Introduction to Building Control
The building control system applies to the design and construction of new buildings, extensions and material alterations to, and certain changes in the use of, existing buildings.
The information contained here is intended to provide practical guidance, and is not a definitive legal interpretation of building control law.
It is a legal requirement that buildings must be designed and built in accordance with the Building Regulations. Under current legislation, the building control authority has discretionary powers.
These include the following:
- The right to inspect works to which the Building Regulations apply
- The right to request information relating to works to which Building Regulations apply
- Power of enforcement in relation to non-compliance with the Building Regulations.
Power to prosecute for non-compliance, either by summary or High Court proceedings.
It should be noted that the power of inspection granted to building control authorities under the legislation is discretionary, and does not impose an obligation to inspect. The primary responsibility for compliance with regulations rests with the designers, builders and building owners.
Building Control System
The framework of the building control system comprises three sections.
1. The Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007
There are three main provisions within this Act:
a) It provides for the making of building regulations dealing with issues such as building standards, workmanship, fire safety conservation of fuel and energy and access for those with disabilities.
b) It provides for the making of building control regulations, which involve commencement notices, fire safety certificates, disabled access certificates and fees, and include administration by the building control authorities.
c) It gives powers of enforcement and inspection to the building control authorities.
2. Building Regulations
The Building Regulations set out the technical requirements for the design and construction of building works. They are written in broad, functional terms rather than performance or prescriptive terms. Requirement B1, for example, states that 'A building shall be so designed and constructed that there are adequate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety.' As the requirements are quite general, there is more specific guidance available on what is considered adequate. This guidance is provided in Technical Guidance Documents.
3. Building Control Regulations
These regulations are procedural and administrative. Their purpose is to promote observance of the Regulations by supplementing the basic powers of inspection and enforcement given to the building control authorities by different sections of the Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007.
They do this by requiring the submission of the following:
- Fire safety certificate application
- Disability access certificate application
- Commencement notice
Please note a Code of Practice for Persons Inspecting and Certifying Building Works has been published by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.
For more information, please consult the Planning section of this website.