All Building Applications are coordinated by Department of Town Planning and Building Control and the Environmental Agency is one of the Agencies that is required to examine and process the applications so to ensure compliance with the Building Rules and Approved Codes of Practice.
All building applications and accompanying plans are examined by the Environmental Agency’s Environmental Health Officers working within the Building Control Section to ensure the works will be carried out in compliance with the Rules and Approved Codes of Practice. There is constant liaison with the Building Control Officer and with the other Government agencies involved. Advice is also given to the applicants on the requirements that need to be met for the Approval Notice to be granted. This Agency looks for compliance with those parts of the Building Rules and the Public Health Act in respect of drainage, ventilation of premises and rooms, noise, waste disposal, new fireplaces and chimneys. Any observations or contraventions of the Rules are immediately communicated to both the Applicant and the Building Control Officer.
All bathrooms and habitable rooms are required to be ventilated, Part K of the Building Rules requires that all bathrooms and habitable rooms are suitably ventilated. Toilets that do not have an openable window must be mechanically ventilated which must be sufficient to achieve 3 air changes per hour of the air volume of the room. Additionally, all other areas within dwellings must be suitably ventilated with windows that open to the external air; these windows must have an openable area no less than 1/20 of the floor area of the room. Alternatively if no windows are provided, ventilation can be achieved through mechanical means. The Public Health Act also require workplaces to be provided with suitable ventilation.
Noise reduction is an important aspect of any dwelling. When considering new dwellings, external and party walls are required to provide a 40 dB reduction in noise levels. Walls of a different type of construction to those listed in the Rules are to be accompanied with appropriate certification from the manufacturers confirming compliance with the reduction requirements. Noise within buildings could also arise from lifts, air-conditioning units and other types of mechanical plant. All lift shafts and motor housings must be suitably sound insulated so as not to allow noise to become a nuisance from the normal operation of the lift or air-conditioning units. Additionally any air-conditioning units and other mechanical plant that are installed cannot increase the existing background noise level by more than 3 dB(A). Condensation waste water from air conditioning units must be suitably connected to the drainage system.
Both existing and proposed drainage systems are examined by the Environmental Health Officer. If it is intended that any part of the existing drainage system is to be used for the proposed premises then the drainage lines must be thoroughly checked by the contractors to ensure their condition is satisfactory. New underground drainage systems are also pressure tested to ensure there are no leaks prior to the building’s completion. We ensure that both above and below ground drainage systems comply with the relevant standards (BS EN 12056-2:2000 and BS EN 752:2008). Ensuring the structure of manholes is satisfactory is also an integral part of the Agency’s responsibilities this avoids future potential problems. We also ensure that all manholes are gastight, additionally interior manholes must have double seal bolt-down covers.
If the premises are intended to be used as a food premises the application is assessed by the Agency’s Environmental Health Officer who works within the Food Section. It is the officer’s job to ensure that all the proposed works comply with the Food Hygiene Regulations so that the premises are ready to open as soon as they are completed without any delays. There are a number of common problems that we encounter, for example, the inadequate provision of lobbies and ventilation to toilets or the number and location of wash hand basins provided at the premises. We make sure that all restaurants are equipped with sufficient and satisfactory sanitary facilities. A constant supply of hot and cold water must be provided to all sinks and wash hand basins in all food preparation areas and we ensure that all appliances are properly connected to the foul water drainage system. Additionally all cooking fumes must be discharged via a flue in such a manner and location so as not to cause a nuisance to the inhabitants of the neighbourhood.
All building sites must ensure that they comply with the requirements of The Environment (Control of Dust) Regulations 2010. These environmental controls have been implemented in Gibraltar as part of the Governments Air Quality Action Plan. Companies undertaking any of the prescribed activities listed within the Regulations are required to submit a Dust Control Plan and obtain a certificate of approval from the Agency. The Plan must meet the requirements of the Dust Best Practice Guide produced by the Government of Gibraltar.
Once notification is given by the applicant that all building works are completed, the Agency carries out a final inspection. If the Agency is satisfied that all of its requirements have been complied, written confirmation is sent to the Secretary, Development and Planning Commission that a Certificate of Fitness may be issued.
Environmental Agency Gibraltar
37 Town Range
Tel: 200 70620