Last edited 07 Feb 2018

Clear width

The building regulations set out legal requirements for specific aspects of building design and construction. A series of approved documents provide general guidance about how different aspects of building design and construction can comply with the building regulations.

Approved document M provides guidance for satisfying Part M of the building regulations: Access to and use of buildings, which requires the inclusive provision of ease of access to, and circulation within, buildings, together with requirements for facilities for people with disabilities.

Approved document M, Volume 1: Dwellings (2015 edition incorporating 2016 amendments) defines a clear width as a:

Clear distance measured between walls or other fixed obstructions (except permitted localised obstructions) or across a path. Skirtings totalling up to 50mm total thickness and shallow projecting ducts or casings above 1800mm may be discounted when measuring clear width.

Where a localised obstructions is a:

Short, fixed element such as a bollard lighting column or radiator, not more than 150mm deep that may intrude into a path, route, or corridor, that does not unduly restrict the passage of a wheelchair user.

Depending on the type of dwelling, clear widths may be defined for; ramps and steps, approach routes, circulation areas, wheelchair storage and transfer spaces and private outdoor spaces.

Approved document M, Volume 2 sets out requirements for clear widths for wheelchair platform lifts in relation to buildings other than dwellings.

Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 also set out detailed requirements for door clear opening widths. See Door clear opening width for more information.

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