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  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Default Building regulations for Ireland (Republic) and general questions

    Hi,

    I'm at the initial planning stages of a renovation & home automation system installation, and I'm trying to identify all of the regulations (building, wiring, etc.) that might apply. Is there a list somewhere?

    Based on the general stuff that I've seen (I'm originally from the US and now live near Dublin), it looks like there isn't much difference between the Irish regulations and the UK regulations. However, from an installation point of view, there seems to be a world of difference between how things are done in Ireland (or at least were in the past when the house was built) and how they were/are done in France (My father-in-law is French and worked as an electrician/EE in industrial applications and automation control systems).

    I'm reasonably familiar with the regulations in the US, and have found the Reader's Digest DIY manual invaluable in understanding how the different systems in use in Ireland and the UK work relative to their US counterparts, but I'm not a professional builder or electrician. The last thing I want to do is have to rip out a bunch of wiring/cabling when/if we decide to sell the place here in order for it to pass code.

    I'm considering purchasing the following books:

    National Rules for Electrical Installations (3rd Edition 2006)
    from http://www.etci.ie/publications/onlinestore.html
    IEE on Site Guide (BS 7671:2001)
    and the "IEE Wiring Regulations: Explained & Illustrated", "Design & Verification of Electrical Installations" and "IEE Wiring Regulations: Inspection, Testing & Certification" books by Brian Scaddan

    Are they the right ones/worth it?

    Also, I haven't seen anything covering the fire implications/recommendations of some of the wiring and lighting installations here. Can someone comment on these? For example, I know that it is recommended practice to box-in with drywall the locations of downlighters installed in ground floor ceilings so that the lighting installations don't act as chimneys to the upper floors and thus the recommended minimum fire survivability time (~30 minutes) of the upper floor. From extrapolation, it would seem that similar care would need to be taking with the main wiring trunks used for control/audio cables and CAT5e--especially since there doesn't appear to be any additional insulation present in any of the ceilings/walls of my house. How have other people addressed this?

    One other thing I'd like to do is run as much conduit as I can to make replacement, additions and other changes to the wiring as easy as possible. This isn't done much in residential construction in the US to my knowledge, and it certainly wasn't done with the house here in Ireland. From the pictures I've seen here and other places, it doesn't seem like this is the norm. Is there a reason?

    A final question relates directly to the types of electrical devices you can install in bathrooms here. The rules are the most restrictive I've ever seen, but do they also prohibit the installation of an LCD display panel? I want to have a kiosk type touch display located on the wall opposite the shower/tub. Has anyone ever done this sort of thing with either their own or commercial automation systems?

    Any thoughts, comments or feedback would be appreciated. I tried searching for the above in both google and the archives, but I didn't see these questions specifically addressed.

    Thanks in advance,

    ast

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Can't help on the building regs as I live in Spain. But your local library might be a good source of info as well.
    Waterproof monitors are available but touch screen ones for domestic applications may be hard to find. I know you can get industrial ones. As they ae used on CNC milling machines, and have to be sealed against cutting oil, and I have seen ones available for marine applications, but like most things add the words marine environment and the price tag doubles or tripples.
    There is a thread on here about waterproof TVs http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/vbull...read.php?t=825

    Also try here
    http://www.porta.co.uk/maintv.html

    With regards to downlighters there are also special fire proof hoods that can be used instead of a dry wall box.
    Have alook here
    http://www.lighting-direct.co.uk/dow...ods-c-313.html

    Hope this helps you.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ast View Post
    Hi,
    I'm considering purchasing the following books:

    National Rules for Electrical Installations (3rd Edition 2006)
    from http://www.etci.ie/publications/onlinestore.html
    IEE on Site Guide (BS 7671:2001)
    and the "IEE Wiring Regulations: Explained & Illustrated", "Design & Verification of Electrical Installations" and "IEE Wiring Regulations: Inspection, Testing & Certification" books by Brian Scaddan

    Are they the right ones/worth it?
    I have this On Site Guide: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Institution-...010421&sr=1-14
    I got it a while ago and I think the one you found with the brown cover is the latest. The regs are being updated (so I hear) so depending on your schedule it may be worth holding out for the guide to the 17th edition.

    Quote Originally Posted by ast View Post
    Also, I haven't seen anything covering the fire implications/recommendations of some of the wiring and lighting installations here. Can someone comment on these? For example, I know that it is recommended practice to box-in with drywall the locations of downlighters installed in ground floor ceilings so that the lighting installations don't act as chimneys to the upper floors and thus the recommended minimum fire survivability time (~30 minutes) of the upper floor. From extrapolation, it would seem that similar care would need to be taking with the main wiring trunks used for control/audio cables and CAT5e--especially since there doesn't appear to be any additional insulation present in any of the ceilings/walls of my house. How have other people addressed this?
    You only need fire-rated hoods/boxes when your ceiling specifically requires a fire rating. One location would be an integral garage with a habitable room above. There are also "fire rated" downlighters, e.g. http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Ind..._Gu/index.html which saves the boxing-in or hoods. They will also limit the sound transmission between floors.

    For cable-ways I suspect it will depend on how many, and where they are run. A whole range of sealing products are available but I would suspect a generous wad of rockwool would be "good enough" for most domestic situations. If you're going to penetrate a fire-rated wall ceiling it's best to get some professional advice


    Quote Originally Posted by ast View Post
    One other thing I'd like to do is run as much conduit as I can to make replacement, additions and other changes to the wiring as easy as possible. This isn't done much in residential construction in the US to my knowledge, and it certainly wasn't done with the house here in Ireland. From the pictures I've seen here and other places, it doesn't seem like this is the norm. Is there a reason?
    Almost certainly cost. It's not required by the regs (for most situations) and therefore it's all extra time & money for the builder when simply clipping the cable to the wall and plastering over will do.
    I've run conduit for all of my automation cabling but much of my (original) mains cable is still buried in plaster.

    Quote Originally Posted by ast View Post
    A final question relates directly to the types of electrical devices you can install in bathrooms here. The rules are the most restrictive I've ever seen, but do they also prohibit the installation of an LCD display panel? I want to have a kiosk type touch display located on the wall opposite the shower/tub. Has anyone ever done this sort of thing with either their own or commercial automation systems?
    As toscal suggests, your best bet here is probably an industrial panel. I don't think it's covered particularly well in the regs (but I'm not a qualified sparky) but applying common sense, if your touch panel is IP65 rated and certified for use in a wet, industrial environment, it's hard to see how it could be considered unsafe in a domestic bathroom.

    Here's a couple of suggestions, but sit down when you ask for a price...
    http://www.awc-corp.com/Products/Sie...ch_Panels.html
    http://www.bsicomputer.com/industria.../panel_pcs.htm
    http://www.ucs.co.uk/index.php?feature=touch_screens
    ...and note not all of the models have touch screens.

    Most of the above links are for screens with PCs behind them. Googling for panel mount monitors should give some less integrated solutions too.

    For just TV functions, have a look at TileVision and AquaVision.

    HTH,

    Tim.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the responses folks.

    I'll look into the hostile environment touch displays. Conceivably, I'll need more than one, but probably only two, depending on the spec, size and how far I get with my project. I don't care about having a TV. I need to have a computer-driven display. If I ever want TV, I'll probably end up streaming it or something.

    I went ahead and ordered the books because I need to get going on my design. I'm hoping that the regulations aren't going to change that much if there's a new version coming out. That's also the main reason that I'm ordering the book from the ETCI over here, because I'm sure there's subtle differences between the UK and Ireland.

    Tim, thanks for your comments on the fire codes. I find it interesting that regular residential ceilings don't have the same requirements as over-garage dwellings. Sure, the risk of fire might be higher in a garage vs. a dining room, but I'd say that the risk of fire in the kitchen is probably just as likely. In our house, our son's bedroom is right over it... Again, this is based on stuff in the US, but there's documented evidence (http://www.firesafecigarettes.org/it...ews/Editorials) that 20% of home-fire deaths occur in fires that start with the ignition of upholstered furniture (500 people/year in the US, USA Today, 2006).

    Maybe because I'm doing it myself, but I think I'll try and do what I can to make the fire rating better than it was before I started. Many thanks for the link to the fire rated downlighters. They aren't as expensive as I thought they'd be, and they don't require a transformer. One of the arguments my wife has against putting in new ones is that she can't stand the noise of the transformer in the ones that were already in the kitchen. These ones look just the ticket.

    Thanks for the links to the panels. I don't need one with a PC. I just need an LCD capable of at least 800x600 and preferably 1024x768. If I get this far, I'm going to be prototyping a custom embedded system anyway, so I'd end up throwing away everything but the display.

    Thanks again to you both for the comments and links.

    Cheers,

    ast

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member CableTie's Avatar
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    Hi ast

    Yes the books are worth it and will provide a good deal of relevant info. The 17th edition proposals are being discussed info in these two links:

    http://www.iee.org/Publish/Books/Wir...?book=PWR05060

    http://www.theiet.org/forums/forum/m...&enterthread=y

    Might give a new slant on what you install in the bathroom.


    When I did my install I ran conduit and back boxes to points that I thought I may use at sometime in the future with a drawstring in. After plasterers had roughed out I cut plasterboard inserts for the boxes that I wasn't going to use now and foamed them in place. Then took lots of photo's with measurements marked on wall. Plasterers skimmed and boxes disappeared, lot of extra work but in main lounge and master bedroom it will allow rooms to be changed. I would certainly recommend conduit for data handy for the extra cat5 at sometime. Power I would just use the plastic channel cover.

    Fire hoods are in my opinion worth it as they usually give not only fire protection but also acoustic properties.

    Good luck

    Paul

  6. #6
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ast View Post
    I'll look into the hostile environment touch displays. Conceivably, I'll need more than one, but probably only two, depending on the spec, size and how far I get with my project. I don't care about having a TV. I need to have a computer-driven display. If I ever want TV, I'll probably end up streaming it or something.
    Here's a selection of no-PC options
    http://www.touchscreens.com/products...nelmounts.html
    http://www.flatvision.co.uk/products...anel/index.php
    http://db.ttx.ca/TTXCanada/Products/...mount_lcd.html

    Quote Originally Posted by ast View Post
    Tim, thanks for your comments on the fire codes. I find it interesting that regular residential ceilings don't have the same requirements as over-garage dwellings.
    <snip>
    Maybe because I'm doing it myself, but I think I'll try and do what I can to make the fire rating better than it was before I started. Many thanks for the link to the fire rated downlighters. They aren't as expensive as I thought they'd be, and they don't require a transformer. One of the arguments my wife has against putting in new ones is that she can't stand the noise of the transformer in the ones that were already in the kitchen. These ones look just the ticket.
    No problem
    I'm not completely up to speed with the latest building regs, but maybe things have now changed and a kitchen ceiling does need to maintain it's fire integrity. There's certainly no problem in exceeding the regulatory requirements

    Cheers,

    Tim.

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