My 1st letter from an Inspection from Building Control…

OK I’m sorry. Yesterday I let my potty mouth get away with me. I swore. And I apologise.

My only defence is that I received my first ever letter (in 10+ years of working in Ireland) from Building Control following a site inspection.

And as per standard practice this blog post gives no names, no pack-drill etc…

You’ll first need a little bit of context:

I was appointed as architect for sketch design and planning application only and the client was appointing another party to produce construction drawings and onsite inspection/certification. All of which can be standard practice and which I have no problem with (although I recommend to get the best result and value from your architect it’s best to have him/her from the beginning to the end).

So I received the letter from Building Control as it was my name down on the Planning Permission (the drawings of which incidentally are heavily emboldened with ‘NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION, FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY’

And the letter ask for the following items to be addressed:

• Indicate Disabled access on drawings
• Inform when Part L compliant renewable energy system is installed
• Request for BER certificate on completion

And that’s it.

So my UK readers will be asking what about possibly more important items like foundation design, timber/steel sizes/calculations etc…?

What seems to be the situation is that Building Control is gearing up for the Building Control Amendment in March 2014 (of which I’ve already written stacks – simply type in Building Control Amendment in right hand search box for more) and that the items above have been flagged as the important items that need to be addressed. But these items are only the tip of the iceberg in ensuring that Building Regulation compliant buildings are constructed in Ireland. there’s a lot, lot more to be thinking about. I dug out some old drawings from my time working in the UK and there’s revision after revision of ‘Amendment for Building Control’ to ensure compliance and approval of plans; these amendments go into great detail concerning damp proof course position, fire-proofing, steel calculations, flashings… the list was endless. At the time you see these requests as causing problems but currently I would prefer to have this system where everything is checked independently rather than me taking all the responsibility. It even goes as far here as clients and contractors not wanting any contact with Building Control in case they find something wrong; I want them to find something that’s incorrect (before we go on site obviously); they both need to take their heads out of the sand and ask “Do I want to live in a building that doesn’t comply with Building Regulations?” or “Do I want to be a builder that constructs houses that don’t comply with Building Regulations?”

My opinion is that if this is all that’s going to be checked then we’re still in big trouble. And again, the architects are taking the full responsibility of building in accordance with the regulations with no third party checks taking place.

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