We’re plan­ning to ex­tend – what hap­pens if we ‘opt out’ of build­ing reg­u­la­tions?

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Advice -

QMy hus­band and I will be com­menc­ing some ren­o­va­tion work which in­cludes ex­tend­ing the kitchen by 20sq m. We be­lieve it isn’t manda­tory to go the build­ing con­trol amend­ment reg­u­la­tions* [BCAR] route and we don’t think it will make a huge dif­fer­ence other than add an ad­di­tional ¤2,000 to the cost. What are the ben­e­fits if we don’t tick “opt­ing out” of BCAR when sub­mit­ting our com­mence­ment no­tice to the lo­cal county coun­cil?

AHome own­ers should weigh up the con­se­quences of their de­ci­sion to opt out of BCAR, which is the statu­tory cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process. The rea­son­able cost as­so­ci­ated with en­gag­ing the ser­vices of a reg­is­tered pro­fes­sional for de­sign, in­spec­tion and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the works, how­ever, is a key con­sid­er­a­tion.

It is worth bear­ing in mind that a rea­son­able in­vest­ment in the de­sign, in­spec­tion and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the work will pay div­i­dend in terms of the de­liv­ery of a qual­i­ty­compli­ant build­ing. Home­own­ers should fa­mil­iarise them­selves with the po­ten­tial cost or other im­pli­ca­tions that may oc­cur as a re­sult of choos­ing the opt-out op­tion.

In my opin­ion, all builders need guid­ance. Even the most skilled builders will seek pro­fes­sional opin­ion on how to achieve com­pli­ance with the reg­u­la­tions. In the event of opt-out, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, builders are typ­i­cally left to their own de­vices. This can lead to a sit­u­a­tion where the fin­ished prod­uct is non-com­pli­ant.

This is not usu­ally as a re­sult of in­com­pe­tence or neg­li­gence on the be­half of the builder, but as a re­sult of a lack of di­rec­tion and in­spec­tion of works as they progress. Builders, if left to de­sign so­lu­tions them­selves, will re­peat de­tails that they have used on pre­vi­ous jobs. Re­gret­tably, all build­ings are not the same and dif­fer­ent ap­proaches or meth­ods need to be im­ple­mented on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis in or­der to achieve com­pli­ance.

Take in­su­la­tion stan­dards, for ex­am­ple; each dwelling needs to be as­sessed in­di­vid­u­ally to es­tab­lish the type and thick­ness of in­su­la­tion that should be used. The cho­sen so­lu­tion will de­pend on the form of con­struc­tion, ex­tent of glazed ar­eas, ori­en­ta­tion of the house rat­ing to be achieved and the like. Re­gret­tably, this is usu­ally where er­rors are made, when builders blindly fol­low spec­i­fi­ca­tions from a pre­vi­ous job. The con­se­quences can be a com­pleted build­ing, which is non-com­pli­ant. This can be costly to cor­rect.

If we are guided by the past, and look at the is­sues that arose when there was a dif­fer­ent ap­proach in terms of com­pli­ance, it is not un­rea­son­able to ex­pect that is­sues of non-com­pli­ance found in build­ings prior to the in­tro­duc­tion of BCAR will ex­ist in build­ings where the opt-out op­tion has been cho­sen.

In the event that th­ese build­ings are of­fered for sale, then th­ese is­sues are likely to come to light fol­low­ing a pre-ac­qui­si­tion sur­vey. If non-com­pli­ance is iden­ti­fied, this would be con­sid­ered a “blot on ti­tle” and may in­hibit the sale or re­duce the value of the prop­erty.

Build­ing reg­u­la­tions set out to en­sure build­ings are “safe”. The reg­u­la­tions seek to re­move is­sues that may cause a life safety risk. The opt-in op­tion is there­fore worth­while as it will en­sure that you can demon­strate your fin­ished build­ing com­plies fully with the reg­u­la­tions.

Cor­rec­tion of non-com­pli­ance is­sues can also be costly. Typ­i­cal is­sues I have seen with sim­ple ex­ten­sions of the type you pro­pose are gen­er­ally as fol­lows: ❒ In­cor­rect con­nec­tion of drains where ex­ist­ing sur­face water and foul water drains are in­ter­con­nected/cross con­tam­i­nated. ❒ In­cor­rect pitch on roofs where tiles are laid to an in­cor­rect pitch, with re­sul­tant water ingress. ❒ Roof lights fit­ted to in­cor­rect pitch and not in ac­cor­dance with the man­u­fac­turer’s guide­lines with sub­se­quent water ingress. ❒ In­cor­rect in­su­la­tion used. ❒ Poorly sup­ported ma­sonry where in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal walls have been re­moved to fa­cil­i­tate the ex­ten­sion. ❒ Im­proper con­struc­tion over ex­ist­ing drains. ❒ Poorly con­structed roofs, lack of tri­an­gu­la­tion and un­der-siz­ing of roof tim­bers. ❒ In­com­plete works where walls have poor ac­ces­si­bil­ity at bound­ary walls. ❒ Use of bound­ary walls to form ex­ter­nal walls to ex­ten­sions. ❒ En­croach­ment prop­er­ties. onto neigh­bour­ing

Send your queries to prop­er­tyques­tions@irish­times.com

or to Prop­erty Clinic, The Ir­ish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2. This col­umn is a read­ers’ ser­vice. The con­tent of the Prop­erty Clinic is pro­vided for gen­eral in­for­ma­tion only. It is not in­tended as ad­vice on which read­ers should rely. Pro­fes­sional or spe­cial­ist ad­vice should be ob­tained be­fore per­sons take or re­frain from any ac­tion on the ba­sis of the con­tent. The Ir­ish Times and its con­trib­u­tors will not be li­able for any loss or dam­age aris­ing from re­liance on any con­tent.

Cer­tain small ex­ten­sions are ex­empt from the re­quire­ment to reg­is­ter on the BCMS sys­tem /BCAR but you need to be sure that the pro­posed ex­ten­sion is con­sid­ered in the con­text of cu­mu­la­tive floor area and take ac­count of any pre­vi­ous ex­ten­sions.

Your lo­cal build­ing sur­veyor will be able to guide you in this re­gard. As I have said, each home owner needs to weigh up the costs of pro­fes­sional ad­vice against the po­ten­tial for non-com­pli­ant com­pleted build­ings.

Non-com­pli­ance will af­fect mar­ket value and there­fore, in my opin­ion, the op­tion to opt out should come with a strong health warn­ing and should be avoided.

Even ‘

the most skilled builders will seek pro­fes­sional opin­ion on how to achieve com­pli­ance with the reg­u­la­tions

Noel Larkin, is a char­tered build­ing sur­veyor and mem­ber of the So­ci­ety of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors Ire­land, scsi.ie ■ Full in­for­ma­tion on BCAR and the build­ing con­trol man­age­ment sys­tem can be found in the SCSI con­sumer guide at scsi.ie/doc­u­ments

If non-com­pli­ance is iden­ti­fied, this would be con­sid­ered a “blot on ti­tle” and may in­hibit the sale or re­duce the value of the prop­erty

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.