Last edited 29 Jan 2018

Types of dwelling in approved document m

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.

The 2015 edition of Approved document M, Volume 1: Dwellings, introduced three different types of dwelling:

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.

Very broadly, the different levels of requirement are:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

More detail about the specific requirements for each category is set out in the approved document.

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