Approved Document M “Access to and use of buildings” Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings (ADM Vol.2) currently states: “Approved Documents are intended to provide guidance for some of the more common building situations. However, there may well be alternative ways of achieving compliance with the requirements. Thus there is no obligation to adopt any particular solution contained in an Approved Document if you prefer to meet the relevant requirement in some other way.

BS 8300:2001 ‘Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people – Code of Practice’ supersedes BS 5619:1978 and BS 5810:1979. BS 8300 provides guidance on good practice in the design of domestic and non-domestic buildings and their approaches so that they are convenient to use by disabled people. The design recommendations are based on user trials and validated desk studies which formed part of a research project commissioned in 1997 and 2001 by DETR.

The guidance in Approved Document M is based on and is complementary to the BS, although the BS contains much additional material that is not apt for, or not considered appropriate for, inclusion in guidance accompanying regulation. Also, in a few cases, the guidance in AD M differs from the recommendation in BS 8300. Compliance with the recommendations in the BS, therefore, while ensuring good practice, is not necessarily equivalent to compliance with the guidance in ADM Vol.2.”

Where the recommendation in BS 8300 implies a higher standard than that recommended in ADM Vol.2, clearly that would be acceptable. Also, where the BS recommendations post-date the publication of AD M and are based on new or re-evaluated research, such as described below, those recommendations too may be considered acceptable alternatives to the guidance in ADM Vol.2.

The BSI committee responsible for BS 8300:2001 published a consolidated amendment (Amendment 1:2005) to the BS in June 2005, prior to commencing work on the major quinquennial review of BS 8300. This amendment addressed a number of issues, some of which relate only to BS 8300, and some common to BS 8300 and ADM Vol.2.

Two or three issues, in particular, are known to have caused some difficulty to industry and the design and building control professions. In order to assist in resolving these concerns, the BS committee has undertaken a review of the research on which the recommendations in both BS 8300 and ADM Vol.2 were based. Where appropriate, guidance based on consideration of the BS amendment is included in the FAQs below.