Summer 2020


As of the 1st of November 2019 you will have to build your home in ROI to an A2 Building Energy Rating standard as opposed to the 2011 requirement of an A3. Best practice has in many ways become mandatory. Full details p84.

In fact quality control is at the heart of this new set of regulations, indirectly recognising the inherent failings of ROI’s privatised building control system.

Sadly the government doesn’t seem convinced self-builds should be inspected by local authorities; not only that, the Department of Housing is thinking of axing the opt out provision (see p10) which would increase professional fees for self-builders with little benefit in return.

Instead the government will continue to rely on the private sector, riddled with conflicts of interest, to carry out building control inspections.

Case in point is an Irish Times investigative report into the failings of the opt in system, a system whereby the Assigned Certifiers in charge of building control are paid, and can readily be fired by, the developers they work for (more details on p10).


Product Description



Towering achievement – Elaine Donaghy McCrory’s house in Co Tyrone boasts a tower and fairy tale interiors.

A boyhood dream comes true – Brendan and Sarah Cullinane’s Georgian inspired home was built to a budget in Co Waterford.

Perseverance – Peter and Donna Hughes’ Co Antrim seaside renovation project made the most of the views and family living.

Heart and mind – Denise Fitzpatrick’s renovation and extension project was a means to go mortgage-free.

Welcome to Holywood – A bells and whistles renovation in Co Down that showcases the latest interior design trends.

Nerves of steel – This Co Wicklow suburban new build had to make the most of the light, yet prevent overlooking, and contend with costly utility connections.

Down the rabbit hole – Find out why this Co Cork new build chose to install a heat pump and PV panels.

The rainwater pool – A DIY approach to rainwater harvesting and fresh water bathing rolled into one, in Co Leitrim.



Selfbuild Live Belfast – Come meet the experts who were at Selfbuild Live Belfast this past February; a wealth of information at your fingertips!

Ask the Expert – This issue we look at alternatives to polished concrete and tips to keep your patio clean.

How much does joinery cost? – From doors to skirting boards to in-built units, find out what the cost factors are.

Repair or replace? – Making the decision between knocking down the house that’s on your dream site, or carrying out a renovation project.

Checks and BALANCES – To finance, insure or sell your house you need to prove you’ve built it to standard, and that’s done with certificates of compliance.

When the time comes to sell – If you are planning on doing an energy upgrade, make sure to document the work you get done. Otherwise you could get an energy rating that’s worse than what the house deserves.

DIY therapy – Working with wood can be a fantastic therapeutic outlet; find out how to embrace it.

Plug and play roof – The cost of PV panels, which generate electricity from the sun, has come down drastically in recent years, now making it a real option for self-builders.

So near yet so far – Advances in charging technology and infrastructure have yet to make it easier, or cheaper, to own an electric vehicle.

Gasping for it – How to use your garden’s most precious resource, water.

Big ideas – How to build a tiny house on wheels from a self-builder who’s done it all himself in Co Down.

Back to nature – Swimming ponds are all the rage in Nordic countries but they are also very much suited to our wet and overcast climate.

Scrapbook – Outdoor lighting inspiration for those lazy summer evenings.