40 sq.m. Question | Review 1 of the issues

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Review 1  – 19 January 2015

Today the BRegs Blog has decided to launch a series of posts to review SI.9 and the 40 square metre question. When these regulations were introduced last March it was generally understood that small domestic extensions were exempt. Some eight months later official advice was issued with a very different interpretation. Ten months into the new system neither the Department of the Environment nor the Local Authorities have explained SI.9 and the 40 square metre question unambiguously. As a result, there is now complete confusion about which house extensions fall under the new rules. House extensions that fall under SI. 9 have much more onerous requirements*.

It is difficult to understand how such a fundamental element of the legislation should remain so unresolved almost a year after its introduction (324 days at the time of writing to be exact). It appears that there are at least four legal interpretations of the wording which may not be determined until a legal action is taken and the issue is decided by the Courts. Unfortunately that means building owners and Assigned Certifiers are operating in a legal vacuum at present that will prove very costly to some who may get it wrong.

The BRegs Blog plans to continue this review as follows:

  • Why 40 m2 – why not four or 400 m2; the context of exemptions from Building Control on public safety and the impact on housing quality.
  • Current interpretations of the legislation.
  • Publication of the BRegs Blog commissioned interpretation.
  • Readers’ Views / Comments / Reactions and Feedback

* SI.9 Commencement Notices are required for the following:

  • The erection of a building
  • A material alteration of a building
  • An extension to a building
  • A material change of use of a building
  • Works in connection with the material alteration (excluding minor works) of a shop, office or industrial building where a Fire Safety Certificate is not required.

A Commencement Notice is not required for:

  • Works or a change of use which requires neither planning permission, nor a Fire Safety Certificate

SI.9  ‘Additional requirements’ apply to:

  • Construction of a dwelling house
  • Extension of a dwelling house by more than 40 square meters
  • Works which require a Fire Safety Certificate

and include:

  • The nomination of a competent ‘Assigned Certifier’ to inspect and certify the works
  • The assignment of a competent builder to carry out the works
  • The submission of Certificates of Compliance on completion

Links to previous posts on this issue:

When is an extension not an extensions: the 40 sq.m. question 

Phil Hogan | SI.9…”will only apply to works involving the addition of an extension which is greater than 40 sq.m.”

± 40 sq.m. | “Exemption should avoid controls on minor development”

‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly

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