Most of the building work in UK requires Building Regulations Approval. Building regulations are the means through which the Government ensures that all buildings meet the policies required as per legislation. The Building Act 1984 defines the building regulations to be followed in England and Wales while Building (Scotland) Act 2003 sets out the building regulations for Scotland.
The Building Regulations are separated into 14 categories addressing the requirements for “structure”, “drainage”, “fire safety”, “access” etc.and are designated by a letter of alphabet. Part M of the Building Regulations deals with the access to and use of buildings. Building Regulations Part M requires every building to have the provision of easy access to all parts within the building. This also includes facilities of circulation for those who are disabled.
The basic requirement of part M Building Regulations:
The requirement of ‘access to and use of buildings’, as stated by part M, Building Regulations can be simplified to three main points –
- Everybody, including disabled, should be able to access all parts of a building.
- Sanitary conveniences should be made available for all.
- If there is seating arrangement available in the building for large audiences, there should be reasonable provision made for the seating of the disabled people.
Building Regulations Part M – Approved documents:
There are detailed specifications available online for each category including part M of Building Regulation. These specifications are more commonly referred to as approved documents. It should be understood well that approved documents are not legally binding but they represent the expectations of the state Secretary regarding the standards required to be complaint with Building Regulations.
If the approved documents are followed, there will be a presumption that the Building regulation has been complied with. Some approved document also consist of the provisions that must be followed exactly. These are generally regarding the methodology used for certain calculations, tests to be conducted etc. Examples of aspects covered in approved documents are –
- Building work
- Material change of use
- Materials and workmanship
- Energy Efficiency Requirements
- Notification of work
Aspects covered by the Building Regulations Part M:
The building regs part m provides the most detailed requirements for different types of buildings. On a broader level, it covers four main categories or aspects –
- M1 – Access and Use
- M2 – Access to extensions to buildings other than dwellings
- M3 – Sanitary conveniences in extensions to buildings other than dwellings
- M4 – Sanitary conveniences in dwellings
Building regulation Part M for dwellings:
The 2015 edition of Part M of Building Regulations further divides and defines the requirements for dwellings into three main categories. This revision is applicable for all building work started from 1 October 2015.
- M4(1) Category: visitable dwellings
- M4(2) Category: accessible and adaptable dwellings
- M4(3) Category: wheelchair user dwellings
Each of the three dwellings categories have further breakdown for each aspect covered by the building regs part m
- A – Approach to Dwelling: This covers external and internal areas that form the approach route to the dwelling and fall within the boundaries of the plot.
- B – Private entrances and spaces within the dwelling: This section covers the areas within the entrance of the dwelling.
Part M Building regulation for buildings other than dwellings
For buildings that are not used for residential purposes, the building regulations part M lists different access requirements. This volume is divided into five major sections
1: Access to Buildings other than dwellings – This covers areas such as approach from the boundary and ca parking, stepped and ramped access etc.
2: Access into Buildings – This section lists the requirements of doors to accessible entrances, powered and manually operated doors, lobbies, glass entrances etc.
3: Horizontal and vertical circulation in Buildings – This covers the entrance areas, reception halls, internal lobbies, vertical circulation, passenger lifts, internal ramps etc.
4: Facilities in Buildings – refreshment facilities, sleeping arrangements, audience seating and spectator facilities etc. get covered in this section
5: Sanitary accommodation in buildings – Requirements for provisions of toilet, wheelchair accessible toilets and showers, separate sex washrooms etc. are listed in this section
Thus all sections of building are covered in Part M of the Building Regulations. These regulations are revised from time to time and the revised regulations are applicable to new buildings or any new work done in existing buildings. This guide can be used to locate which sections of part m building regulations need to be referred for any specific requirement check.