“Previous editions of BS 8300 advised specifically on designing for disabled people. This new BS 8300:2 explains how to design, build and manage the built environment in a way that is inclusive. Designing to address and integrate the access requirements of all people, irrespective of their personal circumstances, as part of mainstream design, achieves an inclusive environment which is always preferable to designating separate or specific features.” (BSI Group, 2018)
What is BS 8300:2 about?
There are already a wide range of sources offering guidance on inclusive design solutions. This standard brings that diverse advice together to provide a definitive source of authoritative recommendations on the design of inclusive and accessible buildings.
BS 8300 is a British Standard that sets out how buildings should be designed, constructed and maintained, in order to create an accessible and inclusive environment for disabled people. BS 8300:2 is the second part in a two-part standard. Part one deals with designing accessible and inclusive external environments.
BS 8300 is in place to ensure that everyone can use a built environment equally. Everybody – particularly people living with disabilities, the elderly, or those less able to stand – should be able to enter, use and exit a building easily, comfortably and independently. This includes being able to escape in the event of an emergency.
Previous versions of the British Standard have focused on the provision of accessibility solutions specifically for the disabled. The most recent version, BS 8300, has been revised to explain how developers can build inclusive environments from the start. That is, rather than bolting on separate accessible facilities, it details how the whole environment can be made universally accessible.
The detail of the document aims to give those in the construction industry a firm set of guidelines to adhere to in order to be fully BS 8300 compliant. These guidelines apply to a wide list of areas – both within the building and in its immediate surroundings. BS 8300’s guidelines are vast, and extend to entrances, steps, lighting, stairs and ramps, and many other areas.
Who is BS 8300:2:2018 for?
- Local government officers
- Their private sector counterparts
- Interior designers
Why should you use this standard?
It gives recommendations on designing buildings in order to accommodate users with the widest range of characteristics and capabilities. It applies to:
- Part 1: External features of a building, or group of buildings, such as entrances or outward opening doors and windows, and how these can affect external access routes
- Part 2: Interior areas of buildings such as entrances and reception facilities, ease of horizontal and vertical movement, and facilities within the building
The given recommendations apply largely to new buildings but can also be used when assessing the accessibility and usability of existing buildings. Where practicable, this can be used as a basis for their improvement. The extent to which the recommendations apply to listed and historic buildings is determined on a case-by-case basis.
What’s changed since the last update?
This standard replaces BS 8300:2009. Part one, BS8300:1:2018 has already been added; this concerns the design of accessible external environments such as highways and streets. The most recent addition to the standard, BS8300:2:2018, is the second part of the update and pertains to the design of the main building or buildings. The numbering follows the logic of the original BS 8300, starting outside the building and working inwards. As to what’s changed:
- Previous editions of BS 8300 advised specifically on designing for disabled people. The new BS 8300:2 explains how to design, build, and manage the built environment in a way that is inclusive. It concerns using design to address and integrate the access requirements of all people, irrespective of their personal circumstances. When incorporated as part of mainstream design, this should achieve an inclusive environment for all, which is always preferable to designating separate or specific features.
- The standard draws on experience gained during the design and operation of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and gives extensive guidance on the development of inclusive design strategies, the use of design and access statements, and the development of an access strategy.
- The standard has also started to consider the needs of people with neuro-diverse conditions, though it is recognized that more research is needed in this area.
How does BS 8300:2:2018 relate to Building Regulation Part M?
Part M is based around the importance of access to, and the use of, buildings. Under the regulations it’s a legal requirement to provide easy access to all parts of the building for all visitors, including anyone who’s disabled.
BS8300:2:2018 gives practical guidance on how the requirements of Part M can be incorporated into the built environment.
In combination, they both set out the minimum standards that are required to adhere to the Equality Act, which was introduced on 1st October 2010 to incorporate and replace the slightly older Disability Discrimination Act. Check out Building Regulations Document M for more information.