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An Introduction to Part M: Volume 2 & Lifts

Part M Volume 2, provides practical guidance for complying with building regulation requirements relating to access to and use of buildings other than dwellings. Within the document there is guidance on the requirements for vertical circulation and therefore lifts.

What is Part M?

Part M of the building regulations deals with the accessibility and use of buildings. In the latest Approved Document M (2015 edition) there are two volumes: Volume 1 for dwellings and Volume 2 for Buildings other than dwellings (all other building types).  Volume 2 gives direction on enabling a public access building to conform to the Equality Act (formerly DDA) and Section 3 sets the objective for the horizontal and vertical circulation of people in buildings as:

"For all people to travel vertically and horizontally within buildings conveniently and without discomfort in order to make use of all relevant facilities. This objective relates in the main, but not exclusively, to the provision of sufficient space for wheelchair manoeuvre and design features that make it possible for people to travel independently within buildings."

Vertical circulation within the building

In order to help achieve this objective a series of design considerations for the vertical circulation of the building are covered which includes the most suitable type of lift and specific considerations and requirements for each lift type.

3.21 For all buildings, a passenger lift is the most suitable form of access for people moving from one storey to another.

3.22 For existing buildings, and in exceptional circumstances for new developments with particular constraints (e.g. a listed building or an infill site in a historic town centre), where a passenger lift cannot be accommodated, a vertical lifting platform (enclosed platform lift), although not equivalent to a passenger lift, may be considered as an alternative option to provide access for persons with impaired mobility.

3.23 In exceptional circumstances in an existing building, a wheelchair platform stairlift (open platform) may be considered, provided its installation does not conflict with requirements for means of escape. 

As we can see, Part M states that the preferred solution to enable disabled access is a passenger lift, particularly for new developments and BS8300 recommends at least one or more type of lift. But it also recognises that it may not always be possible for a building to accommodate one on either a new or an existing development, due to site constraints it cannot be accomodated. In these instances to achieve a Part M compliant lift a lifting platform (platform lift) or as a last resort a wheelchair platform stairlift will be considered.

General requirements for lifts

In selecting the most suitable lifting device care should always be taken to ensure it is fit for purpose, considering the relevant lift and Health & Safety Regulations. If your building needs to comply with Part M, then a recommended minimum footprint size is as follows:

Part M Graphic.png

Once you know what product you require it is always worth stating to your chosen lift supplier that you require at Part M compliant or 'Part M lift'.

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Of course, compliance to Part M is just one of the many factors to evaluate when choosing the right type of lift, or lifts, for your building project. In fact, we've a helpful blog outlining the three key considerations when choosing a lift.

For each lift type there are further design considerations and provisions outlined in the Approved Document M - Volume 2 and information on the requirements of lifting devices in general. We've covered this additional detail in our other blog posts on Part M and lifts;

How can we help?

A reputable lift provider will be able to assist you in your decision making, however, it's certainly worth being well-informed about these design considerations yourself. Here at Stannah we offer a broad range of products to enable easy vertical circulation, working with you to solve your access problem and comply to building regulations.

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To see key product requirements, building considerations and typical installation times take a look at our handy infographic

Stannah Lifts Moving People Infographic

Still unsure? No problem! Get in touch to speak to one of our experts. 

Why are we the experts?

Stannah have been supplying lifts since 1867 and have considerable experience of the choices and challenges facing architects, building owners and specifiers as a result. We are members of the Lift & Escalator Industry Association (LEIA), and have for many years, been in support of various committees in developing industry regulations and standards. Our experience means that we are an authoritative voice in the lift industry. 

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