Building Control in the Republic

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    • #711432

      Hi All

      I’m an Architect based in Belfast, I was wondering if I could be brazen enough to ask for some free advice about how building control works down south. I’m an Architect of 10years experience in the north.

      I have prepared initial designs for the refurbishment of a large house in Donegal. There is also plans to convert an existing barn to the rear. Its been a terrific job to work on so far.

      I understand there is no need to submit a building control application for this job. Is it true that it is entirely incumbent on the Architect to meet the regulations, but nobody checks the design as they do up here?

      Do SAP calcs have to be submitted to any government body?

      Perhaps the legitimacy of a design is never questioned by third parties until it would change hands and be perused by the other parties solicitor for example?

      Any advice would be most appreciated

      Many many thanks

    • #817347


      Building Control doesn’t work here in the republic. See a detailed appraisal by Donal McDomhnall, Senior Building Surveyor DCC, submitted to the Competiton Authority some years ago.

      In twenty three years of practice here I have had one building partially inspected (drains). It is up to the architect to provide an “Opinion” on compliance with the Building Regulations which is usually handed over to the client on completion and is commonly in a copyrighted format agreed between the RIAI and the Law Society, and purchasable from the RIAI for a small fee. However, it assumes the writer is an RIAI member, but I don’t suppose there’s much preventing you substituting the letters”ARB” everytime membership of the RIAI is referred to. It might be as well to check with the Law Society that that would be acceptable to its members when your client sells the property. Or pay an MRIAI to do it.

      The actual building regulations here are simple one-liners like”The building must stand up”, but a developer (including a single-house builder) must be in a position to demonstrate compliance if asked. This would be done by submitting the working drawings and probably submitting a commentary on how they comply with the “Technical Guidance Documents” which accompany the Regulations. Compliance with the TGD is taken as “prima facie” evidence of compliance with the regulations, although one Local Authority (Dublin City) appears to dispute this and the the meaning of “prima facie”. There is extensive discussion of same in the inspectors’ reports relating to Disability Access Certificates on the Bord Pleanala website. Search under “DAC” or “Disability”.

      Many designers have consequently taken a soft focus view on compliance with the regulatons and you will see many instances of blatent non compliance especially with regard to escape from upper floor windows, stairs and guardrails, and Disability Access. And that’s just what you can see. I expect many buildings do not comply with regualtions for ventilations and insulaton and their sometimes contradictory technical guidance. Most TGDs refer to British Standards, so I expect compliance with the UK Building Regulations will get you most of the way.

      The new Disabilty Guidance (Part M 2010) is extremely detailed and onerous and is the one area, apart from Fire in which my local authority has any interest. Also be aware that since the requirement to produce BER certificates, third parties may be assessing your design, often after it is built, and if a poor result is obtained there will be questions asked of you.

      I hope this is of some help.

    • #817348

      Many thanks Mr O Neil

      That is really helpful.

      I’d like to add Building Control in Northern Ireland is an excellent service in my opinion, i think is good to have a statutory process to build in quality and safety. I really hope the “cuts” policy wont destroy this.

      That said I think most would agree the standard of Architecture in general in the Republic is more advanced than here in the north, but I wouldn’t imagine that less Building Control input is a contributing factor to that success.

      Thanks again


    • #817349

      two words – Priory Hall

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