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Disability access certificates

What is a Disability Access Certificate?

 A Disability Access Certificate (DAC) is a certificate granted by a Building Control Authority which certifies compliance of the design with the requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations, if constructed in accordance with the granted Certificate..

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 What is a Revised disability access certificate?

A revised disability access certificate will be required where a disability access certificate has been granted by a building control authority and a significant revision is made to the design or works of a building.

An application for a revised disability access certificate shall be on the appropriate form and accompanied by

When is a DAC required?

A Disability Access Certificate is required for the following classes of buildings:

    1. The construction of a new building.
    2. The material alteration (excluding minor works) of:
      1. a day centre,
      2. a hotel, hostel or guest building, or
      3. an institutional building, or
      4. a place of assembly, or
      5. a shopping centre,
    1. The material alteration of a shop, office or industrial building where:
    1.     the building is being subdivided into a number of units for separate occupancy, or
    2.     additional floor area is being provided within the building,
    1. The extension of a building by more than 25 square meters.
    2. The material change of use where the following uses become so used:
      1. a day centre,
      2. a hotel, hostel or guest building,
      3. an institutional building,
      4. a place of assembly,
      5. a shop (which is not ancillary to the primary use of the building), or
      6. a shopping centre.

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

  • apply to all works in connection with a material alteration or an extension, without requiring any further work to the existing building
  • do not apply to certain material changes 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

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When is a DAC not required?

     A DAC is not required for:

  1. An agricultural building.
  2. A dwelling (other than a flat).
  3. A garage ancillary to a dwelling,
  4. Certain other buildings ancillary to a dwelling.
  5. A building used solely to enable inspection, repair or maintenance of fixed plant, building services, or machinery.
  6. A material change of use where; an office, or an industrial building becomes so used.
  7. A material change of use to which Section 3(3) of the Building Control Act 1990, as amended applies.
  8. The material alteration to a flat.

A DAC is also not required where there is no requirement of Part M of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations.

Is a DAC 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 2010 or any conditions subject to which a DAC is granted (where a DAC is required).  

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

However, a DAC may be applied for after submitting a commencement notice, but in no case shall a building be opened, operated or occupied or permitted to do so unless a DAC 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.

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 Can works commence on a relevant development prior to the granting of a DAC?

Technically, a DAC 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 2010 or any conditions subject to which a DAC is granted (where a DAC is required).

To avoid potentially expensive remedial work, it would be considered good practice to apply for a DAC at the same time as a FSC, therefore ensuring that the DAC and any conditions pertaining to it are set out prior to commencement of works. Also, refer to FAQ 15 regarding provision for fee reduction where there is a concurrent application of a DAC with a FSC.

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 compliance with the 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.

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How long will a DAC take to process?

It can take up to eight weeks for a decision to be made on a valid application for a DAC. It may take longer if this is agreed with the applicant and the Building Control Authority.

When should I apply for the DAC?

It is considered good practice to 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.  There is also a reduction in the fee if you apply at the same time as applying for the FSC.

Is a DAC required for a material change of use of a building?

A DAC is required for certain material changes of use to which the requirements of Part M apply. Where the following material changes of use are carried out, (where a building becomes so used) then Part M applies to the Building:

  1. a day centre,
  2. a hotel, hostel or guest building,
  3. an institutional building,
  4. a place of assembly,
  5. a shop (which is not ancillary to the primary use of the building), or
  6. a shopping centre.

Does an application for a DAC have to show compliance with Part M 2010?

Yes. The proposal which forms the DAC application must demonstrate compliance with Part M. In granting an application, a Building Control Authority certifies that the works, if carried out in accordance with the documents submitted, and any conditions they see fit to attach, will comply with the requirements of the current Part M 2010.

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 Which of these scenarios require a DAC?

 

 New buildings, including apartment blocks, but excluding dwelling houses

 

 

YES

 

Dwelling houses

NO

 

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

Material alteration to a shop, office or industrial building where

(i) additional floor area is provided within existing building, or

(ii) the 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 than 25m2

YES

 

Extension to a flat, where a new dwelling is not being created

NO

 

Extension to the common areas of an apartment building of greater than 25m2

YES

 

Existing building which was damaged/ burnt and is being repaired.

NO

 

A material change of use, where; a day centre, a hotel, hostel or guest building, an institutional building, a place of assembly, a shop (which is not ancillary to the primary use of the building), or a shopping centre becomes so used

 

YES

A material change of use where; an office, or an industrial building becomes so used, or a Material Change of use to which Section 3(3) of the Building Control Act 1990, as amended applies.

 

NO

 

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Will there be a 7 Day Notice or a Regularisation Certificate in respect of the DAC?

There is no need for a 7 Day Notice in respect of a DAC, as a DAC is not required prior to commencement.

There is no need for a regularisation certificate as DAC only applies to works commencing from Jan 1 2010 and not retrospectively. A DAC must be acquired prior to opening, operating or occupying a building to which works required a DAC. A DAC 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 (e.g.: unforeseen site conditions demand layout changes), what is expected?

 A revised DAC 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 DAC has been granted by a BCA. You may apply to the Building Control Authority for the revised certificate.

Why are schools, bar the smallest, not exempt from DAC fees?

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

What is the fee for a DAC?

The fee for a DAC is set at €800 per building, or €500.00 per building where there is a concurrent application of a DAC with a FSC. There is no m fee for a DAC.

Can agents sign the DAC application form on behalf of the applicant?

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

The form for a revised DAC requires working drawings - working drawings are only progressed where work has commenced

The need for a revised DAC 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.

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If a DAC 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 DAC application, what is the position?

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

What do I need to submit with an application for a disability access certificate?

  1. Drawings (including a site or layout plan in duplicate), suitably marked, noted, highlighted (e.g. coloured, toned or other) and such other particulars (e.g. a report) as are necessary to:
    1. Identify and describe the works or building to which the application relates, and
    2. Demonstrate how the building or works comply with the requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations, in particular in relation to the following, where applicable;
      • Approach to a building.
      • Access to a building.
      • Circulation within a building.
      • Use of facilities within a building.
      • Bedrooms in hotels and other guest accommodations.
      • Sanitary conveniences.
      • Audience or spectator facilities.
      • Apartments in a building.
  2. Sufficient information should be provided to enable the building control authority to assess whether the works or building would, if constructed in accordance with the said plans and other particulars, comply with the requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations.
  3. Completed application form:

Page last reviewed: 14/01/19

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