A New Chapter for Disability Access Certificates under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2018
Requirements for disability access certificates for buildings and works clarified under new amending legislation

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (the "Amending Regulations") have been published, aiming to clarify requirements for disability access certificates under the building control regime for buildings and works.

Background

The Amending Regulations clarify building procedures for Disability Access Certificate (DAC) applications. A DAC is a certificate granted by a building control authority certifying that the design of certain works, if constructed in accordance with the granted certificate, will comply with Part M of the Building Regulations. A person is not permitted to carry out works contravening building control regime requirements for DACs or fire safety certificates.

Types of buildings and works affected?

The following buildings or works will require a DAC:

  • Construction of new buildings;
  • Material alteration (excluding minor works) of:
    • day centres;
    • hotels, hostels or guest buildings;
    • institutional buildings;
    • places of assembly;
    • o shopping centres, 
  • Material alteration of shops, offices or industrial buildings where:
    • buildings are being subdivided into units for separate occupancies; or
    • additional floor area is being provided within buildings;
  • Extension of buildings by more than 25 sqm,
  • Material changes of use where the building becomes used as:
    • day centres;
    • hotel, hostels or guest building;
    • institutional buildings;
    • places of assembly;
    • shops (which is not ancillary to the primary use of the building); or
    • shopping centres.

Changes to existing buildings

Material alterations or extensions to existing buildings should not give rise to any new or greater contravention of the Building Regulations. If an existing building contravenes the Building Regulations, the material alteration or extension of such a building does not carry with it a requirement to make good such contravention, but merely that the contravention is not worsened.

Care needs to be taken where there is significant revision to design or works which may give rise to the requirement for a DAC which may not have applied at the outset.

It is good practice to apply for a DAC at the same time as a fire safety certificate. It is worth noting that the Amending Regulations do not change the requirements in relation to fire safety certificates.

When are DACs not required?

The Amending Regulations clarify that DACs are not required for:

  • Material changes of use to buildings, where the building will be used as:
    • flats;
    • offices; or
    • industrial buildings;
  • Material alterations to buildings containing a flat (although works must still comply with the Building Regulations (where applicable));
  • Buildings used solely to enable inspections, repairs or maintenances of fixed plant, building services, or machinery, such as access to roof top air handling units or electric substations;
  • The same building types which are currently exempted from requirements for fire safety certificates. However, the exemption for a DAC is irrespective of storey height;
  • Agricultural buildings;
  • Dwellings (other than a flat);
  • Garage ancillary to dwellings; and
  • Certain other buildings ancillary to dwellings.

When do the Amending Regulations commence?

The Amending Regulations come into operation on 17 December 2018.

Action required?

Property owners, public sector bodies, contractors, designers, project, asset and facilities managers need to carefully consider how to best design, construct and manage works and buildings to comply with   these new DAC requirements under the Amending Regulations.

Contributed by: Jarleth Heneghan, Partner and Cassandra Byrne, Consultant both of Projects and Construction

Back to Legal News

Key Contacts

Cassandra Byrne Consultant

Related Practice Areas

Related Industry