What is a Disability Access Certificate?
A disability access certificate is issued by the building control section of the local authority. It certifies that the proposed works have been assessed and that the proposed drawings, when built, will meet the requirements of Part M of the building control regulations.
Compliance with Part M relates to the building and site in terms of approach, access, egress, and ease of use by the widest possible range of users. This allows for all people regardless of disability to have the freedom to achieve movement throughout the development. Where possible, the DAC application shall recommend layout amendments in an effort to improve accessibility.
An application for a disability access cert requires a consultant to undertake an appraisal of the proposed works and report on this appraisal.
What is Accessibility?
The term 'accessible' was originally used to describe environments, which could be used by wheelchair users. As wheelchair users comprise of only 4% of disabled users, the term has evolved to include design standards which are accessible to a broad range of users including elderly, families with young children, those pulling suitcases, those with sensory impairments, cognitive impairments as well as those it was intended to assist, users with physical impairments.
Universal Design / Accessible Design are intended to make activities easier and safer to perform for the maximum number of people. Hoping to provide access for everyone to all areas may be difficult, and in some cases unattainable. This information should be available to visitors before embarking on their journey to the site.
Fortress Planning offer the following Disability Access Certificate Services:
- Preparation and lodgement of disability access certificate applications for all building types, both new and existing.
- Liaison with Building Control Officers; including Pre-DAC meetings and consultations throughout the project.
- Disability access appraisals for projects at the pre planning / design stage.
- Advice on disability access legislation and statutory obligations.
- Provide advice in relation to all statutory obligations in conjunction with Part M of the Building Regulations.
- Building inspections with measured surveys and preparation of reports reviewing access and use of the building for all and compliance with Part M of the Building Regulations.
- Advice and design for individual disability access elements, such as ramps, (non-standard) toilets, and bathrooms.
Fortress Planning can offer a “joined up” service of the fire cert application (safe egress) and disability access certificate application (safe access). We can also offer a three-fold service which includes the planning permission application along with the disability access and fire safety certificate applications. Therefore we can provide an economic design solution to our clients. We do this by undertaking all the designs and the applications’ drawings and documentation together. However, it is important to note that the planning, fire safety certificate application and disability access certificate are completely separate processes, with separate departments of the local authorities accessing the applications.
Accessibility of the built environment in Ireland for people with disabilities is mainly controlled by Part M of the Building Regulations entitled “Access for People with Disabilities". While the legislation covers the minimum, there is a need for engineers who wish to embrace the concept of universal access to look beyond the regulations, whilst also ensuring that their clients do not incur significant additional costs.
Buildings for Everyone, A Universal Design Approach