The Equality Act (EA) 2010 incorporated (and repealed) the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). (The EA, therefore, renders the term ‘DDA compliant’ obsolete.) The EA carries forward the protection provided for disabled people by the DDA, but its application is considerably wider. It covers services in the commercial, retail, financial, residential, education, healthcare and transport sectors.
As the EA relates to access to services rather than to premises, buildings and products cannot be ‘EA compliant’. Instead, they must comply with either Part M of the Building Regulations (Access to and use of buildings) or the recognised technical standard BS 8300: (Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people: Code of Practice). However, it is incorrect to assume compliance with Part M alone will meet the requirements of the EA. Also, it should be noted that the requirements of Part M and BS 8300 are ‘minimum standards’. Part M is sometimes referred to as ADM (Approved Document M).
Part M or ADM – Main Requirements for Doors;
FAQ's, frequently asked questions regarding doors and Part M concern, minimum (ECW) effective clear opening widths.
|Direction & width of approach||New Buildings (mm)||Existing Buildings (mm)|
|Straight-on (without a turn)||800||750|
|At right angles to an access route at least 1500mm wide||800||750|
|At right angles to an access route at least 1200mm wide||825||775|
|External doors to buildings used By the general public||1000||775|
Note: The ECW is 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 closing side to any obstruction on the hinge side e.g projecting door furniture, the door or the door stop.