Accessible Balconies – Whitepaper
Every balcony has an interface from the apartment, through a doorway and in almost every case the an accessible threshold is requested. The term Accessible threshold comes from Approved Document Part M and is explained there as being: A threshold that is level or, if raised, has a total height of not more than 15mm, a minimum number of upstands and slopes and with any upstands higher than 5mm chamfered.
Accessible thresholds are defined in Approved Document M as stated above.
In addition to this definition, it also notes that; Other acceptable solutions are described in ‘Accessible thresholds in new housing – Guidance for house builders and developers’. This is to acknowledge the complexities which are sometimes present which make achieving a truly step-free threshold more difficult than the AD M guidance.
What’s included in the Accessible Balconies Whitepaper?
This document has been created to explore the requirements of different guidance and standards for accessible balconies, and concludes with an interpretation of the two key areas which need to be designed into the majority of balconies to make them accessible.
Accessible design depends on some basic principles which don’t really change whether in London, elsewhere in England and Wales or in Scotland. These all, in essence, are about minimising the threshold so as to make it easier to manoeuvre a wheelchair between areas and minimise the risk of trips. Each of the guidance documents take a practical approach and seek to offer common sense dimension. These dimensions are not based on other factors like loads.