What is involved in planning and building regulation compliance

Over the past 5 years, ORS has completed in excess of 5,000 inspections of assets on behalf of receivers and financial institutions dealing with insolvency. Because properties differ and not all properties present with the same challenges, the ORS multidisciplinary offering and experience is what sets us apart and allows us to provide a bespoke and superior service to our clients. In relation to insolvency cases, ORS provides the following services:

  • Planning and Building Regulation Compliance
  • Building Condition Surveys
  • Development Feasibility Studies
  • Fire Risk Assessments
  • Letters of Exemption
  • Land Registry Mapping/Multi-Unit Mapping
  • Declaration of Identity

If you are involved in selling a property, it is likely that you will need an opinion on compliance with planning and building regulations. Prior to the introduction of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act 1963, planning permission was seldom required to build or demolish buildings, with developments constructed after this generally requiring planning permission.

Since the Act was incorporated into Irish Law there have been numerous amendments which have dealt with issues surrounding planning permission, including exempted development

The architect or engineer responsible for the design and supervision of the unit is typically the person responsible for preparing and providing the client with an opinion on compliance at completion.  In some cases these documents are mislaid and/or are too old to be relied upon. When dealing with retrospective planning compliance, you need knowledgeable engineers and surveyors that have experience in this area. To be in a position to provide a planning compliance review and subsequently an opinion on compliance, the ORS Building Survey team must complete the following:

  1. Desktop review and planning search to collate details of all planning applications and permissions granted and/or refused in relation to the property.
  2. Details of all enforcement proceedings taken or other notices served under the planning acts in relation to the property.
  3. Review of protected structures register to determine if the property is a protected structure and/or declared to be an area of specific designation under the planning acts.
  4. Retrieval and inspection of applicable planning permissions, including review of conditions attached to same.
  5. Inspection of the property to determine compliance with aforementioned planning permissions, including conditions.
  6. Preparation of compliance report, highlighting issues of note and discussion on any planning implications and advise on exempted developments, where appropriate.
  7. Issue of opinion on compliance, where the property is found to be in substantial compliance with the as-granted permission.
  8. It is worth noting that if no planning enforcement has taken place against a development for 7 years after the expiry of permission, the Local Authority is statute barred from enforcing.

Of course, it is not only planning permission for which you will need an opinion of compliance and more often than not, opinions on compliance with planning permission and building regulations are provided. Retrospective compliance with building regulations is somewhat harder to determine given the nature of the changes in regulation over the years.

Where ORS cannot provide on­site services the opinion offered is generally limited and based on a visual inspection only. Where the development has been found not to comply with the relevant building regulations the team can offer advice on the possible options available to a client to regularise the development.

Some of the most common issues of non-compliance relates to Part B (Fire Safety) of the building regulations. This is particularly the case in multi-unit properties such as apartments etc. ORS has a dedicated Fire Safety Team that can be called upon to undertake detailed fire safety risk assessments, should the initial inspection for compliance with building regulations uncover significant issues with compliance.

Where the building was built prior to 13th December 1989 (introduction of building control act), confirmed either by onsite inspection or commencement notice, the building regulations do not apply, but the property may be subject to building bye laws, usually set out in the planning permission.

Please contact Deirdre McShane at d.mcshane@ors.ie, Team Leader of the Building Surveying Team directly for any queries in relation to building surveys and compliance services.

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