Author Topic: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations  (Read 3449 times)

SashaQ

  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 742
Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« on: February 03, 2012, 06:53:25 PM »
http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/brconsultationsection1

The proposal seems to be to remove the duty on builders to write an Access Statement indicating how they plan to meet Part M, and instead allow other methods of demonstrating compliance with Part M (such as considering design specifications directly).

Quote
142. Groups representing disabled people found that Access Statements helped them to
understand and comment on proposals prior to implementation, and believed they
should be more widely used in particular to address common errors in provision. They
also expressed concern as to the level of priority given to access issues by building
control bodies and designers and suggested that inclusive design training needed to
be improved.

picnic

  • Gold Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 08:59:45 PM »
Too spoonless to deal with this,, but thanks for posting.   
   
At first bewildered sighting, it appears
 "Crips are annoyed with lack of access/enforcement/obligation for builders and designers.   ...... , so, ............ let's take away what little they have"

RoseRodent

  • Charter Member
  • Diamond member
  • ****
  • Posts: 377
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2012, 09:50:32 AM »
Oooh, I found it! You download the Word document labelled "Section one - Annex J response form" and fill in primarily Part 6 but also probably part 8.

 I'm not sure I'm allowed an opinion anyway, not living in the affected are of England and Wales, which is poo because Scotland generally incorporates such legislation lock stock and barrel.

OK, let me summarise some points from having read the documents: (sorry, this still ended up long, though mostly to do with extra line spaces for readability, and hopefully it brings it all together so it's not as confusing) - while it's about specific questions, it's a pretty ground-up re-write of Part M and several other parts, so I think it's pertinent to drop in anything you feel you want to add before it becomes enshrined in the new 2013 guidelines.

We are looking mostly at question 6.1 "Do you agree that the proposed alternative approaches to written Access Statements
can be effective in helping to communicate compliance?"

They want to replace the current words requiring an access statements with
"In smaller or simpler works this could be achieved by having a conversation to
review the proposals and recording the outcome of discussions by correspondence."

However there is nothing stating who they have to have these conversations WITH. I'd be happy to accept the ammendment if there was a statutory requirement to choose appropriate people to consult with. Sadly it appears that consultation is to be between the builders and the local building control people and never to include a disabled person within sniffing distance. They refer frequently to "Likely end users" which is a difficult one because we always get that "We don't need a ramp because no disabled people ever come in here" thing. Strangely, they don't come in because they can't get in, so they assume the wrong group of likely users then exclude them and become right about the likely users!

They feel that access statements add little to small projects because very little is being done, it affects very few people and the architectural teams generally don't have the expertise to make a very good job of them, so it is more cost effective to do without them. You may feel it is a good thing to save money or whether they should get more competent architects or whether all of them should have better access training!! This is the summary of what they want to do:

"To simplify guidance on communicating compliance, making clear that Access
Statements are not a requirement of building control applications and placing the onus on
applicants and building control bodies to decide on the most efficient and suitable way of
establishing a joint view of reasonable provision"

So it's about removing the specific document but replacing it with something that could be good (actual thinking from thinking people rather than paper compliance) or could be terrible (people without a lot of knowledge deciding that it looks fine to them).

That they feel they should remove the statutory guidance from part M. This guidance lays out some possible solutions, but tend to be considered as legal requirements that are perfect and should be copied, hence everyone with little experience goes looking for the "perfect" disabled toilet on the Part M guidance and builds it because they can breathe a sigh of relief that the toilet they build will be compliant... whether or not accessible! It is widely misunderstood that these are requirements, a quick web search will reveal people directing others to those "requirements".

"Building Control Bodies to focus resources on key compliance issues
on a case by case basis. Enabling this shift in behaviour will be difficult if existing guidance is
retained, as Building Control Bodies and applicants are likely to be deterred at least in part by
the risk of adopting approaches outside those that remain within statutory guidance.
Because the guidance in Approved Document M (Access to and use of buildings) is considered
statutory guidance, revisions to promote more efficient and effective behaviour necessitates
amendments"

This part was interesting:
"Part M of the Building Regulations is intended to ensure baseline standards to enable a broad
range of people to access and use buildings and their facilities. The guidance sets out what are
considered to be proportionate provisions in the most common of circumstances"

I would like to know what they think of as proportionate and how that compares to the most recent disability stats, given the fact that we crips are, according to the government and assorted journalistic cronies, multiplying. And whether this is a national stat: clearly there will be more call for disabled facilities in a flat seaside retirement town than in a mountainous area of the Highlands and Islands, thus a national statement saying that for every 7 of this you have you must have 1 disabled version is just nonsense.

Given that:
"we have explored the possibility of removing
recommendations and guidance on demonstrating compliance from AD M completely. However,
extensive engagement with external partners (detailed further in the ‘Rationale and IA Analysis’
section), suggests that Industry as a whole does not favour this approach, noting that there are
still significant gaps in skills and awareness where guidance on demonstrating compliance is of
benefit."

I would respond that filling the knowledge vacuum with Continual Professional Development for architects - making them a valued commodity once trained, therefore increasing take-up of available training - is preferable to drawing a list of proposed tick-box solutions. How much better to encourage a consultation process where people engage with potential end users to as what are the problems and what are the best solutions and then an architect submits a plan based on that information to solve a given problem, rather than opening a Part M book and going "That's a disabled toilet there, look"

Looks like they want to keep the process for very large projects, but it would be optional

"Available evidence indicates that in larger scale construction projects, developers, designers
and Building Control Bodies value and make extensive use of Access Statements to mange
communication of compliance. It is therefore anticipated that, even if guidance were to be
removed, in both residential and commercial development, schemes above £10m in value
would be likely to continue to adopt this approach where it delivers value."

Two minds about this bit:
"Revised guidance will promote efficiencies in two ways.
Firstly by removing reference to prescribed content and structure of third party guidance which
sets out a prescriptive list of information that should be required as part of an Access Statement
enabling applicants and building control bodies to focus on key risks proportionate to the scale
and nature of the building work; and secondly by encouraging a wider range of ways to
communicate compliance which may be better suited to the skills and resources available to
applicants."

I'm usually happy to remove unneccessary red tape and reams of paper to free people up to do actual work, so that a small village church which wants to move the front door of the church hall is not embedded in a bureaucratic nightmare, but on the other hand if information could take a variety of forms then interested groups who want to read the information may find it hard to see what is being proposed if there is no single format they can become experts on. It may also lead to people overlooking certain aspects as they work so hard to put in a ramp they forget that the top of the ramp is an extreme hazard to VI users.

This whole thing raises the question that if these statements are currently compulsory, how come nobody can ever produce one? I have written to many people engaged in refurbishment projects asking to see access information on the proposed outcome and not once have they been able to produce anything, except perhaps to reassure me it's going to be "DDA compliant" each time. Clearly this process as it stands is not working as disbaled people are not able to see or comment on these documents. Hyperspace bypass planning documents spring to mind.

"10 Workshops were held involving over
100 access consultants, building control surveyors, designers and disabled people to seek their
views."

Love to know how many of the 100 were disabled people and what range of impairments they represented. Hmmmmm

This was interesting:
"Access consultants are unlikely to
lose work as they are typically employed for larger scale projects where Access Statements are
valued and utilised to good effect. Access Statements for smaller scale works are typically
written by none specialists"

So they were made to carry out an assessment but it was perfectly OK for that to be performed by someone who didn't have a clue what they were doing? Cool.

Re question 6.2 about changes to "Approved Document M" they want to know if this is clear:
"Although the guidance in this Approved Document (AD M), if followed, tends to
demonstrate compliance with Part M of the Building Regulations, this does not
necessarily equate to compliance with the obligations and duties set out in the
Equality Act 2010. This is because service providers and employers are required by
the Equality Act to consider any feature which might put a person belonging to the
identified equality groups at a substantial disadvantage. In some instances this will
include designing features or making adjustments to features which are outside the
scope of AD M. It remains for the persons undertaking building work to consider if
further provision, beyond that described in AD M, is advisable."

I'm gutted that there still seems to be no joined up thinking, we cannot complain to the building control people that something will not meet the Equalities Act provisions if it meets Part M, so it will still get building consent, be built then be up to us to fight the corner with the toothless and costly EA process once the thing has been built. Once something has been newly built it quickly becomes "not reasonable" to make what would otherwise have been a Reasonable Adjustment as the cost has shot up.

Other questions need not concern us really as they ask if we have alternative evidence to demonstrate that their estimates for statistics are incorrect, and I'm not about to submit anything on whether I think the cost to architects and planners has been under- or over-estimated!

Question 6.8, however, is a blanket invitation to go wild!
"Are you able to provide information to inform further consideration of any of the topics
raised in or related to this consultation chapter?"

Chapter 8 of this document is focused on Changing Places toilet facilities. It basically pre-concludes before the consultation takes place (something I will complain about!) that they will not do anything and will not regulate but will hold open the idea of coming back to regulate, but there are at least some free text comment boxes, and an option to say yes or no that you think a description of a Changing Places facility should be included in Approved Document M (the drawings of possible facilities which would comply with Part M). You can comment on other factors, e.g. I will comment that I think it should be mentioned first  and as the gold standard, with all other facilities being non-preferred alternatives, not "These are acceptable disabled toilets but if you want to be really spectacular you can build one of these"
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 10:11:51 AM by RoseRodent »

hossylass

  • Guest
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 12:38:55 PM »
Right, my miniscule brain has melted.

Can anyone tell me which question to answer, and an idea to the answer?

SashaQ

  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 742
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2012, 12:41:54 PM »
Many thanks for the summary Rose  >thumbsup< (I had a rummage for more details yesterday, but ended up going round in a circle, so had to give up...)

Quote
This whole thing raises the question that if these statements are currently compulsory, how come nobody can ever produce one? I have written to many people engaged in refurbishment projects asking to see access information on the proposed outcome and not once have they been able to produce anything, except perhaps to reassure me it's going to be "DDA compliant" each time. Clearly this process as it stands is not working as disbaled people are not able to see or comment on these documents.

How true - I complained about a toilet with a wheelchair symbol on the door being completely inaccessible for me, but was assured it had been designed according to the regulations.  Somehow I doubt that Part M allows the hand rails to be put on the wall furthest away from the toilet...!

SashaQ

  • Charter Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 742
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2012, 12:52:40 PM »
Quote
I will comment that I think it should be mentioned first  and as the gold standard, with all other facilities being non-preferred alternatives, not "These are acceptable disabled toilets but if you want to be really spectacular you can build one of these"

Difficult with Changing Places toilets - I find them less accessible than Part M accessible toilets myself, as I use the vertical handrail on the wall to transfer, but they have space on both sides of the toilet for PAs so you can't reach the vertical handrail.  I have seen a Changing Places toilet, which was great, but the best thing was that there was a standard accessible toilet as well (not Part M, so it wasn't the easiest to use, but at least it had the handrails by the loo...).

RoseRodent

  • Charter Member
  • Diamond member
  • ****
  • Posts: 377
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2012, 01:03:58 PM »
Right, my miniscule brain has melted.

Can anyone tell me which question to answer, and an idea to the answer?

Shorter short version, click Section one - Annex J response form and (after filling out your personal details) answer questions
  • 6.1 letting them know if you think that alternatives (poorly outlined but in general looking like it will be a discussion between builders and building regulators which takes no known structure) are better than having a formal access statement. Discussion could lead to more imaginitive conclusions but could also lead to the process being poorly conducted, if at all.
  • Question 6.2 tell them if you think it's clear enough that compliance with Part M doesn't mean you have met the terms of the Equalities Act. Given the responses I always get it's obviously not clear, since you ask about access and get told it's "DDA compliant" - they don't know my access needs, how could they know if they are complying with them??!
  • Jump to question 8.1 Tell them if you think they should include a Changing Places toilet in the list of sample facilties which would be Part M compliant and any special text you'd like to appear alongside that.
  • Question 8.2 is clear as mud. I could be asking "Do you think that having examples of compliant facilities has any adverse effect" e.g. that everyone will build that exact facility as drawn in the guidelines, no matter how appropriate or inappropriate to the building in question. Or it could mean "Do you think that adding a Changing Places toilet layout to these diagrams of potential solutions could have any adverse effects" - like what? People feeling they should strive to build this gold standard facility? I don't see that as an adverse effect!!! But you can bet some planners and builders will as they will fear building control people will then make them build it. Oh the humanity.

RoseRodent

  • Charter Member
  • Diamond member
  • ****
  • Posts: 377
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2012, 01:11:57 PM »

How true - I complained about a toilet with a wheelchair symbol on the door being completely inaccessible for me, but was assured it had been designed according to the regulations.  Somehow I doubt that Part M allows the hand rails to be put on the wall furthest away from the toilet...!

Now this is an interesting exemption to the regulations that is worth knowing about, and attempting to change I think! Any facility which has been built specifically for the purposes of complying with Part M is protected from review under Part M for 10 years from its construction. This is so you don't build a toilet in 2012 and then 2013 amendments to Part M require a higher toilet or a long rail and you have to build it again. So a 2002 built disabled toilet need only comply with the Part M regulations as they were in 2002, making a lot of postage-stamp sized toilets perfectly compliant. In 2013, however, this protection will fall off those facilities and they must become 2013 compliant...  if only someone can force the right people to make them do it. This only applies to rebuilds and renovations, so if they don't refit the toilets then they can stay rubbish after 2013 unless someone wins a case under the Equalities Act, and who is going to win a case against a disabled facility which exists, even if it's utter rubbish. If the toilet was built in 1995 and met the requirements of all laws and requirements as they were in 1995, and the facility has not be substantially altered in any way since that date, then they are - sadly - perfectly legal unless someone takes an EA case against them and wins.

hossylass

  • Guest
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2012, 01:32:35 PM »
Promoting Rose to at least Seargent Major (intelligence Corps) in the spoon army.

I take it you have some considerable previous experience in this Rose? >lol<

One thing that came out of yesterdays benefit camp was a suggestion that people advertised their skills, so others could utilise them. Wondering if that would work here - I can expand this.
Pretty much reeling at Rose's expertise!

picnic

  • Gold Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2012, 08:35:24 PM »
Thanks Rose.  What you said must be writ large, not excluded by your current address being 'wrong'

The beauty of DDA was it said the test is one of effect.   Effect.    Not of compliance-box-ticking.   

Wide efforts must of course be made to check with multiple real potential end users.    A paid for set of ticked boxes from chaps putting themselves up as access consultants is  still merely ticked boxes.       Five different wheelchair users will have five different limits on which rooms they can access,  so checking the measurements set out in a document means absolutely nothing.      There is only one way to set about access questions, and that is to research with the help of real people for the individual situation.         


It is instructive that fully wheelchair accessible housing had a Habinteg standard as a starting point, then this was tweaked to London standards, then raised again to Greenwich standards, which are not and never can be the final word  (e.g. it is silent on the additional circuits and absence of ceiling lights, which are an important provision for people with potentially a vast number of electrical appliances particularly in a bedroom)  .     

The Greenwich standards made such simple improvements as merely adding a few centimetres to the desired door width, because real people had informed them that supposedly tick box compliant doorways were difficult or impossible especially for the larger modern electric wheelchairs and for bariatric sizes.

As to the suggestion that the local council chap should get together with the monied chaps and agree there is no real need to bother with provision for crips to use the building.........It happens.   It should be stopped, not sanctioned.


Then there is the notion that there is no need to care about access if it is just an extension or a small build.    Wrong.   Bad thinking.     The entire country has such an absence of accessible buildings that every opportunity is one to grab.   Mrs Smith's new porch or her side extension or her new back door are all chances to make her home accessible, even in part.   

When she has a visitor who cannot raise his legs to climb steps or clamber over her existing raised threshold, or when she has had a fall and cannot get in or out of her home for a month, she will be glad she has at least the one door with level access.       When she wants to sell the house, she will be glad she took  onthe trivial extra cost and  put in a wide  opening door so her house had a selling point advantage to the growing potential market of purchasers with access needs.       

good girl

  • Gold Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 67
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2012, 12:53:04 PM »
`Although I agree with everything on this thread, it is what the D.D.A. would call "unreasonably difficult or impossible" to take part in ostensible consultations.           

Understandably. the people carrying out these exercises want to have a simplified set of questions.   They know the decision always comes first and the consultation last, and  as Spartacus reveals,  the responses might just as we be thrown straight into the waste bin.

It is supposed to be a breach of Statutory Duty to fail to have consultations, or to have tokenistic consultations, or to fail to involve potentially excluded users of public service in a meaningful way at the outset of policy and plans

Post Spartacus, post united but futile effort of charities and Lords, does anyone feel defeated before they even start?

RoseRodent

  • Charter Member
  • Diamond member
  • ****
  • Posts: 377
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2012, 01:22:49 PM »

I take it you have some considerable previous experience in this Rose? >lol<


As it happens, most of this was at having the spoons, the perseverence and the sheer bloody-mindedness to get through all of the documentation on the consultation, and the subsets of documentation referred to in each piece of documentation, and the additional guidance in paragraph 3a(ii) of Appendix H of Document K that goes with it. I don't recommend the process, tis to teeter on the edge of insanity even for those of us not already riding the crazy bus.

hossylass

  • Guest
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2012, 04:33:52 PM »
I admire your tenacity Rose, I am knackered just looking at it...

rajani

  • Guest
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2014, 10:56:48 PM »
Oooh, I found it! You download the Word document labelled "Section one - Annex J response form" and fill in primarily Part 6 but also probably part 8.

 I'm not sure I'm allowed an opinion anyway, not living in the affected are of England and Wales, which is poo because Scotland generally incorporates such legislation lock stock and barrel.

OK, let me summarise some points from having read the documents: (sorry, this still ended up long, though mostly to do with extra line spaces for readability, and hopefully it brings it all together so it's not as confusing) - while it's about specific questions, it's a pretty ground-up re-write of Part M and several other parts, so I think it's pertinent to drop in anything you feel you want to add before it becomes enshrined in the new 2013 guidelines.

We are looking mostly at question 6.1 "Do you agree that the proposed alternative approaches to written Access Statements
can be effective in helping to communicate compliance?"

Hi RoseRodent I am doing a research on Part M for my MSc Dissertation.. Not sure if u can help? Can I send you a PM ? Thx

>As requested by another member, edit to remove unnecessary re-quoting of the entire reply 2<
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 07:22:11 AM by KizzyKazaer »

KizzyKazaer

  • Global Moderator and Welfare Rights
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7825
Re: Consultation about Part M Building Regulations
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2014, 07:32:39 AM »
Hi Rajani, and welcome to OuchToo - please note that this thread is over 2 years old.

Also, the private messaging system is not available to members who have made less than 50 posts - please see our House Rules thread, which also refers to students/researchers:

http://ouchtoo.org/index.php?topic=7608.0