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Last edited 26 Jan 2018
Approved Document M
A series of Approved Documents set out what typically would be acceptable for compliance with the relevant requirements of Building Regulations. There is no legal obligation to follow the guidance in the Approved Documents.
The Approved Document M – Access to and Use of Buildings provides guidance document relating the requirements of the Building Regulations for access to and the use of buildings. The latest version was published in March 2015 and took effect on 1st October 2015. The previous, 2004 amended edition will remain applicable to all building work started before this date
The main change introduced by the 2015 edition of the Approved Document is that it is now provided in two volumes.
The 2015 edition of Volume 1 introduces three different types of dwellings:
- Category 1 – Visitable dwellings.
- Category 2 – Accessible and adaptable dwellings.
- Category 3 – Wheelchair user dwellings.
The guidance provided in Volume 1 is only applicable to new dwellings and dwellings undergoing material alterations. Extensions to dwellings are not covered. It provides guidance for compliance with the requirements of M4(1), M4(2) and M4(3) of Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations.
The requirements set out in M4(2) Accessible and adaptable dwellings and M4(3) Wheelchair user dwellings, are optional requirements that only apply if imposed on new development as part of the process of granting planning permission. Otherwise, only the requirements of M4(1) Visitable dwellings apply.
 Requirement M4(1): Category 1 – Visitable dwellings
Compliance with this requirement is achieved when a new dwelling makes reasonable provision for most people, which includes wheelchair users to access and enter the dwelling, and access habitable rooms and sanitary facilities on the entrance level.
 Requirement M4(2): Category 2 – Accessible and adaptable dwellings
This requirement is met when a new dwelling provides reasonable provision for most people to access the dwelling and includes features that make it suitable for a range of potential occupants, including older people, individuals with reduced mobility and some wheelchair users.
 Requirement M4(3): Category 3 – Wheelchair user dwellings
This requirement is achieved when a new dwelling provides reasonable provisions for a wheelchair user to live in the dwelling and have the ability to use any outdoor space, parking and communal facilities.
It is applicable to:
- A newly constructed non-domestic building.
- The extension or material alteration of an existing non-domestic building.
- The change of use of an existing building or part of an existing building to a hotel or boarding house, institution, public building or shop.
The requirements of M1 – M3 will be achieved when reasonable provision is made to ensure that buildings are accessible and usable and that individuals, regardless of their age, gender or disability are able to, ‘...gain access to buildings and to gain access within buildings and use their facilities, both as visitors and as people who live and work in them.’
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Accessibility in the built environment.
- Access and inclusion in the built environment: policy and guidance.
- Access consultant.
- Accessible London.
- Approved documents.
- Building regulations.
- Changing lifestyles.
- Equality Act.
- Inclusive design.
- Lifetime homes.
- Lifetime Homes Design Guide (EP 100).
- Lifetime neighbourhoods.
- Older people.
- People with disabilities.
 External references
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