Doing Work to your Home: Planning & Regulatory Issues

30 September 2019

Whilst Space, Light and Storage are the Trinity of good house design, it is important to remember the planning and regulatory issues which apply when refurbishing or extending your home. The most 4 important issues are:

Home Renovation Incentive Scheme at houseology
  • What: Normally known as “Planning Permission.”
  • Scope: The Planning and Development Regulations deal with the extent, shape and form of what you build.
  • Planning Permission needed for: Construction of new homes, house extensions greater than 40m2, certain house extensions smaller than 40m2, certain alterations to your existing home (see Links below).
  • No Planning Permission needed for: 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. These can only be signed by a registered Architect, Engineer or Surveyor.
  • 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, extensions, material  alterations and refurbishment of existing houses, some works to apartments.
  • Your Obligation: Ensure your selected Contractor(s) and Building Professionals carry out all building work in a manner which is compliant with the Regulations. 
  • Documents Needed on Completion:  (i) Opinion on Compliance with the Building Regulations. (ii) Commencement Notice (you are required to lodge this Notice with the Local Authority prior to commencing the construction works. A Commencement Notice applies to work where an application for planning permission was granted).
  • NZEB/New Dwellings: NZEB and TGD L 2019 Dwellings applies to new Dwellings commencing construction from 1st November 2019 subject to transition. Transitional arrangements to allow TGD L 2011 – Dwellings to be used where planning approval or permission has been applied for on or before 31st October 2019 and substantial completion is completed within 1 year i.e. by 31st October 2020
  • NZEB/Existing Dwellings: From 1 November 2019, where more than 25% of the surface of the building envelope undergoes renovation, the energy performance of the building or the renovated part thereof is to be upgraded in order to meet minimum energy performance requirements with a view to achieving a cost optimal level of B2 when calculated in DEAP in so far as this is technically, functionally and economically feasible.
  • 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 can only be signed by a registered 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:
  • Building Regulations
  • SEAI NZEB in Domestic Dwellings
  • Department of the Environment Building Standards
  • Specimen RIAI Architect’s Opinion on Compliance
  • RIAI Client Guildance BC(A)R April 2016
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
  • 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 your Home Renovation project!

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

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