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ABOUT: The Building Regulations

History of Bye-Laws and Building Regulations.

 

In 1512, Mayor of Galway, Anthonye Lynch introduced the law:

 

“That no man shall build, make, or repayre any strawe or tache house for feare of fyre, no nigher the towne walles than fourteen feet unless they be covered with sklatts, and that to be the heads of the streets, as to say, both sids of the great gate and both sids of the new towre and both sids of the littell gates, except both the great stone housses, as Martin and John Lynchs housses and alsoe as John Cayreys housse to be excepted, yf  they cover the same with sklatts”

 

Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, provided a model set of building bye-laws that the various town Councils of the country could avail of. In 1928 in the Galway Urban District Council (1 mile radius of the spire of St. Nicholas’ church) adopted most of the model bye-laws. However, none were ever introduced for the rest of County Galway.

 

These bye-laws specified minimum standards for setting out new streets, certain structural elements, and water/sewerage standards. Under the bye-laws it was a requirement to apply for bye-law permission to build in the UDC area.

 

When the Planning & Development Act, 1963 came into force on 01/10/1964 all planning applications in the UDC area were also building bye-laws approval applications. There were some instances where a proposed development (such as small extensions) did not require planning permission but continued to require bye-law approval. The bye-laws were abolished on 01/06/1992 when the 1991 Building Regulations came into existence.

 

Various draft Building Regulations were first introduced in Ireland in 1969 - 1976 and 1981 (following the Stardust fire). These were only draft and were never compulsory, though local authorities, state authorities, and builders of estate type housing generally (but not always) followed the requirements of the draft regulations.

 

By powers conferred on the Minister in the Building Control Act, 1990, the 1991 Building Regulations (Statutory Instrument 306 of 1991) were the first proper statutory regulations for building standards. These applied from 01/06/1992 to all new buildings as well as to material alterations of buildings and to changes of use of buildings. Some buildings were exempted from Building Regulations such as temporary buildings, certain agricultural buildings and small detached garages and the like.

 

The regulations are expressed in simplified generic language and in themselves have no real meaning other than “a building shall be designed to be safe, have a toilet, be adequately heated and ventilated etc. etc. In parallel with the legislation, Technical Guidance Documents (TGDs) to each of the Regulations A to M were published. Though notionally ‘guidance’ documents, the TGDs were in effect ‘rules’.

 

 

Effect of the Building Regulations

 

Compliance with Building Regulations is not optional - it is the law. Persons constructing buildings (both commercial developers and persons building their own house or extension) must comply.

 

The Building Control Authorities (BCAs) have the right to enter buildings to check compliance with Building Regulations. Most BCAs aim to inspect 12% to 15% of building sites for compliance. Where it appears that a particular Regulation is not being complied with, the BCA can request the developer to submit details of how it is intended to achieve compliance.

 

Where the developer fails to comply, the BCA may issue an enforcement notice, and on failure to comply with an enforcement notice the BCA may prosecute through the courts and obtain court orders for demolition of a non-compliant building, and hefty fines and/or imprisonment for the developer.

 

Galway City Council is the BCA for the City.

Galway County Council is the BCA for the rest of the county including Ballinasloe.

 

In relation to alterations to or extensions of buildings, the regulations apply to the new work, and to the existing building such as not to cause a new or greater contravention of the regulations than already exists in the in the existing building.

 

An instance of this is the conversion of the attic of a two-storey house. Whilst the attic conversion may comply in terms of insulation, windows, ceiling heights etc, the attic conversion effectively changes the 2-storey house to a 3-storey house. In this instance, the requirements of TGD B for a 3-storey house would become applicable and all doors (apart from toilets/bathrooms) leading to the hall/stair/landing of the existing house must be upgraded to fire doors, and any walls of the hall/stair/landing as well as the underside of the stairs that are not fire-rated must be up-graded to achieve the appropriate fire rating.

 

Persons purchasing or leasing a building or part of a building should always insist on an appropriate certificate or opinion (prepared by a reputable, local, bonded, Building Consultant) being provided to confirm compliance with Building Regulations.

 

Persons constructing buildings should always ensure that the various suppliers and contractors are knowledgeable of the Building Regulations as they relate to the components and works they supply. For instance, the door/window supplier must ensure that his doors/windows comply with respect to means of escape where necessary, toughened glass where necessary, types of fastenings, trickle vents, thermal performance. After all, the door/window supplier is being paid to design in accordance with the Building Regulations, as well as to make and install.

T.G.D. Update...

EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST JULY 1998
TRANSITION REGS: 	N/A
OTHER REGULATIONS: 1991 FIRST EDITION. EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST APRIL 2005
TRANSITION REGS: 	T.G.D- C, 1997 APPLIES TO WORKS THAT HAVE COMMENCED BEFORE THE 31ST MARCH 2005. NOTE PLANNING PERMISSION DATES ETC HAVE NO BEARING ON THIS GUIDANCE DOCUMENT.
OTHER REGULATIONS: 1997 & 1991 FIRST EDITION.
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST JUNE 2006
TRANSITION REGS: 	T.G.D- B, 1997 APPLIES TO WORKS WHEN A PLANNING APPLICATION IS MADE FOR PERMISSION / APPROVAL TO THE PLANNING AUTHORITY BEFORE 31ST MAY 2006 AND ‘SUBSTANTIAL WORK’ HAS BEEN COMPLETED BEFORE 31ST MAY 2009. WHERE APPLICABLE, A FSC GRANTED BEFORE 31ST MAY 2006 CONTINUES TO APPLY TO WORKS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. 
OTHER REGULATIONS: 1997 & 1991 FIRST EDITION.
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST JANUARY 2001
TRANSITION REGS: 	NO INTEROPERABILITY WITH 1997 REGULATIONS
OTHER REGULATIONS: 1997 & 1991 FIRST EDITION. 
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST JULY 1998
TRANSITION REGS: 	N/A  
OTHER REGULATIONS: 1991 FIRST EDITION.
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST OCTOBER 2010
TRANSITION REGS: 	T.G.D- F, 2002 APPLIES TO WORKS THAT HAVE COMMENCED BEFORE THE 30TH September 2010; OR WHEN A PLANNING APPLICATION IS MADE FOR PERMISSION / APPROVAL TO THE PLANNING AUTHORITY BEFORE 30TH September 2010 AND ‘SUBSTANTIAL WORK’ HAS BEEN COMPLETED BEFORE 30th September 2011
OTHER REGULATIONS: 2002, 1997 & 1991 FIRST EDITION.
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST NOVEMBER 2008
TRANSITION REGS: 	N/A
OTHER REGULATIONS: 1997 & 1991 FIRST EDITION.
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST JUNE 2011
TRANSITION REGS: 	N/A
OTHER REGULATIONS: 1991 & 1997 FIRST EDITION.
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST JULY 1998
TRANSITION REGS: 	N/A
OTHER REGULATIONS: 1991 FIRST EDITION.
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST JULY 1998
TRANSITION REGS: 	N/A
OTHER REGULATIONS: 1991 FIRST EDITION.
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST JULY 2008
TRANSITION REGS: 	T.G.D.-L 2007 APPLIES TO WORKS THAT HAVE COMMENCED AFTER THE 1ST JULY 2008, 
HOWEVER T.G.D- L, 2005 APPLIES TO THE WORKS WHEN WORK HAS COMMENCED BEFORE 30 JUNE 2008 OR WHERE PLANNING PERMISSION/APPROVAL HAS BEEN APPLIED FOR ON OR BEFORE THE 30 JUNE 2008 AND SUBSTANTIAL WORK HAS BEEN COMPLETED BY 1ST JULY 2009.
OTHER REGULATIONS: 2005, 2002 & 1997 & 1991 FIRST EDITION.
EFFECTIVE FROM: 	1ST JANUARY 2012
TRANSITION REGS: 	T.G.D- M, 2000

This information is not an interpretation of the Law and is provided for information purposes only. GABC are not responsible for any losses that may be incurred through the use of the information contained within this website.  

Technical Guidance Document

'A' - Structure

1997

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'B' - Fire Safety

2006

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'C' - Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture

2004

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'D' - Materials & Workmanship

2000

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'E' - Sound

1997

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'F' - Ventilation

2009

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'G' - Hygiene

2008

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'J' - Heat Producing Appliances

1997

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'K' - STAIRWAYS, LADDERS, RAMPS AND GUARDS

1997

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'L' - Conservation of Fuel & Energy

2007

 

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Technical Guidance Document

'M' - Access and Use

2010

 

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