The 2010 Equality Act brought together over 116 separate pieces of legislation into one single Act. This replaced the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), but similarly required organisations or individuals providing goods, facilities or services to the public and their landlords or property managers (‘service providers’) to make reasonable adjustments to their properties to overcome physical barriers to access. Both new and existing buildings are included but not dwellings. As no detailed physical guidance is offered in the Act, specifiers following the guidance within Approved Document M and BS 8300 would by default comply with the Equality Act.
Approved Document M
Access to and use of buildings is currently divided into two volumes:
- Approved Document M – Access to and use of buildings: Volume 1 – Dwellings
- Approved Document M – Access to and use of buildings: Volume 2 – Buildings other than dwelling
The guidance provided in BS 8300 is also considered applicable to existing as well as new buildings and extensions. The present edition of BS 8300 no longer gives guidance on individual dwellings, which are now covered in BS 9266 : 2013. However, some of the recommendations given in BS 8300 could be used to supplement guidance on the design of dwellings where appropriate.
Solutions other than those shown in the Approved Document M or BS 8300 may be appropriate in particular situations, justified for Building Control purposes in an Access Statement.