Sweeney Architects

Rules and Regulations

We are going to cover some of the legal and safety issues that need to be addressed when thinking about building or extending your house or building.

The 1991 Regulations first came into force on 1 June, 1992 and were superseded by the 1997 Regulations on 1 July 1998. They apply to new buildings, extensions, material alterations and changes of use of buildings. Their purpose is to promote observance of the Regulations by supplementing the basic powers of inspection and enforcement given to the Building Control Authorities by different sections of the Building Control Act, 1990 and they do so in two ways;

By requiring commencement notice of works (change of use) to be lodged with a fee, and,

By requiring a Fire Safety Certificate for most buildings, with the exception of houses and individual apartments. The construction of an apartment block is subject to the requirement- to ensure safety of persons in the building.

The Building Control Act 2007 was passed by both Houses of the Oireachteas and signed by the President on 21 April 2007 and is centred on the parent act, the Building Control Act, 1990. This covers three principal categories as follows:

Provides for making Building Regulations- deals with issues such as building standards, workmanship, conservation of fuel and energy and access for people with disabilities.

Provides for making of Building Control Regulations- commencement Notices, Fire Safety Certificates and Fees- Administration by Building Control Authorities.

Gives powers of enforcement and inspection.

In summary, the Act provides for the following;

Strengthening of Enforcement Powers of Local Building Control Authorities by introducing revised procedures for issues of Fire Safety Certificate by local Building Control Authority.

It also introduces a Disability Access Certificate (DAC) to be issued by local Building Control Authorities for new Non Domestic Buildings and Apartments. It also widens the right of building control authorities to seek an Order from the High Court or the Circuit Court to stop work on certain buildings. It introduces the option for authorities to bring summary prosecutions for all building code offences in the District Court and it also increases the maximum penalties for breaches of the National Building Regulations.
The Act provides for registration of titles of “Architect”, “Quantity Surveyor” and “Building Surveyor”. The registration scheme is registered by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland and the Society of Chartered Surveyors.
Legal Transposition of relevant parts of EU Mutual Recognition of professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC of September 2005

The technical details of the regulations and on how to comply with them are available on www.environ.ie/EN/TGD.

It is important to note that the responsibility of compliance with Building Regulations rests with the designers, contractors and home owners and the Building Control Authority have the power to check and inspect any building and its documentation and if not in order they have the power to prosecute with a possibility of penalties including fines and imprisonment.

Another important point is that if building regulations are not adhered to and you can come to sell your house you will have difficulty selling.