Getting access right is a critical part of designing projects like residential care homes and commercial properties – after all, people need to be able to move into, through and out of a building with ease. The requirements for both dwellings and buildings other than dwellings are set out in Part M of the Building Regulations, and this includes details about what size of door is necessary.
According to Approved Document M, an open door “should be wide enough to allow unrestricted passage for a variety of users, including wheelchair users, people carrying luggage, people with assistance dogs and parents with pushchairs and small children”. The document also notes that double buggies are wider than wheelchairs and this should be kept in mind when determining the appropriate effective clear width for a door.
The effective clear width is defined as: “The width of the opening measured at right angles to the wall in which the door is situated from the outside of the door stop on the door closing side to any obstruction on the hinge side”.
With this in mind, it’s important to remember that the width of a door also depends on its surroundings – such as the width of the corridor and whether there are any turns in the passageway.
Note: Above tables taken from Approved Document M
Here at Stairways, our collection of doors can be supplied in a range of standard widths – including 864mm, 914mm and 926mm. These options will enable you to easily specify a product that provides a clear opening to comply with Part M of the Building Regulations.
Access isn’t just about door width
While the width of the door is a significant part of ensuring compliance with Part M, it’s important to remember that there are a number of other factors that should also be considered to ensure the doors meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.
For example, contrast is another crucial issue. People who have visual impairments may struggle to judge depths and differentiate objects that have similar colours and tonal values. Therefore, BS 8300 recommends that certain elements should have different light reflectance values (LRVs) of no less than 30 points.
Every colour we see has a different LRV on a scale of 0 to 100 (with black being 0 and white being 100). In the case of a door, if the door finish doesn’t contrast enough with the handle, users with visual impairments may have difficulty finding the handle.
There’s also the question of how much force is needed to open a door. According to Approved Document M, the opening force at the leading edge of the door should not be more than 30N at the leading edge from the closed position to 30° open, and not more than 22.5N at the leading edge from 30° to 60° of the opening cycle.
Part M compliance is an important consideration for a variety of building projects and choosing a doorset from Stairways can help to ensure the doors meet the requirements. Choose from our fully bespoke Eco-Mercial range or one of the many standard options in our Residor range – both offer a wide range of shapes, bead materials, bead styles and glazing options to suit the specific needs of your project.