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54 George's Street Lower
Dublin, County Dublin,
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01 5585205

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.

RIAI registered architects, project managers & interior designers

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Filtering by Tag: Dwelling

New One Off House Design - Rural Co. Wicklow

Paul Mulhern

We have recently completed designs for a new one-off rural family dwelling to be sited in a designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" in Co. Wicklow.  The client's have established local needs as they run a business in the immediate area.  The designs have been prepared to be highly site and context specific, to take full account of the stringent planning requirements for such an area and to respond fully to the local authority's rural design guidance for planning applications.

 

House design

The high quality design of the proposed house has been developed with detailed consideration of the site, its rural context, the adjoining houses and minimizing its impact on the environment (visual and sustainable).

The linear form of the single storey house is broken and stepped slightly approximately one third along its length.  This step in the elevation and roof differentiates between the living and sleeping areas of the house.  It allows for the simple modeling of the form to produce two different roof planes and a differing plane in the front elevation, thereby reducing scale.

The single-room depth of the main part of the house has been incorporated to ensure that the roof mass and ridge heights have been minimized.  This form also results in carefully proportioned gables to both ends that are in keeping with traditional rural vernacular buildings.  This language is combined and balanced with highly considered and subtle contemporary detailing.

The narrow plan depth allows maximum sun, daylight and natural ventilation penetration.  Bedrooms are positioned where they will receive sunlight in the morning and living spaces are arranged to receive light throughout the day and evening and benefit from views.

The main entry to the house is located between the front linear volume and the rear volume of the family lounge.  This positioning responds to the existing entry driveway and allows the avoidance of a suburban form of dwelling - where entry and parking are usually located to the front.  The front of this house will be characterized by natural landscaping consisting of meadow grasses, wild flowers, native trees and hedgerow, and the existing stone/earth berm to the boundary.

The family lounge room takes on a more contemporary form with its zinc roof sloping up towards the west.  It is entirely screened to the rear of the more traditional main volume.  It is also set back from the gable end of the Living/Dining/Kitchen room and leads out to a sheltered and semi-enclosed outdoor space.

The main roof areas of the house (including the rear return) are to be double-pitched with high quality natural slate (blue/black) at 35 degrees.  The lounge room roof is to be monopitch with natural standing seam zinc at a slope of 15 degrees.  Solar panels are not proposed as our preliminary BER assessment concludes that an air-to-water heat pump will provide a more suitable means of reducing primary energy consumption.  This means that the slate roof slopes can be kept free of less visually appealing equipment installation.

Materials and windows have been carefully selected and detailed for the location.  All main elevations (front and gable ends) are to be faced with coursed rubble granite stone, which will be largely, or entirely taken from stone already piled on the adjoining land.  The heavy, solid walls will tie the house to its site.  Window and door openings have been proportioned and spaced to respect the required solid-to-void ratios typical of load-bearing stone walls.

 Materials specified include:

·      Coursed rubble stone walls

·      Stone lintels and sills

·      Blue/black natural slate

·      Mill-finished alu. gutters – vernacular detailing.

·      Alu-clad timber windows

·      Standing seam zinc roofing / fascia

·      Off-white self-coloured render

·      Low stone walls

·      Vertical self-coloured cladding boards (family lounge)

 These materials have been chosen for their appropriate visual appearance and also because they will weather and age gracefully over time.

Download Wicklow C.C. Rural Design Guide here.

Contact us with your queries relating to building new dwelling or extending in rural and high amenity areas.

 

Planning Granted for Sunday Well House, Lucan

Paul Mulhern

We have recently secured planning permission from Fingal County Council for a two-storey detached, five-bedroom house at Sunday Well, Barnhill Cross Road, Lucan, Co. Dublin on behalf of private clients in association with Future Analytics Consulting.

The site is located to the north of the River Liffey in a stunning sylvan setting at the foot of wooded escarpment, allowing the dwelling to comfortably nestle within the Liffey valley landscape.

The site is located within Zoning Objective “HA” (High Amenity) of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-2017 which seeks to protect and enhance high amenity areas. This translates to a constrictive procedural policy context for development proposals.

Building on previous permission for demolition of an existing dwelling, the consenting strategy incorporated amendments to the previously approved scheme and construction of a replacement two-storey detached 478sqm five-bedroom house, a 37.5sqm relocated garage, revised elevational detail, and changes to landscaping with ancillary development works.

Our role was to prepare designs for a large family dwelling of traditional form with subtle contemporary detailing and the highest quality materials and finishes.  The proposals respond to the client's extensive accommodation brief and the highly sensitive nature of the site by minimising visual impact and placing all rooms to maximise views towards the river and carefully consider orientation.  The house will be built to A2 ("Nearly Zero Energy") standards.

The work involved:

  • Development of client's brief
  • Site assessment and analysis
  • House design and preparation of planning application drawings
  • Coordination with planning consultant
  • Flood risk assessment in conjunction with specialist consultant
  • Landscape design in conjunction with Landscape Design Services.
  • Preparation of Visual Assessment study for High Amenity area in conjunction with Landscape Design Services.

We are now progressing with a construction drawings and specification package to take the project to tender stage and construction on site.

The house was designed by Paul Mulhern, Architect, MRIAI.

Proposed Ground Floor Plan - Click to Enlarge.

Proposed First Floor Plan - Click to Enlarge.

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.

Tel: 01-5585205.   Contact Us

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.

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