Home Renovation Incentive Scheme: Planning & Regulatory Issues

14 February 2014

The Home Renovation Incentive Scheme offers homeowners the opportunity to avail of tax credits in respect of work to their home carried out by qualified Contractors. In the thrill of finally being able to start that long postponed-work, it is important to remember the planning and regulatory issues which apply when undertaking building works to your home. The most 4 important issues are:

Home Renovation Incentive Scheme at houseology

  • What: Normally known as Planning Permission.
  • Regulations dealing with the extent, shape and form of what you build.
  • Applies to: Construction of new homes, house extensions greater than 40m2, certain house extensions smaller than 40m2, certain alterations to your existing home (see Links below).
  • Does not apply to: Extensions less than 40m2 providing they met the relevant criteria , other exempted works (see Links below).
  • Your Obligation: Establish, before work commences, whether or not you need to obtain planning permission for the work.
  • Documents Needed on Completion: Opinion on Compliance with and/or Exemption from Planning Control.
  • Comments: Your Solicitor will need this Opinion on Compliance as part of the conveyancing process when you sell your home so best to obtain it when you complete the building works.
  • Relevant Authority: The local authority in which your home is located.
  • Links: Doing Work about the House – the Planning Issues
  • South Dublin County Council: House Extension Design Guide.
  • Specimen RIAI Architect’s Opinion on Compliance
  • What: Normally known as The Building Regulations. Regulations dealing with issues such as building standards, workmanship, conservation of fuel and energy and access for people with disabilities.
  • Applies to: The construction of new houses and to extensions and material alterations to existing houses (e.g. structural alterations).
  • Does not apply to: Other works to the home (although it is always preferable to comply with these standards to the greatest extent possible).
  • Your Obligation: Ensure your selected Contractor(s) and Building Professionals carry out all building work in a manner which is compliant with the Regulations. The Contractors will need to be tax compliant in order for you to qualify for the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme.
  • Documents Needed on Completion:  Opinion on Compliance with the Building Regulations. Commencement Notice (you are required to lodge this Notice with the Local Authority prior to commencing the construction works).
  • Comments:  (i) Your Solicitor will need this Opinion on Compliance as part of the conveyancing process when you sell your home so best to obtain it when you complete the building works. (ii) The Opinion must be signed by an Architect, Engineer or Building Surveyor. (iii) Make sure you know BEFORE you start work, who is going to sign this.
  • Relevant Authority: The Department of the Environment.
  • Links: Department of the Environment Building Standards
  • Specimen RIAI Architect’s Opinion on Compliance
  • NOTE: The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, BC(A)R, will apply to new houses and house extensions over 40m2 that start on site from 1st March 2014. For more information, see the Interim Client Guidance Notice issued by the RIAI on 12 February 2014.

Home Renovation Incentive Scheme - Health & Safety

  • What:  Normally known as Health & Safety Regulations.
  • Applies to:  It’s complicated! The HSA’s own chart explains this best. In short, work where there is more than one contractor, or where that work involves a particular risk and/or where that work will last any longer than 30 days or 500 person days. Examples include: 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.
  • Does not apply to: (i) Routine home DIY, (ii) Work where there is only one contractor, where that work involves no particular risk and where that work will not last any longer than 30 days or 500 person days. (iii) Grass cutting, Tree planting and general gardening work. (iv) General maintenance to appliances and boilers.
  • Your Obligations:  (i) Appoint Project Supervisors in writing, one for Design (Project  Supervisor Design Process or PSDP) and one for Construction (Project  Supervisor Construction Stage).These roles can be carried out by the same person providing they are  competent to carry out the work. (ii) Hire competent Contractors. (iii) Where the work is due last more than 30 days or 500 person days,  inform the HSA about the work prior to commencing design work using Approved Form FA1 (iv) Keep a Safety File for the work as appropriate. The Contractors will need to be tax compliant in order for you to qualify for the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme.
  • Comments: A Project Supervisor Design Process must prepare a Safety File and give it to you at the end of the works. You should keep this file and give it to anybody carrying out works in the future, or pass the file on to any new owner.
  • The HSA recommends that the Project Supervisor Design Process should  be someone who has a recognised qualification in design or architecture or who is a member or Engineers Ireland, The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, The Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland or the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.
  • The HSA recommends that the Project Supervisor Construction Stage should be a member of an industry trade body (e.g. the ConstructionIndustry Federation), whose workers have SafePass training and who are professional tradespeople.
  • Relevant Authority:  Health and Safety Authority.
  • Documents Required: Approved Form FA1, Safety File.
  • Links:  Guide for Homeowners: Getting Construction Work done Safely
  • What:  Normally known as a BER Cert.
  • Applies to:  All homes being offered for sale or rent.
  • Does not apply to:  Protected structures and certain temporary buildings.
  • Documents Required: BER certificate.
  • Comments:  Carried out by registered BER assessors only, see www.seai.ie/ber
  • Valid for: 10 years provided no alterations take place which could affect the energy performance of the dwelling.
  • Links:  Your Guide to Building Energy Rating
Make the most of the Home Renovation Scheme!

For advice on how to get the most from the money you spend on your home, book a 2 hour House Consultation with Eva Byrne, Architect & House Consultant.