For Oral Answer on : 09/11/2023
Question Number(s): 158 Question Reference(s): 47471/23
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage his views on whether there is a need for an increase in the number of changing places and toilets for people with severe disabilities; if his Department has considered the establishment of a fund to enable these facilities to be installed in public and private buildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2022 will greatly improve community participation and social inclusion for people with complex care needs.
The key objectives of the Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2022 are to increase the provision of changing places toilets in certain new buildings, and to improve the accessibility and usability of existing building stock by making provision for a changing places toilet, where there is a significant extension or material change of use.
The types of buildings to which the regulations apply are listed in Table 1 of Technical Guidance Document M – Access and Use 2022 (TGD M) and include locations such as shopping centres, museums, galleries, cinemas, hotels, roadside service stations and heritage sites.
The number of new Changing Places Toilets provided in any county will be determined by construction activity commenced in that county and the number of buildings or works that meet the use and size criteria listed in Table 1 of TGD M.
The operative date of the Regulations was 1 January, 2023, however, it should be noted that subject to the transitional periods cited in the Regulation, the Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2022 will apply to buildings or works commenced after the 1st of January 2024.
PART 3 of the Disability Act, 2005, places an obligation on public bodies to make their buildings and services accessible. Section 25 of the Act states that where Part M is amended, public buildings shall be brought into compliance with any amendments not later than ten years after the commencement of that amendment.
For the purposes of giving guidance to public bodies on the matter, the National Disability Authority is developing of a Code of Practice for Accessible Public Buildings under Section 25 of the Disability Act. The National Disability Authority is under the remit of The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth who have overall responsibility for policy relating to disabilities.