New houses require water reservoir, PA announces in sanitary overhaul

Property developers take note: a long list of sanitary regulations has been announced by the Planning Authority

All new development must have a water reservoir to store and re-use rainwater run-off from the built up area, as health and sanitary laws from in 1880 and 1934 get a long overdue streamlining.

The new rules also provide hat every reservoir shall be connected to a pump to allow water extraction.

“These best practice standards, amongst other criteria, are the basis of these new regulations,” the Planning Authority said, announcing the rules which cover light and ventilation and water storage.

The Planning Authority and the Environmental Health Directorate will now enforce these rules, which define a habitable space as any space larger than 6m2, excluding bathrooms, circulation space, walk-in wardrobes, domestic stores, engine rooms, lift shafts, garages, games rooms and commercial developments.

The regulations also require that while every dwelling unit must have a frontage on a road, valley or coast, all habitable spaces are to be adequately illuminated and ventilated with natural light and ventilation.

Glazed automated retractable or fixed roofing over courtyards, which provide ventilation to habitable spaces, may also be considered provided that they can achieve acceptable levels of ventilation in accordance with recognised building codes and standards.

While every dwelling, except corner dwellings, shall have a backyard with a depth in proportion to the height of the building, the regulations set a minimum backyard depth of three metres for buildings with a height of up to 10.1 metres.

For each overlying additional floor, a setback of 1.5m for a backyard and of 90cm for an internal yard from the underlying floor, shall apply. For structures which are not used as dwellings, the depth of the backyard should be not less than 1.5m in depth.

In the backyard, a structure up to 3m in height may be permitted provided that the minimum dimensions (width and depth) for backyards are respected. In all cases, no access to the roof of the structure will be permitted.

The height within a habitable space, as stipulated in the regulations, shall not be less than 2.6m, while for non-habitable spaces this cannot be less than 2.4m. This excludes engine rooms, lift shafts,  domestic stores, walk-in wardrobes and bathrooms, which may have a clear height of less than 2.4m.

Any intermediate floors within the height of any space can be accommodated provided that the clear height of the intermediate floor shall not be less than 2.1m and 70% of the space shall remain as double volume.

The provisions also make it clear that every habitable space shall be served with a minimum external aperture area of at least 1m2. No overlying projections shall be allowed above apertures with a cumulative area of less than one metre squared.

No projections are permissible within internal yards or shafts, unless these spaces are larger than the minimum required, and the maximum extent of the projection must not exceed the surplus to the minimum required.

Habitable and non-habitable basements, may be considered as long as there is  adequate light and ventilation which should include either an external aperture above pavement level, or an external aperture overlooking a 3m front unroofed area. For non-habitable spaces in basements only, a certification by a warranted engineer that the space is adequately ventilated for its intended use is required.

The 2016 Health and Sanitary regulations also stipulate that in streets or open spaces which are 3m wide or less, the overall height of a building façade should not exceed twice the width of the street or open space.

In streets or open spaces which are wider than 3m but equal or less than 15m, the overall height of the building façade should not exceed three times the width of the street or open space.

Furthermore, in streets or open spaces which are wider than 15 meters, the overall height of the façade can exceed three times the width of the street without the need for setbacks from the building alignment of the façade. Depending on the site context, there may be exceptions and in which case the height must respect the surrounding context. The height to width ratio does not apply in the case of façades fronting the seafront or land outside the development zone.