Disability Act 2005

Access to public buildings.

25.—(1) Subject to subsection (4) and section 29 , a public body shall ensure that its public buildings are, as far as practicable, accessible to persons with disabilities.

(2) (a) The Minister may request the National Disability Authority (“the Authority”) to prepare and submit to him or her a draft code of practice (“a draft code of practice”) relating to the accessibility of public buildings to persons with disabilities for the purpose of giving guidance to public bodies.

(b) In preparing a draft code of practice under paragraph (a), the Authority shall consult such other Ministers of the Government or other persons or bodies as the Authority considers appropriate or as the Minister may direct.

(c) The Minister may approve, refuse to approve or, after consultation with the Authority, amend a draft code of practice.

(d) If the Minister approves or, after the consultation aforesaid, amends a draft code of practice, he or she may by order declare that the draft or, as the case may be, the draft code of practice as amended as aforesaid is an approved code of practice for the purposes of this section (“an approved code of practice”).

(e) The Minister may, after consultation with the Authority, by order revoke or amend an approved code of practice.

(f) A public body shall comply with an approved code of practice to such extent as is practical having regard to its resources and obligations and, in particular, shall do so—

(i) at the time of the construction, material alteration or extension of a public building, or

(ii) if by doing so, access to public buildings would be provided to a greater number of persons with disabilities in a more cost effective manner than would otherwise be the case.

(3) (a) Buildings, which are public buildings on the commencement of this section or which become public buildings after such commencement, shall be brought into compliance with Part M (unless the building is already required to be so compliant) not later than 31 December 2015.

(b) Public buildings shall be brought into compliance with any amendment of Part M made after such commencement not later than 10 years after the commencement of the amendment.

(4) A Minister of the Government may, by order declare that subsection (3) shall not apply to a public building specified in the order and in relation to which functions stand conferred on him or her if he or she is satisfied that—

(a) the building is being used temporarily as a public building and will cease to be used as such after 3 years from the date of the making of the order,

(b) the building will not be used as a public building after 3 years from the date of the making of the order, or

(c) making the building accessible to persons with disabilities would not be justified, on the grounds of cost, having regard to the use to which the building is put.

(5) Before making an order under subsection (4), the Minister of the Government concerned shall consult with such other Ministers of the Government or such other persons as he or she considers appropriate.

(6) In this section—

“Part M” means Part M of the Building Regulations 1997 ( S.I. No. 497 of 1997 ) as amended;

“public building” means a building, or that part of a building, to which members of the public generally have access and which is occupied, managed or controlled by a public body.

(7) This section shall come into operation on 31 December 2005.