BSI British Standards publishes Code of Practice on Accessible Buildings


16 March 2009

BSI British Standards has published BS 8300: 2009 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. Code of Practice. This British Standard provides guidance in the design of new buildings to make them more accessible. Its recommendations can also be applied to existing buildings and used as a basis for their improvement.

BS 8300: 2009 is applicable to a wide range of public buildings from car parks to concert halls and prisons to pubs. It addresses a wide range of disabilities and considers the usage by disabled people who can be residents, visitors, spectators, customers, employees, participants in sports events, performances and conferences or those involved in public life. Its recommendations are also likely to benefit non-disabled people such as the elderly, people with children in pushchairs and those carrying heavy luggage.

BS 8300: 2009 offers recommendations on the accessibility of the features around and within a building, including: access to lifts, wall surfaces, signage, wheelchair spaces in audience seating, arrangement of seating, reading carrels in libraries and accessible washbasins.

BS 8300:2009, which supersedes BS 8300:2001, explains how the built environment can be designed or modified to anticipate, and overcome, restrictions that prevent disabled people making full use of premises and their surroundings. Changes to the standard include: new sub-clauses on accessible baby changing facilities and changing facilities; more information on means of escape from a building and more references to BS 9999 Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings.

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said: “BS 8300: 2009 should provide an invaluable tool for those involved in the design of new buildings or in assessing the accessibility of existing buildings. It is one of several BSI standards addressing accessibility of some description, which has either been published or is in development.”

Dr Patricia Pay, Chair of the BSI committee responsible for the development of BS 8300, said: “BS 8300: 2009 represents a significant stage in the continuous improvement of recommendations on the provision of accessible facilities for disabled people over the last thirty years. I am delighted that we have been able to draw on the expertise of committee members and those in the wider community with an interest in, and knowledge of, the needs of disabled people to provide advice on various aspects of design, and particularly on the design of specialized facilities catering for the sanitary needs of some of the most severely disabled people to enable them to play a fuller role in society.”

The BSI committee responsible for developing BS 8300: 2009 was made up of representatives from disability charities, building trade associations and other professional bodies, academia and local government.