"We must continue to improve access to buildings for all together with the use of the building's facilities and environs" said the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr. John Gormley, T.D., today ( 08 July 2009).
The Minister was commenting on the publication of a Consultation Document of proposed amendments to Part M (Access for People with
Disabilities) of the Building Regulations and the related Technical Guidance Document M for a final round of public consultation.
The Minister said " I am honouring a commitment given in my Department's Sectoral Plan published under Section 36 of the Disability Act 2005, which provided for the initiation of a review of Part M and the related Technical Guidance Document (TGD-M). I welcome the fact that the outcome of the review proposes a change in the title of TGD-M from "Access for People with Disabilities" to "Access and Use", reflecting an emphasis on access for all".
The draft Regulations amend Part M of the Building Regulations 1997, in respect of new buildings, dwellings and existing buildings when extended. The Regulations require that all new buildings other than dwellings should be designed and constructed so that people with a range of disabilities can safely and independently approach and gain access to a building, circulate within it, use the relevant facilities, including sanitary conveniences within it. The Regulations also apply to the approach and access to and sanitary conveniences in existing buildings when extended.
There are amendments in respect of new dwellings (which already must be visitable by people with disabilities since 2001) in respect of approaches, and widths of internal doors and certain fittings.
The Regulations amend Article 11 of the Building Regulations 1997 (principal Regulations) to include Part M in the definition of "material alteration" of a building. This means that alterations to features relevant to compliance with Part M e.g. entrances, sanitary conveniences etc, must now comply with Part M
The Regulations amend Article 13 of the Building Regulations 1997 to require Part M to apply to an existing building or part of an existing building, which undergoes a material change of use to a day care centre, hotel, institutional building, place of assembly, shop, or shopping centre.
"I would urge all interested parties, representative organisations and professional representative bodies to comment on these proposals by Friday, 9 October 2009" the Minister concluded.
In line with Government procedure, a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) was carried out on draft Part M 2009 of the Building Regulations. It provides the background information on the Part M review process and includes a supplementary cost benefit analysis of the proposed changes to the Building Regulation. A summary of the RIA will accompany the draft TGD-M 2009 in the public consultation process.
Copies of Consultation Documents.
Consultation Documents, comprising the draft Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2009, draft 2009 Edition of TGD- M and a summary of the Regulatory Impact Assessment of Part M (Access and Use)
2009 are available from:-
Private Rented Sector and Building Standards, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Custom House,
Tel: 01- 888 2371 or 01- 888 2551
FAX: 01 888 2693.
e-mail: [email protected]
The Consultation Documents can also be viewed and downloaded at the Department's Web Site at: www.environ.ie - under the heading "Building Standards/Public Consultation".