Building methods explained

Ronan McKee provides a bird’s eye view of the most common building methods available to self-builders in Ireland today.

In this article, we cover:

  • How self-builders are building homes in Ireland today
  • Design considerations before choosing your build type
  • How Building Control will be involved
  • Building Regulations requirements
  • Full chart comparing the most popular build routes, from masonry and timber frame to ICF and externally insulated builds with: Description, Relative Cost, Pros and Cons

There are many building routes open to you as a sel-fbuilder, the table opposite outlines the main methods used on building sites today in NI. Note that design considerations such as solar orientation, layout for space and light as well as aesthetics may help guide your choice of build route, e.g. depending on your design some structural constraints may make one method of building that’s commonly lower cost more expensive or cumbersome than another.

Building Control inspectors, who will be inspecting your build at key stages, will help troubleshoot when problems arise. Building Control advises that with any application (Full Plans or Building Notice application) a meeting with the area surveyor is arranged prior the commencement to discuss the proposed works. This will allow the opportunity to identify at what stages inspections for these works are necessary.

You are required by the Building Regulation (NI) 2012, Regulation 12 to inform the Council of commencement and completion of certain stages of the works as follows: Notice of commencement, Foundation excavation, Placing of damp proof course, Placing of damp proof course, Placing of drains (incl. unadopted) before covering, Prior to covering any structural element, Prior to covering any sound insulation measures, Occupation of the building and Completion of the works.


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Ronan McKee

Written by Ronan McKee

Ronan McKee, MCIAT, is managing director at FMK Architecture based in Ballymena.

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