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Building Regulations

Regulations

Building regulations provide for the health, safety and welfare of people, conservation of fuel and energy and access for people with disabilities. The primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the building regulations rests with the designers, builders and building owners The regulations are a set of legal requirements for the design and construction of new buildings, extensions and material alterations to, and certain changes in the use of, existing buildings. The technical content of these requirements are contained in twelve separate Technical Guidance Documents. Construction work MUST meet the standards required under the regulations. The requirements are sub-divided into the following twelve parts:

Part A - Structure

Part B - Fire Safety

Part C - Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture

Part D - Material and Workmanship

Part E - Sound

Part F - Ventilation

Part G - Hygiene

Part H - Drainage and Waste Water Disposal

Part J - Heat Producing Appliances

Part K - Stairways, Ladders, Ramps & Guards

Part L - Conservation of Fuel and Energy

Part M - Access and Use

 

Where works are carried out in accordance with the guidance contained within the Technical Guidance Documents, this will, prima facie, indicate compliance with the Building Regulations. It must be remembered that the Technical Guidance Documents are a minimum standard that must be achieved in order to comply with the Building Regulations. The Technical Guidance Documents can be purchased from Government Publications Office. They may also be viewed on the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Website at http://www.environ.ie/en/TGD/.

The adoption of an approach other than outlined in the guidance is not precluded provided that the relevant requirements of the Regulations are complied with. In this instance such evidence as is necessary to establish that the requirements of the Building Regulations are being complied with may be sought by the Building Control Authority.

The information provided here is a summary of, and not a detailed review, of the building regulations. Persons should seek professional advice for their own specific situations and should consult the current technical guidance documents and the current regulations.

Part A - Structure

Buildings must be designed and constructed so that movements of the subsoil will not impair the stability of any part of the building and the building is structurally sound. The building should be professionally designed from foundation to roof.

Part B - Fire Safety

Buildings must be designed and constructed so that there is adequate means of escape in case of a fire. There must be adequate fire protection, alarm systems etc. Wall and ceiling linings must inhibit the spread of fire. Walls, floors and roofs must resist the spread of fire between buildings or compartments. Access for fire services must be provided.

Most buildings other than new private houses require a Fire Safety Certificate. For more information on fire safety certificates click here.

Part C - Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture

The ground to be covered by the building must be adequately cleared of all organic material. Subsoil drainage must be provided where necessary. The building must be designed and constructed so as to prevent moisture getting in. Reasonable precautions are to be taken to avoid danger to health and safety from substances, including contaminants.

For some information on radon gas click here.

Part D - Material and Workmanship

All works are to be carried out with proper materials and in a workmanlike manner. All materials should be fit for the use for which they are intended and are certified with CE marking and/or Agrément Board approval.

Part E - Sound

Walls and floors which separate a dwelling from another building, or another part of the same building which is not part of the dwelling, should be designed and constructed so as to have reasonable resistance to both airborne and impact sounds.

Part F - Ventilation

All habitable rooms should have a means of general (background) and rapid ventilation, while kitchens, utility rooms and bathrooms should also have mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) may be used to satisfy background and mechanical ventilation requirements. Ceiling height should be appropriate so as not to inhibit ventilation of habitable rooms. Buildings must be designed and constructed so as to prevent excessive condensation in a roof or in a roof void above an insulated ceiling.

Part G - Hygiene

A dwelling must be provided with a bathroom containing a fixed bath or shower and a washbasin, a kitchen containing an adequately sized sink and draining board and provision of hot and cold water to the bathroom and kitchen. Adequate sanitary conveniences must be provided in a building in rooms provided for that purpose, or in bathrooms, and every room or bathroom which contains a sanitary convenience must be adequately separated from any place where food is prepared or cooked. Manually activated flushing devices should be dual flush.

Part H - Drainage and Waste Water Disposal

Surface water and foul wastewater must be disposed of in a safe and proper manner in an adequate drainage system designed for the purpose. Wastewater treatment systems have to be properly designed and constructed and do their job without polluting or damaging the health of any person or the environment.

Part J - Heat Producing Appliances

There must be adequate air supply to all appliances for combustion and for efficient working of flues and chimneys. There must be adequate discharge of combustion products to the outside air. Flue pipes, fireplaces and chimneys must be designed and constructed as to reduce the risk of the building catching fire. Oil storage tanks must be located so as to minimise risk of fire spreading from a building to the tank.

Part K - Stairways, Ladders, Ramps & Guards

Stairways, ladders and ramps must provide safe passage for building users, and the sides of every floor and balcony etc. must be guarded to protect from the risk of falling. The use of winders in stairways should be avoided. If it is necessary to use them they should be situated at the bottom of the flight. The sides of every vehicle ramp and floor and roof to which vehicles have access must be guarded against the risk of vehicles falling therefrom.

Part L - Conservation of Fuel and Energy

Buildings must be designed and constructed so that the amount of energy required for the operation of the building and the amount of associated CO2 emissions are minimised. Compliance with the Regulation must be demonstrated using the Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP) methodology for dwellings and the Non domestic Energy Assessment Procedure (NEAP) methodology for buildings other than dwellings.

In dwellings a proportion of the energy consumption must be produced by renewable energy sources. The building must be adequately insulated and cold bridging limited. An air tightness test is required, oil and gas fired boilers must meet a specified minimum seasonal efficiency and automatic time and temperature control for space and water heating is required. Heat loss from pipes, ducts and vessels is to be limited.

In buildings other than dwellings heat loss must be minimised and heat gains maximised through the building fabric, appropriately sized energy efficient space and water heating services with adequate control are required. Heat loss or gains from pipes, ducts and vessels is to be limited and energy efficient lighting systems provided.

A Building Energy Rating (BER) and advisory report is required for new buildings before they are first occupied and for all buildings offered for sale or letting under the European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2006 -2008.

For more information on Conservation of Fuel and Energy click here.

Part M - Access and Use

People must be able to safely and independently approach, gain access and use a building, an extension to a building, its facilities and its environs. Where sanitary facilities are provided, independently accessible sanitary facilities are required to be provided. Elements of the building must not constitute an undue hazard for people, especially for people with vision, hearing or mobility impairments.

Most buildings other than new private houses require a Disability Access Certificate (DAC). For more information on disability access certificates click here.

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