The legislation gives the Minister priority to make building regulations. Building regulations may be made in relation to
- the design and construction of buildings,
- material alterations or extension of buildings
- the provision of services, fittings and equipment in, or in connection with buildings,
- material changes in the use of buildings
- to secure the health, safety and welfare of persons in or about the buildings or affected by buildings;
- providing for special needs of disabled persons;
- providing for fuel and energy conservation in relation to buildings;
- providing for efficient use of resources in relation to buildings;
- providing for good building practice and such other matters as may be specified.
Building Regulation may prescribe standards in relation to the following matters.
- preparation of sites;
- suitability, durability, classification, use and testing of materials and components (including surface finishes) used in buildings;
- structural strength and stability of buildings including precautions against overloading, impact and explosion, measures to safeguard adjacent buildings and services, underpinning;
- resistance to moisture and decay;
- fire precautions including resistance of the structure to the outbreak and spread of fire, means of escape in the event of fire and measures to ensure that such means can be effectively and safely used at all times, services, fittings and equipment designed to facilitate fire-fighting, to mitigate the effects of fire, for the early detection of fire and to provide warning in the event of fire;
- prevention of danger and obstruction to persons in and about buildings;
- measures affecting the emission of smoke, gases, fumes, grit or dust or other noxious or offensive substances;
- measures to prevent infestation;
- measures affecting the transmission of heat;
- measures affecting the transmission of sound;
- storage, treatment and removal of waste;
- accommodation for specific purposes or in connection with buildings, and the dimensions of rooms, components and other spaces within buildings;
- ventilation and daylighting (including the provision of open space therefor);
- means of access to and egress from buildings and parts of buildings;
- water services and fittings and fixed equipment associated therewith;
- drainage (including waste disposal units)
- services, installations and ancillary equipment, including installations (including appliances, storage tanks, heat exchangers, ducts and fans) utilising solid fuel, oil, gas, electricity or any other fuel or power for the purpose of, or in connection with, providing heat or ventilation or producing hot water, electrical wiring installations, lifts, escalators, hoists, conveyors and moving footways, plant providing air under pressure;
- heating, artificial lighting, mechanical ventilation, air conditioning and the provision of power outlets.
When Obligations Apply
Building Regulations apply to works, material alterations, extensions and material changes of use of buildings. They also apply to the provision of services, fittings and equipment in buildings.
Works include any act or operation in connection with the construction, extension, alteration, repair or renewal of a building. There are exemptions for minor works.
Where building regulations contain special provisions in relation to buildings used for any particular purpose, there is a material change of use when a building which is not being used for that purpose, becomes so used.
There is deemed to be a material change in the purposes for which a building is used if, a building, which was not originally constructed for occupation as a dwelling, or which, though so constructed, has been appropriated to other purposes, becomes used as a dwelling, a building, being a building which was originally constructed for occupation as a dwelling by one family only, becomes occupied by two or more families.
Building regulations may exempt, in whole or in part, from all or any of the provisions of such regulations such classes or descriptions of buildings, services, fittings or equipment as may be specified in the regulations, including classes or descriptions of buildings, services, fittings or equipment in any area specified in the regulations.
Scope of Building Regulations
Building regulations may
- prescribe standards (expressed in terms of performance, types of material, methods of construction or otherwise) in relation to all or any of the matters specified in the Act and in relation to any other matter which, in the opinion of the Minister, are relevant to the purposes for which building regulations may be made;
- require specified action to be taken in connection with buildings;
- provide for the regulation of specified actions in and about buildings;
- specify the manner in which construction operations are to be carried out.
Building regulations may be made to any extent by reference to a document published by or on behalf of the Minister. They may specify different standards for, or make different provisions in relation to, different classes or descriptions of buildings.
Building control regulations may make different provisions in relation to different buildings, or classes of buildings, in relation to buildings or classes of buildings situated in different areas, or in relation to different provisions of building regulations.
Each building must be designed and constructed in accordance with building regulations unless a dispensation or relaxation certificate is given. A building control authority may, where it considers reasonable, grant a dispensation from or relaxation of building regulation requirements.
The application must be made in a prescribed form and be accompanied by prescribed fees. A default dispensation or relaxation certificate is deemed to issue within two months if the building control authority does not notify its decisions. The Department of the Environment and Local Government may also make an order dispensing with a relaxing building regulation.
Obligation & Offences
Where a building has been built in breach of the Building Regulations, enforcement proceedings may be taken against the owner or occupier of the building concerned or any other person who carried out or is carrying out the works to which the enforcement relates. The enforcement proceedings (by administrative notice or court order) may require steps to be taken by way of remediation, removal of works, discontinuance of works, prohibition of use and /or payment of the building control authority’s costs. In this sense compliance, may not be delegated by the owner or occupier/user of the building.
It is an offence to fail to comply with any requirement in the legislation, including an administrative enforcement notice. A person who contravenes an enforcement notice may be summoned to the District Court and may be subject to a fine with a daily rate accruing. The fine may be up to €5,000 and/or 6 months in prison with up to €500 per day in respect of each day, on which the offence continues.
In the case of an offence committed by a body corporate, where an offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of or is attributable to the neglect of any person or any person acting on its behalf being a director, manager or secretary of such body, that person may also be found guilty of an offence.