Skip to content

Signup for our newsletter

Privacy policy
front cover lifetime home design guide

For Professionals

(2) Access From Car Parking

The distance from the car parking space to the home should be kept to a minimum and should be level or gently sloping.


Stated specifications and dimensions required to meet criterion

It is preferable to have a level approach. However, where the topography prevents this, a maximum gradient of 1:12 is permissible on an individual slope of less than 5 metres or 1:15 if it is between 5 and 10m, and 1:20 where it is more than 10m*. Paths should be a minimum of 900mm width.

* Providing there are top, bottom and intermediate level landings of not less than 1.2m excluding the swing of doors and gates.


Frequently asked questions - Criterion 2

Q Does this requirement apply only to private parking spaces to houses or all parking?

A It applies to all parking spaces, for any type of dwelling, whether that space is private, within the plot boundary, or not. All parking spaces / parking bays provided in any development need to conform.

Q In a block of flats does the distance relate to the parking to the entrance to the block, or to each flat?

A The route in question for dwellings with no communal entrance is the route from the parking space to the front door of the dwelling. The route for flatted developments with a communal entrance and parking at ground level, is the route from the parking to the main communal entrance of the block. For basement parking where there is access via passenger lift(s) to communal hallways above, the gradients and distance requirements would apply between the car parking spaces and the nearest lift core. For basement parking where there is no passenger lift to communal hallways above, the gradients and distance requirements would apply between all parking spaces and the main entrance to the block at ground level.

Q The site is sloping, is it necessary to achieve these gradient requirements on all pathways?

A Designers should seek to manage the gradient across a sloping site by setting the finished height of parking spaces and floor level at entrance level so that the route between the parking and the entrance can achieve the above gradient / distance ratios. See diagram below (Figure 2).

Q Can I include steps on pathways if they are in accordance with Part M requirements?

A Steps, in accordance with Part M, are only acceptable on an alternative / secondary route, this secondary route being in addition to main route from the parking to the entrance satisfying the criterion.

Q What distance between the dwelling and the parking is acceptable?

A Parking spaces for individual dwellings within plot boundaries of that dwelling should be close to the front door of that dwelling. Grouped / communal parking for flatted developments should be located as close to the main entrance of the relevant block as is practicable. As a principle aim, all parking bays should be as close to the block as possible, however, subject to the scale of the block, the pedestrian route to the main entrance should not exceed 50m.

illustration of criteria 2  

Additional good practice recommendations

 (i) In large flatted developments, setting down points should be provided close to the main entrances of blocks of flats, with both a dropped kerb to allow easy wheelchair access from road level to the entrance door and also a kerbed section of footpath to facilitate the use of ramp to enter / leave a taxi.

(ii) Surfaces on all access routes should be firm, slip resistant and reasonable smooth (e.g. not cobbles, nor gravel). They should also give visual contrast to adjacent surfaces.

(iii) Communal paths to main entrances should preferably be 1800mm wide and in no instance be less than 1200mm wide.

(iv) All street furniture (e.g. bins and seats) should be located off the access route.

(v) No window / door / gate should be openable across an access route unless fitted with a self closing device. Any recess / setback between a path and a building to enable outward opening windows should be provided with guarding, such as a raised kerb, that can be detected with a cane.

(vi) Access routes should be well lit artificially, enabling an even illuminance level of 10 lux across the path surface, increasing to 50 lux at any change in direction or potential hazard.