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  • Public consultation on the provision of changing areas with toilets in certain large publicly accessible buildings such as hospitals, schools, shopping centres and hotels
  • As many as 80 extra changing areas and places with toilets could be provided nationwide each year if regulations are changed

 

The Minister of State for Local Government and Planning at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Peter Burke, TD, has today launched a public consultation on a proposed amendment to the Building Regulations to make 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.

This public consultation is the culmination of the work of a Working Group established by the Department in December 2020 to examine the provision of a changing areas or a changing places toilet in certain buildings.  This working group has recommended that changing places toilets be provided in certain circumstances in buildings such as hospitals, places of assembly, sports stadiums, roadside service facilities, schools and colleges, shopping centres and hotels. It has also recommended the technical requirements of a changing places toilet including the room size, layout and equipment to be included.

The Department would like to hear the views of all members of the public and from all construction and business sectors, and in particular:

·       People with disabilities who use changing places toilets

·       People who support others to use changing places toilets

·       Builders

·       Building designers

·       Building owners

Urging people to submit their views, Minister Burke said:

The implementation of these proposals has the potential to greatly enhance the lives of many people with a disability and could provide as many as 80 changing places toilets per annum where they currently do not exist. Facilities such as these are needed to allow equal access to social activity and trips away from home for all citizens, and allow people with disabilities enjoy life in ways that I know many of us take for granted. I strongly encourage all those who may be impacted by the proposals to make their views known to the Department.”

The launch of the public consultation demonstrates this Government’s commitment to advancing the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.  Last month, we launched the new National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022-2027 and I look forward to building on this work and receiving the views of as many people as possible on this important issue.”

Commenting on the consultation, Minister of State at the Department if Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Anne Rabbitte said:

I welcome the launch of this public consultation on changing places and encourage those who use these types of facilities to get involved.  The principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) include greater participation in everyday community life and that requires accessible public spaces.  Greater access to facilities like changing places allows people with disabilities to access public places such as hospitals, colleges etc but also to access recreational facilities, which are as vitally important.

I’m glad to see that consultation with people with disabilities has been factored into the development of the building regulations and technical guidance document.  Consultation is key element of the UNCRPD and I know that Minister Burke and his officials will obtain great insights from doing so.”

Submissions should be emailed to buildingstandards@housing.gov.ie by 5pm on Thursday, May 12th, 2022.  To assist in this process, the following documents are available here.

•            Draft Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2022

•            Draft Technical Guidance Document M – Access and Use 2022

•            A Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis and

•            An easy read consultation document

•            Template for submissions – Part M

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