Compliance Certificates

A Certificate of Compliance is required for all new build work and for all alterations, additions or extension work to an existing property to ensure that all works have been carried out in accordance with any Planning Permission granted and the Building Regulations. Since the introduction of the Building Control Amendment Regulations 2013, it is now part of a statutory process, which is managed on the BCMS system for all new building work over 40 sq.m.

A Certificate of Compliance is provided by an architect, surveyor or engineer, to certify that they have supervised your construction project and that it has been built in compliance with Building and Planning Regulations.

You will be asked to supply this on the sale or mortgage of your house. If you have not employed an architect, engineer or surveyor and you do not have a Certificate of Compliance, then you will have to provide an Opinion of Compliance.

An Opinion of Compliance is similar, but it does not offer you the same assurances that a Certificate of Compliance will do. The Opinion of Compliance is carried out after the completion of the project and is generally only based on a visual inspection of the works.

An Opinion of Compliance covers the following;

  • Opinion of Compliance with Planning
  • Opinion of Compliance with Building Regulations
  • Opinion of Exemption with Planning


JEArchitecture carry adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance which offers you the protection and peace of mind for all certificates furnished by us. 

What happens if the original Architect is not available?

There is no standard form for circumstances when an Architect is requested to sign an opinion on compliance for either planning permission or building regulations when they were not the architect for the building or development.

If the original Architect is still available, he or she is the appropriate person to sign the opinion. 

If the original Architect is not available, either deceased or not contactable, an opinion on compliance for planning permission can be issued, if the planning permission file is available from the planning authority and confirmation is possible by comparison with the file and a visual inspection.

Confirmation with Building Regulations is not as simple, as the building or development has been constructed. Compliance with the Building Regulations could only be confirmed with confidence by opening up and the extent of opening up could be considerable, which in most cases is not viable. Compliance may possibly be confirmed where the original drawings are available for scrutiny and a comparison with the property or structure is possible. Compliance may also be possible for a simple structure.


Can the Architect, with confidence, confirm compliance with the Building Regulations ?

RIAI advises their members to exercise extreme caution and avoid offering opinions on Building Regulations when they were not the original Architect for the building or development.

Certificates of Compliance are required for the majority of new build works as well as for alterations or extensions to existing properties. The role of the Cert of Compliance is to certify that the relevant works have been undertaken in compliance with any planning permission and the relevant Building Regulations. JEArchitecture prepare Certificates of Compliance and have adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance.

JEArchitecture provide Certificates of Compliance on works that we have designed and supervised ourselves. Furthermore, JEArchitecture can provide Opinions of Compliance on projects where we were not involved on either the design or supervision of the structure. In such situations, we will visit the local authority planning office and inspect the relevant planning file. This allows us to compare the planning drawings and documents to the structure as constructed and to issue an opinion on compliance with planning permission.

JEArchitecture also provide Certificates of Exemption from Planning Permission where required. These certificates are often required in situations whereby a person is selling their property and the solicitor requires a Certificate of Exemption to certify that planning permission was not required for an extension to the property.



I’m looking to sell my house that has been previously extended before I bought it. The extension was exempted. Do I need a certificate of compliance?


As a general rule, properties built before 1963 did not require planning permission and most developments since then did. There are certain rules surrounding exempt development, and generally house extensions of less than 40sq m built to the rear of the existing house can be termed exempt development where planning permission is not required, but a certificate of exemption is. JEArchitecture provide Certificates of Exemption from Planning Permission by carrying out a visual inspection to ensure the property is exempted development. The Certificate of Exemption will be required by your solicitor when selling your property. This certificate certifies that planning permission was not required for an extension to the property.


It really is best practice to employ an qualified and registered Architect such as JEArchitecture for any alterations or extensions to your property whether or not they may be exempt. This ensures that your property is fully compliant with all aspects of planning, including building regulations, and will avoid any last-minute hitches. JEArchitecture have frequently come across scenarios where extensions were carried out with the property owner genuinely of the understanding that the extension was indeed exempt only to find out at the last minute that it was not, and causing significant delays for all parties. If you find yourself in this situation, JEArchitecture advice would be to immediately have the property inspected by a qualified Architect or similar, with an instruction to him to issue a certificate/opinion of compliance. This will very quickly establish the necessity for any planning application for retention that may be required.

Related Articles