The new approved Document M (Access to and Use of Buildings) - Volume 1: Dwellings is now available on the Planning Portal and will be in effect from October 1, 2015.
The guidance is divided into three categories:
Category 1: Visitable dwellings;
Category 2: Accessible and adaptable dwellings; and
Category 3: Wheelchair accessible dwellings.
Of these, only dwellings designed to meet category 1 are mandatory. The proportion of a development that is required to meet categories 2 and 3 will be set by the local authority through planning conditions.
Category 1 is broadly similar to sections 6-10 of the current (2013) Approved Document M. Category 2 is based on the Lifetime Homes standards, but with some significant changes, and Category 3 has some similarities to the Wheelchair Housing Design Guide (2006) but with more detailed guidance about accessible kitchens and bathrooms.
Rachael has given several about the changes to the residential access standards over the years, and in particular about Part M in recent months. Please get in touch if your practice is interested in learning more about it.