The Building Commission has issued IB 018/2013 on 4 February 2013, which is relevant to Building Surveyors and the Building Surveying industry in WA.

It drew attention to an error in regulation 31F of the Building Regulations 2012, which related to the applicable building standards for a permanent change of a building’s classification. The Building Commission has corrected this with the Building Amendment Regulations (No. 2) 2013, which came into effect on 22 June 2013.

Under regulation 31G, the applicable building standards for a replacement occupancy permit for permanent change of a building’s classification (under s49(b) Building Act 2011) are those requirements set out in the edition of the Building Code in effect at the time the application for the replacement occupancy permit is made.

Furthermore, regulation 23A of the Building Regulations 2012, which required permit authorities to give the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner each building permit document granted, has been deleted.

Requirements of “affected part” on new building work

Meaning of “affected part”
The “affected part” of a building is defined as being that area between, and including, the principal pedestrian entrance and the new building work.

However, it does not include the area from the entrance to the allotment boundary, car parking spaces, toilet facilities or other rooms adjacent to the pathway between the principal pedestrian entrance and the new building work.

“Affected part” and internal stairways
Under subsection D2.1(5), you must provide a continuous accessible path of travel. This means the path cannot contain any step or stairway. It is not necessary to upgrade any step or stairway adjacent to a continuous accessible path of travel.

Principal pedestrian entrance
The Premises Standards in D3.2(1)(b) requires the construction of new buildings to have an accessway from the main points of a pedestrian entry at the allotment boundary to a building required to be accessible. Under D3.2(2), there is also a requirement to have an accessway through the principal pedestrian entrance.

Where the “affected part” provisions are triggered by new work on an existing building, a continuous accessible path of travel is only required from the principal pedestrian entrance to the area of the new work, but need not extend to the allotment boundary.
Any steps that act as an access barrier located at the threshold of the principal pedestrian entrance would have to be removed, unless unjustifiable hardship would result.

The situation becomes more complex where an access barrier is located away from the actual entrance, such as where steps to a building are located at an allotment boundary, but the building and entrance are set back from the allotment boundary. In this scenario, the certifying authority would have to assess each individual building on a case by case basis.

The important consideration is whether or not the step is part of the building as distinct to part of a pathway from the allotment boundary to the building. Where the access barrier is part of the slab the building sits on, the certifying authority may decide that this constitutes part of the building and this would need to be addressed as part of an “affected part” upgrade.

Please note that provisions in the Premises Standards relating to “affected part” could be subject to further consideration at the first review of the Premises Standards. Furthermore, a building owner and/or operator can still remain exposed to complaints under the Disability Discrimination Act for existing barriers not captured by the “affected part” requirements.

Green Start Consulting Building Surveyors are accredited disabled access consultants and must remain up-to-date with the Building Commission’s industry bulletins relating to Building Surveying in WA and any amendments to the Building Regulations.

As always, the Building Surveying team at Green Start Consulting are happy to assist with any queries you may have in relation to these Building Regulation Amendments, or Building Surveying in Perth generally.

Feel free to give us a call on (08) 6114 9356 for more information.

Due to constantly evolving legislation the information provided within this blog may no longer be valid. The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific circumstances. Please email one of our building surveyors to check what is right for you

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