Part ‘M’ Building Regulations Vs Modular Access Ramp  

Last updated on December 10th, 2019 at 12:09 pm

We’ve found that the majority of existing ramps, temporary and permanent, are not compliant to Part ‘M’ of the Building Regulations. From busy bars in Central London to Exhibition Centres in the midlands – most have ramp access but only a very small percentage comply with the regulations on paper. Even the ramp at Heathrow Terminal 3 Arrivals hall is not fully Part M compliant.

This part of the regulation refers to ‘Access To and Use of Buildings’ – the wording of which states ‘Reasonable provisions must be made for people to (a) gain access to; and (b) use, the building and its facilities’. This clause explains the ‘non-compliant’ ramps we see everywhere – they are only non-compliant on paper, as even though they’re not installed with all provisions from Part ‘M’ ticked, they are still seen as a reasonable means of access.   

As suppliers of Modular Access Ramps, we’ve found that more and more customers are requesting systems that are compliant to Part ‘M’. We have 2 systems available – one which was designed around the provisions in Approved Document M, and one which was not. We can market one system as compliant, but not the other.   

However, once installed, the ‘non-compliant’ systems will be signed off as compliant, because the ramp will show that reasonable provisions have been made for people to gain access to and use, the building and its facilities.  

There is another argument here too… Does a Modular Steel Ramp even need to comply? It’s not a construction project, and these systems are assembled as needed. They are not permanent, meaning 2 men could dismantle the system in half a day, and you would never even know it was there. 

Terminal 3 at Heathrow have recently installed one as part of their recent renovation, which of course would have had building control sign off at several stages of the project. Part M Building Regulations 2015 states:

• Provisions

1.37 Handrailing to external ramped and stepped access will satisfy Requirement M1 or M2 if: 

• it extends at least 300mm horizontally beyond the top and bottom of a ramped access, or the top and bottom nosing

• it terminates in a way that reduces the risk of clothing being caught; 

See the photo below – neither of these 2 requirements are met.

Some other  “non-compliant ramps” we have seen in Central London and the surrounding area;

 

Heathrow Terminal 3 Wheelchair Ramps

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