The new accessibility rules take effect on the 15th of November
Ordinance No. 301/2019 was published last September the 12th, which defines the project method for improving the accessibility of people with disabilities in existing residential buildings, and which specifies the legislation produced in DL 95/2019.
The works will be classified according to the level of intervention in simple (N1), medium (N2) and deep (N3) according to the criteria defined in the referred decree. For each level of intervention, requirements are defined, as well as the approach to be taken.
The accessibility plan shall contain the measures taken and shall be accompanied by written and designed parts necessary for the identification of accessible routes and areas of residence of the dwelling or building. It should also contemplate the remaining accessibility solutions provided for in the project, stating and characterizing the different compensation or mitigation measures adopted.
In simple interventions (N1) the measures apply only to the spaces, installations and building elements that are the object of intervention, in medium interventions (N2) they apply throughout the house and finally in deep interventions (N3) the measures are applied to building and public places.
In the case of medium (N2) and deep (N3) interventions, only an accessible plot is allowed - part of the building or dwelling consisting of access routes and compartments essential for accessibility - to disabled people, by housing, with access path coincident with other users, with the exceptions provided for in Decree-Law No. 95/2019, of 18 July.
This Ordinance defines the essential accessibility compartments for medium interventions - "a kitchen, a sanitary installation and, if the housing typology is equal to or greater than 3 bedrooms, a bedroom and a living room" and for deep interventions - "a kitchen, a toilet, a living room and, if the housing typology is equal to or greater than 3 bedrooms, a bedroom".
In the case of deep interventions (N3) in particular, the "Technical Standards for Improving Accessibility of Disabled Persons" as set out in the Annex of Decree-Law No. 163/2006 should be fully complied with.
For medium (N2) and deep (N3) interventions, compensation measures may, exceptionally and when absolutely necessary, be replaced by mitigation measures, provided that the accessible path widths are not less than 0,80m and the diameter of the maneuvering zones not less than 1.20m.
This new Accessibility Ordinance allows the maintenance of the dimensions and characteristics of the remaining existing spaces, installations and building elements, provided that an accessible parcel is guaranteed according to the requirements set out in paragraph 1 of that Ordinance.
Finally, an alternative procedure for simple interventions (N1) is presented in the decree as an alternative to that described in paragraph 6, "provided that it is evident that whenever the actions provided for in column A are verified, the corresponding compensatory measures identified are complied with column B and their exclusion reasons are not given in column C ".
In short, the accessibility project which until now was mostly waived in rehabilitation works in accordance with DL 163/2006, starting next 15th November, will have to be developed in rehabilitation works according to DL 95/2019, in a balanced way between what would be ideal and what is reasonable.
Be sure to consult the new ordinance, that will take effect on the 15th of November.