The Construction Process

Step 8: The Construction Process

 

 

Planning Permission

This information is a guide to the statutory planning process for people developing childcare facilities. It is not a definitive legal interpretation of planning law.  The information is taken from a variety of publications and policy documents. Policy for the development of childcare facilities is set out in the County and Local Area Development Plans. All applications will be assessed against this policy and against Department of Environment & Local Governments’ guidelines.  For more definitive information you must contact your local planning authority.

It is important to familiarize yourself with the development policies and objectives of the planning authority in the Local Development Plan, in advance of even considering  developing a site or building.  You can view the plan and discuss your proposal with the planning officer by appointment.

 

Information to be supplied
Generally the more information supplied the better, as this can reduce the need for the Planning Authority to request further information from you. Pre-planning meetings can be held with the Planning Department before an application is made.

Information submitted, should include the following, at a minimum:

  1. Nature of the facility: Is it full day care, sessional, drop-in or after-school?
  2. Number of children being catered for
  3. Parking provision for customers and staff
  4. Proposed hours of operation
  5. Open space provision, outdoor play areas, and measures for management of same

Please note: it is always advisable to consult with your local Planning Department, Chief Fire Officer, Health Service Executive, Area Engineer and Roads Design prior to submitting a planning application.

 

When do you need Planning Permission?
You need planning permission for any development of land or property unless it is  specifically exempted from this need. The term development includes the carrying out of works (building, demolition, alteration) on land or buildings, and making of a material (i.e. significant) change of use of land or buildings.  You also need planning permission if you change the use of an existing residence or building to develop a childcare facility.

Are there any exemptions?                                                                                                    

Generally, planning permission is required for the development of any childcare facility.  Exemptions apply to minor domestic changes, of up to 40sq.m with conditions and for the use of a house for child minding, defined as “the activity of minding no more than six children (including children, if any, of the person minding) in the house of that person for profit or gain” (Planning & Development Regulations 2001, S.I. 600).

 

   How to make a Planning Application

 

How long will it take to get Planning Permission?

Generally the planning authorities will deal with a planning application in 12 weeks from the date of application to the final grant of permission.  Within the first 8 weeks you will receive a Notification of Decision to either: Grant, Refuse, or Seek Further Information.  The minimum period for a decision is stipulated as 5 weeks.  The final 4 weeks is to allow for Appeals and Objections.  However, the time period will vary, particularly if the  authority requires further information, as is often the case.

 

Considerations in your Planning Application
Department of Environment & Local Government guidelines set out the criteria for assessing planning applications for childcare facilities. You should consider each of these points in your application:

  • Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016
  • Suitability of the site for the type and size of the facility proposed
  • Availability of outdoor play area and details of management of same
  • Convenient to public transport facilities
  • Safe access and convenient parking for customers and staff
  • Local traffic conditions
  • Cycle ways
  • Number of such facilities in the area
  • Intended hours of operation (in certain residential areas, 24 hour operations could be problematic)
  • Proposals for large residential developments (75 units or more) shall be presented in the context of a local area plan where access for residents to public transport, schools and childcare facilities, shops and recreational areas are all clearly intended.

The location of childcare facilities is of critical importance. The accessibility to amenities for local residents must be maintained. Traffic considerations must also be considered. Therefore, to avoid the creation of traffic hazards, adequate parking, dropping off, turning facilities, sight distances etc. must be available. The Planning Authority shall consider childcare facilities in the following locations as a key element in the provision of sustainable communities;

  • Residential areas;
  • Places of employment;
  • Educational establishments;
  • City, town and neighborhood centers;
  • Convenience to public transport  facilities.

 

Are there any other requirements?

Yes, you will need the following:

  • Fire Safety Certificate:  The Fire Safety Certificate Guide may be obtained from the Fire    Department or the Building Control Department of the Environment and Local Government.
  • Building Regulations:  The law governing the planning system is set out in the Local Government (Planning & Development) Acts, 1963 to 2000 and the Local Government (Planning & Development) Regulations, 1997 to 2001.  The Planning Regulations 2001 revoke all Planning Acts 1963-1999.  These may be purchased from the Government Publications Sales Office, Sun Alliance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. (These are continuously being updated)
  • Commencement Notice: Building Control Department – Local Planning Authorities.
  • Approval from Local Authorities Services: Building control department – Local Planning Authorities.
  • ESB/Gas supply: Local suppliers
  • Health Authority approval: Local Planning Authorities.

 

Fire Safety

 

Fire Safety

The Fire Services Act 1981, applies to premises used for the purpose of recreation or instruction, teaching or training, and to premises used for any purpose involving access to the premises by members of the public, whether on payment or otherwise.

The Fire Services Act is interpreted as applying to all premises used for pre-school services and persons in control of these premises have general obligations with regard to fire safety under the Act.

The Fire Safety in Pre-Schools-A Guide to Fire Safety in Premises used for Pre-School Services, has been developed to assist persons in control of premises used for pre-school services in discharging their statutory responsibilities under the Act.  In particular, the Act provides that, persons in control of these premises are required:

  • To take “all reasonable measures” to guard against the outbreak of fire on the   premises, and

  • In the event of a fire occurring, to ensure “as far as is reasonably practicable” the safety of the children and staff on the premises.

The guide expands on the fire and safety duties contained in articles 16 and 27 of the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations 2006.

 

Fire safety in such premises is achieved by means of a combination of:

  • An effective fire safety management policy, and

  • The provision of adequate fire safety features in the premises.

Please refer to the Guide for a complete and comprehensive guide to fire safety features and management policy

 

What is a Fire Safety Certificate?

This is a certificate issued by the Building Control Authority and states “the work or building to which the application relates will, if constructed in accordance with the plans, calculations, specifications and particulars submitted, comply with the requirements of Building Regulations, 1998 & 2000”. A Fire Safety Certificate is required, with the exemption of certain works described in the Building Control Regulations 1997 & 2000, for all new buildings and material changes of use.  It must be obtained before work commences on site. 

 

Where do I get a Fire Safety Certificate?

A Fire Safety Certificate is applied for through the Local Building Control Authority. 

Application forms are submitted with the following information:

  • Plans, calculations, and specifications for the work being carried out.

  • Details of the nature and extent of the proposed use.

  • Where appropriate, details of the prior or existing use of the building.

  • The appropriate application fee.

The Building Control Authority has two months to process the application or where additional information is requested, such extended period of time as agreed between the applicant and the Building Control Authority.

Managing the Development Process / Construction or Renovation of the Site

 

At this point a contractor has been secured and all the necessary funding is in place to begin construction.  This is a good time to re-evaluate the roles of the various development team members.  The most important team member during the development process is the project manager.  The project manager may be the architect, the organisation’s facilities manager, or a consultant hired by the organisation. 

The Project Manager:

  • Has experience in the field of construction, preferably childcare construction.

  • Is responsible for managing the construction contract on behalf of the organisation,   ensuring that construction is conducted according to the arranged design, budget and timeline

  • Co-ordinates all members of the development team involved in the development process

  • Facilitates regular development team meetings, and develops and updates the construction calendar

  • Has decision making authority

  • Is the primary line of communication between the contractor and the development team

  • Co-ordinates site visits with necessary individuals such as building, fire & safety and Health Service Executive officials

 

While the project manager is the critical point person during the development phase, some tasks may be assigned to other development team members.  Ultimately though, it is the project manager who co-ordinates the delegation and insures that follow-through occurs.Because the project manager is critical to a successful development process and outcome, this person should be selected carefully.  Although a board member, community or proposed self employed proprietor may have the projects best interest at heart when offering to take on the role of project manager, this role requires considerable dedication, experience and most importantly is a full time commitment. Once the project manager has been selected, managing the development process generally consists of regularly scheduled meetings with updates from the project manager.  It also includes ensuring that funders are kept informed of the progress, either by joining the development team or with formal updates.

Copyright 2020 by Kildare County Childcare Committee