Duty to provide building access

Under the current Disability Discrimination Act, it is the responsibility of all building owners and providers of services to ensure the building they are responsible for is accessible to everyone.
Under Part M of the Building Regulations, this responsibility is extended to a statutory duty to ensure that buildings are accessible and usable. People, regardless of disability, age or gender, should be able to gain access to buildings and to gain access within buildings and use their facilities, both as visitors and as people who live or work in them.

Failure to comply with this statutory duty can be challenged in law by any person or organisation and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, formed by the government in October 2007, is the main policing organisation to ensure the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and Part M are met.

Provision of lifting devices

The requirements of M1 or M2 will be satisfied for new developments and existing buildings 'if a passenger lift cannot reasonably be accommodated to provide access to persons with impaired mobility, they have a lifting platform, of a type designed for the vertical height to be travelled'.

Vertical Platform Lifts - Design Consideration

  • A lifting platform should only be provided to transfer wheelchair users, people with impaired mobility and their companions vertically between levels or storeys.
  • Wheelchair users should be able to reach and use the controls
  • Audible and visual information is needed for the arrival of the platform and the floor it has reached
  • Lifting platforms travel slowly between landings, i.e. does not exceed 0.15 m/s
  • Lifting platforms are operated by continuous pressure controls

Vertical Travel Distance

Lifting height up to 2 metre where there is no floor penetration - lift can be open, no enclosure required.
Lifting height greater than 2 metre - lift enclosure required

Vertical Platform sizes - minimum clear dimensions

Where there is no enclosure and the wheelchair user is unaccompanied - 800 mm wide and 1250 mm long
Where there is an enclosure and the wheelchair user is unaccompanied - 900 mm wide and 1400 mm long
Where the doors/gates are on adjacent sides of the platform and there is an enclosure or the wheelchair user is accompanied - 1100 mm wide and 1400 mm long.