Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
New AMA with a US police officer (he's back!). You can ask your questions here

Is max Ridge Height defined anywhere?

  • 31-08-2017 9:03am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    Hi all,

    I received a RFI on a planning application for a detached two-storey dwelling in the midland that I'm doing for a friend of mine. The site is in the countryside with the area being characterised by rolling hills. On the opposite side of the valley, about 3km away there are a few wind turbines.

    In short, the planners have come back to me looking for me to revise the height of the dwelling due to the exposed nature of the site. I gave them a call and they then suggested that a storey and a half dwelling might look more appropriate due to the fact that the majority of the neighbouring dwellings are single storey/storey and a half.

    All that is fine, I can imagine that they want a bit more consistency etc which is fair enough. However, the planner then went on to say that they would be looking for a ridge height of 7.5m. I was looking through the development plan and rural design guide and there is no mention of this height - can they be this prescriptive? If it's not in policy or guidance can they enforce it?

    As I said earlier, I have no problem adjusting the design to make it look more like a storey and a half dwelling but if I'm to reduce the ridge down to 7.5m, the client is going to lose a lot of floor area upstairs. That's why I'm just wondering how enforceable is this 7.5m.


Comments

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    There are structural considerations to be adhered to in exposed situations.
    You have issues with roof finishes, chimnies, renders, could the planner be hinting at one of these?

    Other than that, I don't think any LA have a definitive max height with regards to domestic reidgelines, but obvious sympathetic insertion with its surroundings could artificially limit ridge heights.


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    Thanks Kceire,

    When I say exposed, I mean visually more so than open to the elements. the planner was very helpful to say that we could run by here what we proposed to submit before doing so - I just have a thing about planners applying specific restrictions such as ridge height. of course I could get it down to 7.5m but at the expense of space upstairs and the roof pitch (could be brought down to the minimum). The latter would annoy me as a shallower pitch is a far cry from traditional irish farmhouses.

    All this for the sake of a reduction in height of circa 1m which would be imperceivable from across the valley.

    I think I will plough out with a revision of the look of the house and not get too hung up on ridge height. I think it's more important that it looks like a storey and a half than anything else. I don't think they could justifiably refuse it if the ridge didn't hit 7.5m seeing as it's not in any policy documents etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,704 ✭✭✭ Metric Tensor


    A certain local authority that will remain nameless had an unwritten 8m max height "rule" for the guts of 10 years. They stuck to it rigidly and when HRV systems became more prevalent (essential) the required ceiling void made the 8m height close to impossible to achieve with any reasonable roof pitch and gable depth. The "rule" seems to have loosened a bit of late. A double gable with a hidden valley is a way of reducing the height without reducing the pitch and can also be made look like a traditional farmhouse type development but hidden valleys are the stuff of nightmares for me!!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    A certain local authority that will remain nameless had an unwritten 8m max height "rule" for the guts of 10 years. They stuck to it rigidly and when HRV systems became more prevalent (essential) the required ceiling void made the 8m height close to impossible to achieve with any reasonable roof pitch and gable depth. The "rule" seems to have loosened a bit of late. A double gable with a hidden valley is a way of reducing the height without reducing the pitch and can also be made look like a traditional farmhouse type development but hidden valleys are the stuff of nightmares for me!!!

    I had thought about the hidden valley alright but not sure how that would fly, particularly as the house is L-shaped in plan. That junction between the two might be akward!

    But to go back to your first point - if it's an unwritten rule, how can councils enforce it? Don't they need to reference policy when justifying a refusal?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,704 ✭✭✭ Metric Tensor


    They just reference a policy that says that the house is too bulky. Most councils have vague statements about building mass in their plans which is a nice "catch-all"


  • Advertisement
  • Subscribers Posts: 36,251 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat


    bemak wrote: »
    Thanks Kceire,

    When I say exposed, I mean visually more so than open to the elements. the planner was very helpful to say that we could run by here what we proposed to submit before doing so - I just have a thing about planners applying specific restrictions such as ridge height. of course I could get it down to 7.5m but at the expense of space upstairs and the roof pitch (could be brought down to the minimum). The latter would annoy me as a shallower pitch is a far cry from traditional irish farmhouses.

    All this for the sake of a reduction in height of circa 1m which would be imperceivable from across the valley.

    I think I will plough out with a revision of the look of the house and not get too hung up on ridge height. I think it's more important that it looks like a storey and a half than anything else. I don't think they could justifiably refuse it if the ridge didn't hit 7.5m seeing as it's not in any policy documents etc.

    my advice would be to change the design to a narrow plan (T, L or H shape) and then you can get practically the full 2 storey within the 7.5 m ridge restriction.
    planners do not like "double deep" plans as it pushes the ridge way up in the air.

    planners can be quite prescriptive in an FI request...
    they are bound by the local and rural development plan when deliberating, and in truth there cannot be prescribed measurements to cover a whole county or area... but they can certainly look at an individual site and say, in my opinion a house of a height greater than 7.5M would be unduly obtrusive.


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    the plan is an L-shape at present, and one room deep (5.8m) which I think is respectable enough especially when you get upstairs where a corridor of 1.2m on one side leaves circa 4m. I'll need every bit of that if the roof plane starts to show internally. I'll play with the floor to floors and the build ups of the first floor and roof. I'll look at the roof pitch again too.

    I've no problem revising the design to provide something a little more sensitive. Just wanted to see how other people faired with similar RFIs / rejections based on ridge height.


  • Subscribers Posts: 36,251 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat


    bemak wrote: »
    I've no problem revising the design to provide something a little more sensitive. Just wanted to see how other people faired with similar RFIs / rejections based on ridge height.


    in my experience that kind of FI is common enough


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,514 ✭✭✭✭ Lumen


    This attitude by Irish planners is infuriating.

    Historically speaking, every country house worth looking at is a full two storeys.

    But instead we have a landscape blighted by ugly bungalows.


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    Lumen wrote: »
    This attitude by Irish planners is infuriating.

    Historically speaking, every country house worth looking at is a full two storeys.

    But instead we have a landscape blighted by ugly bungalows.

    Absolutely. The two-storey farmhouse is as common a sight as you can get around the Irish countryside, exposed site or otherwise!


  • Advertisement
  • Subscribers Posts: 36,251 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat


    bemak wrote: »
    Absolutely. The two-storey farmhouse is as common a sight as you can get around the Irish countryside, exposed site or otherwise!

    the issue being the old 2 two farmhouse had lower ceilings, low windows on first floor and not as deep a plan form.
    Also, these typically tended to be far off public roads up laneways, in the middle of large farm landholdings, and enclaved in farm buildings.

    you cannot take this house design and increase the floor to ceiling heights, make deeper and higher, throw it 20 ms from a public road on a 1/2 acre site and the claim its the same situation

    it simply isnt.


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    sydthebeat wrote: »
    the issue being the old 2 two farmhouse had lower ceilings, low windows on first floor and not as deep a plan form.
    Also, these typically tended to be far off public roads up laneways, in the middle of large farm landholdings, and enclaved in farm buildings.

    you cannot take this house design and increase the floor to ceiling heights, make deeper and higher, throw it 20 ms from a public road on a 1/2 acre site and the claim its the same situation

    it simply isnt.

    context is everything, absolutely but I think the planners approach of, "I can see the site from a mile down the road therefore, dormer or bungalow" isn't right.

    For example, the image below is from streetview of a house on Slea Head, arguably one of the most scenic and equally exposed parts of the country. I think this house sits in very well despite it being two-storey. However, if someone wanted to build the exact same house beside them they'd be shot down, probably in favour of "a bit of stone around the sunroom" approach.

    The amount of low-quality housing in rural Ireland is shocking.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,514 ✭✭✭✭ Lumen


    bemak wrote: »
    context is everything, absolutely but I think the planners approach of, "I can see the site from a mile down the road therefore, dormer or bungalow" isn't right.
    The problem is the idea that "green stuff is pretty and houses are ugly, so lets bury the houses into the landscape".

    Good architecture is about integrating the built and natural environment.

    Irish planner on Powerscourt: yeah, it's nice and all that, but can you drop a couple of storeys, put in some dormers and move it half way down the hill?

    1200px-Powerscourt_Fountain.JPG


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    I'm doing another application in a different county at the moment. The site is located in a valley. The main road runs along the bottom of the valley. Naturally, you can see every house in the parish from the main road - the site is no different. Planners have been giving a lot of grief about being able to see it from the road. :mad:

    I'm sure they exist, but I'm yet to meet a planner who was progressive and wanted to push design quality. Any encounters I've had tended not to stray far from what was done before them, as bad as it was, for consistency of course!


  • Subscribers Posts: 36,251 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat


    bemak wrote: »
    context is everything, absolutely but I think the planners approach of, "I can see the site from a mile down the road therefore, dormer or bungalow" isn't right.

    For example, the image below is from streetview of a house on Slea Head, arguably one of the most scenic and equally exposed parts of the country. I think this house sits in very well despite it being two-storey. However, if someone wanted to build the exact same house beside them they'd be shot down, probably in favour of "a bit of stone around the sunroom" approach.

    The amount of low-quality housing in rural Ireland is shocking.

    thats a perfect example of what i was referring to above as well.

    that house has lower floor to ceilings than modern houses. it also has its first floor windows almnost on the floor of the first floor. its also narrow plan in that its probably no more than 5 meters wide internally. probably in teh region of 1500 sq ft at most

    so someone wants to come and put a "similar" 2 storey house beside it today.
    They want 2.7 full floor to ceiling heights.
    They want a double deep plan form.
    They want 2500 sq ft
    so instead of the pic above they end up with this:

    http://imgur.com/a/wBjOH


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    Ya I understand what you're saying but I think that's where a good architect will come in. The double-deep plan is the killer.

    Gotta get me some of those quoins though!


  • Subscribers Posts: 36,251 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat


    bemak wrote: »

    Gotta get me some of those quoins though!

    throw in a splayed bay window and a greek column porch and yer laughin' !! ;);););)


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    I think air-tightness is going to kill off those splayed bay windows thankfully. Apparently it's very hard to get them to pass :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,514 ✭✭✭✭ Lumen


    sydthebeat wrote: »
    They want 2.7 full floor to ceiling heights.
    They want a double deep plan form.
    They want 2500 sq ft
    so instead of the pic above they end up with this:

    http://imgur.com/a/wBjOH

    But ridge height in itself means nothing, aesthetically.

    This is modern and aesthetically OK, in my opinion. Not sure about the finishes, but the massing is decent. Would this be improved by turning it into a dormer?

    600c66391b35f6663fc20824fd659d6b.jpg


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    proportionally I think that's perfectly fine. Bringing that down to a dormer would kill the useable floor area upstairs, and for what. Ridge height means nothing like you say.

    This is a beautiful house I reference regularly by Tierney Haines. Located on the Mayo coast in Blacksod Bay too. https://www.dezeen.com/2012/11/29/house-in-blacksod-bay-by-tierney-haines-architects/

    You'll notice in the section that the roof is beginning to appear internally but this is acceptable to me as it's just about head height or above. Where it's really successful is in the second last photo when viewed from a distance. Could be mistaken for a cluster of farm buildings etc.


  • Advertisement
  • Subscribers Posts: 36,251 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat


    Lumen wrote: »
    But ridge height in itself means nothing, aesthetically.

    This is modern and aesthetically OK, in my opinion. Not sure about the finishes, but the massing is decent. Would this be improved by turning it into a dormer?

    600c66391b35f6663fc20824fd659d6b.jpg

    yeah, again design and aesthetic is very subjective.

    the good points about that plan is the simplicity of detailing and there is some attempt to break down the mass of the house. The sun space has also been integrated into the building, and not a stuck on sun room which is all too prevalent.

    however to my eye it looks a bit unresolved, the stonework and LHS gable do absolutely nothing for the elevation and the front facade is too linear and expansive.
    it could have profited from being split and slipped.

    but at least theres effort and thought there into the design and massing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,864 ✭✭✭ woody1


    sydthebeat wrote: »
    in my experience that kind of FI is common enough

    same here in rural mayo and sligo, not strange at all for them to put a specific restriction on height.. working on a house at the moment that has a 5m ridge height restriction..


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 10,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ BryanF


    Really frustrating when these 'requirements' only surface at AI stage!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,864 ✭✭✭ woody1


    to be fair to our mayo planners , there is a pretty good pre-planning system in operation here, if we have anything we think might need a look at before we really get into it, then we'll run it past them..
    clients on this particular site are getting a house in a sensitive enough location, so with that comes certain restrictions, but we regularly get abritrary enough height restrictions on other houses .. we also have an 8m max gable depth here .. anyone else have that.. so it stops really wide gables with really high ridges..


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,704 ✭✭✭ Metric Tensor


    woody1 wrote: »
    .. we also have an 8m max gable depth here .. anyone else have that..

    Your next door neighbours to the south were very strict about it for a while. I think they take it on a slightly more case by case basis now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,514 ✭✭✭✭ Lumen


    Interesting approach to limited ridge height at this place I'm staying at in Co. Waterford. First dig your hole... :-)

    image.jpg

    image.jpg


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ bemak


    Lumen wrote:
    Interesting approach to limited ridge height at this place I'm staying at in Co. Waterford. First dig your hole... :-)

    Don't get them started on cut and fill across the site! :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭ Tony Almeida


    Appreciate it is years later, but wondering if you could give me coordinates or a pin for this house? Want to look at the plans



Advertisement