Building Regulations

In England and Wales, building design and construction is governed by the Building Regulations. These regulations comprise a series of requirements for specific purposes: health and safety, energy conservation, prevention of contamination of water and the welfare and convenience of persons in or about buildings. Part M of the Regulations sets minimum legal standards for access and use of buildings by all building users, including disabled people.

Associated Imagery

Since a requirement for access was first introduced in 1985, there have been a number of changes to and extensions in the scope of access regulations. The building regulations avoid specific reference to, and a definition of, disabled people. This inclusive approach means that buildings and their facilities should be accessible and usable by all people who use buildings - including parents with children, older people and disabled people. Previously, Part M covered new buildings and extensions to existing buildings. The 2004 revision brings Part M into line with other parts of the Building Regulations by extending its scope to include alterations to existing buildings and certain changes of use.

Approved Document M

Building Regulations are supported by 'Approved Documents' which give practical guidance with respect to the regulations. While their use is not mandatory - and the requirements of regulations can be met in other ways – Approved Documents are used as a benchmark by the local authority. The new Approved Document M (AD M), published in November 2003, offers technical guidance on providing access to and within buildings.