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Award Wining Architects based in Monkstown, Co.Dublin and working in all surrounding counties.

Specialising in sensitive contemporary design for domestic extensions, renovations, new-build houses and interior design.  We also design and build custom joinery.

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Filtering by Tag: Building Control

Building a New Dwelling or Extension? Information on Changes to the Certification Process

Paul Mulhern

What are the implications of opting in or out of the Building Control certification process for those building a new house or extension?

The most recent amendment to the Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2015 provides owners of new single dwellings, on a single development unit, and domestic extensions with an alternative process to the Statutory Certification route.  The key difference involves the facility to opt out of the requirement to obtain Statutory Certificates reliant on the services of a registered construction professional. 

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Here's a summary of the recent changes to S.I.9:


S.I.365 of 2015 amending S.I.9 of 2014 came into force on the 1st September 2015.  The principle changes and clarifications are:

People engaged in building a single house or an extension to a house of more than 40 square metres in area may opt out of the full S.I.9 process by submitting a "Declaration of Intention to Opt Out of Statutory Certification".  In those circumstances the following Statutory Documents are no longer required

  • a Preliminary Inspection Plan prepared by the Assigned Certifier
  • a Certificate of Compliance (Design)
  • a Notice of Assignment of Person to Inspect and Certify Works (Assigned Certifier)
  • a Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Assigned Certifier)
  • a Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Builder)
  • a Certificate of Compliance on Completion and accompanying documents.

The 40 square metre issue has been clarified to mean any one extension of 40 square metres (i.e. not cumulative).

Self-builders may act as the 'Builder' under both systems though the reference to competence is still present in the Code of Practice.

Comparison of requirements relating to Statutory Certification of Compliance for Building Control purposes and the Alternative Process for Owners who opt out of Statutory Certification.

Comparison of requirements relating to Statutory Certification of Compliance for Building Control purposes and the Alternative Process for Owners who opt out of Statutory Certification.

 

What hasn't changed?

  • A Commencement Notice still must be submitted to the Local Authority.
  • The Commencement Notice is to be accompanied by Compliance Documentation (plans, calculations, specifications, etc.) and to include (i) general arrangement drawings, (ii) a schedule of compliance documents as currently designed or to be prepared at a later date, (iii) online assessment on the BCMS.
  • Notice of Assignment of Builder.
  • Requirement to design and build in compliance with the Building Regulations.
  •  

Some Additional Thoughts to Consider:

A significant number of 'opt-out' properties will end up being sold at some point and future buyers will not have the level of consumer protection provided by the certification process.  Owners undertaking a project should consider the implications for the sale of their property of not having the construction certified under S.I.9 provisions.
 
Beyond the immediate building costs and costs associated with Certification, the decision to opt out of the statutory certification process may have further consequences down the line in relation to the capacity to insure, mortgage or sell the dwelling concerned.  In the DECLG guide to the Building Control System it says:  “...In addition, when it comes to selling your property, you may have difficulties if you cannot satisfy the purchaser's solicitor that the requirements of the Regulations have been met.”   The Information Note prepared by the Ministers Department also advise that “Homeowners should weigh up carefully the implications of a decision to opt out of the statutory certification process.”   It further advises that “It is worth bearing in mind that reasonable investment in the design, inspection and certification of works will pay dividends in terms of delivering a quality compliant building.” 

Homeowners should be aware of the Sample Preliminary Inspection Plan which is published on the Department’s website that outlines the typical hourly service required from construction professionals. Fees charged by professionals may vary.

Homeowners should appraise themselves of any potential cost or other implications that may arise as a result of choosing to opt out of the statutory certification process. Prior to deciding on whether or not to avail of the opt out option, it is recommended that a homeowner should consult with their solicitor.


Meanwhile, the RIAI (Institute of Architects) has advised member architects as follows:  Members are cautioned against advising Clients to opt out until such time as an alternative is in place. Liability for such advice may arise if conveyance or value related problems surface at a later stage. 

Information Note for Owners of New Dwellings and Extensions Who Opt out of The Statutory Certification Process (PDF)


Learn more about SPACIOUS Architects.  Talk to us about our role in your new dwelling or extension project.

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Hofler Architects,  6A Carrickbrennan Road, Monkstown, Co. Dublin.

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Building regulations for one-off homes and extensions rolled back

Paul Mulhern

Changes to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. 9 of 2014

Hofler Architects - Domestic Extension Work Under Construction.

Hofler Architects - Domestic Extension Work Under Construction.

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government had been undertaking a review of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 9 of 2014), to include an examination of the cost burden involved for one-off houses, including self-build, and extensions to existing dwellings.

The review of the regulations by the Minister was because of what he said were “outlandish charges” being sought for the inspections required under new system.

The review examined the first 12 months of the mandatory certification requirement, and Minister of State for Housing and Planning Paudie Coffey yesterday announced amendments to the regime:

He said the changes “remove the mandatory requirement for statutory certificates of compliance in respect of a new dwelling on a single unit development or a domestic extension”.

Owners including self-builders will in future be given the choice to opt out of statutory certification and are to be allowed instead to “demonstrate by alternative means that they have met their general obligation to build in accordance with the minimum requirements of the building regulations”.

Alternative means may include the opinions of building professionals, such as architects and inspections by local authorities.

To ensure that building standards do not slip, a local authority inspection process is to be introduced. Mr Coffey said the Department of Environment would engage with the local authorities to ensure they develop the inspection capacity “over time”.

Mr Coffey said there would be with definitive targets and timelines to ensure progressive improvement by local authorities in all sectors including inspections of single dwellings, multi-unit residential developments and commercial buildings.

The mandatory requirement for certification will remain in place for all multi-unit developments.

Mr Coffey said he was satisfied the new arrangements would “level the playing field for individuals and families planning to build or extend their own home” and that they would “no longer be held to ransom by excessive quotes for design and completion certificates”.

“Owners who wish to invest in statutory certification may of course continue to do so and I believe many will do so where reasonable and affordable prices can be obtained,” he said.

Contact SPACIOUS Dublin to discuss our arrangements for dealing with the evolving Building Regulations.

Independent News article - New rules will remove requirement for one-off homes to be inspected.

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SPACIOUS Architects - Working throughout Dublin & beyond.   - Our Blog.

Hofler Architects have extensive experience in house extensions, refurbishments, sustainability, conservation of protected structures and  one-off new builds.  We are a highly experienced team of architects based in Monkstown, Co. Dublin. The practice was established in 1992 and offers a full range of architecture services for domestic works, conservation, housing & apartment developments, and many commercial sectors including bars, restaurants, offices, educational and retail.

"This is a great example of a meticulous period restoration - as green as a period house can be" - The Irish Times.

READ OUR LATEST BLOG ARTICLES HERE

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New Building Control Regulations to be loosened - for some.

Paul Mulhern

Our Building Control (Amendment) Regulations were only implemented in 2014. But now it seems that some government ministers want to roll back the standards for some buildings:

Review of Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. 9 of 2014

Mr. Paudie Coffey, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, together with Minister Alan Kelly, T.D., today announced a review of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 9 of 2014), which will include an examination of the cost burden involved for one-off houses, including self-build, and extensions to existing dwellings.

The scope and objectives of the review are as follows:

(a) To review the operation of S.I. No. 9 of 2014 in consultation with industry and local authority stakeholders and members of the public,

(b) To consider in particular the impact of S.I. No. 9 of 2014 on single dwellings and extensions to existing dwellings having regard to specific concerns which have been raised in relation to the cost burden of the regulations and the level of certification required for this sector,

(c) To consider more generally the impact of S.I. No. 9 of 2014 on owners, occupiers and users of buildings have regard to the statutory purposes for which building regulations may be made (i.e. public safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, efficient use of resources and good building practice),

(d) To make recommendations that will strengthen and improve the arrangements in place for the control of building activity in keeping with the principles of good and fair administration,

(e) To report with recommendations to the Minister of State as soon as possible, but in any event no later than 30 June 2015.

Frank McDonald in the Irish Times comments:  "It’s important to remember the stated purpose of the amended building regulations introduced last year was to ensure there would be no repeat of the “widespread failures” during the boom years, for which Priory Hall became the metaphor.  

As the consultation paper notes, “common failures” associated with “stand-alone dwellings” include inadequate provision of drainage and sewage treatment, poor insulation and energy performance and “poor understanding, application of good building practice”. Although the first of these failures was addressed – under duress by the European Court of Justice – by introducing an inspection regime for septic tanks (of which we now have about half-a-million), the reality is very few such inspections are actually carried out".  (Link)

Public Consultation Information

New single dwellings (including self-build) and extensions to existing dwellings (PDF)

An owner’s guide to the Irish Building Control Regulations

Paul Mulhern

This informative guide has been produced by the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland.

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulation 2014 now provide for a much more intensive system of monitoring and control of certain building or works from March 1st 2014. The new legislation requires mandatory design certification, lodgement of plans and particulars, builders supervision and certification, mandatory inspection by an appointed Assigned Certifier with inter-reliance on ancillary certification by key parties involved in the building process. This will affect all buildings and works requiring a Fire Safety Certificate, new dwellings and extensions to dwellings greater than 40 m2. 

The new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations were introduced in order to improve evidence of compliance with building standards in the construction industry. The Building Owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring that buildings and/or works are designed by competent Designers, and are overseen by Assigned Certifiers such as an architect and supervised by competent Builders.

The building owner needs to ensure that they engage the services of a competent architect, a competent Builder and Assigned Certifier.

Summary of Building Owner’s Obligations under The Building Control Amendment Regulations 2014 (Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland - RIAI - Guidance Note)

  1. Appoint, for almost relevant building works starting from March 2014 onward, a Design Certifier and an Assigned Certifier as well as a competent Builder.
  2. Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Design Team to design the new building in accordance the Building Regulations.
  3. Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Builder to construct the new building in accordance the Building Regulations.
  4. Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Assigned Certifier who will prepare an Inspection Plan, inspect and certify, with the Builder, that the new building, when complete, is built in accordance the Building Regulations.

RICS owner’s guide to the Irish Building Control Regulations

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