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Building Renovations / Construction and Regulations in Ireland

February 19, 2015

Building Owners embarking on a renovation / construction project need to determine whether their project needs

  • to comply with Building Regulations,
  • Planning Permission
  • a Health & Safety Plan

All of these regulatory areas are separate and the obtainment of planning does not confer compliance with building standards or health & safety regulations.

Building Regulations
The Building Regulations apply to new buildings, extensions, material alterations and changes of use of buildings. More information on current Irish Building Regulations is available here.

Planning Permission
In Ireland planning permission for modifications to a house is required except in the following circumstances;

  • Building an extension to the rear of the house which does not increase the original floor area of the house by more than 40 square metres and is not higher than the house. The extension should not reduce the open space at the back of the house to less than 25 square metres which must be reserved exclusively for the use of the occupants of your house. If your house has been extended before, the floor area of the extension you are now proposing and the floor area of any previous extension (including those for which you previously got planning permission) must not exceed 40 square metres. (There are also other height restrictions.)
  • Converting a garage attached to the rear or side of the house to domestic use so long as it has a floor area of less than 40 square metres. Building a garage at the back or side of a house so long as it does not extend out in front of the building line of the house and does not exceed four metres in height (if it has a tiled/slated pitched roof) or three metres (if it has any other roof type). This building will be exempt from planning permission once the floor area is limited to 25 square metres. Garages or sheds to the side of the house must match the finish of the house and may not be lived in, used for commercial purposes or for keeping pigs, poultry, pigeons, ponies or horses.
  • Building a front porch so long as it does not exceed two square metres in area and is more than two metres from a public road or footpath. If the porch has a tiled or slated pitched roof, it must not exceed four metres in height or three metres for any other type of roof.
  • Capped walls made of brick, stone or block, wooden fences but not security fences can be erected as long as they do not exceed 1.2 metres in height or two metres at the side or rear. Gates may be build provided they do not exceed 2 metres in height. Permission is always required to if you wish to widen or create new access to the public road.
  • A central heating system chimney, boiler house or oil storage tank (up to 3,500 litres capacity).
  • Car parking spaces, garden paths etc
  • A TV aerial on the roof so long as it is less than 6 metres higher than the roof
  • A satellite dish (up to 1 metre in diameter, and no higher than the top of the roof) at the back or side of the house (a dish on the front needs planning permission). Only one dish may be erected on a house.

Click here for more information Projects that are exempt from planning permission

Health & Safety
A building owner’s liability in relation to Health & Safety on their construction project requires them to do the following;

1. determine the competency of people doing paid construction work for you,
2. appoint one Project Supervisor for the Design Process and a Project Supervisor for the Construction Stage if
  • there is more than one contractor involved in the work, or
  • there is a particular risk, or
  • the work is going to last more than 30 days or more than 500 person days.
3. keep the safety file for the work as appropriate, and
4. let the Health and Safety Authority know if your project is going to take longer than 30 days or
more than 500 person days (person days mean the number of days the work takes multiplied by
the number of people doing the work).

Residential Construction work is defined as the following;
• building a new house or an extension, porch or garage,
• converting your attic,
• refitting your kitchen,
• re-slating your roof,
• fitting solar panels or a skylight, and
• re-wiring your house.

Click here for more information on appointing a PSDP and PSCS

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