Our website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, analyse site traffic, personalise content, and serve targeted advertisements. Please visit our Cookie Policy page for more information about cookies and how we use them.

Commencement Notices

Under the 1990 Building Control Act and the 1997 Building Control Regulations, commencement notices must be lodged to the Local Authority by any person who intends to carry out any works or a change of use on their property.

Notices should be submitted not less than 14 days and no more than 28 days before the commencement of such works.


 Commencement notices are required for:

  • The erection of a building
  • The material alteration or extension of a building
  • The material change of use of a building
  • Works relating to the material alteration (excluding minor works) of a shop, office or industrial building

The primary responsibility for compliance is with designers, builders and building owners. Building control authorities have power to inspect design documents and buildings. It also has the powers to enforce and prosecute where breaches of the regulations occur. Penalties such as heavy fines and imprisonment, for breaches of the building regulations can be enforced. Difficulties may arise regarding the sale of  a property if it does not comply with the requirements of the building regulations.


 Commencement stage:

  • The Owner submits a Commencement Notice & accompanying documents to the Building Control Authority (BCA) via BCMS
  • The Builder and Assigned Certifier are formally assigned by the Owner via BCMS
  • The Builder and Assigned Certifier formally undertake the works via BCMS
  • The Designer submits a Certificate of Compliance called "Design Certificate" to the BCA via BCMS

For more information see the bcms website at https://nbco.localgov.ie/


Validation of Commencement Notices:

Following submission of the Commencement Notice, together with the notices of assignment of Builder, Assigned Certifier and submission of respective undertakings, Design Certificate and accompanying plans, the Building Control Authority undertakes a validation process on the documentation submitted.

Please note that validation relates to the completeness of the application in terms of material submitted and not to the detail within the material itself.

There is no requirement or obligation on the Building Control Authority to carry out a technical assessment of the plans or other documents submitted. On this basis the applicant and their agents remain responsible for the content of the plans and particulars submitted.

To assist applicants please be aware that there may be typical reasons why your notice may be rejected. The list below is indicative and advisory only and is not a comprehensive list of all statutory requirements. The responsibility to ensure compliance rests with the applicant/agent.

Please note that in the event of invalidation that development cannot proceed. 


Indicative reasons for invalidation:

Insufficient Notice - An application will be rejected as invalid if the minimum of 14 days notice is not given on the application form. A commencement notice will not be accepted if more than 28 days notice is given. Notice begins on the date the application is received in Council offices or lodged online on the BCMS. 

Incorrect Fee Do not forget to enclose the appropriate fee. If in doubt about the amount due, details can be checked on our website.

Planning permission - No grant of permission – Work cannot commence until you have received your Final Grant from the Planning Authority or a decision of An Bord Pleanala. 


No Fire Safety Certificate:

If a Fire Safety Certificate is required for the development the Reference number (FSC/..xxxx..) of the Granted Fire Safety Certificate must be entered on the Commencement Notice. If work is to start and an application is being made for a Fire Safety Certificate at the same time, a 7 Day Notice must instead be submitted. 

Signing Notice: Applicants and/or their agents should ensure that the relevant parts of the notice are completed and signed.


Disability Access Certificates:

Although a Commencement Notice can be submitted before a Disability Access Certificate has been applied for, it would be advisable to obtain a certificate before starting work to avoid potentially expensive remedial work.


Submission of relevant plans/drawings:

 Please ensure that the relevant general arrangement drawings, sections, elevations, inspection plans, certificates, notices and undertakings are submitted. Agents/applicants should note however that they are responsible for the details of said plans/drawings as advised above.

Drawing/plans file types: In the event that applications are submitted in electronic format at the public counter of the Planning Authority and not online, please note that only .pdf file types are acceptable.


Relevant Legislation

The requirement for and the legislative background to a commencement notice is set out in the Building Control Act 1990 and the various regulations on foot of the Act.

The primary responsibility for compliance rests with designers, builders and building owners. When it comes to selling your property, difficulties can arise if you cannot comply with the requirements of the building regulations.