Disability Access and the New Building Regulations 2018 (Vic Only).

  • May 14, 2018
  • Paul Mulholland

Under the new Victorian Building Regulations introduced June 2, 2018, Regulation 38 states:

“Building surveyor to document determination of performance solution –

When determining an application for a building permit, the RBS must record in writing how a performance solution has been assessed as meeting the performance requirements of the NCC

The relevant building surveyor must record the following in writing if the relevant building surveyor determines that a performance solution meets a performance requirement of the BCA in relation to proposed building work—

  (a) the performance requirement with which the performance solution complies;

  (b) details of any one or more of the following that the relevant building surveyor uses or relies on in making the determination—

    (i) the assessment method or methods;

    (ii) the details of any expert judgement;

    (iii) the details of any tests or calculations;

    (iv) the details of any standards or other information.

This is also included in Regulation 44 – Documents to be given to Council

(j) a record under regulation 38 of a determination of the relevant building surveyor that a performance solution meets a performance requirement of the BCA;

We recommend Building Surveyors do not rely upon Expert Judgement with regards to Access

New Victorian Building Regulations & Disabled AccessWhen providing this additional documentation and detailing how a performance solution was determined, we recommend Building Surveyors do not rely upon Expert Judgement with regards to Access and instead use the comparable assessment methods are A05(a) and A05(d). This will avoid a breach of the Premises Standards and exposure to a potential claim under the DDA. Please see our ‘Expert Judgement “Expert Judgement in Access could leave you open to a lawsuit” Expert Judgement In Access Could Leave You Open To A Lawsuit

Regulations 233 ‘Alterations to buildings’ and Regulation 234 ‘Alterations affecting exits and paths to exits’ provide discretion to the RBS to allow partial compliance in certain circumstances where the proposed building work is an alteration. An RBS can continue to apply this discretion, but the applicant and RBS will be acting unlawfully under the DDA by approving building work in relation to the new part and the affected part of the building that does not comply fully with the access provisions.

Regulation 236(4) provides exemptions to the new part and affected part requirements. Regulation 233(2) and (3) are subject to regulation 236(4). This means that if compliance in accordance with regulation 234(2) or conformity in accordance with regulation 234(3) is required, the exemptions provided under regulation 236(4) still apply.

Change of use, combining allotments and subdividing existing buildings Regulations 229, 64 & 231 respectively provide discretion to the RBS to allow partial compliance in certain circumstances where there is a change of use, or an existing allotment is combined, or an existing building is subdivided. An RBS can continue to apply this discretion, but the applicant and RBS will be acting unlawfully under the DDA by approving building work that does not comply fully with the access provisions.

Under the new Building Regulations 2018 –  229 Change of use, 231 Subdivision of an Existing Building, 233 Alteration to an Existing Building, 234 Alterations affecting exits and paths to exits, any partial consent must be in the form of Form 18. Municipal Building Surveyors and Private Building Surveyors will need to detail how they have exempted partial compliance, however the applicant and RBS will be acting unlawfully under the DDA by approving building work that does not comply fully with the access provisions.