Disability Access Certificates
Q: What is a disability access certificate?
A: 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.
Q: Are there transitional arrangements for the introduction of the DAC?
A: The requirement for a DAC came into effect on 1st January 2010 for new buildings (other than dwellings houses) which commence on or after that date.
Q: I have planning permission, how is this affected?
A: Planning permission has no impact on the need for a DAC. If the works began on a building (other than dwellings houses) on or after January 1st 2010, then the DAC is required.
Q: Is a DAC required prior to submitting a commencement notice?
A: 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 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 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.
Q: Can works commence on a relevant development prior to the granting of a DAC?
A: 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 2000 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.
Q: How long will a DAC take to process?
A: 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.
Q: When should I apply for the DAC?
A: 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.
Q: What if I have my Fire Safety Certificate already but no DAC?
A: Apply for the DAC 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.
Q: If a proposed development has already been granted planning permission and a Fire Safety Certificate prior to 01/01/2010, but works have not commenced prior to that date, is a DAC required?
Q: Is a DAC required for a material change of use of a building?
A: A DAC 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 DAC should be applied for.
Q: Does an application ofr a DAC have to show compliance with the proposal for a revised Part M, which was the subject of a public consultation process in 2009?
A: No. The DAC 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 DAC applications when future revisions of part M become operative.
Q: Which of these scenarios require a DAC?
- 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 25 sq.m.
- 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.
Q: Will there be a 7 day notice or a regularisation certificate in respect of the DAC?
A: There is no need for a 7 day notice in respect of a DAC, as a DAC is not required prior to commencement - see above.
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.
Q: Where the design of a building or work on a building is changed (e.g. unforseen site conditions demand layout change), what is expected?
A: 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.
Q: Why are schools, bar the smallest, not exempt from DAC fees?
A: 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.
Q: What is the fee for a DAC?
A: The fee is €800 per building.
Q: Is there a sq. m. application fee for a DAC?
A: There is no sq.m application fee for a DAC.
Q: Can agents sign the DAC application form on behalf of the applicant?
A: Yes, if they are authorised to do so by the building owner.
Q: The form for a revised DAC requires working drawings. Working drawings are only progressed where work has commenced.
A: 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.
Q: 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. 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.