For a Disability Access Certificate quotation simply e-mail your planning or project drawings to cb@fisca.ie. You’ll receive a quote within 24hrs. Alternatively, if you have no drawings you may call on one of the telephone numbers above or on skype to cfisca.

What is a Disability Access Certificate?

The City or County Council Building Control Authority assesses applications for Disability Access Certificates. Once approved, the Building Control Authority issue the Disability Access Certificate which states that the works or building will comply with the requirements of Part M of the Building Control Regulations, if built in accordance with the submission made and any Conditions that may be attached to the Certificate.

 

Is there any legislation governing Disability Access Certificates?

The Disability Access Certificate (DAC) was introduced through SI 351 of 2009 dated 4 September 2009 and came into effect on the 1st January 2010.

 

Does my proposed development require a Disability Access Certificate?

The short answer quite simply is that if your project requires a Fire Safety Certificate then it also requires a Disability Access Certificate.

The long answer is that a DAC is required for new buildings other than dwellings (including apartment buildings) and certain works (as set out in Article 20 D (1) of SI 351) to which the Requirements of Part M apply, which commence or take place on or after 1 January 2010.

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

(a) apply to all works in connection with a material alteration or an extension, without requiring any further work to the existing building,.

(b) 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 point.

S.I. No. 351 of 2009, Building Control (amendment) Regulations 2009 defines a material alteration as:-

“material alteration” means an alteration (other than a repair or renewal),

where the work, or any part of the work, carried out by itself would be

subject to a requirement of Part A or B of the Second Schedule to the

Building Regulations;

S.I. No. 351 of 2009, Building Control (amendment) Regulations 2009 defines a material alteration as:-

“material change of use” means—

(a) a change of use, deemed by section 3(3) of the Building Control Act 1990 (No. 3 of 1990) as amended by the Building Control Act 2007 (No. 21 of 2007); to be a material change of use, takes place, or

(b) a building which was not being used as—

(i) a day centre, becomes so used, or

(ii) a hotel, hostel or guest building, becomes so used, or

(iii) an industrial building, becomes so used, or

(iv) an institutional building, becomes so used, or

(v) an office (which is not ancillary to the primary use of the

building), becomes so used, or

(vi) a place of assembly, becomes so used, or

(vii) a shop (which is not ancillary to the primary use of the

building), becomes so used, or

(viii) a shopping centre, becomes so used;

“minor works” means works consisting of the installation, alteration or

removal of a fixture or fitting, or works of a decorative nature;

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What happens if I ignore the legislation & build anyway?

Apart from leaving yourself open to prosecution under building control legislation if you open a building without a disability access certificate. If you then try to sell your premises, the buyer’s solicitor should seek a copy of the disability access certificate & fire safety certificate for the building. If you are unable to produce these certificates you may find it difficult to sell.

If you’ve ignored the legislation and then try to rectify the building at a later date, you may find it difficult or almost impossible without major works to make the necessary changes to obtain a Disability Access Certificate. The author is aware of some projects that have been commercially unviable due to the stringent measures required by these regulations. You are well advised to be aware of the implications of ignoring the legislation.

Very significant changes were made to the 2010 edition of Part M which is far more onerous than the 2000 edition. While future editions may not be revised to such a large extent, the earlier versions of the Regulations are always easier to implement.

 

Can construction commence before I have a Disability Access Certificate?

Yes. However it would be prudent to obtain a Disability Access Certificate prior to work commencing on site as this will avoid any expensive remedial works which might delay the occupation and/or opening of the building. For example, if you provide gender oriented toilet facilities you are obliged to provided gender oriented wheelchair toilet facilities.

Once built it might be impossible to provide the necessary requirements. The author is aware of small projects that have been commercially unviable due to the stringent measures required by these regulations. You are well advised to be aware of the implications of ignoring the legislation. You are legally prohibited from opening your building without a Disability Access Certificate.

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Can I prepare & submit my own Disability Access Certificate application?

It is normal for a professional consultant, Architect or Engineer to prepare a Disability Access Certificate application. Such a person will be familiar with the Building Regulations and the procedure for applying for a Disability Access Certificate. The content of the application needs to be comprehensive in nature.

A person preparing a disability access certificate should have a sound knowledge of building construction and disability access design. If the application submitted is lacking in information or drawings, then the local authority will consider it invalid and will return it to you.

 

How much are the City/County Council fees for a Disability Access Certificate?

€800 per building regardless of size or complexity.

 

How much are FiSCA’s fees for making a Disability Access Certificate submission?

It depends on the size and complexity of the project. If you’d like a quote, please email the project drawings toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You’ll receive a quote within 24hrs.

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When should I apply for my Disability Access Certificate?

It is best practice to apply for your Disability Access Certificate at the same time you are applying for your Fire Safety Certificate. If both applications are prepared at the same time by the same person, the drawings can be co-ordinated prior to submission! This alleviates the necessity for otherwise unnecessary alterations later.

 

What process does a Disability Access Certificate application go through?

  • An application for a Disability Access Certificate is submitted to the local Building Control Authority in the County or City concerned by the applicant or their agent.
  • Valid applications are date stamped and an acknowledgement stating date of receipt is meant to be sent to the applicant/agent. Where an application is incomplete and therefore not valid, the Building Control Authority may request the applicant to submit the necessary documentation to enable the application to be validated.  A considerable number of City & County Council do not validate the application until they are happy that they can issue the Disability Access Certificate.
  • The application is examined technically for compliance with Technical Guidance Document M, 2010
  • Where it is considered that additional information or modifications are required to the application, the officer examining the application may request such additional information/modification from the applicant/agent.
  • A Disability Access Certificate will issue after all required additional information has been submitted.
  • The Building Control Authority must notify the applicant of the decision on the application within two months of the application being validated or within such extended period of time as may be agreed between the applicant and the Authority at any time.

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What must be included in a valid Disability Access Certificate application submission?

A valid Disability Access Certificate application must include:

  1. A completed application form
  2. Relevant disability access drawings in duplicate
  3. A disability access report in duplicate.
  4. Site location maps in duplicate.
  5. €800:00 fee.

What must be included in the Access report?

The application is required to demonstrate that the development complies with TGD’M’, 2010. Persons familiar with TGD’M’ can cherry pick the relevant sections as they see fit for the project at hand. Alternatively it could be achieved by systematically addressing each relevant clause of the Guidance document.

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How long will a Disability Access Certificate application take?

There are approximately 34 different Building Control Authorities in the country. For example, there are four in Dublin, Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

The Regulations are imprecise and ambiguities exist, so the time taken to resolve issues that might exist with one particular authority, that another may not have, will depend entirely upon the idiosyncrasies of the Building Control Authority officer dealing with the application. The legislation allows eight weeks for a decision to be made on a Disability Access Certificate application.

 

Are alterations & changes in the design permitted after a Disability Access Certificate has been granted?

Alterations are permissible at construction stage from the documentation submitted but may call into question the validity of the Disability Access Certificate as it applies to the development. Revisions are permissible to a Disability Access Certificate but in some instances a revised Disability Access Certificate application may have to be lodged for the alterations made to the development.

Naturally, it would be wise to seek clarification while works are on-going to ensure that desired alterations will comply with the Access Regulations before making them. It is important to note at this juncture, that you are prohibited from opening a building without a valid Disability Access Certificate. If changes have been made during construction, the Certificate may no longer be valid.

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Will the City/County Council certify the development upon completion?

No. The Building Control Authority may inspect the project on an on-going basis and may intervene if they see something untoward; however they will never certify the finished development. You must employ your own consultant to oversee the works. When the works are finished, you should request a Certificate of Compliance from your consultant.

This should certify that your building has been constructed in accordance with the Planning Permission granted and the Building Regulations including the Disability Access Certificate and the Fire Safety Certificate.

 

Will one Disability Access Certificate cover a number of buildings of the same design?

No. The building control legislation requires that a Disability Access Certificate be obtained for each & every building.

 

Are there any works exempted from having a Disability Access Certificate?

Yes, a residential dwelling other than a flat or apartment.