All building work needs to follow the rules set out in the Building Regulations.
To help builders comply with the Building Regulations, which are set out in law in both NI and ROI, relevant government departments have published technical booklets which provide guidance for the most common cases. Your specific building project may however require a solution outside these guidelines.
These documents are specifically written for those who have a sound knowledge of modern building techniques, terminology and practices. Self-builders are advised to seek professional technical guidance.
The situation in ROI
In ROI the building regulations are appended with a series of Technical Guidance Documents (TGDs):
TGD Part A – Structure 2012
TGD Part – Fire Safety 2017 Volume 2 Dwelling Houses
TGD Part C – Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture 1997
TGD Part H – Drainage and Waste Water Disposal 2010
TGD Part J – Heat Producing Appliances 2014
TGD Part K – Stairways, Ladders, Ramps and Guards 2014
TGD Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Energy – Dwellings 2008/2017 UNDER REVIEW NOW
TDF Part M – Access and Use 2010
Self-builds do not require a fire certificate.
The situation in NI
There is no obligation to follow the methods or comply with the standards set out in the Technical Booklets. You may adopt any form of construction you wish, however you will have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of district councils that the requirements of the building regulations have been met.
The list of technical booklets is as follows:
Some building work is exempt from a Building Control Application, as follows:
Small detached buildings including detached garages not structurally connected to another building on the same plot/site, are exempt from Building Control applications. An application is not required for a detached building if: it is single storey, the floor area does not exceed 30 sqm, it contains no sleeping accommodation, it is substantially constructed of non-combustible material i.e. masonry walls and concrete roof tiles or similar.
When the detached building is constructed of combustible materials i.e.timber walls and felt roof, there are limitations on its position. It must not be less than 1.0m from the nearest point of a dwelling, nearest part of a road, nearest point of the boundary of the land on which it is erected. The provision of a central heating boiler in an exempt garage is subject to the Building Regulations and requires an application.
Conservatories All conservatories are exempt from the Regulations, providing they are built at ground level, have a floor area less than 30 sqm, the glazing complies with Part V of the regulations e.g. safety glass, the thermal separation is retained between the conservatory and the rest of the dwelling, no less than 75 per cent of the roof area is translucent material, no less than 50 per cent of the wall area is translucent material, the building’s heating or cooling system is not extended into it, a fixed combustion appliance or fixed cooling appliance is not installed.
Porches are exempt from the Regulations, providing thermal separation is retained between the porch and the rest of the dwelling, they are built at ground level and provide protection to an access door to a building and have an external door or an opening to the external air, the buildings heating or cooling system is not extended into it, a fixed combustion appliance or cooling appliance is not installed, they have a floor area less than 5 sqm, the glazing complies with Part V of the Regulations e.g. safety glass.
Building Control can provide confirmation of exemption from the Building Regulations on receipt of a completed “Exemption from Building Regulations” form (£20 fee).
Astrid Madsen is the editor of SelfBuild & Improve Your Home magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email firstname.lastname@example.org