New regulations pave way for ‘changing places toilets’ in certain buildings in Tipperary

  • Changing places toilets enable people with complex care needs in Tipperary to take part in everyday activities
  • Up to 80 extra changing places toilets could be provided nationwide each year in buildings such as schools, healthcare facilities, shopping centres and hotels

 

On the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022, the Minister of State for Local Government and Planning at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Peter Burke, TD, has signed new regulations that will require a changing places toilet to be included in certain buildings in Tipperary. 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.

 

It’s estimated that there are currently only 19 changing places toilets in Ireland.  The revised Part M Building Regulation will greatly improve community participation and social inclusion for people with complex care needs in Tipperary. As many as 80 changing places toilets could be provided nationwide each year in buildings or locations such as shopping centres, museums, galleries, cinemas, hotels, roadside service stations and heritage sites.

 

Speaking on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022, after signing the new regulations, Minister Burke said:

 

“These revised regulations will greatly enhance the lives of many people with a disability in Tipperary. Changing places toilets 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 am delighted to be signing these regulation, making this requirement a reality, and supporting the Government’s commitment on advancing the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.

 

“Meaningful engagement with people with lived experience of disability has been central to our approach. Much consideration went into the membership of the working group to ensure that the right people were around the table. The group included those with the correct design proficiency as well as end-users and their carers. We received approximately 650 submissions in response to our public consultation, of which almost 95% originated from individuals on behalf of themselves as service users, their families, carers and friends.”

 

In response to the introduction of the new regulations Changing Places Ireland said:

 

“Changing Places Ireland (CPI) has been campaigning for some time to have the Building Regulations changed and today is an historic one as we finally see momentous legislation being passed. CPI representatives, Karen Smith, Aaron Daly and Rhona Dempsey were delighted to be part of the Working Group hosted by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in developing the technical requirements.”

 

CPI’s Aaron Daly, father of Sophia, aged 16, a wheelchair user and one of many who require the additional features which Changing Places facilities provide said:

 

“On behalf of Changing Places Ireland we commend the Department officials for their Trojan work in coordinating and getting this progressive legislation so promptly over the line.

 

He added: “These changes will have a huge impact on disabled people and their families and we look forward to Ireland becoming a lot more accessible and inclusive for everyone.”

 

Welcoming the new regulation Minister of State with responsibility for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte TD, said:

 

“Research by the National Disability Authority indicates that between 17,100 to 37,700 people including their assistants, will benefit from the provision of a changing places toilet.

 

“I very much welcome these new regulations, which will enable people with complex care needs to take part in everyday activities such as travel, shopping, family days out or attending a sporting event. People will be able to plan activities with confidence around where such facilities are located and when they are open. Ultimately, it’s another step towards a more open, inclusive society and one which we see more basic barriers broken down.

 

“The National Disability Authority are due to commence work on the development of Universal Design Guidelines for Changing Places Toilets. These guidelines will support the provisions of the Building Regulations and will provide additional guidance on good practice, management and maintenance issues which are outside the scope of the building regulations.”

 

Based on analysis of Building Commencement Notices, it is it is estimated that over the next three-year period, this new Regulation will provide at least one changing places toilet in most local authority areas. Additionally, it is believed that placing the provision of such facilities on a statutory basis will encourage other developments to provide a changing places toilet on a voluntary basis.

 

The new regulations are entitled Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2022 (S.I. No. 608 of 2022) and can be viewed here.

 

 

  • The operative date of the Regulations is 1 January 2023, subject to the transitional periods cited.
  • The Technical Guidance Document M – Access and Use 2022 can be found here.
  • The final Regulatory Impact Analysis can be found here.

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