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Building Control Regulations FAQs

Developers of every new building, with the exception of domestic buildings, are required to obtain a Fire Certificate. Although there are different certificates for different kinds of development, it is necessary for every developer to send their plans and designs to their local Fire Authority.

Developers' plans are inspected by senior Fire Services staff who ensure that adequate escape facilities are present and that the building is designed in a way that prevents and limits the spread of a fire. If they are satisfied, a certificate is then issued by the the Building Control Authority.

What are the Building Regulations 1997 as amended?

Building Regulations are a set of legal requirements for the design and construction of new buildings, extensions and material alterations to and certain changes of use of existing buildings.

Building Regulations provide for, in relation to buildings, the health, safety and welfare of people, conservation of fuel and energy, and access for people with disabilities.

The Consolidated Regulations came into force on 1 July, 1998, and replace the Building Regulations, 1991 (as amended). The amended Part M came into force on 1 January, 2001. The amended Part L came into force on 1 January, 2003 (new dwellings) and 1 July, 2003 (replacement of external doors, windows and roof lights).

How are the Regulations framed?

The Regulations comprise a set of legal requirements, expressed in simple functional statements. These address the following matters:


Part A

Fire Safety

Part B

Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture

Part C

Materials and Workmanship

Part D


Part E


Part F


Part G

Drainage & Waste Water Disposal

Part H

Heat Producing Appliances

Part J

Stairways, Ladders, Ramps and Guards

Part K

Conservation of Fuel and Energy

Part L

Access for People with Disabilities

Part M

Technical guidance on how to comply with these requirements are set out in twelve separate Technical Guidance Documents, which deal with each of the above areas.

How do they affect me?

If you are having construction work carried out, the work must comply with Regulations. The Regulations do not apply to works consisting of repairs or renewal (as defined in the Regulations).

What control arrangements are in place?

The Building Control Regulations, 1997-2014 supplement the basic system of enforcement referred to in Question 4 above.

Two important control arrangements are provided:

  • Commencement Notice (to be completed online at )
  • Fire Safety Certificate
  • Disability Access Certificate

What is a Commencement Notice?

  • A commencement notice is a notification to a Building Control Authority that a person intends to carry out either works or a material change of use to which the Building Regulations apply.
  • The notice must be given to the Authority not more than 28 days and not less than 14 days before commencement of works or a material change of use.
  • The notice must be accompanied by a Commencement Notice Fee, based on the number of buildings. Copies of a commencement notice can also be obtained from the Building Control Authority from our forms section.

Commencement notices are required for the following:

- the erection of a building;
- a material alteration or extension of 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.

A commencement notice is not required for works or a change of use which are exempted development under the planning code, and for which a fire safety certificate is not required.

Information on exempted development can be viewed at

Planning Permission - Frequently Asked Questions

Planning Permission - Applications in Agriculture

Planning Permission - Applications in Business

What is a Fire Safety Certificate?

A certificate granted by a Building Control Authority certifies that the building or works, if constructed in accordance with the plans, documents and information submitted to the Authority, would comply with the requirements of Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations, 1997 as amended.

Do I need a Fire Safety Certificate?

With the exception of houses and certain agricultural buildings, a Fire Safety Certificate is required for all new buildings (including apartments and flats), as well as material changes of use and certain alterations and extensions to buildings. A Fire Safety Certificate must be obtained before work starts.

Where do I get a Fire Safety Certificate?

Before you begin any work or make a material change of use, you should apply to the local Building Control Authority for a Fire Safety Certificate. The application form for a Fire Safety Certificate should be submitted together with -

  • plans, calculations and specifications for the works or building;
  • details of the nature and extent of the proposed use and, where appropriate, of the existing use of the building;
  • the appropriate fee, based on floor area being 2.90 euro per square metre of gross floor space. The minimum fee is 125 euro while the maximum fee is 12,500 euro.

Any application not including the above can be rejected by the Authority as invalid.

How long should it take to get a Fire Safety Certificate?

Normally two months, but this may be extended by written agreement between the applicant and the Building Control Authority, e.g. when the Authority seeks further information on your application. A Fire Safety Certificate may be granted with or without conditions, or refused.

Can I Appeal if I am refused a Fire Safety Certificate?

Yes. An applicant for a Fire Safety Certificate can appeal to An Bord Pleanála against a refusal, within one month of the decision (details of the appeal fee are available from your Local Authority or An Bord Pleanála).

What is a Disability Access Certificate?

A Disability Access Certificate is a certificate granted by a Building Control Authority which certifies compliance of the design of certain works (e.g. new buildings (except dwelling houses), some extensions to, and some material alterations to buildings (except dwelling houses) with the requirements of Part M of the Building Control Regulations.

When is a Disability Access Certificate required?

A  Disability Access Certificate is required in respect of the following works to buildings other than dwellings (but including apartment buildings), in so far as the Requirements of Part M apply and which commence or take place on or after 1st January 2010. Where a Fire Safety Certificate is required for any works, a Disability Access Certificate is also required.

Is a Disability Access Certificate required prior to submitting a commencement notice?

No. However, A Disability access certificate is required for non domestic works which require a Fire Safety Certificate. It is strongly advised that you obtain a Disability Access Certificate prior to work commencing on site and this will avoid any expensive remedial works which may delay the occupation and/or opening of the building to have your Disability Access Certificate application lodged or granted when submitting your commencement notice.

Note: A building shall not be opened, operated or occupied unless a Disability Access Certificate has been granted on the building.

How long will a Disability Access Certificate take?

It can take up to 8 weeks for a decision to be made on a Disability Access Certificate, or may take longer if it’s agreed with the applicant and the Building Control Authority.

When should I apply for my Disability Access Certificate?

It is best practice to apply for your Disability Access Certificate at the same time you are applying for your Fire Safety Certificate.