Part 'M' of the Building Regulations

Part M and section 4.2 of the Technical Handbook (Scotland) of the building regulations was introduced in 1985 in an attempt to ensure that all commercial buildings were suitably equipped for the needs of disabled persons. Public buildings and the design and building stages must be fitted with adequate access for all potential users of the service.  These requirements were then extended to the buildings of new homes, failure to adhere to part M and section 4.2 of the Technical Handbook (Scotland) will often result in planning permission not being granted.

Design Considerations

  • When a lifting device is installed clear signage should be provided from the entrance of a building and on each landing indicating the location of the lift and which floor you are on. All signage should contrast well within their immediate surroundings
  • For all buildings , a passenger Lift is the most suitable form of access moving from one floor to another
  • For existing buildings and new buildings where a passenger lift cannot be accommodated a Vertical Platform Lift maybe considered to provide access for persons with impaired mobility
  • In some circumstances a Wheelchair Platform Stair Lift maybe considered, this must not conflict with the requirement of a means of escape
  • When choosing the appropriate Platform Lift please make sure it’s “fit for purpose”
  • Lighting should take care to minimise glare, reflection or confusing shadows for those whom have sight problems
  • All users should be able to reach the Platform and landing controls
  • All users should be able to reach the Platform and landing controls seated and standing.

The Installation of Platform Lift will satisfy Requirement M1 or M” if:

  • There is an unobstructed manoeuvring space of 1500mm x 1500mm, or a wide straight access route 900mm wide in front of each Platform Lift
  • The Platform Lift landing call buttons are at the prescribed height and the tactile and contrast visually with their immediate area
  • The floor should not be too dark and should have fractional qualities
  • A handrail should be provided on at least one wall
  • A suitable emergency communication system should be fitted to the Platform Lift.

Platform Lifts – Design Considerations

  • The Platform Lift should only be provided for the use with persons with impaired mobility, wheelchair users, mothers with pushchairs and their companions.
  • All Platform Lift users should be able to reach landing and Platform controls.
  • Audible and visual information on the position of the Platform Lift should be supplied.
  • Platform Lifts are operated by constant pressure buttons on the Platform and latch type on the landings.
  • Consideration should be given to support the Platform Lift user.
  • Ideally, when planning allows, specify opposing doors to allow the wheelchair user to enter and exit the Platform Lift forwards. If an adjacent door is required on the Platform Lift then the Platform should be designed larger to allow for turning.
  • Minimise visually and acoustically reflective surfaces that may cause discomfort to people with visual or hearing impairment.

Platform Lifts will satisfy the Requirements of M1 or M2 if:

  • The Platform Lift must conform to the requirements of the Machinery (safety) Regulations 1992
  • The vertical travel is no more than 2M when there is  no lift-way enclosure and the lift does not go through the floor
  • Travel of more than 2m is in a lift-way enclosure (shaft)
  • The rated speed of the Platform Lift does not exceed 0.15m/s
  • The Platform Lift controls are to be located between 900mm and 1100mm from the floor of the Platform Lift and at  least 400mm from any return wall
  • Continuous pressure buttons on the Platform and latch type on the landing
  • Platform Lift doors have an effective clear width of at least 900mm for an 1100mm x 1400mm Platform and at least 800mm for other size Platforms
  • Platform Lifts must be fitted with clear operating instructions
  • The Platform Lift entrances are accessible from the remainder of the storey
  • Doors on the Platform Lift are distinguishable from their surrounding area
  • Audible and visual aids announce Platform arrival
  • Areas of glass within the Platform Lift shaft are identifiable by persons with impaired mobility.