Disabled Access Certificates

Disability Access Certificate 

 The following is a series of questions posed to the Department following the commencement of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2009. The list will be supplemented as the implementation of the Regulations advances. If your query is not answered here, contact us for more information.

What is a Disability Access Certificate?

A Disability Access Certificate is a certificate granted by a Building Control Authority which certifies compliance of the design of certain works (e.g. new buildings (except dwelling houses), some extensions to, and some material alterations to buildings (except dwelling houses) with the requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations.

What is required for an application?

  • A fully completed statutory application form
  • The required fee (cheques can be made payable to Dublin City Council)
  • A site layout plan
  • A location map
  • 2 sets any documentation, calculations, specifications or other design information
  • 2 sets of any drawings or maps.

When is a Disability Access Certificate required?

A  Disability Access Certificate is required in respect of the following works to buildings other than dwellings (but including apartment buildings), in so far as the Requirements of Part M apply and which commence or take place on or after 1 January 2010;

(a) works in connection with the design and construction of a new building,
(b) works in connection with the material alteration of—
(i) a day centre,
(ii) a building containing a flat,
(iii) a hotel, hostel or guest building, or
(iv) an institutional building, or
(v) a place of assembly, or
(vi) a shopping centre,

but excluding works to such buildings, consisting solely of minor works,
(c) works in connection with the material alteration of a shop, office or industrial building where —            (i) additional floor area is being provided within the existing building, or
(ii) the building is being subdivided into a number of units for separate occupancy,

(d) works in connection with the extension of a building by more than 25 square metres,

(e) a building as regards which a material change of use takes place, (see note below)

It should be noted in this context, that the Requirements of Part M 2000

• apply to all works in connection with a material alteration or an extension, without requiring any further work to the existing building1,2.

• do not apply to a material change of use, except where a material alteration or extension is associated with the material change of use, in which case refer to the previous point3.

1 Article 11 of the Building Regulations 1997-2008 also stipulates the Regulations apply to every part of a buildings affected by the material alteration or extension but only to the extent of prohibiting any works which would cause a new or greater contravention, in such building.

2 Part M does not apply to works in connection with extensions to and the material alterations of existing dwellings, provided that such works do not create a new dwelling.

3 The Requirements of Part M 2010 due to commence on 1 January 2012 amended Article 13 to include the application of Part M to certain material changes of use. It also amended Article 11 of the Building Regulations to extend the definition of a Material Alteration to include Part M.

Are there transitional arrangements for the introduction of the Disability Access Certificate?

The requirement for a Disability Access Certificate came into effect on 1st January 2010 for new buildings (other than dwellings houses) which commence on or after that date.

I have planning permission, how is this affected?

Planning permission has no impact on the need for a Disability Access Certificate. If the works began on a building (other than dwellings houses) on or after January 1st 2010, then the Disability Access Certificate is required.

Is a Disability Access Certificate required prior to submitting a commencement notice?

A person shall not carry out works in contravention of Part M of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations 2000 or any conditions subject to which a Disability Access Certificate is granted (where a Disability Access Certificate is required).

To avoid potentially expensive remedial work,  it would be considered good practice to apply for a Disability Access Certificate at the same time as a Fire Safety Certificate ((FSC) prior to submitting a commencement notice), therefore ensuring that the Disability Access Certificate and any conditions pertaining to it are set out prior to commencement of works.

However, a Disability Access Certificate may be applied for after commencement notice, but in no case shall a building be opened, operated or occupied or permitted to do so unless a Disability Access Certificate has been granted or pending determination of an appeals process.

A commencement notice must be submitted between 14-28 days in advance of work commencing.

Can works commence on a relevant development prior to the granting of a Disability Access Certificate?

Technically, a Disability Access Certificate is not required in advance of commencement of work.    However, a person shall not carry out works in contravention of Part M of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations 2000 or any conditions subject to which a Disability Access Certificate is granted (where a Disability Access Certificate is required).

To avoid potentially expensive remedial work,  it would be considered good practice to apply for a Disability Access Certificate at the same time as a FSC, therefore ensuring that the Disability Access Certificate and any conditions pertaining to it are set out prior to commencement of works.

What does a ‘new or greater contravention’ of the Building Regulations mean?

Material alterations or Extensions should not give rise to any ‘new or greater contravention’ in the existing building. That is, a material alteration or an extension (vertical or lateral) to an existing building should not make the existing building any worse in relation to Building Regulations.

The following examples are given by way of clarification:

The erection of an extension to an existing building whereby the extension is to be served for access and escape purposes by an existing staircase within the existing building:

•        If the existing staircase was adequate for the occupancy capacity of the existing building but inadequate for the extended building, this would constitute a ‘new contravention’ of Building Regulations.

•        If the existing staircase was inadequate for the existing building and rendered more inadequate due to the additional occupancy of the extended building, this would constitute a ‘greater contravention’ of Building Regulations.

Note, therefore, that Building Regulations as they apply to works in connection with existing buildings being materially altered or extended, require solely that the ‘status quo’ be maintained in the existing building. Where an existing building contravenes Building Regulations, the material alteration or extension of such a building does not carry with it the requirement to make good such contravention, but merely that the contravention is not worsened, i.e. that no new or greater contravention arises. Building Regulations do not apply retrospectively to existing buildings where such buildings are being extended except to the extent that any new or greater contravention is not permitted.

How long will a Disability Access Certificate take to process?

The timescale is up to 8 weeks under Section 6(5) of the Building Control Act, 1990, or longer if agreed between the applicant and the BCA.

When should I apply for the DAC?

You should apply at the same time as applying for a FSC. The time scale for assessment of both applications is the same. This ensures you have all relevant information prior to construction.

What If I have my FSC already but no Disability Access Certificate?

Apply for the Disability Access Certificate immediately/ as soon as possible. Paragraph 2(b) of Departmental Circular BC11/2009 lists what should be provided with the application. Further material may be requested by the Building Control Authority.

If a proposed development has already been granted planning permission and a FSC prior to 01/01/10, but works have not commenced prior to that date, is a Disability Access Certificate required?

Yes.

Is a Disability Access Certificate required for a material change of use of a building ?

A Disability Access Certificate is required for certain works to which the Requirements of Part M apply. Refer to Article 20 D (1) of S.I. 351)  Part M will apply to a material change of use of a building only when it includes a material alteration – in such cases Part M will apply to all works in connection with the material alteration and a Disability Access Certificate should be applied for.

Does an application for a  Disability Access Certificate have to show compliance with the proposal for a revised Part M, which was the subject of a public consultation process in 2009?

No. The Disability Access Certificate will certify compliance with the requirements of the current Part – Part M 2000 . Draft Part M 2009 proposals have not yet been finalised. However, additional information may be required for Disability Access Certificate applications when future revisions of part M become operative.

Which of these scenarios require a Disability Access Certificate?

Yes      New buildings, including apartment blocks

No       Dwelling houses

Yes      Material alteration to a day care centre, apartment block, hotel, hostel, guest building, institutional building, place of assembly, shopping centre

Yes      material alteration to a shop, office or industrial building where additional floor area is provided within existing building or building is being subdivided into a number of units for separate occupancy.

Yes      Extension to an existing building other than a dwelling house of greater that 25m2

No       Existing building was damaged/burnt and is being repaired.

No       A material change of use, by itself -  see above

Yes      A material change of use involving a material alteration associated with the change of use.

Will there be a 7 day Notice or a Regularisation Certificate in respect of the Disability Access Certificate?

There is no need for a 7 day notice in respect of a Disability Access Certificate, as a Disability Access Certificate is not required prior to commencement – see above.

There is no need for a regularisation certificate as Disability Access Certificate only applies to works commencing from Jan 1 2010 and not retrospectively. A Disability Access Certificate must be acquired prior to opening, operating or occupying a building to which works required a Disability Access Certificate. A Disability Access Certificate can be applied for this purpose.

A Regularisation Certificate applies to existing buildings which were

Commenced or completed without  a FSC, where required.

Where the design of  a building or work on a building is changed (eg: unforeseen site  conditions demand layout changes), what is expected?

A revised Disability Access Certificate is required where significant revision is made to the design or works or a material alteration to or a material change of use of a building in respect of which a Disability Access Certificate has been granted by a BCA. Contact us to apply for the revised certificate.

Why are schools, bar the smallest, not exempt from Disability Access Certificate fees?

The Regulations provide for an exemption from fees for primary schools only with 4 mainstream teachers or less, as requested by the Department of Education and Science.

What is the fee for a Disability Access Certificate?

The fee is €800 per building payable to the Building Control Authority. Contact Declan Noonan & Associates for a quotation specific to your needs. 

Is there a sq.m application fee for a Disability Access Certificate?

There is no sq.m application fee for a Disability Access Certificate.

Can agents sign the Disability Access Certificate application form on behalf of the applicant?

Yes, if they are authorised to do so by the building owner.

The form for a revised Disability Access Certificate requires working drawings. Working drawings are only progressed where work has commenced.

The need for a revised Disability Access Certificate is not limited to works which have not commenced. It applies where significant revision is made to the design of the building or  works already commenced.

If a Disability Access Certificate  has not been sought for a building where it is required or where an appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanala in respect of a decision by a building control authority on a Disability Access Certificate application, what is the position?

A building cannot be opened, operated or occupied or permitted to be opened, operated or occupied  without the necessary Disability Access Certificate  or where an appeal has been lodged, pending the determination of the appeal.

7 Day Notice FAQ

What is a 7 day notice?

It is a ‘fast track’ notification of commencement of work prior to the granting of a FSC.

What is the fee for a 7 day notice?

 The standard fee is €250 or €5.80 per square metre of floor, whichever is the greater, payable to the Building Control Authority. This is double the amount for a standard FSC application.  The fee may vary depending on the work proposed and the fees are listed in the Fifth Schedule of the Building Control Regulations.

Do I need to apply for a FSC as well and do I have to pay a fee for both?

Yes, the 7 Day notice must be accompanied by a valid FSC application and a statutory declaration in respect of the work proposed, but only the fee for the 7 day notice applies. You do not have to submit separate fees for both the Notice and the FSC.

Can you apply for a 7 day notice if you have already applied for a Fire Safety Certificate?

Yes, if you have made a valid application for a FSC you may submit a 7 day notice provided you submit the reference number of the original application, the revised fee and all the required documentation as listed in Article 20A of the Regulations. You should liaise with your local building control authority.

Click here for information on Fire Safety Certificate.

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