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Doorway Circulation Spaces

Most people assume that the only crucial circulation requirement for doorways is the doorway width – or also known as the clear opening width. In fact there are actually four (4) crucial circulation space requirements at doorways.

  • Width
  • Latch side
  • Hinge side
  • Length

Disabled Doorways

To demonstrate these doorway circulation space requirements, as prescribed in AS1428.1 – 2009 Clause 13, we’ve highlighted them in the below images.

1. Width

Door width for disabled access

2. Latch Side

Latch side clearance at doors

3. Hinge Side

Disability hinge side clearance

4. Length

doorway length circulation space

Now that we’ve established what the clearances are, the next component of understanding disability access requirements for doorways is – “what are the actual measurements required to be.”

To answer this – it depends or in other words, it’s effected by three (3) factors.

  • The direction the door leaf swings. e.g. towards or away from the user; and
  • The direction the doorway of approached e.g. front on or from the latch side of the doorway; and
  • The clear width dimension.


The reason these factors influence the measurements is because different manoeuvring of mobility devices is required for different approaches etc. It is to be noted that the doorway circulation space requirements have been based upon the 90th percentile wheelchair footprint and are predominantly, not solely, for the provision of increasing the usability of doorways for people who use mobility devices such as wheelchairs. 

The below figures show the different circulation spaces required for a door leaf that swings toward the user. (Not to scale)

Hinge approach
Front on approach
Both sides approach

The below figures show the different circulation spaces required for a door leaf that swings away from the user. (Not to scale)

Latch approach swing away
wheelchair doorways
Front doorway approach
Both sides access door

As can be seen in the above, the requirements that are actually needed for any particular doorway can be quite complex. When auditing plans and / or undertaking onsite disability access audits, the most common issues we identify have to do with doorway circulation space requirements, effectively breaches against the AS1428.1 – 2009 Clause 13 doorway requirements.

To ensure the doorways comply within your building ASN can undertake either a desktop or onsite access audit to determine whether compliance is achieved. Please contact us for further information.

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