All new building works, future building applications and any modifications that require building or planning approval will have to be fully assessable, as Document R of the Building Rules came into effect yesterday.
Document R addresses all aspects of building and is aimed at improving accessibility to buildings and structures. It has been adhered to in practice over the past five years, but it was not a legal requirement.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento and the Minister for Infrastructure and planning, Paul Balban, at a press conference.
“These regulations will make an impact on future designs and in the process make Gibraltar more accessible,” said Ms Sacramento.
“This is the culmination of the training on making premises accessible during the past few years to Government technical grades and heads of department and has allowed everyone con concerned to be ready for the implementation of the Approved Document R Regulation,” she added.
Mr Balban said, “In modernising the Building Rules in Gibraltar by the introduction of the Approved Document R, we are setting a new standard of what is expected in new buildings and is a further important step in achieving a more inclusive Gibraltar improving the environment for people with disabilities.”
The Department of Town Planning and Building Control and the Department of Equality has worked in conjunction with the Gibraltar Law Offices on the document.
Most building works in Gibraltar require Building Rules approval and Building Regulations are separated into different categories addressing all aspects of a building.
“These new Rules will apply to all new building works, future building applications and any modifications that require building or planning approval. The implementation of these requirements will benefit society as a whole,” said a Government representative.
“By following the guidance on this Approved Document, architects and design professionals will be assisted in achieving compliance and greater inclusion and accessibility in their designs,” the representative added.
The Gibraltar Government has been subjecting all Government projects and refurbishments to the regulations’ principals during the past couple of years.
Since 2015 the Department of Equality has organised for specific training on accessibility to buildings for both the public and private sectors with over 200 individuals taking part.
In addition, all key Government professionals and technical staff have undergone training to ensure that they are conversant with the new rules to implement them and enforce them, as they do existing regulations and rules.
The Ministry for Equality and Building Control section of the Department of Town Planning and Building Control have prepared a booklet to provide information on the Regulations. Both a printed or electronic version are available from either department.
Ms Sacramento also noted, “This has also been an example of this Government’s multi-departmental approach in delivering regulations that are needed in Gibraltar for the promotion of accessibility as various departments have had to work together to achieve this. I am particularly grateful to present and past members of the Department of Town Planning and Building Control who have shown a very modern and positive approach since the beginning and have worked closely with my Ministry.”
Pic by Johnny Bugeja