If you’re an architect, a property developer or a building manager, you’re likely to have heard of BS8300 – a British Standard regarded within the construction industry as the best guide to designing accessible, inclusive environments.
But if you’re new to the industry, or if you haven’t had any formal training in universal design, you might be wondering about BS8300 – is it the same as Approved Doc M, or different?
In this blog, we’ll explain everything you need to know about BS8300 and how it’s used throughout a project to ensure the completed building is accessible.
What is BS8300?
BS8300 is a standard developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) that states how a building should be designed, constructed and maintained to create an accessible and inclusive environment for people with disabilities.
The British Standard is in place to ensure that a built environment is developed with all levels of ability in mind. All users should be able to enter, use and exit a building easily, comfortably and independently – particularly the disabled, less abled or elderly. In addition, the BS8300 compliant buildings contribute towards social inclusion and reduce the risk of physical harm to those using the facility.
When was BS8300 last updated?
BS8300 has been around since the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995. It was most recently updated in 2018, when the document was expanded into two parts. Part 1 focuses on building exteriors and approaches, while Part 2 remains focused on building interiors.
Previous versions of the British Standard have focused on the provision of accessibility solutions specifically for the disabled. The most recent version, BS8300-2:2018, however, goes into greater detail on how developers can build inclusive environments for all people, right from the beginning of a project. This ensures that the whole environment is accessible, rather than the topic of accessibility becoming a latter thought within a project.
BS8300-2:2018 is the first guidance to specifically address the needs of neurodivergent people. Another major addition is guidance on design strategy and the integration of design principles into the development process, which features in both parts.
What do the BS8300 guidelines cover?
BS8300’s guidelines are wide-ranging, covering almost every aspect of building design you can think of that might impact on accessibility. Key aspects of accessible design addressed include the following:
- Door fittings
- Steps, stairs and ramps
- Corridors and passageways
- Surface finishes
- Visual signs
How does BS8300 relate to Approved Doc M?
BS8300 and Approved Doc M are closely related. While BS8300 is guidance, Approved Document M is a guidance document that accompanies Part M of the Building Regulations in the UK. Approved Doc M provides practical guidance and sets out specific requirements for achieving compliance of the accessibility standards outlined in Part M.
However, most of the requirements set out by Approved Doc M are derived from the recommendations made in BS8300, so the latter should be referred to at the beginning of and throughout a project to ensure that good practice is followed. BS8300 is what provides the additional level of guidance allowing the specifier to go above and beyond the basic standard set forth in Approved Doc M.
In combination, BS8300 and Approved Doc M both explain the standards that are required to adhere to the Equality Act.
Does BS8300 apply to accessible washrooms?
Yes, it does. In fact, there are 40 pages within BS8300 that relate specifically to the provision of sanitary accommodation (under Clause 18).
These pages detail how a developer should create an environment that is as accessible and pleasant to use as any other bathroom facility on site. Clause 18 includes everything from accessible routes and minimum room spaces through to the appropriate positioning of hand dryers and mirrors.
NYMAS Group & BS8300
NYMAS Group strives to supply both the individual products and Approved Doc M packs to be specified by architects for instance, on new projects. We provide solutions for multiple sectors, ensuring that people with different needs have access to quality, safe, and reliable products that comply with the BS8300 guidelines.
Need more information?
Call us on +44 (0)1642 710 719, or email email@example.com for expert advice and product samples.