Introduction to Building Control
The building control system applies to the design and construction of new buildings, extensions and material alterations to, and certain changes in the use of, existing buildings.
The information contained here is intended to provide practical guidance, and is not a definitive legal interpretation of building control law.
Kilkenny County Council is a Building Control Authority under Section 2 of the Building Control Act 1990.
Building Control should not be confused with Planning Control, which deals with the planning conditions of a development.
It is a legal requirement that buildings must be designed and built in accordance with the Building Regulations. Under current legislation, the building control authority has discretionary powers.
These include the following:
- The right to inspect works to which the Building Regulations apply.
- The right to request information relating to works to which Building Regulations apply.
- Power of enforcement in relation to non-compliance with the Building Regulations.
- Power to prosecute for non-compliance, either by summary or High Court proceedings.
It should be noted that the power of inspection granted to building control authorities under the legislation is discretionary, and does not impose an obligation to inspect. The primary responsibility for compliance with regulations rests with the designers, builders and building owners.
Building Control System
The framework of the building control system comprises three sections
1. The Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007
There are three main provisions within this Act:
a) It provides for the making of building regulations dealing with issues such as building standards, workmanship, fire safety conservation of fuel and energy and access for those with disabilities.
b) It provides for the making of building control regulations, which involve commencement notices, fire safety certificates, disabled access certificates and fees, and include administration by the building control authorities.
c) It gives powers of enforcement and inspection to the building control authorities.
2. Building Regulations
The Building Regulations set out the technical requirements for the design and construction of building works. They are written in broad, functional terms rather than performance or prescriptive terms. Requirement B1, for example, states that 'A building shall be so designed and constructed that there are adequate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety.' As the requirements are quite general, there is more specific guidance available on what is considered adequate. This guidance is provided in Technical Guidance Documents published by the Department of the Environment, and in the codes, standards and other documents referred to in the Technical Guidance Documents.
3. Building Control Regulations
These regulations are procedural and administrative. 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 Acts 1990 and 2007. They do this by requiring commencement notices of works to be lodged with the building control authority. They also require that fire safety certificates and disability access certificates are obtained for buildings to which Part III of the Building Control Regulations 1997 apply.
Please note that in accordance with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (S.I. 9) of 2014 from the 1st March, 2014 new Commencement Notices procedures apply.
In summary, the new Building Control Amendment Regulations require:
- Submission of compliance drawings and documentation to local building control authorities starting at Commencement Notice stage
- Signing of mandatory certificates of compliance by the designer and undertaking by the builder prior to construction
- Setting out and executing an inspection plan at key stages during construction by the Assigned Certifier (registered architect, engineer or building surveyor) for compliance with building regulations
- Signing of mandatory certificates of compliance by the Assigned Certifier and the Builder when a building is complete.
Please Note a Code of Practice for Persons Inspecting and Certifying Building Works has been published by the Minister. - See more at www.environs.ie
A Commencement Notice (CN) is required to be submitted for the following:
a) the erection of a building;
b) a material alteration of a building;
c) an extension to a building;
d) a material change of use of a building;
e) works in connection with the material alteration (excluding minor works) of a shop, office or industrial building where a Fire Safety Certificate (FSC) is not required.
However, you DO NOT need to submit a Commencement Notice if:
a) the works are exempt from the Building Regulations (e.g. - it is not a building or is an exempt building type) OR
b) you Do Not require Planning Permission and also Do Not require a Fire Safety Cert (FSC) – except for (e) above.
What additional requirements came in to effect on 1st March 2014?
On the 1st March 2014, new Regulations (S.I. 9 of 2014) relating to the commencement and certification of construction works came in to effect. For certain building works, the new regulations require that certificates of compliance and other additional documentation must be submitted with the Commencement Notice. The main new additional requirements include:
-the nomination of a competent ‘Assigned Certifier’ to inspect and certify the works,
-the submission of certificates of compliance with the Commencement Notice,
-the building cannot be occupied until the certificate of compliance on completion is placed on the Register.
Do these additional requirements apply to all Commencement Notices?
No. When submitting a commencement notice, the additional requirements and the need to also submit certificates along with the Notice only apply to the following works:
-Construction of a dwelling house,
-Extension of a dwelling house by more than 40 square meters,
-Works which require a Fire Safety Certificate.
How do I submit my Commencement Notice?
The Commencement Notice and other documentation should be submitted online by using the Building Control Management System (BCMS) This system may be accessed via www.localgov.ie
Where can I get more information?
You can get more information, or download copies of the Building Control Act and Regulations by visiting the Department of the Environment website (www.environ.ie), You may also refer to the Code of practice for inspecting and certifying buildings and works .
“OPT OUT” FOR SINGLE HOUSES AND EXTENSIONS.
Owner wishing to Opt Out of Statutory Certification, the main difference to the documentation submitted with the Commencement Notice is as follows:
| ||Document Name|| |
|1||Declaration of Intention to Opt out of Statutory Certification||New Requirement|
|2||Notice of Assignment (Builder)||No change, still required|
|3||Compliance Documentation||No change, still required|
|4||Design Certificate (Someone must still be nominated as the Designer)||Not Required|
|5||Undertaking by Builder||Not Required|
|6||Notice of Assignment (Certifier)||Not Required|
|7||Undertaking by Assigned Certifier||Not Required|
a) All Commencement Notices should be submitted online via the Building Control Management System (BCMS) which can be accessed via www.localgov.ie
b) Single storey detached domestic garage - Exempt from Building Regulations if under 25m2 & under 4m high (or 3m for a flat roof)
c) Apartments - Works to a single apartment or to an apartment building usually requires a Fire Safety Certificate.
d) Agricultural Buildings – Detached single storey agricultural buildings under 300m2 are exempt from the Building Regulations. A two storey agricultural building is not exempt & may require a Fire Safety Cert and a long Commencement Notice.
Disclaimer: This document is intended only as a basic guide. For clarity it only addresses the most common scenarios. The responsibility remains on you to ensure compliance with the Building Control Regulations. You should always consult with your legal and technical advisors.
The Fee for a Commencement Notice is €30 in respect of each building if complete application submitted on-line
Maximum fee for a Commencement Notice is €3,800
(An additional administrative fee will be charged where documents are submitted to the building control authority in hard copy. Administration charges not included in above fee.)
For more information visit the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government website at
Building Control Officer
Mr. Frank Stafford
Tel 056 779 4306