All buildings must be designed and constructed in accordance with the Building Regulations. The responsibility for designing and constructing buildings in compliance with Building Regulations rests with Designers, Developers/Builders and Owners. Homebuyers should consider employing independent and competent professionals to inspect their new dwelling for Building Regulations compliance prior to completing their purchase. Westmeath County Council is a Building Control Authority under the Building Control Act, 1990 and as such has powers of enforcement and prosecution and inspect in the order of 15% of new buildings.
Objectives of Building Control
- To protect public health and safety
- To promote awareness of Building Regulations among the general public.
- To ensure the provision of access for people with disabilities.
- To promote conservation of fuel and energy in buildings.
Overview of Building Control Legislation
The legislative framework for the Building Control system is contained in the following:
1. The Building Control Act, 1990 (as amended)
The Act is the basis of Building Control and it allows for the establishment of Building Control Authorities. It empowers the Minister to make Building Regulations and Building Control Regulations. The Act also empowers a Building Control Authority to serve Enforcement Notices, to inspect works and buildings and to prosecute for non-compliance with the Building Regulations. The Building Control Act established a statutory duty to design and construct in accordance with Building Regulations. Every building to which Building Regulations apply should be designed and constructed in accordance with the Building Regulations and the responsibility for compliance rests with builders, designers and owners.
2. Building Regulations
The Building Regulations set out the Legal requirements for the design and construction of buildings. The Guidance to complying with the requirements is detailed in the Technical Guidance Documents. Please see www.environ.ie for details.
3. Building Control Regulations
The Building Control Regulations are precedural and administrative. Their purpose is to promote observance of the Building Regulations by supplementing the basic building control power of inspection and enforcement. They do this by requiring Commencement Notices for building works to be lodged with the Building Control Authority. They also require Fire Safety Certificates to be lodged with the Building Control Authority for certain buildings.
The first Building Control Regulations were issued in 1991 on foot of the Building Control Act 1990, since this various amendments have been made to the Regulations.
Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014
On 1st March 2014, new Building Control Legislation called the “Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 ” came into effect. This applied to all buildings that commenced construction on or after 1st March 2014.
These Regulations strengten the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates.
The Commencement Notice and accompanying documentation must be filed electronically via the online Building Control Management System (BCMS). For details on use of the BCMS system please see attached guidance document.
BCMS Guidance Document (971kB)
Please access BCMS via this link.
- The Owner submits a Commencement Notice & accompanying documents to the Building Control Authority (BCA) via BCMS
- The Builder and Assigned Certifier are formally assigned by the Owner via BCMS
- The Builder and Assigned Certifier formally undertake the works via BCMS
- The Designer submits a Certificate of Compliance called "Design Certificate" to the BCA via BCMS
- The Builder must carry out the works in accordance with the plans and specifications
- The Assigned Certifier must conduct inspections and keep records.
- Certificate of Compliance signed by the Assigned Certifier and the Builder. Annex (page 3) to be completed detailing any/all documents relating to the development and outlining any changes which occured since commencement stage.
- As Implemented Inspection Plan.
Completion Certificate Application Instructions (1,025kB)
The implications of the new Legislation are:
- Responsibility will continue to rest with the Owners, Designers and Builders
- Certification required in relation to design and construction
- Regular documented inspections are required to be carried out by registered professionals
- Chain of responsibility following commencement notice
- Increased status of public register
The mandatory Certificates of Compliance are:
- Commencement Notice
- Design Certificate at Commencement (Designer)
- Certificate of Assignment of the Assigned Certifier
- Certificate of Assignment of the Builder
- Certificate of Undertaking to inspect and certify the works (Assigned Certifier)
- Certificate of Undertaking by the Builder
- Certificated of Compliance on Completion (Builder & Assigned Certifier)
- As Implemented Inspection Plan (Assigned Certifer)
Building Regulations 2014 (113kB)
Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2015 - "Opt Out" Statutory Declaration
These Regulations seek to amend the previous regulations (2014) following a review of same during its first 12 months in operation. Specifically these new Regulations provide clarification that from the 1st of September 2015 an owner intending to build a dwelling for their own use, or an extension to their dwelling, may take on the role of the builder for building control purposes and sign the statutory forms which must be signed by the builder. Please see the following link for further information.
Opt Out Declaration 2015 (306kB)
How to Lodge a Commencment Notice with Opt Out Declaration on BCMS
Guide to Lodging a Commencement Notice with Opt Out Declaration on the BCMS (990kB)
Building Control Regulations 2015 (170kB)
For further information on this new Building Control Legislation, please log onto www.environ.ie or contact the Building Control Officer on 044 93 32243.
Building Control - Notices, Certificates & Advice
- Commencement Notices
- Fire Safety Certificates
- Disability Access Certificates
- Building Energy Rating (BER)
- Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure
- Radon - Advice
- Construction Products Regulations.
Under the 1990 Building Control Act and the 1997 Building Control Regulations, commencement notices must be lodged, subject to certain exemptions, to the Council by any person who intends to carry out any works or a change of use on their property.
Notices should be submitted not less than 14 days and no more than 28 days before the commencement of such works.
Subject to exemptions, commencement notices are required for:
- The erection of a building
- The material alteration or extension of a building
- The material change of use of a building
- Works in connection with the material alteration (excluding minor works) of a shop, office or industrial building
The primary responsibility for compliance rests with designers, builders and building owners. Building control authorities have power to inspect design documents and buildings, as well as powers of enforcement and prosecution where breaches of the regulations occur. There are heavy penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for breaches of the regulations. In addition, when it comes to selling your property, you may have difficulties if you cannot satisfy the purchaser's solicitor that the requirements of the regulations have been met.
Fire Safety Certificates
Disability Access Certificates
A Disability Access Certificate is a certificate granted by a Building Control Authority which certifies compliance with the design of certain works with the requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations (see links below for further details). A building can not be occupied until a Disability Access Certificate has been issued.
Part M of the Regulations (2,345kB)
DAC Frequently Asked Questions (61kB)
Disability Access Cert Application form DAC (106kB)
Foirm Iarratais Ar Dheimhniú Rochtana Do Dhuine Faoi Mhíchumas (118kB)
Building Energy Rating (BER)
This rating is an indication of the energy performance of a building it is similar to the energy label on a fridge with a scale of A to G. “A” rated homes are the most energy efficient.
Before a building is advertised for sale or let or occupied for the first time, the owner (or Agent) of a building of a certain class must obtain a BER certificate and advisory report in relation to the building and shall produce a printed copy of the BER certificate and advisory report to the building control authority in whose functional area the building is situated, upon demand made by that authority.
BER certificates can be obtained from a BER assessor who registered with SEAI (Sustainable Energy Ireland); list of registered assessors is available online here
Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP)
Conservation of Fuel and Energy :
The design of all new buildings must encorporate a Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure Plan (DEAP) and this must be available for inspection by the Building Control Authority upon request. A building shall be designed and constructed so as to ensure that the energy performance of the building is such as to limit the amount of energy required for the operation of the building and the amount of Carbon Dioxide emissions associated with this energy use insofar as is reasonably practicable.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which originates from the decay of uranium in rocks and soils. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless and can only be measured using special equipment. When radon surfaces in the open air, it is quickly diluted to harmless concentrations, but when it enters an enclosed space, such as a house or other building, it can sometimes accumulate to unacceptably high concentrations.
Every new house is required to incorporate some degree of radon preventive measures at the time of construction in accordance with building regulations (Technical Guidance C). The degree of protection required is dependent upon whether or not the site is located within a High Radon Area.
Further details can be viewed here publications and documents or by writing to the Building Control Officer, Building Control Department, Westmeath County Council, Áras an Chontae, Mullingar, County Westmeath, N91 FH4N. Building owners are strongly recommended to have the Radon concentration level assessed when the building is in use and again after remediation action, should such prove necessary.
Construction Products Regulation
The European Union (Construction Products) Regulation 2013 (S.I. No. 225 of 2013) came into effect on 1st July 2013. The primary purpose of this Regulation is to break down technical barriers to trade in order to ensure the free movement of construction products across Member States within the European Union. It does this by harmonising those elements which previously led to barriers to trade. The Construction Products Regulation provides for:
- A system of harmonised technical specifications
- An agreed system of assessment and verification of constancy of performance
- A framework of notified bodies
- The CE Marking label on construction product
Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament of the Council
For further information, please contact the Building Control Officer on 044 93 32243.