As used in the UK


Access or accessible in the context of this publication, refers to the use of all premises, buildings, facilities and services available to the general public including disabled persons, working, visiting or living in the building.

It refers to the use of general areas such as the approach, main entrance, internal circulation, toilet facilities and related items of detailed design such as doors, handrails and ironmongery.


The word disabled is used in the general term to describe those of us who, because of physical disability, need some special design consideration in order to ensure access and mobility with independence. It relates to people who are unable to perform, independently and without aid, basic human tasks or functions because of physical, mental or psychological impairment, whether of a permanent or temporary nature.

The word disabled can include wheelchair users, the ambulant disabled, the elderly, the very young, women in later stages of pregnancy, the visually impaired and the hearing impaired.

General guidelines

The designer will need to visualise the different criteria which arise as a result of restricted reach, different angles of vision, impaired hearing, impaired vision, and the overall restrictions imposed by age.

Parts of the following recommendations may emphasise the needs of wheelchair users because their requirements are often more extensive than those of other disabled people.

Experience has shown that the greatest problems for wheelchair users arise in the design of toilet facilities. Since the proper planning of these facilities is of crucial importance, it is essential that a competent designer is consulted.

Building regulations

Building regulations relate largely to access requirements of wheelchair users. Ensure your designers are reminded therefore that compliance with building regulations is mandatory.


It is important that design requirements for the disabled should be fully integrated into the general design. Designing so that all facilities are accessible to everybody makes a safer and more comfortable environment for both the able-bodied and the disabled.

Good design is not just a luxury for the able-bodied and it must be recognised that public buildings are likely to be used by a wide range of people of all ages and disabilities.


It is essential that designers consult the various regulatory and statutory bodies concerned with health and safety in order to ensure that any special requirements are fulfilled with regard to building design or management which might arise due to the implementation of the minimum Design Criteria.

At Davmark, we always comply with these requirements.

Safety related benchmarks, should be used as a starting point, not desirable to be the design end objective.

Remember safety - minimum Design Criteria is simply that - the least amount to achieve this single objective.

It does not embrace best practice or give full considerations to its full application use or potential function.

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