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Publication - Advice and guidance

Building Standards technical handbook 2017: non-domestic buildings

The Building Standards technical handbooks provide guidance on achieving the standards set in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and are available in two volumes, Domestic buildings and Non-domestic buildings. This publication is available in html and also in PDF format (in 'supporting documents' ).

Building Standards technical handbook 2017: non-domestic buildings
4. Safety

4.10 Fixed seating

Mandatory Standard

Standard 4.10

Every building, which contains fixed seating accommodation for an audience or spectators, must be designed and constructed in such a way that a number of level spaces for wheelchairs are provided proportionate to the potential audience or spectators.


This standard does not apply to domestic buildings.

4.10.0 Introduction

All people should have access to, and use of, facilities provided within buildings and should be able to participate in the proceedings at lecture/conference facilities and at entertainment or leisure and social venues.

The provision of flexible seating solutions, including spaces assigned for occupation by wheelchair users, will offer a greater level of general amenity. Consideration of a range of seat types and aisle widths, as well as the presence of removable seating will also offer greater choice for those using such facilities.

Conversions - in the case of conversions, as specified in regulation 4, the building as converted shall meet the requirements of this standard in so far as is reasonably practicable, and in no case be worse than before the conversions (regulation 12, schedule 6).

4.10.1 Variety in provision of fixed seating

Within any area of fixed seating, such as in a lecture room or auditorium or at a sporting venue, the layout should identify space for the seating of wheelchair users. These provisions may also benefit a person with mobility impairment or who may travel with an assistance dog.

Where arm rests are provided, seats at the end of a row or adjacent to a wheelchair space should have a removable or lift-up arm rest, to offer easier access to a proportion of seating.

A choice in seating location for wheelchair users should be available. Spaces should not be provided as a single area but dispersed through the seated area, as single spaces or pairs. Spaces should be next to standard seating to allow a spectator who uses a wheelchair to sit with family or friends.

In a level or raked auditorium, accessible spaces should be provided in a variety of locations. In a stepped auditorium, distribution of accessible spaces should be made on any level to which there is level or ramped access for the audience from another part of the building. The number of spaces should be in accordance with the following table:

Table 4.7. Wheelchair spaces to areas of fixed seating

Seated capacity Number of wheelchair spaces
up to 600 1 per 100 or part thereof [1]
601 – 10 000 1 per 100 or part thereof
10 001 – 20 000 100 + 5 per 1 000 above 10 000
20 001 – 40 000 150 + 3 per 1 000 above 20 000
more than 40 000 210 + 2 per 1 000 above 40 000

Additional information:

  1. In smaller auditoria, the presence of removable seating will offer increased flexibility and should be provided in addition to permanent wheelchair spaces. For each space noted above, removable seating providing one additional space should be present, up to a maximum of 6 spaces in total. For example, a 150 seat auditorium will have 2 wheelchair spaces and removable seating for a further 2 spaces.

Spaces should be level and not less than 1.4m long by 900mm wide, with an adjacent access width of at least 900mm. Within a raked or stepped auditorium, spaces should be provided with guarding to any edge where there is a change of level. Guarding, as recommended in clause 4.4.2, should include a rail or upstand to 100mm above floor level.

Spaces should be designed so that they neither obstruct nor are obstructed by other spectators and sight lines to any performance area or stage are maintained. This should take into account the potential obstruction from both a standing and seated audience.