This post follows on from a Twitter conversation regarding Irish Building Control between myself, @pv30300 and Terranovadesign. It started with me retweeting a set of cantilevered stairs that were patently not in accordance with Irish (or UK) Building Regulations (here’s the link incidentally Suspended Stairs Link
The discussion went a bit like this… You could do a similar (non compliant staircase if the client sent a letter to Building Control. I was doubtful as I thought the only role BC had in Ireland was processing Commencement notices and said I would call BC today.
Well I made the call and I’ll say it was one of the most interesting of the year. Yes, there is a Building Control and their role is to do spot inspections to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations (approx 15%), the other main role is the management of the Disability Access Certificates (for non residential works).
Well, I asked about a client sending in a letter to absolve the architect from negligence and it was a non-starter, the architect can’t certify compliance with something that is not compliant and he also can’t be party to another (the client) breaking the law (something not in compliance with Building Regs). Effectively any such letter is meaningless and the architect is negligent effectively twice!
I asked another question on a topic that arose recently:
ARGUMENT: If a staircase complies with Building Regs in Italy then it by de facto also complies with Irish Building Regulations under European Law.
FALSE: If it’s European law then it would have been written into Irish Law, an individual aspect of the Building Regs does not directly translate from country to country. An exception to this is that UK Compliance examples will normally be accepted in Ireland.
You can however give a case for something that is outside the realm of the Technical Guidance Documents but is still compliant with the Building Regulations; this is done in liaison with aforesaid Building Control Officer.
Interesting…as always comments welcome…