 1.1.3.1 should be followed, where practicable.

2.1.3.2 Level access routes

The guidance in 1.1.3.2 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide the minimum clear width (between walls, upstands or kerbs) in 1.1.3.2, it should be as wide as possible but not less than 1000 mm;

(b) it may not be practicable to provide passing places as required in 1.1.3.2 on an existing level access route.

2.1.3.3 Gently sloped access routes

The guidance in 1.1.3.3 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide the minimum clear width (between walls, upstands or kerbs) in 1.1.3.3, it should be as wide as possible but not less than 1000 mm;

(b) it may not be practicable to provide passing places in 1.1.3.3 on an existing gently sloped access route;

(c) it may not be practicable to provide landings at each rise of 500mm in accordance with 1.1.3.3 on an existing gently sloped access route;

(d) where it is not practicable to provide the dimensions of the top and bottom landing in 1.1.3.3, the dimensions
should be as large as possible but not less than 1500 mm wide x 1500 mm long, to facilitate wheelchair turning. Where a door opens onto a landing, the length, clear of the door swing or other obstruction, should be not less than 1300 mm long;

(e) where it is not practicable to provide the length of an intermediate landing in 1.1.3.3, it should be as long as
possible but not less than 1000 mm long. Where a door opens onto a landing, the length of the landing should be at least 1300 mm clear of the door swing;

(f) where it is not practicable to provide the dimensions in 1.1.3.3 for intermediate landings to act as passing places, the dimensions should be at least those in (c) above.

2.1.3.4 Ramped access routes

The guidance in 1.1.3.4 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide the minimum clear width (between walls, upstands or kerbs) in 1.1.3.4, it should be as wide as possible, but the minimum unobstructed width
between handrails should be not less than 1000 mm;

(b) where it is not practicable to provide ramp gradients in accordance with 1.1.3.4, a ramp with a gradient of 1:20 should not have goings longer than 10 m, a maximum gradient of 1:12 may be provided if individual ramp goings are not longer than 4500 mm, (interpolation between these is permitted);

(c) where it is not practicable to provide the stated dimensions of the top and bottom landing in 1.1.3.4, the
dimensions should be as large as possible but not less than 1500 mm wide x 1500 mm long, to facilitate a wheelchair turning. Where a door opens onto a landing, the length
should be at least 1300 mm long and clear of any door swings or other obstructions;

(d) where it is not practicable to provide the length of an intermediate landing in 1.1.3.4, it should be as long as
possible but not less than 1000 mm long. Where a door opens onto a landing, the length of the landing should be at least 1300 mm clear of the door swing;

(e) where it is not practicable to provide the dimensions in 1.1.3.4 for intermediate landings to act as passing places, the dimensions should be at least those in (d) above;

(f) if edge protection exists on the open side of any ramp or landing in the form of an upstand or kerb it should be at least 75 mm high;

(g) it may not be practicable to provide a stepped access route in addition to a ramp where the rise of the ramp is greater than 300 mm (refer to1.1.3.4 (h)).

2.1.3.5 Stepped access routes

The guidance in 1.1.3.5 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide the minimum clear width (between walls, upstands or kerbs) in 1.1.3.5, it should be as wide as possible, but the minimum unobstructed width
between handrails should be not less than 1000 mm;

(b) where it is not practicable to provide the length of landings in 1.1.3.5, the length should be as long as possible
but not less than 1000 mm long and clear of any door or gate swings;

(c) where it is not practicable to provide steps with the stated goings in 1.1.3.5, they should be as large as possible but, with a going not less than 280 mm;

(d) where it is not practicable to provide a stepped approach to an existing building, to meet the minimum provisions in 1.1.3.5 (and 2.1.3.5, where necessary), one of the following alternatives should be provided where practicable:

(i) landscape or re-align the approach to provide a level,
gently sloped or ramped access route and new steps
where necessary; or

(ii) retain the existing steps and install an external platform lift in accordance with BS 64403; or

(iii) revise the internal planning of the building to change the main approach to one that can be made accessible in accordance with 1.1.3 (and 2.1.3 where necessary).

2.1.3.6 Handrails

The guidance in 1.1.3.6 should be followed, except:

(a) it may not be practicable to provide the heights to the top of handrails in 1.1.3.6. The vertical height to the top of an existing handrail should be between 840 to 1000 mm above the pitch line of the ramp or the flight of steps and between 840 mm and 1100 mm above the surface of the
landing;

(b) it may not be practicable to provide the clearance between the handrail and any adjacent wall surface in
1.1.3.6 (g) however, the clearance for an existing handrail should not be less than 45 mm;

(c) it may not be practicable to provide the clearance between a cranked support and the underside of the
handrail in 1.1.3.6 (h) however, the clearance for an existing handrail should not be less than 30 mm;

2.1.4 Pedestrian crossings

The guidance in 1.1.4 should be followed.

2.1.5 On–site car parking

The guidance in 1.1.5 should be followed, where practicable. Where on-site car parking is provided and it is not practicable to provide the number of designated car parking spaces in 1.1.5, as many as possible should be provided
but at least one. Alternatively a setting down area should be provided.

2.1.6 On–site setting down areas

The guidance in 1.1.6 should be followed.

2.2 Access to existing buildings other than dwellings

2.2.1 Objective

The objective is to provide entrances to existing buildings that are independently accessible and to avoid segregation based on a person’s level of ability.

2.2.2 Introduction

The guidance in 1.2.2 should be followed.

Where it is not practicable for each of the applicable entrance(s) set out in 1.2.2 to be accessible, alternative accessible entrance(s) should be provided or the internal planning of the building revised to change the applicable entrance(s) to one(s) that can be made accessible in accordance with 1.2 and 2.2 where necessary. At least one entrance should be made accessible.

2.2.3 Accessible entrances

The guidance in 1.2.3 should be followed. Where it is not practicable to provide the dimensions of the landing in front of every accessible entrance in 1.2.3, the dimensions should be as large as possible but not less than 1500 mm wide x 1500 mm deep.

2.2.4 Accessible entrance doors

The guidance in 1.2.4 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide an entrance door with an effective clear width in accordance with 1.2.4, the effective clear width should be as wide as possible but not less than 750 mm however, where the existing frontage and entrance door(s) are being replaced, an effective clear door width in accordance with 1.2.4 should be provided.

(b) where it is not practicable to provide the minimum vertical zone of visibility in accordance with 1.2.4, the zone
should be a large as possible but not less than between 900 mm and 1500 mm from the floor.

2.2.4.1 Accessible glass doors

The guidance in 1.2.4.1 should be followed, where practicable.

2.2.4.2 Accessible manual doors

The guidance in 1.2.4.2 should be followed, where practicable.

2.2.4.3 Accessible power-operated doors

The guidance in 1.2.4.3 should be followed.

2.2.4.4 Low energy swing doors

The guidance in 1.2.4.4 should be followed.

2.2.5 Entrance lobbies

The guidance in 1.2.5 should be followed, where practicable. Where in an existing building, an entrance lobby is provided
with automatic doors, the width of the lobby should be at least equal to the effective clear width of the door + 300 mm and the length sufficient to accommodate a wheelchair.

2.3 Circulation within existing buildings other than dwellings

2.3.1 Objective

The objective is for people to travel horizontally and vertically within an existing building conveniently and
without discomfort in order to make use of relevant facilities.

2.3.2 Introduction

The guidance in 1.3.1 and 1.3.2 should be followed.

2.3.3 Horizontal features

2.3.3.1 Reception area in entrance halls

The guidance in 1.3.3.1 should be followed, where practicable.

2.3.3.2 Internal doors

The guidance in 1.3.3.2 should be followed except where it is not practicable to provide a door with an effective clear
width in accordance with 1.3.3.2, the effective clear width should be as wide as possible but not less than 750 mm.

2.3.3.3 Corridors and passageways

The guidance in 1.3.3.3 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to maintain the minimum unobstructed clear corridor width in 1.3.3.3 it should be as wide as possible but not less than 1000 mm. Elements such as columns, radiators and fire hoses should not project into this corridor width;

(b) where it is not practicable to provide a passing place at all locations in 1.3.3.3, they should be provided where practicable;

(c) where it is not practicable to provide the length of rest area in 1.3.3.3 for a gently sloping gradient, the length should be as long as possible but not less than 1000 mm;

(d) an alternative to providing a slope or ramp between a change in height is to provide a platform lift in accordance with BS 6440:1999.

2.3.3.4 Internal lobbies

The guidance in 1.3.3.4 should be followed where practicable. Where in an existing building, a lobby is provided with automatic doors, the width of the lobby
should be at least equal to the effective clear width of the door + 300 mm and the length sufficient to accommodate a
wheelchair.

2.3.4 Vertical features

2.3.4.1 Provision

The guidance in 1.3.4.1 should be followed except where it is not practicable to provide a passenger lift in an existing
building, an enclosed vertical lifting platform should be provided in accordance with 2.3.4.1.1. Alternatively, the same range of services/ facilities that are available on the other levels should be made available on the entry or accessible level(s).

The guidance in 1.3.4.1 should be followed except where the provisions of 2.3.4.1 apply. Where a vertical lifting platform is provided in an existing building:

(a) it should comply with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC;

(b) it should conform to BS 6440:19993;

(c) signs should be provided to facilitate finding the lifting device (refer to 1.6.3 and 2.6.3 where applicable);

(d) the minimum clear dimensions of a platform lift should be 1100 mm wide × 1400 mm deep;

(e) doors or access openings to lifting platforms should have a minimum effective clear width of 800 mm;

(f) controls for lifting platforms should be located between 800 mm and 1200 mm above finished floor level and a minimum of 400 mm from any return wall;

(g) controls for landings should be located between 900 mm and 1100 mm above finished floor level and minimum of 500 mm from any return wall.

2.3.4.1.2 Stairs

Refer to 2.3.4.3.

2.3.4.2 Passenger lift details

The guidance in 1.3.4.2 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide the manoeuvring space in front of the lift, the manoeuvring space should be as large as possible but not less than 1500 mm wide and
1500 mm deep;

(b) where it is not practicable to provide a larger lift in the public areas of public facilities as per 1.3.4.2 (j), the minimum internal dimensions of a lift car of 1100 mm wide x 1400 mm deep should be provided.

2.3.4.3 Internal stairs suitable for ambulant disabled people

Where a lifting device is provided in accordance with 1.3.4 and where necessary 2.3.4 to all floors in an existing
building, an internal stairs suitable for ambulant disabled people is not necessary.

Where internal stairs suitable for ambulant disabled people are provided in existing buildings the guidance in 1.3.4.3
should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide the minimum clear width in 1.3.4.3, it should be as wide as possible, but the minimum unobstructed width between handrails should be not less than 1000 mm;

(b) where it is not practicable to provide the length of landings in 1.3.4.3, the length should be as long as possible
but not less than 1000 mm long and clear of any door or gate swings;

(c) where it is not practicable to provide steps with the going in 1.3.4.3, they should be as large as possible but with a going not less than 250 mm. 2.3.4.4 Internal ramps

The guidance in 1.3.4.4 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide the minimum clear width in 1.1.3.4, it should be as wide as possible, but the minimum unobstructed width between handrails should be not less than 1000 mm;

(b) where it is not practicable to provide ramp gradients in accordance with 1.1.3.4, a ramp with a gradient of 1:20 should not have going longer than 10 m, a maximum gradient of 1:12 may be provided if individual ramp goings are not longer than 4500 mm, (interpolation between
these is permitted);

(c) where it is not practicable to provide the stated dimensions of the top and bottom landing in 1.1.3.4, the
dimensions should be as large as possible but not less than 1500 mm wide x 1500 mm long, to facilitate a wheelchair turning. Where a door opens onto a landing, the length
should be at least 1300 mm long and clear of any door swings or other obstructions;

(d) where it is not practicable to provide the length of an intermediate landing in 1.1.3.4, it should be as long as
possible but not less than 1000 mm long and clear of any door swings or other obstructions;

(e) where it is not practicable to provide the dimensions in 1.1.3.4 for intermediate landings to act as passing places, the dimensions should be at least those in (d) above;

(f) if edge protection exists on the open side of any ramp or landing in the form of an upstand or kerb it should be at least 75 mm high.

(g) where it is not practicable to provide a stepped access route in addition to a ramp where the rise of the ramp is
greater than 300 mm (refer to1.1.3.4 (h)) then a ramp alone will be sufficient.

2.3.4.5 Handrails

The guidance in 1.3.4.5 should be followed where practicable.

2.4 Sanitary facilities in existing buildings other than dwellings

2.4.1 Objective

The objective is to provide independently accessible sanitary
facilities that meet the needs of people with a wide range of abilities.

2.4.2 Introduction

Specific guidance on the provision of sanitary facilities is given in 1.4.3 and where necessary 2.4.3. Detailed guidance on the design of the sanitary facilities is given in 1.4.4 to 1.4.9.

2.4.3 General provisions

Guidance on the provision of accessible sanitary facilities in 1.4.3 should be followed except:

(a) where there is more than one WC facility provided at different locations within an existing building, at least
one accessible unisex WC should be provided on each accessible floor which has a WC facility;

(b) where it is not practicable to provide doors to accessible sanitary facilities with a clear effective width in accordance with 1.3.3.2, the doors should be as wide as possible but
not less than 750 mm;

(c) where it is not practicable to provide a wheelchair accessible unisex WC with a minimum turning space of 1800 mm x 1800 mm, a minimum turning space of 1500 mm x 1500 mm may be provided (refer to Diagram 15b);

(d) where it is not practicable to provide a WC cubicle(s) for ambulant disabled people and/or enlarged cubicles in accordance with 1.4.6.2 and 1.4.6.3 respectively, ambulant
disabled WC cubicle(s) in accordance with Diagram 31 may be provided.

general G6

Diagram 31 WC cubicle for ambulant disabled people in an existing building

2.5 Other facilities in existing buildings other than dwellings

2.5.1 Objective

The objective is to ensure that facilities within an existing building are accessible to and useable and that they are designed and constructed to facilitate active participation where appropriate.

2.5.2 Introduction

The guidance in 1.5.2 should be followed, where practicable.

2.5.3 Audience and spectator facilities with fixed seating

The guidance in 1.5.3 should be followed, where practicable.

2.5.4 Audience and spectator facilities without fixed seating

The guidance in 1.5.4 should be followed, where practicable.

2.5.5 Refreshment facilities

The guidance in 1.5.5 should be followed except:

(a) where it is not practicable to provide access to users to all parts of the facility as in 1.5.5, a refreshment facility should be available in the accessible area;

(b) where it is not practicable to provide the minimum clear manoeuvring space in 1.5.5, a minimum clear manoeuvring space of 1500 mm x 1500 mm should be provided in front
of a counter or bar outside of any circulation route;

(c) where it is not practicable to provide a working surface of a bar to facilitate permanent access by wheelchair users as per 1.5.5 (b), the serving counter should be as wide as possible but at least 900 mm long and at a level of not more
than 850 mm above the floor;

2.5.6 Accessible sleeping accommodation

The guidance in 1.5.6 should be followed except where it is not practicable to provide doors to accessible sleeping
accommodation with a clear effective width in accordance with 1.3.3.2; the doors should be as wide as possible but
not less than 750 mm.

2.5.7 Switches, outlets and controls

The guidance in 1.5.7 should be followed, where practicable.

2.6 Aids to communication

2.6.1 Objective

The objective is to provide adequate aids to communication to ensure people can independently access and use an existing building and its facilities.

2.6.2 Introduction

The guidance in 1.6 should be followed where practicable.

2.6.3 Signage

The guidance in 1.6.3 should be followed, where practicable.

2.6.4 Visual contrast

The guidance in 1.6.3 should be followed, where practicable.

2.6.5 Audible aids

The guidance in 1.6.3 should be followed, where practicable.

More Information