Opt Out for One Off Houses & Extensions
In 2015, amendments were made to the Building Control Regulations to ease the burden on domestic extensions and one-off type developments. An owner who intends to build a dwelling for his own use may take the role of the builder for building control purposes. He may sign the statutory declaration forms which must be otherwise signed by the builder.
The owner of works involving the construction of a new dwelling on a single unit development or of a domestic extension has the facility to opt out of the requirement to obtain statutory Certificates of Compliance signed by registered construction professionals. A homeowner who wishes to avail of the facility must when submitting the commencement notice, sign and submit a form of declaration of intention to opt out of statutory certification.
A homeowner who opts out of the statutory certification process must, prior to the commencement of works, submit
- a commencement notice accompanied by a declaration of Intention to opt out of statutory certification;
- such plans, specifications and particulars as are necessary to outline how the proposed dwelling and domestic extension will comply with the relevant requirements in the Building Regulations. This will typically include, but not be limited to, general arrangement drawings; a schedule of compliance documents, as designed or be prepared at a later date;
- the online BCMS (see below) assessment of the proposed approach to compliance;
- a Notice of Assignment of Builder;
- a fee of €30.
A public register is kept of the notices of intention to opt out of statutory certification.
The homeowner in such circumstances is not required to provide the standard documents under the principal regulations including the following:
- a preliminary section plan prepared by the Assigned Certifier;
- a Certificate of Compliance (Design) stage;
- a Notice of Assignment of Person to Inspect and Certify Works (Assigned Certifier);
- a Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Assigned Certifier);
- a Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Builder);
- a Certificate of Compliance on Completion, and accompanying documents.
Opt-in Building Control
There is a optional alternative building control process for new single dwellings and domestic extensions, In the case of new dwelling or extensions greater than 40 square meters, the process that applies may be the following:
- a Commencement Notice is served by the owner, not less than 14 days or more than 28 days prior to commencement accompanied by design and compliance documentation certified by a registered construction professional;
- undertakings by the builder and Assigned Certifier (who is to be a registered construction professional);
- an inspection plan prepared by the Assigned Certifier;
- a €30 fee.
The Building Control Authority has to consider the validity of the notice. The commencement notice once validated, is registered on the public register of building control register. Works may then commence within the 14 to 28 period.
On completion, a Statutory Certificate of Compliance on Completion accompanied by relevant compliance document is lodged with the Building Control Authority.
The statutory certificate includes certification from the builder and Assigned Certifier. The Building Control Authority has 21 days to determine the validity of the statutory certificate. Statutory Certificates of Compliance are referenced on the public register.
Online Building Contol Management
The online Building Control Management System has been established to facilitate electronic administration of building control. Owners, builders and construction professionals may use the system to upload building control forms and compliance documents.
The online assessment of proposed compliance approach is undertaken through the BCMS, which is used by the relevant Building Control Authority. Agents etc. must register as users under the system.
In the case of opt-out, the commencement notice is to be accompanied by a declaration of intention to opt out of statutory certification. The obligation remains to prepare relevant plans, drawings, specifications, and arrangement drawings and compliance, documents as designed.
The opt-out provision does not provide for design by a registered construction professional or Notification of Assigned Certifier undertaken by Assigned Certifier. It does include Notice of Assignment of Builder. It does not include an undertaking by the builder or completion cert signed by the builder.
The following documents must be submitted by the opting out owner:
- commencement notice,
- declaration intention to opt out signed by building owner;
- plans, calculations, specifications and particulars necessary to outline how the dwelling house or domestic extension will comply with the building regulation. This will typically in good old general arrangement drawings, scheduled of compliance, documents as designed or to be designed at later date, the BCMS assessment of the proposed approach to compliance usually completed online;
- notice of assignment of builder signed by the owner.
The purpose of the system is to allow the Building Control Authority to satisfy itself as to the validity of the works and assess which project should be inspected on a risk assessed basis. Inspection is normally undertaken in 12 to 15% of validly commenced building units.