What is a Disability Access Certificate (DAC)?
A Disability Access Certificate is a certificate granted by a Building Control Authority (BCA) 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.
Do I require a DAC?
Scenarios that require a DAC:
- New buildings, including apartment blocks
- Material alteration to a day care centre, apartment block, hotel, hostel, guest building, institutional building, place of assembly, shopping centre
- 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.
- A material change of use involving a material alteration associated with the change of use.
- Extension to an existing building other than a dwelling house of greater that 25m2
Scenarios that DO NOT require a DAC:
- Dwelling houses
- Existing building was damaged/burnt and is being repaired.
- A material change of use, by itself - see above
When should I apply for the DAC?
You should apply at the same time as applying for a Fire Safety Certificate (FSC). The time scale for assessment of both applications is the same. This ensures you have all relevant information prior to construction.
How long will a DAC take to process?
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.
Are there transitional arrangements for the introduction of the DAC?
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.
I have planning permission, how is this affected?
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.
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 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.
What if I have my FSC already but no DAC?
Apply for the DAC immediately/ as soon as possible.
If a proposed development has already been granted planning permission and a FSC prior to 01/01/2010, but works have not commenced, is a DAC required?
Is a DAC required for a material change of use of a building?
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.
What is the fee for a DAC?
The fee is €800 per building.
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.
Where the design of a building or work on a building is changed (eg: 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.