Proposed changes to the disability access regulations are set to cost owners and occupiers of new and existing buildings more than £190m a year, according to a Whitehall report.
The changes to Part M of the Building Regulations – called Access and Facilities for Disabled People – propose tough rules to ensure that newly built public and commercial buildings provide facilities like ramps, automatic doors and hearing loops to make access to them easier.

The consultation report from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister says the annual cost of complying with the new Part M is estimated at about £120m for all new buildings.

The proposals will also affect existing buildings when they are altered or undergo a change of use. It is estimated that this will cost £70m a year in total.

The consultation document acknowledges that in some cases the changes will make it cheaper to opt for a new building rather than a refurbishment.

The proposed regulations would take into account the access needs of elderly people and those with young children as well as the physically disabled.

Listed buildings will be exempt from the proposed changes, as will buildings where full compliance is impossible or impractical.

The revisions will bring Part M into line with the final phase of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and the newly launched British Standard BS 8300:2001 Design of Buildings and Their Approaches to Meet the Needs of Disabled People.

The consultation package can be viewed at