Written answers

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Disability Services

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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767. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his views on providing fully accessible changing places toilet facility open to the public in all buildings owned by the State in which his Department and public bodies and agencies operate to offer persons with disabilities and carers a network of equipped spaces to take care of personal hygiene, in safety and comfort. [41076/21]

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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The Building Regulations 1997-2019 set out minimum standards for the design and construction of buildings and works to ensure the health and safety of people in and around such buildings. They are subject to ongoing review in the interests of safety and the well-being of persons in the built environment and to ensure that due regard is taken of changes in construction techniques, technological progress and innovation. Part M of the Building Regulations deals with Access and Use. The associated Technical Guidance Document M provides guidance indicating how the requirements of Part M can be achieved in practice. Where works are carried out in accordance with TGD M, this will, prima facie, indicate compliance with Part M of the Second Schedule of the Building Regulations.

Part M of the Building Regulations aims to foster an inclusive approach to the design and construction of the built environment. While the Part M requirements may be regarded as a statutory minimum level of provision, the accompanying technical guidance encourages building owners and designers to have regard to the design philosophy of universal design and to consider making additional provisions where practicable and appropriate.

In December 2020, my Department established a Working Group to examine the provision for a changing places toilet in certain buildings. A changing places toilet offers larger supported facilities that address the needs of people for whom current accessible sanitary accommodation is inadequate. These facilities enable people with complex care needs to take part in everyday activities such as travel, shopping, family days out or attending a sporting event.

The plenary Working Group has met six times to date, in addition to a number of sub-group meetings. Draft documentation, which includes Draft Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2021, Draft Technical Guidance Document M – Access and Use 2021 and a Regulatory Impact Analysis, is currently being prepared to support a public consultation in the matter later this year.


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