Building your own house is a really exciting prospect! But it is not something to take lightly. There are some things you need to consider first before even laying down the first brick.
Here in Ireland, we have very specific building requirements that everyone must follow. So if you’re building a new home yourself, take note of these requirements and what they’re about.
There are 12 of them, and we’ll give you a summary of what each one is all about. You may click the links on each subheading to access a more detailed technical guide from the Department of Housing.
Guidelines on this section specify requirements for a house to be stable enough. So this includes things like foundations, wall thickness, load distribution, supports, and materials to use for each. Recommended dimensions for each part of the house are also mentioned here.
Your house must have adequate means of escaping a fire, should one arise. Also, your house must be constructed in a way that prevents fire from spreading too quickly. Also, the construction must afford some level of protection for neighbouring buildings against the spreading of fire. Finally, your house must have good access for firefighters and their equipment, just in case.
Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture
This part details the requirements for the ground upon which your house will be built. It has to be geologically stable, free from contaminants, and must be in conditions that prevent ground moisture from seeping into your floors and walls.
Materials and Workmanship
This section holds standards for the building materials to be used in constructing your house. All the materials you use must be approved and fit for use in a building. Also, how the materials are handled (workmanship) is equally important.
It’s also necessary that your house can adequately suppress the transmission of sound. In that regard, the floors, walls, ceilings, and other parts must be built to minimise transmission of sound from one room to an adjacent room.
Any building must be well-ventilated so the people inside can breathe comfortably. Specifically, airflow must limit two things: moisture, and pollutants. Having as little of these as possible contributes to healthy air inside your house.
This section outlines specifications for toilets, sinks, and washbasins. There must always be sources of both hot and cold water for washing areas, and toilets have to be water-efficient when flushing.
Drainage and Waste Water Disposal
This section states the infrastructure needed for removing dirty/waste water from your house. Also, there has to be infrastructure for draining out surface water from the house. Each of these should be connected to separate sewer systems as well.
Heat Producing Appliances
Here you will see the safety requirements for any heaters to be installed in your house. There must be adequate airflow for combustion, exhaust vents, and they must be as safe as possible from causing fires.
Stairways, Ladders, Ramps, and Guards
As the name suggests, this section details specifications for stairs, ramps, and other means of accessing different floors of your house. That is, if you’re planning to build one with more than one floor.
Conservation of Fuel and Energy
This part outlines requirements for energy efficiency. Specifically, it states that the entire house must emit only a reasonable amount of CO2 associated with energy use. This would include maximising efficiency of heating appliances and minimising heat loss in the distribution of the produced heat.
Access and Use
Here, it describes how people should be able to access your house, its rooms, and other parts. So this section is mostly about doors, stairs, access to toilets, ramps, passageways, and parking spaces.
Take note, though, that these documents apply to all kinds of buildings. Read the provisions carefully so you can see if each requirement applies to houses (a.k.a. Dwellings). Once you’ve went through this list of requirements, you’ll know everything that your house needs to comply with. Onto the fun part of building it!