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British Standard (access)

What should we aim for? Information on the British Standard on access to buildings

In 2001, the requirements for new buildings in relation to access changed dramatically. Part M of the building regulations became superseded by the development of a new British Standard.

In fact there are two relevant British Standards that relate to disabled people and buildings. One contains recommendations for the design of new buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people (British Standard 8300 – 2001) and also the means of escape for disabled people from such buildings (British Standard 5588: 1999 edition).

The first applies to car parking provision, setting down points and garaging, access routes to and around all buildings, and entrances to and interiors of new buildings. Routes to recreational facilities associated with and in the immediate vicinity of buildings, such as patios, and seating and picnic areas, are also covered. The second refers to evacuation and escape facilities and practices. The recommendations given in the British Standards also apply for assessing the accessibility and usability of existing buildings and, where practicable, as a basis for their improvement. The extent to which the recommendations apply to listed and historic buildings is determined on a case by case basis.

This British Standards applies to most buildings including:

  • administrative and commercial buildings, and public service buildings
  • health and welfare buildings
  • refreshment, entertainment and recreation buildings, e.g. restaurants, public houses, concert halls, theatres, cinemas, conference buildings, community buildings
  • educational, cultural and scientific buildings, e.g. schools, colleges, museums, art galleries, libraries and exhibition buildings

The standard is available on an easy to use CD-ROM BS 8300 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. Code of practice CD-ROM reference number BIP 3044:2005 (CD ROM). The non-member price is £230 and it can be purchased from the British Standards website www.bsi.org.uk