BRegs Blog

A blog to debate the 2013 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BCAR):The BReg Forum Blog presents an opportunity for free expression of opinion on the BCAR regulations and their implementation. The blog is not representative of any professional body or organisation. Each post represents the personal opinion of that contributor and does not purport to represent the views of all contributors.

Category: Irish Building Control

Specialist Ancillary Certifiers, Template Inspection plan & form, 7 day notice

by Bregs Blog admin team

Help-by-LiminalMike Specialist Ancillary Certifiers

For anyone who missed them we did a series of 4 question and answer posts with persons and a firm who are providing ancillary Certifier services to the industry. As with previous posts these standard questions are the ones a client or design team would ask of any potential specialist Certifier. We invited submissions from surveyors, engineers and architects who intend to provide separate specialist services for SI.9 to the construction industry.

Many registered professionals are not happy to undertake the roles of Assigned or Design Certifier. If you do not intend to undertake the roles of Design or Assigned Certifier these posts are very useful to assess fee proposals you will be getting in from other specialist sub-consultants.

We think these four posts are very practical information for practitioners and consumers alike regarding  anticipated duties and timescales, and consequent costs to design teams and clients of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). Click on the title for to read the post:

Templates: Inspection Form and Inspection Plan.

The Bregs Blog also received correspondence along with a sample pdf inspection plan kindly prepared by a Chartered Surveyor for Blog readers- This is part 1 of a two part post. The second part has a sample Draft Inspection Form. Standardised templates and duties are pretty thin on the ground from the representative bodies so these are a useful base for practitioners to get their minds around what the roles involve, then what to base fee proposals on.

Seven Day Notice issues

In a previous opinion piece a registered architect noted the pitfalls of using a 7 day notice:

S.I. 9 and the 7-day notice - click link here

Other posts on this topic:

SI9- where do I start? – click link here

Design Certifier – Can we leave it to the builder to sort out? – click link here

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.  - click link here

4 tips for assigned certifiers… – click link here

Certifiers call for help! – click here

3 must-read posts for employees – click link here

Priory Hall: There is some light at the end of the tunnel

by Bregs Blog admin team

StephanieMeehan_large

In the following article “Priory Hall: There is some light at the end of the tunnel” By Caroline O’Doherty in the Irish Examiner on July 15th, Stephanie Meehan looks forward to moving this month into a new home after the personal devastation wreaked by her experience as  Priory Hall resident. Quote:

“It will be difficult but Stephanie is determined to look forward. “Fiachra wasn’t given a chance but I’ve been given another chance,” she says of the house that will become her long-awaited permanent home…

That it took one family’s tragedy to get action remains a painful issue for the residents. “Unfortunately it was a turning point and the catalyst was Stephanie,” says residents’ spokesman throughout the crisis, Graham Usher…”

For full article click here

Extract:

______

Priory Hall: There is some light at the end of the tunnel By Caroline O’Doherty, Irish Examiner,  July 15th

Stephanie Meehan is moving into a new home following the Priory Hall debacle, but not all former residents have made a fresh start, Caroline O’Doherty reports

THIS could be the hardest time of the year for Stephanie Meehan but somehow she’s managing to see it as a fresh start.

On July 31 she and her two young children move into their new home and she can’t wait to put the key in the door.

But before she gets there, the woman whose heartbreak came to epitomise the personal devastation wreaked by Priory Hall must first face the anniversary of the death of her partner, Fiachra Daly, who took his own life on July 15 last year, and deal with the knowledge that he never got to see his family’s plight resolved.

It will be difficult but Stephanie is determined to look forward. “Fiachra wasn’t given a chance but I’ve been given another chance,” she says of the house that will become her long-awaited permanent home,.

“It’s local. It’s only about five minutes away from where we are now, it’s five minutes from Priory Hall and it’s 10 minutes from my parents, so it’s absolutely perfect and I can’t wait.

“That’s our good news and with Fiachra’s anniversary on the 15th, it feels it’s kind of the start of a new year. I kind of feel that there is some light at the end of the tunnel and we can close the door and just live quietly and happily.”

Eighty-nine other Priory Hall apartment owners are working towards that same modest, but to them precious, goal. After their evacuation from the firetrap complex in north Dublin in October 2011, they lived with constant uncertainty, battling banks demanding mortgage payments for homes they could not live in, fighting Dublin City Council for the provision of temporary accommodation and pleading for help from a government that displayed cold indifference.

The breakthrough came when Stephanie, still raw with grief, put pen to paper last August and told Taoiseach Enda Kenny of the stress that finally proved too much for Fiachra to bear.

Within weeks meetings had been convened between the residents, the banks and the council and a plan was being drawn up that would see the council take over the complex, the 90 owner-occupiers have their mortgages written off and 27 buy-to-let owners have their repayments frozen for two years to allow the apartments be extensively refurbished.

That it took one family’s tragedy to get action remains a painful issue for the residents. “Unfortunately it was a turning point and the catalyst was Stephanie,” says residents’ spokesman throughout the crisis, Graham Usher.

“There’s no point in saying otherwise. That is what seemed to focus attention on it and got things moving. I think it’s an absolute tragedy and it shouldn’t have to come to that.”

The plan is still being worked through and there are legalities to be finalised, but around 15 former residents have bought new homes since the deal was struck and others are in the process of buying.

Not everyone has been able to avail of the new mortgage on offer as the Priory Hall scandal broke just as the economy plummeted but part of the deal was that social or affordable housing options would also be provided.

But new obstacles arose in the form of soaring demand for property and rocketing house prices.

“Myself and my wife are looking for a house and at times there’s a sense of deja vu,” says Graham. “It’s like it was when we were looking before we bought Priory Hall in 2006 — you can go out to view a house and there may be 30 or 40 other people viewing the place as well.”

As he speaks, he’s standing on the balcony of the “temporary” accommodation where he has lived for more than two years, with the view taking in Priory Hall, now surrounded by hoarding in preparation for refurbishment.

“I know people who would drive a different route to avoid it. They wouldn’t go up the road because they didn’t want to drive past it,” he says of the emotional impact the ordeal has had.

It has made Graham wary of buying again and he won’t buy a home less than 20 years old so he can be sure any glitches will have come to light. It has also made him sceptical about the State’s ability to deal with other potential Priory Halls and developers like now bankrupt Tom McFeely whose corner-cutting left the development a potential death-trap.

“It’s a sad indictment of how things work that he and his company, and the other people who were responsible for hundreds of people losing their homes, walked away scot free.

“It just shows how the building legislation and the inspection regime here were stacked in favour of the developers and very much against the homeowner.

“The next few years will be interesting because it seems as if we’re going to have another spate of new builds.

“My own view is the only way of preventing something like Priory Hall is for independent inspections to be carried out and I’m not convinced that that’s going to happen. I’m not sure the local authorities have the resources.”

Stephanie Meehan shares those concerns, which is why she wants to keep the issues raised by Priory Hall in the spotlight.

“If it pricks a builder’s conscience, even only slightly, to not skimp on materials and to do things properly then that’s a good thing.”

The good things are what Stephanie concentrates on. “We’ve been absolutely through the mill but I’ve had a huge amount of support.

“There are a lot of people far less fortunate than me who don’t have a good support network when they’re going through a really rough time, so for that I’m really grateful.”

For the moment, she’s focused on the children, Oisin, 8, and Carys, 3, but she’s also gone back to her work in restaurant management one night a week and says she’ll start thinking seriously in September about her own future.

Without Fiachra to share care of the children, the anti-social hours of the restaurant business may not suit her, but she’s hopeful of finding something family-friendly.

In the meantime she’s looking forward to the simple things like having post delivered to her own front door.

“I haven’t had a postal address in six years because in Priory Hall my post was never delivered because it was an unfinished site, and then we were in two hotels and two other temporary homes so I had everything re-routed to my parents.

“Oisin is going into third class in school and his address has always been my parents’ house so it’s going to be really nice for him to have an address of his own.”

The one thing that’s not on her agenda is bitterness. “What happened was at a huge loss to myself and the kids and to Fiachra’s family, but life goes on.

“My mam always said to me life is for the living and that’s my motto at the moment. Some days I’d love to close my curtains and just not get up, but I’ve got two little kids who need me more than ever so that’s my job now and that’s what keeps me going.”

Other posts of interest:

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Self builders appeal to Priory Hall residents: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

How to complete ghost estates + Priory Hall?:BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Chartered Surveyors: “More Priory Hall scenarios could happen if the laws are not enforced”  - click link here

Home-owners will be no better off at the next “Priory Hall” – click link here

Radio Clip- O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer – click link here

“Building Control and the Common Good”: Architecture Ireland - click link here

 

Practical post 21: Variations

by Bregs Blog admin team

number-21-ai

Practical post Variations

The Undertaking by Builder says that “I undertake to construct … in accordance with (Design Certificate).. or as subsequently issued to me AND certified AND submitted to the Building Control Authority”

Does this mean that variations have to be submitted to BCMS with new Design Cert BEFORE they can legally be constructed?

On large projects this could require BCMS submissions on a weekly basis, where for example, structural changes are required because of ground conditions or a boiler isn’t available and an alternative supplier is used.

There is a risk that contractors (when a programme is already late) will use this to delay variations while they wait for the Assigned Certifier to get revised Design Certs and confirmation from the BCMS.

Registered professionals need to make sure that the contract covers this and that they have an Assigned Certifier who can respond quickly to changes.

____________

For Practical Post Series 1-20 | BRegs Blog click here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

CATCH 22 COMMENCEMENTS

by Bregs Blog admin team

catch_22_cover_by_mattcantdraw-d55fli2

The following post was submitted by a registered architect on 15th July 2014.

CATCH 22 COMMENCEMENTS 

In May 2014, two months after the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations came into effect the RIAI issued an alert to practices about ‘short form’ Commencement Notices (see post Caution RIAI warn short form commencement notices invalid).

Effectively, this meant that:

  • the new short form was not available in March & April
  • the new BCMS (Building Control a Management System) was not ready
  • Local Authorities were not aware that there was a new short form and they continued to provide building owners with an out of date version
  • the professional bodies and builders were also not aware of this change
  • no public information was issued

As a result, many illegal notices were lodged and validated (it is estimated that approx 174 Short firm notices were lodged in March & April 2014- see post here).

It gets worse. Local Authorities then began spot checking building sites and sending letters to owners about illegal works. Some of these letters were not issued for weeks or even months. In the meantime building works proceeded on sites in the genuine belief that all was in order.

We are now receiving reports from many parts of the country of these CATCH 22 COMMENCEMENTS- once you start building you cannot turn back the clock and start again so these illegal works can never be rectified. There is no provision for retrospective compliance under SI.9 (see post here).

This has very serious implications for all of the owners involved as they may have difficulty selling or financing these buildings in the future. More worryingly some owners have now been told to stop illegal building work by the local authority and they are currently caught in an impossible Catch 22 situation.

Under the law, the only remedy is to demolish the part-completed building, lodge a new Commencement Notice and ‘start’ again.

This is patently unworkable and an amendment to the law to regularise these projects is urgently needed.

Other Posts of interest:

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance – BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Invalid “short form” commencement notices: BC(A)R SI.9 | BRegs Blog – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started – Click linkhere

Building Control Officer issues: Conference April 2014 - Click link here

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE- Local Authority advice - Click link here

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 - Click link here

Building Control Officers Survey – click link here

 

Press: Will CIRI be a platform for progress?

by Bregs Blog admin team

skyscraper

In the following article in the Independent on 10th July 2014, the author wonders whether the new private register of contractors CIRI will be effective.

Quote: “The primary goals here are to secure more tax revenue and to protect the construction establishment via the CIRI’s unstated mission to wipe out the black market builder once and for all…The body which administers the CIRI is voluntary, organised under the CIF and it meets in the CIF’s premises. So far not very promising….There must however be serious doubts about whether this process has any real teeth at all…will bad builders really be knocked off the list, or simply asked politely to pull their socks up?...”

New building register provides platform for progress, by Mark Keenan, Published 11/07/2014|02:30 – click link here

Extract to follow:

_______

IF the lawnmower you’ve just bought goes jabberwocky then you can take it back to the shop and they’ll sort you out with a working replacement at the counter.

If the retailer refuses to change it then you have enforceable rights to fall back on – as underlined by Irish consumer law.

There are higher authorities to take your case to – the consumer Ombudsman being an obvious one.

The same pretty much applies to anything or any service that you pay for which doesn’t work or do what it says on the tin.

From baked beans, to cars to holidays to restaurant meals you have rights. For financial packages and insurances there is the financial ombudsman to turn to for recourse.

Until this week, however, the same has not been true for a new home purchaser or the homeowner who commissions renovation or extension work. As a result, the Irish new home buyer has arguably been the most exposed consumer of all.

And there have been plenty of wonky homes and shoddy building work throughout Ireland these last few decades – particularly during the property bubble.

Through the boom when 60,000 plus homes per annum were being sold, buyers had to contend with lengthy snag lists that were often never put right.

Neither did they have any means of enforcing proper home completion and the making good of unfinished and shoddy workmanship.

Neither, as we have discovered, did they have any comeback when it all went wrong.

From recent years, when any numpty who could wave a hammer classed himself as a “builder”, buyers in new schemes had to tolerate tradesmen who deliberately messed up their work just so they could come back in the evenings to earn big nixers from their victims – paid twice to put their own mistakes right.

We came to accept shoddy new home standards when we’d never have accepted a dodgy toaster.

At its worst, Irish consumers were left with real structural disasters of unsaleable, unsafe and unsound properties (the 1,000 plus pyrite cases), homelessness and, in at least one poignant case (Priory Hall), suicide.

There have been past pretences at covering the consumer’s corner, not least local authorities who took big levies to pay fat-cat wages but failed to inspect buildings as was their responsibility.

There was the industry’s one-time guarantee scheme. Homebond promised to protect homeowners for a 10-year period against problems which might arise.

The reality was that the guarantee wouldn’t cover faults unless they were wholly “structural” – it didn’t count if your driveway sank, if your electrics were cross-wired or your plumbing leaked.

And when faults which were indisputably structural arose in the form of pyrite damaged properties, Homebond ran for the hills and refused to cover the 1,000 plus homeowners affected.

So now, finally, there appears to be some hope for real consumer rights for the Irish public when dealing with building contractors, sub-contractors and tradesmen. Because this week “Big Phil” Hogan finally launched his long-promised register of approved construction professionals.

Under the new Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI), developers, builders, sub-contractors and tradesmen who achieve a set of predetermined standards will appear on a list of recommended tradesmen.

The register, which is available to members of the public online, will show construction companies, sole traders and builders operating in your region.

The primary goals here are to secure more tax revenue and to protect the construction establishment via the CIRI’s unstated mission to wipe out the black market builder once and for all.

The body which administers the CIRI is voluntary, organised under the CIF and it meets in the CIF’s premises. So far not very promising.

But Minister Hogan insisted on a public complaints process being built in and therefore, for the first time ever, the Irish public finally has some comeback.

For the consumer of construction, the new CIRI system is important for three reasons.

First: real standards are required for contractors and sub-contractors to join the list. These cover tax compliance, insurance, education and a committal to regulation compliance and ongoing training.

Second: As we mentioned, there is a complaints procedure and members of the public can make submissions in an attempt to have parties removed from the register.

Third: we are promised that the register’s 10-member panel of appeal will only be half-filled with construction industry heads. The promise is that the other five are government appointed.

There must however be serious doubts about whether this process has any real teeth at all: for example, no one in the sector can seriously imagine non-paid appeals committee members plodding out to a West Dublin estate to inspect Mrs Murphy’s badly plastered ceiling. And will bad builders really be knocked off the list, or simply asked politely to pull their socks up?

But it’s a start.

And on its foundations perhaps some truly decent measures can at last be built to ensure a safe house for the small consumer of Irish construction.

For a start, I see that my old builder isn’t on the list.

Indo Property

Other posts of interest:

Minister Hogan launches new construction register – click link here

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland – click link here

Is CIRI the only register of contractors? BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey  - click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?  - click link here

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)  - click link here

CIF suggest self-building no longer possible after March 1st 2014 – click link here

Self-Builders escalate to Europe: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

Construction Recovery- watch this space.

by Bregs Blog admin team

tight_rope_walker_530w13

Construction Recovery- watch this space. 

It has been widely reported that Commencement Notices spiked in January and February of this year as building owners tried to avoid the new building control regulations. The number of commencement notices submitted during the first two months of 2014 was equivalent to 70% of the entire number of construction starts for 2013 were notified in just the first two months of 2014. (see post here)

One would expect that if Commencements were up, that this would be reflected in construction spending. (After all before you start on site you need to tender the job and contract a builder). It is widely believed, however, that a significant number of the early Commencement Notices are not live construction projects.

The Ulster Bank PMI [Purchasing Managers Index] shows very confident growth in construction spending in the nine months to May 2014.

Link to Ulster Bank PMI here.

The June figures are out and the figures for residential and commercial construction remain strong at 59.9 and 61.3 respectively- see pdf to follow. Although only slightly lower than in May there is nothing yet to suggest the spike in commencement notices has worked its way through the industry. Civil Engineering activity is down however to 45.1 from 47,9- possibly a reflection of continued depressed infrastructure spending.

All eyes will be on the July and August figures to see if this trend continues or if the sharp fall off in commencements since 1st March starts to bite.

In a recent Irish Building Magazine article “Construction output up strongly in Q1″ (view article here), the current rise in construction sector activity in the non-residential sector was noted from Central Statistics office figures.

Quote: “…the latest release indicated sharp falls in residential (-4.2% qoq, -4% yoy) and civil engineering work (-3.7% qoq, -2.6% yoy) in Q1. The sharp fall in residential work is a little surprising given the strength of the PMI surveys in Q1. The PMIs had been indicating strong gains in both commercial and residential work throughout the quarter. Moreover, early year housebuilding statistics showed completions up 1.6% in the year to February.

However, the CSO has cautioned on the interpretation of the construction data given a recent re-weighting and the unprecedented low base from which the series is starting. We therefore cannot read too much into the sectoral split of the headline data.

PDF of Ulster Bank Construction PMI Report (June 2014):

UlsterBank_RIEconomics_UB Construction PMI_20140714

Other posts of interest:

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop – click link here

Taoiseach: get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’- click link here

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall - click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started - click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

The extraordinary cost of BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014 - click link here

 

 

“Building Control and the Common Good”: Architecture Ireland

by Bregs Blog admin team

the-common-good

Here is an article from the representative body for architects (RIAI)  publication ‘Architecture Ireland’ from February 2014 (Issue 272) on building control by Orla Hegarty, Course Director for the Professional Diploma (Architecture) at UCD.

It examines the new regulations in the context of the “Duty of Care” that professionals are supposed to have, their responsibility to the community. A “Social Contract” exists between professionals and citizens; architects, engineers and surveyors are supposed to protect their clients’ interests, and the well-being of the community. In principal, this responsibility should underpin the professional’s role and override all other concerns- professional liability, fees and career opportunities.

For any professionals that have struggled with answers to a client’s question “what is SI.9 all about, what benefit will I get from it?”, that in itself should indicate that the rights of the consumer, home-owner, ordinary citizen, are not being adequately addressed in the new building regulations.

There are winners and loosers under SI.9. Unfortunately there is no win for the consumer.

Link to PDF: BCAR_Arch Ireland

Extract as follows:

____

BC(A)R- OPINION

‘Building Control and the Common Good’

By Orla Hegarty

There is still much work to be done to overcome the challenges of implementing an effective Building Control system in Ireland; the details may be worked out in the coming months and although this seems technical and complex, we should not lose sight of why this is so important.

The experience of the Stardust families, recounted again on RTE Radio (20 January 2014), are a very timely wake-up call. In 1981, 48 young people died and over 200 were injured in a fire at a disco on the north side of Dublin. The Tribunal Report[1] found that ‘the conversion of the Stardust complex failed to comply with twelve public resort bye-laws, twelve fire protection standards and six draft building regulations’. The aftermath of this tragedy lead to the introduction, nine years later, of the Building Control Act and a robust third party inspection of fire safety design.

This month, some of the families in pyrite homes (400 of an estimated 12,000 affected) are starting court proceedings for redress, seven years after the problems in their homes were first identified.  The reasons for this catastrophic material failure have been identified by the Pyrite Panel[2] who point out that ‘even if the remediation work is successfully undertaken, an indelible mark has been left on the lives of homeowners and families – and the past few years have been a nightmare for them’. As Graham Usher, Priory Hall resident, has reiterated: ‘It is a lesson that doesn’t seem to have been learned on this. You can have the best regulations in the world, you can have the best laws, but there’s no enforcement. Even under Minister Hogan’s new legislation, which strikes me as a bit of a half measure, there is no onus on local authorities to carry out any inspections whatsoever. The state is still abdicating their responsibility’.

In Priory Hall, Thornfield Square, Gleann Riada, Foxford Court, Balmayne, Kentswood Court and many other developments throughout the country families are living with the consequences of the boom. In many cases homes were built and sold quickly, with little or no oversight in an ad-hoc system that did not have safeguards to catch sub-standard practice. These families have suffered not only the impact of poor regulation and a lack of enforcement but in many cases they have no comeback.

The safety and wellbeing of all of us, as citizens, is the responsibility of architects, not in the narrow sense that we will accept liability, but in the very fundamental sense that we understand how buildings are designed, we understand how procurement operates and, most importantly, we understand what really happens on building sites and in occupied buildings.

Architects know the fault-lines in existing design, procurement and construction practices. As construction professionals, we must now advocate better solutions that are effective and then stress-test them so that they are legally, contractually and practically robust. Anything less is an abrogation of our professional duties as members of an Institute whose main object is to ‘undertake and encourage the general advancement of architecture for the benefit of the community[3]

An effective building control system cannot function without the essential supports of latent defects insurance, a statutory register of builders and it must be underpinned by workable enforcement mechanisms. Partial solutions may formalize the existing inadequate ad-hoc systems but as noted by the World Bank[4]the strongest reforms will be those that promote transparency and effectively increase the accountability of construction regulators, enforcement agencies, and building practitioners’.

Building Control is not an abstract or technical problem; its core principle is safe, accessible and sustainable buildings. It is at the heart of consumer confidence in us as professionals.

We have an opportunity now to learn from international best practice, to reassess where we are and to get this right. It may be another 20 years before building control legislation is re-visited. The Stardust families have been looking for closure for 33.

[1] Report of the Independent Examination- Stardust Fire, 2008 justice.ie REPORT.doc

[2] Pyrite Panel Report, 2012 PyriteReport.pdf

[3] RIAI Memorandum and Articles of Association, 2012 RIAI_MemorandumArticlesofAssociation.pdf

[4] Good Practices for Construction Regulation and Enforcement Reform, 2013 bginvestmentclimate.org/publications

OH ai article feb 5 2014

Other posts of interest:

Newstalk: 3rd March 2014- BC(A)R SI.9 “is not a consumer protection measure” – click link here

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations – click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR? - click link here

Press Piece- A “perfect storm” for certifiers: BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? - click link here

The extraordinary cost of BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014 – click link here

How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

RTÉ Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

The RIAI recommends separate appointment of Assigned Certifier under BCAR SI.9- click link here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BREGS Blog Archive 3- JANUARY 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

archive

Don’t forget our archives!

At time of writing (on 12th July 2014) we have over 116,000 views of 430 posts on the Bregs Blog.

The BRegs Blog would like to congratulate our new Minister for the Environment, and we invite him to subscribe, log on and scroll down through our archive posts to brief himself as to the issues many see as still relevant to the new regulations.

Many recent readers will not be familiar with our January 2013 posts. Click on the following link and scroll through the second month’s posts we published- subjects are very relevant to many issues we are currently experiencing.

Click title: BREGS Blog Archive 3- JANUARY 2014

In this month we posted:

  • Hubert Fitzpartick of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF Director of Housing)  Director of Housing stated that on 1st March self-build will no longer be possible in Ireland. Listen to radio interview here.
  • Along with the CIF the representative body for architects (RIAI- another key stakeholder) had a crucial role in the implementation of this legislation. The  President of the RIAI Mr Robin Mandal wrote to  Minister Hogan requesting a deferral of SI9 on 15th January 2014 (See letter here).
  • The RIAI advised members this month: …members should be cautious …prior to accepting appointments as ‘Design Certifier’ or ‘Assigned Certifier’ …Note that the ‘Assigned Certifier’ role is a separate appointment to that of ‘Architect’ …
  • This month there were numerous Dáil questions regarding SI.9: Claire Daly and other TD’s asked should SI.9 be revoked? (see here); Pearse Doherty TD asked what was the financial burden of SI.9? (see here); Olivia Mitchell TD & Tommy Broughan TD asked about the status of self-builders? (see here)
  • More senior council advice warned of the onerous legal implications of the regulations and what was seen as “extraordinarily loose and vague” language- see post here.
  • The ban on self-building under the new regulations was explored. It was noted that the increased costs for a typical house could be upwards of €23,000 to employ a main contractor. This, in combination with additional professional fees, may put many projects out of reach of self-builders looking to enter the housing market. (see here)
  • We looked at the various sectors that were set to loose and gain under the new regulations. See post here.
  • A different way” is a professionals’ critique of the current system of building control by Michael Collins and Eoin O Cofaigh, both past-Presidents of the RIAI- see post here. Written with the benefit of extensive experience in the sector, it makes the compelling case for an alternative system of building control from the point of view of consumer protection.
  • The costs to the consumer of the new system and the cost of an alternative UK system was explored in two posts (see here and here). Based on the UK model it was suggested we needed only 270 experienced inspectors to provide 100% local authority inspections nationwide.
  • RIAI Council Policy with regard to the BC(A)R SI9 was adopted on 17th January 2014 (see here). Quote: “ We have asked (and we ask again) that the implementation date of the 1st March be postponed because systems and documents are not ready for implementation. Self certification as set out in the SI, especially in the speculative residential sector, cannot be relied on to protect householders. An appropriate system of LDI must exist alongside the Regulations, initially for the Residential sector. A statutory Register of Builders must exist alongside the Regulations. Legislation facilitating the putting in place of adequate enforcement mechanisms (including ADR) must be prioritised. The documentation relevant to the consumers’ (legitimate) interest in a building or property should be readily available.”
  • In “World Bank rankings & BC(A)R SI.9″ we wondered where Ireland’s rankings would end-up given the delays and lack of industry preparedness with the inttroduction of the `”blizzard of red-tape” and added delays associated with SI9. See post here.

Scroll through our earliest posts which are in reverse chronological order-

Previous Archive posts (click title):

BREGS Blog Archive 1- DECEMBER 2013

BREGS Blog Archive 1- NOVEMBER 2013

Other popular “top read” posts:

SI9- where do I start? – click link here

Top 20 Breg Blog posts for June 2014. – click link here

Top 10 for June 7th – click link here

Hot topic: Architectural Technologists and SI.9 - click link here

Top 12 posts- week ending 31st May - click link here

TOP 10 for the week ending 17th May 2014 - click link here

Top 7 posts for the week-10th May - click link here

Top 10 Posts for Easter break - click link here

TOP 10 Breg Blog Posts for March:BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

RTÉ Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Recent revisions to GCCC form of contract.

by Bregs Blog admin team

change-roadsign

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issued revisions to GCCC form of contract on 27 June 2014. Introduction by SIAC Construction to the GCCC here. Quote from SIAC introduction:

“Back in the 70’s Max Abrahamson in his famous Construction Law textbook “Engineering Law and the ICE Contracts” used the phrase “in construction the rewards should go to the efficient not the lucky or the litigious”. It looks like there will be interesting times ahead for both the efficient and the two other contracting types.”

Breg Blog understand that over 70% of all public projects operating under the GCC form of contract since introduction in 2007 ended up in dispute post-completion.

For Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – Changes to Capital Works Management Framework template documents (Construction Procurement Reform)- click link here

We are not aware of any review or recommendations published by any of the representative bodies for engineers, surveyors or architects (ACEI, SCSI or RIAI) to date on these most recent changes.

The big change would appear to be Substantial Completion. Claims are usually about two things-time and money. As the ‘time’ is now under the control of the Building Control Authority, any delay will be ‘money’ for the builder.

Extract:

________

27 June 2014: Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – Changes to Capital Works Management Framework template documents

Further to the News Item of 6 March 2014: Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – Procurement Implications for Contracting Authorities and the publication of GN 1.1.1 v1.0 06/03/2014, the template documents published under the Capital Works Management Framework have now been amended to reflect the changes.

The Particulars to the Instructions to Tenders – Works, indicate that the form of contract applicable to the tender is the one published on the Construction Procurement Reform website 10 days before the latest date for the receipt of tenders.  Contracting authorities should take note of this requirement should they choose to apply the new form of contract in any current tender competition.

The revised Form of Tender and Schedule (FTS9) should be used for all Construction Service Provider tenders.

The changes made to the standard template works contractors and service providers’ documents are set out in detail below.

Pillar 1 – Public Works Contracts – Amendments to PW-CF1, PW-CF3, PW-CF5, and Schedules

CLAUSE 1 – THE CONTRACT

Sub-clause 1.1 Definitions

The following new definitions have been included:

▪Ancillary Certificate

▪Assigned Certifier

▪Building Control Regulations – note there is a slightly different wording for PW-CF3 and PW-CF5 in recognition that the Building Control Regulations will not apply to all aspects of civil engineering projects.

▪Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works

▪Inspection Plan

▪Inspection Notification Framework

The following existing definitions have been amended:

▪Consent – ‘Ancillary Certificate’ added to the first sentence.

▪Contractor’s Documents – ‘Consents’ added to the first sentence.

▪Employer’s Personnel – ‘Assigned Certifier’ included as the last item in the list of bullet points

▪Substantial Completion of the Works or a part of the Works [including a Section] –  ‘the details in the Certificate of Compliance on Completion of the Works or a part thereof have been included on the Register maintained under Part IV of the Building Control Regulations.’ has been added as a new point (5).

CLAUSE 4 – MANAGEMENT

SUB-CLAUSE 4.8.2 – ‘[INCLUDING OTHER CONSENTS]’ HAS BEEN ADDED AT THE END OF POINT (2) –CLAUSE 4.8 NOT USED IN PW-CF5

Sub-clause 4.8.4 – ‘and any other Consents’ has been added to the end of the last line – Clause 4.8 not used in PW-CF5

Sub-clause 4.9 – ‘having regard to the requirements of the Inspection Plan and Inspection Notification Framework’ has been added to the end of the first sentence. ‘and any Inspection Plan requirements’ has been added into the square brackets at the end of the second sentence.

Sub-clause 4.11.1 – ‘including any requirements arising from the Inspection Plan and Inspection Notification Framework’ has been added to the end of the sub-clause.

new sub-clause 4.12.2 has been added to sub-clause 4.12 Documents.

CLAUSE 5 – CONTRACTOR’S PERSONNEL

Sub-clause 5.5 – ‘(i)’ has been included after both references to the Schedule, part 1F to accommodate a second matrix in the Schedule, part 1F.

new sub-clause 5.8 Ancillary Certificates has been added.

CLAUSE 8 – QUALITY, TESTING AND DEFECTS

Sub-clause 8.3.1 – ‘Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the first sentence.

Sub-clause 8.3.2 – ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after both references to Employer’s Representative.

Sub-clause 8.3.3 –  ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after the first reference to Employer’s Representative.

Sub-clause 8.4.1 – ‘[including the Inspection Plan]’ has been added into the first sentence. ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the second sentence.

CLAUSE 11 PAYMENT

Sub-clause 11.4.1 – ‘(i)’ has been included after both references to the Schedule, part 1F to accommodate a second matrix in the Schedule, part 1F.

Schedule

Part 1 F has been split into part 1 F (i) Collateral Warranties and a new section – F (ii) Ancillary Certificates.

Pillar 1 – Public Works Contracts – Amendments to PW-CF2, PW-CF4, and Schedules

CLAUSE 1 – THE CONTRACT

Sub-clause 1.1 Definitions

The following new definitions have been included:

▪Ancillary Certificate

▪Assigned Certifier

▪Building Control Regulations – note there is a slightly different wording for PW-CF4 in recognition that the Building Control Regulations will not apply to all aspects of civil engineering projects.

▪Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works

▪Design Certificate

▪Inspection Plan

▪Inspection Notification Framework

The following existing definitions have been amended:

▪Consent – ‘Ancillary Certificate’ and ‘Design Certificate’ added to the first sentence.

▪Contractor’s Documents – ‘Consents’ added to the first sentence.

▪Contractor’s Personnel – ‘Design Certifier’ added to the first sentence.

▪Employer’s Personnel – ‘Assigned Certifier’ included as the last item in the list of bullet points

▪Substantial Completion of the Works or a part of the Works [including a Section] –  ‘the details in the Certificate of Compliance on Completion of the Works or a part thereof have been included on the Register maintained under Part IV of the Building Control Regulations.’ has been added as a new point (5).

Clause 4 – Management

Sub-clause 4.8.2 – ‘[including other Consents]’ has been added at the end of point (2)

Sub-clause 4.9 – ‘having regard to the requirements of the Inspection Plan and Inspection Notification Framework’ has been added to the end of the first sentence. ‘and any Inspection Plan requirements’ has been added into the square brackets at the end of the second sentence.

Sub-clause 4.11.1 – ‘including any requirements arising from the Inspection Plan and Inspection Notification Framework’ has been added to the end of the sub-clause.

new sub-clause 4.12.2 has been added to sub-clause 4.12 Documents.

Clause 5 – Contractor’s Personnel

Sub-clause 5.5 – ‘(i)’ has been included after both references to the Schedule, part 1F to accommodate a second matrix in the Schedule, part 1F.

new sub-clause 5.8 Ancillary Certificates has been added.

Clause 8 – Quality, Testing and Defects

Sub-clause 8.3.1 – ‘Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the first sentence.

Sub-clause 8.3.2 – ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after both references to Employer’s Representative.

Sub-clause 8.3.3 – ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after the first reference to Employer’s Representative.

Sub-clause 8.4.1 – ‘[including the Inspection Plan]’ has been added into the first sentence. ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the second sentence.

Clause 9 – Time and Completion

Sub-clause 9.1.1 – ‘The Contractor shall give the Employer at least 20 working days’ notice prior to the date that the Contractor intends to commence constructing the Works.’ has been added as the last line of the sub-clause.

Clause 11 Payment

Sub-clause 11.4.1 – ‘(i)’ has been included after both references to the Schedule, part 1F to accommodate a second matrix in the Schedule, part 1F.

Schedule

Part 1 F has been split into part 1 F (i) Collateral Warranties and a new section – F (ii) Ancillary Certificates.

Pillar 1 – Public Works Contracts – Amendments to PW-CF6

Clause 1 – The Contract

Sub-clause 1.1

The following new definitions have been included:

▪Assigned Certifier

▪Building Control Regulations – the same definition as used in PW-CF3, PW-CF4 and PW-CF5 is used here.

Sub-clause 1.2

▪The following new condition has been included under ‘substantially complete and substantial completion’ :

‘the details in the Certificate of Compliance on Completion of the Works or a part thereof have been included on the Register maintained under Part IV of the Building Control Regulations.’

Clause 2 – The Site, starting and completing the Works

Sub-clause 2.9 – ‘and shall provide any document necessary to demonstrate compliance with the Building Control Regulations’ has been added to the end of the sub-clause.

Clause 3 – The Works

Sub-clause 3.7 – ‘Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the first sentence.

Sub-clause 3.8 – ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after both references to Employer’s Representative.

Pillar 1 – Public Works Contracts – Amendments to PW-CF11 Term Maintenance and Refurbishment Works

Clause 1

Sub-clause 1.2 – a definition of Building Control Regulations has been added

Sub-clause 7.3 – ‘(including Contractor’s Personnel)’ has been added after the first reference to the Contractor.  ‘in conformance with the Building Regulations’ has been added after ‘good practice’, and ‘Where requested by the Employer’s Representative, the Contractor shall provide the certification necessary to comply with the Building Control Regulations.’ has been added as a new last sentence.

Pillar 1 – Forms of Tender and Schedules FTS1 to FTS5

Part 1 F has been split into part 1 F (i) Collateral Warranties and a new section – F (ii) Ancillary Certificates.

Pillar 2 – Standard Conditions of Engagement – Amendments to Instructions to Tenderers

 ITTS1(a); ITTS1(b); ITTS2(a); and ITTS2(b)

▪New Section 5.12 Assigned Certifier.

▪New Section 5.13 Design Certificate.

▪Additions to Particulars to indicate whether the service provider will be required to provide the Assigned Certifier role (Instructions Section 5.12) or to sign the Design Certificate (Instructions section 5.13).

▪Additional rows added for quality criteria and sub-criteria.

Pillar 2 – Standard Conditions of Engagement – Amendments to Form of Tender and Schedule (Service Providers)

FTS9 and COE1 Schedule

Schedule B

▪Two new sections added on first page to indicate whether the service provider will be appointed as Assigned Certifier or whether they will be required to sign the Design Certificate.

▪Consultants Stage Services has been updated to include all Whole Stages/Sub-stages.

▪Project Supervisor for the Design Process Service section updated to reference Safety Health and Welfare (Construction) Regulations 2013.

The proposed review of the CWMF Guidance Notes will reflect the changes above.

___

Other posts of interest:

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

For Practical Post Series 1-20 - click here

3 must-read posts for employees – click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Alarming Legal opinion: BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

Difficult Senior Council Opinions: BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

BREG Blog Archive 1- November 2013 – click link here

Dáil: Data Protection Issues and the new regulations

by Bregs Blog admin team

dataprotection

Dáil: Data Protection Issues and the new regulations

In response to questions from Catherine Murphy TD, outgoing Minister Phil Hogan confirmed that data protection issues and online access to sensitive information on the new public building control register (BCMS ) was not his responsibility. This was the remit of the data protection commissioner, not an issue for his department. Link here.

Building Regulations Application: 1 Jul 2014: Written answers (KildareStreet.com) - Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Building Regulations Application

Catherine Murphy (Kildare North, Independent)

303. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the commencement notices are no longer being published at local authorities for viewing by members of the public; his plans to rectify same by making the centralised database of commencement notices available for inspection online; if he is further planning to include a mechanism to allow an opt-out for those not wishing to have their information used by suppliers and marketing companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27832/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

The Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2014 specify that a local authority acting as a building control authority shall keep a public register of building control activity which will include, among other things, brief particulars of the building works being undertaken, the name and address of the owner, and details of various persons assigned to build, design and certify the works.  Prior to 1 March 2014 each authority was responsible for maintaining its own register relating to building activity in its own functional area.  The introduction of the new online Building Control Management System (BCMS) on that date facilitates the administration of the public register requirement by electronic means and dispenses with the need for local authorities to maintain a physical register for inspection at their offices during office hours .   It is expected that each local authority will now fulfil its statutory obligation by extracting the relevant information from the BCMS database and publishing on its website a register of building control activity relevant to its functional area.

It is understood that the provisions of the Data Protection Acts, which are outside the scope of my remit as nister, place clear limits on the use of publicly available data for marketing or other purposes.  It is further understood that third parties who propose to use such information in this way are themselves considered to be data controllers for the purposes of the Data Protection Acts.  Section 2(8) of the Data Protection Acts provides that where a data controller anticipates that personal data will be processed or used for the purposes of direct marketing, including personal data that is required by law to be made available to the public, the data controller shall inform the persons to whom the data relates so that they may object, by means of a request in writing to the data controller and free of charge, to such use.

Breaches of Data Protection legislation are a matter for the Data Protection Commissioner who has the power to investigate such matters and, where appropriate, prosecute offences under the Acts.

Other posts of interest:

BReg Blog ALERT: Data Protection & BCMS – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better”  - click link here

SI9- where do I start? - click link here

Senator Paschal Mooney, Minister Hogan and Seanad debate - click link here

O’Cofaigh: Competitiveness issues & BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

 

Pyrite in Dublin Zoo?

by Bregs Blog admin team

lk

In the following article in the Herald.ie, fears that Dublin Zoo, an award-winning state project from 2005 by the OPW, may be affected by pyrite are discussed. We wonder will the public restaurant be closed due to health and safety concerns in light of possible structural issues mentioned?

Inadequate market policing by Local Authorities and lack of additional resources allocated for quarry regulation by Minister Hogan and the Department of the Environment have sparked fears that recent incidences of pyrite re-occurring are widespread in the industry. Professional Certifiers are concerned that they may become liable for defective materials. Due to the State’s lack of action on pyrite many professionals fear they have been made the single-point of responsibility under the new building regulations for an area they see as being the remit of the Department and Government.

Many consumers and home-owners see no change to the regulatory system since the first examples of pyrite affected homes appeared over 6 years ago.

Dublin Zoo’s cracks spark pyrite fears, by Conor Feehan – 10 JULY 2014 12:00 AM- see link here

Extract:

DUBLIN Zoo has engaged engineers to determine if worrying cracks in buildings at the site have been caused by pyrite.

The cracks were noticed in recent months in the zoo’s offices and Meerkat Restaurant area, and a decision was taken to call in experts to establish if they present any sort of indication of structural damage.

Specialist measuring equipment has been placed across a series of the cracks to see if they are widening over time or if they have stabilised.

A spokesperson for Dublin Zoo confirmed the tests are taking place, but added that the process would take time and results were not yet available to identify the cause of the defects.

“A routine check is being carried out in the office building and restaurant area of Dublin Zoo at the moment,” said the spokesperson.

“There are small cracks in the main office building and restaurant area which we are monitoring. “We are checking for all possible issues, including pyrite,” they added.

There are no reported cracks in the areas where animals are enclosed, and no threat of any escapes by potentially dangerous species. Neither is there any threat to the safety of people using the buildings being examined.

Pyrite has caused havoc to many buildings in recent years, at a huge financial cost.

foundations

The mineral, which has been found in some of the stones that are used in the foundations of buildings, expands slowly when it is exposed to the air, causing walls to shift and crack.

If it is found pyrite is the problem it could lead to expensive works to put things right.

Problems with pyrite first came to prominence in recent times in 2007 after the massive celtic tiger building boom.

Residents in some houses in estates in Drynham in Kinsealy, Myrtle in Balgriffin and Beaupark in Baldoyle were among the first to notice cracks in their newly-built homes.

Investigations led to the discovery of the mineral in the infill in their foundations which expands as it oxidises, and pushed up floors as well as moving walls.

It has been estimated that the ongoing cost of repair could be €70,000 for each house affected.

In 2012, pyrite was discovered in three national schools in Dublin, St Patrick’s in Diswellstown, Castleknock, St Canice’s Boys school in Finglas, and St Peter’s in Phibsboro, which was extensively refurbished in 2007.

cfeehan@herald.ie

Other posts of interest:

SI9- where do I start? click link here

Was pyrite discovered in concrete blocks in 2013?  - click link here

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now? – click link here

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite – click link here

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite – click linkhere

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

 

 

 

SI9- where do I start?

by Bregs Blog admin team

 trade-show-planning

SI9- where do I start?

New to SI.9- Confused? Following on from an influx of new readers to Bregs Blog we received a number of comments like “help- where do I start?“. We have compiled a list of the most read posts of the past 3 months with headings to guide readers. You can delve into each topic in depth as most posts have “other posts of interests” at the bottom. With well over 420 posts in 6 months along with industry alerts, getting the specific information you need on one topic can be difficult at the best of times.

You can type in a key-word search and relevant posts will pop up in reverse chronological order. We also have two “archive” posts that allow you to scroll down through the first two months of posts here on Bregs blog for November and December 2013 (click November and December). Don’t forget you can configure bulletins to come to you daly or weekly, see post: Note to readers Bregs Blog on Post format. Sign-up and along with over 1,000 others received daily or weekly updates, news and opinion pieces on the new regulations as events unfold.

Take your phone (or iPad air) down to the beach and browse through these at your leisure. Remember to log all reading as “unstructured” CPD- nearly as informative as the RTE programme “Room to Improve”!

Enjoy!

Where are all the source documents?

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 

I am a home buyer-what new protections will si9 afford me?

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9

Newstalk: BC(A)R SI.9 “is not a consumer protection measure”

10 steps to repairing your defective home under SI.9

If one of my projects has pyrite what happens now?

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now?

Do you have any helpful documents?- A Surveyor’s view of BCAR SI.9

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Plan (post 1 of 2)

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Form (post 2 of 2)

Registered surveyor letter to TD’s: BC(A)R SI.9

What do we charge when we don’t know what services we will be providing?

4 things I am putting in my fee agreements

Is my project exempt? It’s only small…

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments

Industry documentation- what’s involved and what are drafts like?

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates 

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read

BC(A)R SI.9 + Construction Product Regulations 2013

OK I don’t want to be a certifier- Are there any specialist certifiers who will do these duties separately?

Specialist Certifier 1- ENGINEER: Questions and Answers

Specialist Certifier 2- ARCHITECT: Questions and Answers

Specialist Certifier 3- SURVEYOR: Questions and Answers

Any tips? I’m a designer, specifier, contractor….

4 tips for Assigned Certifiers…

4 tips for design certifiers

4 tips for sub-contractor ancillary certifiers

5 posts every builder should read

I am employee are there any implications for me?

3 must-read posts for employees

What’s the best guide for BCMS issued by Local Authorities for the new regs?

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE- Local Authority advice

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS “must do better”

Is there a Q+A section for quick answers to practical questions?

Practical Post Series 1-20

Why are clients quoting me very low budgets for BC(A)R SI.9 duties?

Complaint to Minister: Fee fixing & BC(A)R SI.9

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections? BC(A)R SI.9

Press piece: professionals “engaging in financial extortion” says Hogan

What are the legal implications of BC(A)R for all of us?

Summary of Legal Posts – BC(A)R SI.9

Is there one document to give to clients to show how complex house permissions are now?

Architect’s Overview of Regulations for a Dwelling

What are spec builders and developers going to do now? 

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR? 

Tell me about CIRI the new register of builders?

Minister Hogan launches new construction register

What is the latest CPD advice on the new roles under BC(A)R SI.9?

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June

RIAI CPD July 2014: Design Certifier in the Design Process- SI.9

The Engineers Journal: how BC(A)R SI.9 works in practice

What do stakeholders think of the new regulations?

RTÉ Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9

Is BCAR affecting jobs? Are clients delaying projects?

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

I’m a self-builder why won’t anyone certify my build? Do I need to employ a main contractor?

Building a house in Ireland- Irish Association of Self-Builders

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents Collins + O’Cofaigh

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9 

Law Society response to self-builders

Senator Paschal Mooney, Minister Hogan and Seanad debate

I’m an architectural technologist what is going on? 

Dáil: CIAT & RIAI- 2 Architectural Technologist Registers

Have there been any industry surveys completed on BCAR SI.9?

Building Control Officers: Survey 

BRegs Blog 100 Days | Assigned Certifier Survey

CIF Construction Confidence Survey 

BC(A)R FIRST 100 DAYS SURVEY

Do TD’s know about SI9?

Alert to TD about new regulations

How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9? 

How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9? 

 

Practical Post 21: What happens if your PI insurers won’t cover a claim?

by Bregs Blog admin team

number-21-ai

Practical post 21: What happens if your PI insurers won’t cover a claim?

There has been a lot of discussion in the past year about professional indemnity (PI) insurance. The ‘comeback’ for homebuyers is that they can sue the builder and the Assigned Certifier who signs off on their work. The Certifier will be signing off that the drawings comply with technical standards in the regulations and that the finished building complies.

So the intention of the new regulations is that a homebuyer who finds a problem (say a defective heating installation) has the name of the builder and certifier and can sue them in court. At that point several things will happen:

  • A claim will be made against everyone involved- the builder, subcontractor, boiler manufacturer, mechanical and electrical engineer, architect, the certifiers. All of them will have to get legal advice and notify their insurers immediately.
  • Perhaps the builder has liquidated the development company set up for this project. So he’s off the hook.
  • Perhaps the manufacturer is in another country, so there is no point trying to pursue him through a foreign court. He’s off the hook.
  • Perhaps the sub-contractor only provided a badly worded Ancillary Certificate.  The legal advice is that he is not a good mark.  He’s off the hook too.

So the full claim is against the Assigned Certifier. He signed off and ‘certified’ that everything was in compliance. It’s not.

At that point the Ancillary Certifiers insurers are in control. Perhaps they settle  the claim (on behalf of the Assigned Certifier) and the Certifier is obliged to pay the €10,000 excess that is in the PI policy.

Perhaps there is a clause in the PI policy that let’s them out of paying (for example a specific exclusion like pyrites).

It doesn’t stop there: PI is a protection for professionals but if the PI policy stops short the claim DOES NOT GO AWAY.

The Assigned Certifier, if found negligent by even 1% could be forced to pay the entire claim and legal costs (under the Civil Liability Act). Liability is not necessarily in proportion to responsibility under irish Law. The PI may not cover the claim.

Professionals have lost their practices, their livelihoods and even their homes over negligence claims where they are the LAST MAN STANDING.

____________

For Practical Post Series 1-20 | BRegs Blog click here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

Alert to TD about new regulations

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following email was sent recently to a member of the Oireachtas by a registered professional. Names of sender and recipient have been removed by request. The blog received this on 23rd June 2014.

Dear (omitted),

I just thought I’d update you on the effect of the Building Regulations which you kindly discussed with me back in February, prior to their implementation

Rather than a rigamarole, I’d just like to point you to the effect so far of the Building Regulations as revised and delivered – it’s not by any means all good, in fact to the contrary:

  • After a burst of commencement notices being lodged prior to the start of the new regulations, commencements have fallen off a cliff. The data from the Building Control Management System is suggesting that since 1st March, only 780 projects have started (52 per week, as opposed to 143 per week last year!), of which a large proportion are less than 40 sqm.– the general trend suggesting that recovery in construction, outside of large commercial projects, is stalling : see commencement notices building register 17th june 2014
  • More worryingly, planning applications in the first quarter of 2014, are down 30% on applications in the first quarter of 2013 – this is most likely to be related to the new regulations – cso q1 2014-planning for dwellings-30
  • The introduction of the Regulations has been shambolic, and confused – leading to uncertainty

For example :

  • No guidance (or extra resources) given to local authorities – leading to 34 different interpretations of the requirements to comply :
  • The computer portal has already failed to deliver on its promise – commencement notices for smaller projects have to printed off from it, but submitted in hand to the local authority, it doesn’t check qualifications of those using it, nor does it seem to verify identities ! bcar-must-do-better
  • The computer portal is not even set up to deal with the submissions required for completing a building – how could this be allowed into the wild beggars belief ? build in 8 hours wait 3 weeks for a completion cert

This just refers to the basic defiencies in the scheme,without going into how unreasonable the proposal itself is on those tasked to use it.  The contradictions within the drafting of the regs are being unravelled on an almost daily basis : si9 and the 7-day noticecaution riai warn short-form commencement notices invalid

The construction industry is too important for this not to reviewed urgently. Please do.

PS  - at a recent presentation on the BCAR, reservations were noted to the speakers, including the lady charged with delivering the BCMS computer portal. She noted that some of the difficulty was associated with the fact that neither English (nor Irish!) was the first language of the people charged with doing the programming !!! Nice to know that there wasn’t even a few bob for an Irish SME out of this shambles. (breg blog note : for this post- see here)

Posts referred to in this email:

Commencement notices- Building Register @ 17th June 2014 – click link here

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop - click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” - click link here

Build in 8 hours, wait 3 weeks for a Completion Cert! - click link here

S.I. 9 and the 7-day notice  - click link here

Caution: RIAI warn “short form” commencement notices invalid?  - click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June - click link here

 

Minister Hogan launches new construction register

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Pictured at the launch of the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) were (left to right): Tom Parlon, CIF Director General; Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD; Philip Crampton, CIF President and Hank Fogarty, Chairman of the Construction Industry Registration Board.  

Click link here for full article “Minister Hogan launches new construction register”.

In what may have been one of his last official acts as Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan T.D. launched CIRI on Monday 7th July 2014. This is the privately run and operated register of contractors owned by the Construction Industry Federation. To date there has been a slow uptake on this- only 201 registered to date. We posted on possible reasons for this in a previous post here.

There are other well-established registers such as the National Guild of Master Craftsmen  with over 7,500 members (see link here). Homebond also have launched a competing register of contractors but neither of these are endorsed by the Government or written into the new regulations (see link here).

The CIF along with representatives from engineers, surveyors and architects were key stakeholders in the formation of the new building regulations. CIRI is the only register written into the new regulations.

We note the CIF expect 2,000 members by 2015 once the register is put on a statutory footing in March 2015- that’s €1.2M in membership fees per year (current membership rate  €600 ec vat per annum).

One of the unintended consequences of this register being put on a statutory footing, is the consequent requirement for owners to use a CIRI registered or competent (established) contractor. This will end the tradition of self-building in Ireland where owners, frequently experienced trades-persons, occupy the role of co-ordinating or management contractor on their own dwellings. Confusing legal wording in the current building regulations essentially precludes self-building, currently in advance of the register being placed on a statutory footing, and has been the subject of much discourse. The representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) have requested official clarification from the Attorney General on the matter (see post here).

CIRI is currently the subject of a complaint by the IAOSB to the european ombudsman (see previous post here), and is also the subject of an individual complaint by self-builder Amanda Gallagher to the Competition Authority (See post here). The IAOSB have complained that the register is a restrictive practice endorsed by Government.

Extract off article to follow:

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MINISTER HOGAN LAUNCHES NEW REGISTER FOR IRISH CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD has launched a new facility which will enable the public, public procurement authorities and construction professionals to search for competent construction companies operating in Ireland.  The Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) has been set up by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) following discussions with the Minister and his Department and aims to separate experienced, competent construction companies from those that have given the industry a bad name.

Members of the public can now go online to the free site and search for construction companies, sole traders and builders operating in their region and who specialise in particular aspects of construction work.  CIRI covers 39 distinct categories of activity, including everything from house building to extensions, plastering to carpentry and plumbing to electrical contracting.

CIRI will be placed on a statutory footing in 2015 and the Government has committed to bringing forward the Heads of the Bill to achieve this goal by the end of 2014.

201 construction companies, sole traders and builders are already listed on the CIRI register and another 565 companies and sole traders are at various stages of the application process.  It is expected that there will be more than 2,000 entries listed on CIRI by the end of 2015.

The objective of CIRI is to help foster improved standards throughout the Irish construction industry….All those who wish to remain on the register are required to reapply on an annual basis to ensure they continue to meet these criteria.

Speaking about the launch of CIRI, Minister Hogan said, “I have long been of the belief that we need to bring regulation to the Irish construction industry.  For too long we have had a situation in this country whereby anyone can pass themselves off as a builder or construction operative, regardless of their experience and regardless of whether they were following the industry regulations.  That is why I asked the CIF to work with my Department in establishing CIRI.  Now we have a resource the public can use for free and which aims to separate those construction companies and builders who can meet the standards from those who don’t,” Minister Hogan said.

His comments were echoed by CIF Director General, Tom Parlon, “We want to help promote the work of competent, experienced construction companies and sole traders. Up until now the names of everyone in the industry has been tarnished by those who do not follow the regulations and who do not carry out their work in the proper fashion.  That is why CIRI is being set up.  CIRI will provide a vetted means of seeing which companies and sole traders are competent and experienced.  For the first time there will be a means of separating out legitimate, experienced operators from the rest,” Mr. Parlon said.

“Leaders throughout the industry have wanted to see a registration scheme like this set up for several years now,” said CIF President Philip Crampton.  “There has been a concern that those who carry out good work were being banded together with those who have cut corners and whose work is poor in quality.  Those in the construction industry who take pride in their projects do not like seeing the reputation of the entire industry tarred.  We have to recognise that there many excellent companies and sole traders in our industry.  CIRI will provide a means for separating them from the rest.  For this and many other reasons there is already serious interest in the register throughout the industry and we expect that interest to grow further as awareness spreads,” Mr. Crampton added.

The Chairman of the Construction Industry Registration Board (CIRB), Hank Fogarty also believes that CIRI will make a positive contribution to the industry, “By setting up the CIRI register we aim to increase and enhance the competence and competitiveness of the construction industry in this country.  We want to have companies and sole traders who the public, architects, chartered surveyors and engineers can rely upon.  We also want to increase the expertise within the industry and that is why continuing professional development is one of the key criteria for ongoing membership of the register.  We hope this will improve the skills and knowledge in the construction sector which will boost the industry and benefit Irish society on a wider level over time,” Mr. Fogarty concluded.

The register is available on www.ciri.ie

Other posts of interest:

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland – click link here

Is CIRI the only register of contractors? BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey  - click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?  - click link here

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)  - click link here

CIF suggest self-building no longer possible after March 1st 2014 – click link here

Self-Builders escalate to Europe: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Competition Authority complaint: CIF & BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

 

 

Design Certifier – Can we leave it to the builder to sort out?

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following piece was submitted by a Director of a large Architectural practice on 8th July 2014. 

Design Certifier – Can we leave it to the builder to sort out?

The Design Certifier faces increasingly more complex challenges in addressing the issue of Contractor Works Proposals which the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R) have not addressed.

Guidance Note 1.1.1 of the BC(A)R Procurement Implications for Contracting Authorities provides detailed guidance to Contracting Authorities on the steps they should take to implement this legislation in the context of procuring public building and infrastructure. The guidance is that the Design Certifier should be the design team leader or the team member, designated to provide the greatest technical input, and that the fee for the completed Design Certificate is included in the overall service.

It appears that Contracting Authorities have now decided that, for building projects, this role shall be annexed to architectural services. Invitations to tender for public projects now reflect this thinking. Those concerned with the additional liability and who intend to increase their fees accordingly, in all likelihood may have to retire from the increasingly fee-competitive public work! On the other hand EU designers bidding for Irish public work market may view this guidance as a procurement barrier and challenge it.

The above guidance document specifically notes that while the Design Certificate is required at Commencement Notice stage the Design Certifier’s role does not end there. The Design Certifier is also responsible for completing the submission of ancillary certification at the Completion Certificate stage for elements not designed at Commencement Notice stage. The Design Certifier is also required to liaise with the Assigned Certifier during the course of the building works and prepare any documentation required to record any changes to the works.

Thanks to Article 23 (8) of the EU Procurement Directive those engaged in the design and management of Public Works Contracts, where designed by the Employer, will know that this means that this is the requirement to avoid specifying product names. Major and minor changes to construction technical specification are submitted as Contractor Works Proposals and purport to be equivalent to that specified. Proposals are commercially driven, and promoted as shared savings to the Contracting Authority who is frequently mindful about funding the ubiquitous unforeseen/s. These Contractor proposals create an obvious threat to building quality, material design life and robustness. Each and every material and component specified by all design disciplines is open to such change.

Client approved changes post-commencement can extend to major elements such as roofing, curtain walling systems and ceiling and flooring selections. These may all be different to that benchmarked in the specification through performance criteria. Current practice is that the Architect will appraise the Contractor’s submission for variations to architectural elements and advise the Client of compliance with Works requirements. The Design Team is no longer the specifier, rather they “accept” or “approve” or “no comment”  the Contractor’s proposals. Liability then moves logically to the Contractor as both specifier and designer purportedly in line with Work Requirements. The reality is that this does not happen in current practice and inevitably Contractors and Clients look for Design Team approval.

What will happen now to the Design Certifier’s carefully prepared Commencement Notice submission, outlining how the plans, calculations, specifications and particulars comply with the Building Regulations, if changes occur following Client approval of Contractor Works Proposals? Will the Design Certificate submitted at Commencement become null and void? The practical reality of most Public Works Contracts has not been addressed in the legislation.

Logically, the Contractor could assume the Design Certifier role when changes are proposed and be responsible for the Design Certificate and ancillary design certificates for all changes and omissions to the commencement stage design submitted by the Architect as Design Certifier. The Contractor could then lodge the drawings and documents duly certified by the new ‘Contractor/ Design Certifier’ relying on ancillary certificates and submitted in accordance with the Code of Practice before the relevant element of the work commences and without risk to the Contractor’s programme.

There is a clear gap in the chain of responsibility without a clear definition of the changed responsibility of the original Design Certifier and any subsequent ‘Contractor/ Design Certifier’. In addition building programmes will need to be extended and claims for delay will be inevitable to allow for the preparation of the changed design documentation by any ‘Contractor/ Design Certifier’.

At this point there are no clear solutions to the above situation in the BC(A)R legislation. This is an extremely serious omission requiring urgent rectification.

Other posts of interest:

RIAI CPD July 2014: Design Certifier in the Design Process- SI.9 – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.  - click link here

RIAI: time needed for schools- BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Specialist Certifier 4- COMPANY: Questions and Answers – click link here

4 tips for Design Certifiers… - click link here

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility - click link here

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) - click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

Response- Workload on Local Authorities

by Bregs Blog admin team

Please-Comment

The Bregs Blog received an interesting and pertinent response outlining the impossible position Building Control Authorities will be placed in coming up to the annual Christmas/New Year period. The following comment response (reproduced below) was received on Saturday 5th July in connection with our post “Press: RIAI fearful Local Authorities will start “finding something to invalidate as a method of workload control” (click link here).

The writer took exception with the content an Irish Examiner article by Kyran Fitzgerald that we had reproduced wherein criticisms were made of Local Authority staff. We believe the contributor’s assessment to be correct and we are happy to publish it. The problem identified with Completion Certificates is likely to be exacerbated because there is inevitably a rush to finish certain types of building project and get them open before Christmas. This would seem to require an amendment to the Building Control Regulations.

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Response- Workload on Local Authorities

Your piece [The Irish Examiner Article] about local authorities ‘finding something to invalidate’ is very unfair to those working in the Building Control Departments.

These regulations, unlike Planning, do not make any provision for Christmas-New Year or other holiday times. Planning applications don’t count the 9 days from 24 December to 1 January. This was brought in because of the rush to lodge applications on Christmas Eve which caused a spike in workload.

However this has not been included in the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, even though the timescales for the Local authorities are very tight and the departments much smaller.

As an example, a Prospective Completion lodged on 3 December could leave the local authority only 1 day to validate the documents and put them on the Register on 24 December!

There is no mechanism for the local authority to agree additional time, as there is with a Fire Safety Certificate or Disability Access Certificate application. So a building control officer faced with a deluge of Completion Cert documents on Christmas Eve has very few options.

This will put the building control departments, some of whom are one-man operations, in a very difficult position especially when owners are looking to occupy homes and extensions for Christmas.

The only options available, if all the files can’t all be checked in time, is to invalidate the Completion Cert or to delay the completion by asking for more information.

Breg Blog Note: We suggest readers contact the respective professional bodies with any concerns or queries regarding material in the press article. 

Other posts of interest:

Time to increase housing supply | Irish Examiner – click link here

Commencement Notice figures 25th June 2014 – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey - click link here

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Building Control Officer issues: Conference April 2014- click link here

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started - click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

 

 

RIAI CPD July 2014: Design Certifier in the Design Process- SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following is a summary of a recent CPD run by the representative body for architects (RIAI). It was submitted to us on Sunday 7th July 2014 by an attendee at the conference. All notes and observations are personal to the author and the Blog does not recommend any practices or conclusions in the post. For any queries or comments we suggest contacting the RIAI directly. 

RIAI CPD Seminar on the role of the Design Certifier in the Design Process

Friday 4th July 2014 at the Alexander Hotel, Fenian St., Dublin 2

Speaker 1: The role of the Design Certifier: Joe Kennedy/Smith Kennedy Architects

Joe Kennedy was the first to present, speaking about the need for the design team to work together to identify ancillary certificates that will be required prior to tender. He emphasised the need to demonstrate how compliance with the Regulations was achieved, and called this the Design Certification Report, saying this serves as the “Defence Document” in the case of issues down the line. He also recommended that the Assigned Certifier review and sign off on this report and suggested, where possible, to get reports audited by a third party.

Speaker 2 + 3: Case Studies of Design Certifier on Building Types: Ciaran O’ Brien/OBFA Architects and Gopal Naidoo/RKD Architects

Two firms gave presentations on how they have been approaching the Design Certifier role. There was a significant overlap between the 2 presentations. One, Ciaran O’Brien of OBFA had completed the tender process on a job before the 1st of March, so had to retrospectively audit their design for compliance.  He noted a reliance on the TGDs for quality assurance. He also commented on several issues they had with the BCMS that apparently have been since resolved.

He said their approach was to have the other partner in the firm who was not involved in the project do an independent review, and He also noted that although they had carried out the fire certificate application in-house, they appointed a fire safety consultant to audit the design. They intend to have an independent person in the office to act as Assigned Certifier, despite the additional time required. In the MC role, John Graby referred to the fact that sole practitioners or very small offices do not have anyone “independent” within the firm to review their designs. However this was not touched on again during the day.

Gopal Naidoo of RKD described a fit out project. He said the key to dealing with the uncertainty was to keep the client informed at all stages, which Ciaran O?Brien also emphasised. He had set up a matrix to demonstrate key areas and what design team member was responsible for certifying, but unfortunately the text on this was difficult to read on screen so we will have to wait for the handout to see this in more detail. RKD also have a different team member reviewing the design, and recommended this be done 3 times during the design process as items were picked up at each stage.

Both Gopal Naidoo and Ciaran O’Brien referred several times to the fact theirs was a trial approach to dealing with the situation they were in that was being refined as they go. While honest, this served to underline the fact that we are all essentially in a situation that is filled with unknowns, whether known or unknown unknowns, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld and There were rumblings at coffee break about the lack of guidance out there – especially 4 months after the introduction of something that was well flagged.

Speaker 4: The process of demonstrating/recording compliance at Design Stage: Ray McNally/OPW

Ray McNally from the OPW was up next. As the earlier talks had concentrated on uncertainty, it was a welcome relief to have something concrete & technical. He said as an architect, he hates checklists so instead set up a series of tools in PDF format that serve as a “checklist”! He noted these are for internal use only, and in contrast with Joe Kennedy, said not to upload them or any non-essential information to the BCMS.

The tools are interactive, based on yes or no answers to the questions, and are designed to be printed off/saved as un-editable PDFs to show that due diligence was used to reach the answer. The first tool asks whether a commencement notice is required. The second is an overview of what legislation applies. The third is a building regulations checklist, referring to Parts C-M.  The fourth is guidance on preparing the BCMS Report and the fifth and final tool refers to the Building Control work process. These tools appear to be very useful from his demonstration and the OPW have agreed to make them available to RIAI members. He commented that feedback is appreciated.

Interestingly he noted that the OPW are using the certificates as agreed between the RIAI, the SCSI, IEI, despite considering their own wording initially. He said it is OPW policy not to upload details; instead they upload GAs and provide a drawing register which says that additional information is available on request.

Speaker 5 (unscheduled): Ronan Kelleher/Reddy Associates

Ronan Kelleher of Reddy Associates had a brief, unscheduled presentation on apps that can make site inspections easier. He said in their experience an iPhone/iPad app called Siteworks is the best they have found and gave a brief demonstration into its capabilities, including showing a promotional video from the App makers which caused some raised eyebrows as to whether we had stepped into an infomercial. He also listed other apps that they trialled that he felt were less successful.

Blog note:  Joe Millar did make a brief presentation before Eamonn Smyth however the attendee missed most of it. The presentation was a list of items on screen and it was thought the handout would include everything he said.

Speaker 6: Recent and planned updates to TGDs: Eamonn Smyth/Dept of the Environment (DECLG)

Eamonn Smyth of DoECLG was up next to discuss the updates to the TGDs in recent years. He went through them one by one, addressing items he felt were commonly missed by architects and referring to the key items that were updated. He noted that Parts B, C, E & L are currently under review, and Parts J and K have been updated recently. This was a whistle-stop tour of the TGDs and although useful, felt a little out of place in a CPD regarding design certification.

Speaker 7: The Construction Product Regulations: David Power/Cox Power Architects

The most frustrating talk for me personally came from David Power regarding the Construction Product Regulations 2013. This area was also touched on by Eamonn Smyth as part of his description of changes to Part D.

While most architects are aware at this stage that a record of all products used on site must be maintained, along with their relevant CE marks, it turns out that CE Marks in construction refer to a standardised, harmonised testing method across Europe and not a standard ‘quality mark’. CE Marks do not guarantee that any product is suitable for a purpose and should be linked to national requirements.  Despite listening attentively and taking notes, I was left none the wiser as to how to specify correctly, other than to state performance standards in conjunction with re-introduced national requirements. Hopefully a review of the presentation documents, when they are made available, will yield more insights, but it appears this change in standards will require significant time in researching and updating standard specifications in offices. Assuming the NBS has been updated to take this into account, a year’s subscription would help medium to larger offices significantly in research time.

Speaker 8: The evolution of the BCMS system: Mairead Phelan/BCMS

Mairead Phelan of Fingal Co. Council and the BCMS was last to speak. With a hint of resigned weariness in her tone, she said it has been a difficult time for BCMS team and practitioners and the BCMS is a work in progress. She outlined the numbers to date. They have validated 1200 commencement notices, of which 700 were online, with most of the remaining 500 being over the counter commencement notices requiring short forms. She also indicated that a positive of the system is they have live access to numbers. This shows not just the overall numbers, but gives an indication of where certain local authorities are outliers in terms of the invalidations they produce, allowing targeted investigation.

She said the purpose of the commencement notice is to show compliance with the building regulations and the most common issue in invalidations is incomplete forms – they are working on making it more difficult to leave out information to help avoid this. She commented that there is a huge variety in the level and quality of information they are receiving.

Inspections by Building Control inspectors are looking for different things at different stages, she explained. If an inspection takes place at foundation level, they are looking for compliance with Parts A & H, but if one takes place close to completion, the Building Control inspectors will be concentrating on Part B & M, for example. She did comment that with the building control authority staffing numbers, that it is likely some buildings will not be inspected at all during their build. In her description of a good submission, she included details which show compliance with the Regulations.

Questions + Answers

This The BCMS presentation led to the first question of the Q&A which asked specifically if GAs are sufficient or details are required. There was a polite disagreement between Mairead and Ray McNally on level of information that was necessary to be uploaded. Ray McNally asserted it is the OPW’s understanding that GAs should be sufficient for upload along with a schedule of other drawings that are available on request. Mairead said first it depended on the level of information in the GAs, but eventually confirmed that Gas are acceptable after a second person asked the same question. Mairead also commented that it would be beneficial to have an example of a best practice submission for information.  Why one does not yet exist is baffling.

Another question from the floor asked what has been done to educate non-professionals to their obligations. Short of the leaflet given (belatedly in some cases) with a grant of planning permission from Co. Councils, nothing else has been done according to John Graby. He cited the domestic PSDP/PSCS requirement as an example of where people were aware of their duties even without a public awareness campaign. As an aside, this is not the experience of this architect who deals with small projects regularly. Is the director CEO of the RIAI really out there meeting members of the public with €30,000 – €50,000 extensions who cannot generally afford to use an architect?

This question was brought up again by someone who pointed out the excellent plain English guide from the HSA regarding obligations for clients under the domestic regulations.

Ciaran O’Brien made the point that the state need to advise the public, not the RIAI, but that as it is a politically sensitive issue, it is being left to the professional bodies to deal with. John Graby echoed this and compared it with how the government didn’t publicise the fact that several thousand medical cards were going to be taken away. A cynical person could say of course the difference being that the IMO did not collude in the taking away of said medical cards with the HSE as some feel the RIAI did with the Department of the Environment..

A very pertinent question was also asked from the floor on how far we need to go in requiring Ancillary Certs from designers and certificates for materials. John Graby said this was a judgement call and said on domestic projects, the main contractor can provide ancillary certs for boiler replacements, for example and should be providing the majority of ancillary certs.

With regard to material certificates, another panel member said certs for critical products that affect Part A are essential e.g. hardcore, blockwork, pre-cast lintols, joists. He also noted that insulation is essential, and a receipt to show it arrived on site should also be retained, along with certification of the insulation itself.

Conclusion

The day was mixed in its usefulness. Some firms have been muddling along since March in dealing with the aftermath of SI 9, and it may not have been as useful for them as it would have been if it had been held 4 months earlier. By way of comparison, I attended one of the earliest CPDs after the introduction of the DAC which was very helpful with a worked up example of a good DAC application, showing drawings and report. SI 9 may be more far-reaching legislation, but the RIAI have been involved as stakeholders for over a year. Surely an approach to how best to deal with it could have been thought about earlier to help its already stretched members.

All three of the initial speakers spoke of using an independent party to review designs, whether within or outside their practices or a mixture of both. This had alarm bells ringing to this attendee as it clearly demonstrates that an independent building inspectorate is needed. In the absence of this, much higher fees will be required for these reviews, especially where these will be done out of house.

Across the day, several speakers referred to the fact that we had the same liability under civil law prior to SI 9. This may be true, but why then are they all now getting their designs audited before signing off as Design Certifier?

The numbers dwindled in the afternoon, even prior to impending World Cup match time, and by Q & A time numbers had reduced to perhaps two thirds or less.

Breg Blog Note: Due to low bookings the Cork (9th July) and Galway (15th July) RIAI CPD Seminars on the role of the Design Certifier in the Design Process have been postponed until further notice

Other posts of interest:

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.  - click link here

RIAI: time needed for schools- BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Specialist Certifier 4- COMPANY: Questions and Answers – click link here

4 tips for Design Certifiers… - click link here

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility - click link here

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) - click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

10 steps to repairing your defective home under SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

10steps

In response to a number of queries from consumer readers to the blog regarding how to obtain redress for defects under the new building regulations, we list below a simple guide for homeowners, 10 sequential steps to remedy any defects, such as pyrite in blockwork, inadequate fire-proofing, leaky roofs, drainage problems under SI.9. Post written by Breg Blog Team on 6th July 2014.

Ten Steps to repairing your defective home under the new regulations:

1. Identify the problem. Pay for an independent professional report.

2. Find a solicitor. Pay for him to take the case.

3. Find out the name of the builder and certifiers from the Local Authority. Pay for this under Freedom of Information rules. You may need to wait for legal action to request all certificates from the Assigned Certifier as it is likely the local Authority will only have the main Ancillary Certifiers documentation on file.

4. Take a case against the builder, certifiers, designers and suppliers in the courts. Pay your legal team.

5. Take a complaint to Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) against the builder. Pay for more independent reports. The builder may be sanctioned but you will not receive compensation.

6. Take a complaint to one/all of the professional bodies against the architect/ engineer/ surveyor. Pay for more independent reports. The professional may be sanctioned but you will not receive compensation.

7. Move out of your home because it is unsafe. Pay rent until the case is resolved.

8. Continue to pay your mortgage and home insurance, property tax and water charges. You may apply to your Local Authority to waive property tax on the defective property until matters are resolved (exemptions only applies to older pyrite problems).

9. Winning in court is not certain. You risk losing your court action if the builder winds up the development company or the professional has gone abroad (or bust) or because negligence can’t be proved. Pay your legal bills. If unsuccessful you may end up paying legal costs of others also.

10. Get the repairs done yourself. Pay for the work out of your own pocket.

This is a realistic guide- there are currently similar situations that homeowners find themselves in all over the country. A selection as follows-

  • In Wicklow Glending residents may sue the County Council – Independent.ie 19th February 2014 (click link here).
  • From Mayo video coverage here ‘Every room is just rotten’: Video shows how pyrite destroyed this woman’s home- click link here.
  • In Navan apartments evacuated over fire safety fears – RTÉ News (click link here).
  • In Aras na Cluaine, in Clondalkin, Dublin- Flat complex may be evacuated over fire safety – RTÉ News (7th February 2011- click link here)
  • And of course Moneymore, Drogheda from Independent on 21st June 2014: It’s demolition day as houses come tumbling down due to pyrite – See more at: demolition day as houses come tumbling down due to pyrite – Independent.ie (click link here)

Following step 10 you are then left to write to your local TDs, talk to Joe Duffy, start a social media campaign in your spare time, March on the Dáil, go to Europe…

Other posts of interest:

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Summary of Legal Posts- BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations – click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? – click link here

New Law Society Guidance Note on BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Practical Post Series 1-20 – click link here

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now? – click link here

 

Minister Hogan’s departure- Does this mean somebody can now shout STOP?

by Bregs Blog admin team

PhilHoganAtLaunchOfLocalEnterpriseOfficesMay2014_large

The following piece was prepared as a letter to the editor by a contributor on 6th July 2014.

Does this mean somebody can now shout STOP?

On Friday 4th July 2014 the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) published a 54-page list of Minister Phil Hogan’s achievements itemising the “sheer amount of issues which the Minister has presided over”. This report was accompanied by speculation from a DECLG spokesperson about Hogan’s future place of employment claiming that he “was unlikely to be returning to the Department either way”. It sounded like an ambiguous reference from an employer who is happy to see an employee leave.

Minister Hogan could prove to be a very handy scapegoat to the officials in the DECLG as the debacle of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, introduced on 1st March 2014, becomes more apparent with each passing day. “It was all Minister Hogan’s fault, he wouldn’t listen,” they may be able to claim. However it would be unfair to put the blame solely on the Minister when so many senior officials in the Department are equally responsible for its introduction. They too should be held accountable for its shortcomings and the fact that it is proving so difficult to implement in practice.

Minister Phil Hogan sought to resolve the two big ‘P’ problems, Pyrite and Priory Hall, which his Department faced. His intentions were admirable i.e. better building and better protection for the consumer and they are ones that the public share. Unfortunately the DECLG did not know how to make it happen. They were too preoccupied with finding a solution that had a zero cost to the Exchequer. Penny wise, pound foolish.

Judging from the published legislation, the DECLG’s public consultation process on the proposed Building Control Regulations seems to largely have ignored the 500+ submissions received from a wide range of stakeholders. Any external stakeholder involvement was limited to confidential negotiations with certain construction related professional bodies such as the CIF, SCSI, RIAI and ACEI; groups that could be perceived as having a vested interest. Remarkably relevant bodies such as the Law Society and Competition Authority were overlooked. It seems as if the new Building Control regulations were drafted by administrators who were not actually involved with building or its control at any practical level. Unfortunately the result means that the Pyrite and Priory Hall type problems are still with us and these are likely to cost the DECLG when deficiencies are identified after the next wave of housing construction..

The question now is not when, but how SI.9 can be revoked without loosing face. Minister Phil Hogan’s departure to Brussels may present a perfect opportunity for the DECLG to bring about the required change in mindset on this issue and allow a new Minister to change our building control system that is clearly not fit for purpose. Whether it is a face-saving exercise by blaming Deputy Hogan T.D. or an admission of errors made by all involved, including the professional bodies that were consulted, Irish citizens deserve it and they deserve it soon.

The departure of Minister Hogan may be just the “get out of jail” card for a coalition under pressure.

See press piece here on Minister Hogan’s departure for EU.

Other posts of interest:

How to complete ghost estates + Priory Hall?:BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Lessons of Priory Hall were not learned in the creation of new Building Control Regulations – click link here

Senator Paschal Mooney, Minister Hogan and Seanad debate – click link here

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now?  – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link here

Minister Hogan concerned at exploitation by professionals: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

 

 

Summary of Legal Posts- BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

Legal-Issues-Forum

In response to a number of requests to the Blog we have compiled a series of legal posts on various aspects of the new regulations. Many new subscribers may not have seen some of these so we have consolidated here for ease of access.

These cover a range of issues affecting consumers, professionals, Architectural Technologists and members of the legal profession. Most of these posts contain links to legal opinions and advice from Senior Council, Barristers, Law Society, Solicitors and others in the legal profession. There have been other senior council opinions but these posts will give readers a good initial overview as to the legal issues involved.

  • Appropriately the first post is on the lack of additional consumer rights under SI.9.
  • This is followed by a CPD given recently that contained some unsettling legal presentations (CPD presentations are attached to this post also).
  • We conclude this section with the representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) letter to the Attorney General requesting clarification on the status of self-builders under the new regulations. At time of writing we are not aware of any response to this request.
  • The second section contains various posts to and from the Law Society.
  • The third section has guidance from various firms of  solicitors on the new regulations.

Remarkably in correspondence the Law Society confirmed that they were excluded from the formation of SI.9 (see “Law Society response to self-builders”). Quote:

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government excluded representatives from the solicitors’ profession from the consultation process by the Department of Environment, and our profession had no role in the policy underlying the regulations or either the process or the forms required.

Is it worth including that there are many concerns because the new rules are ‘extraordinarily loose and vague’ (see post here ) which means that there is little certainty until some of these problems end up in the courts.

Property investment and transactions involve very significant amounts of money. Delays and disputes in construction and conveyancing are very costly. Legal advice is very important at the start, setting up the rules, and at the end, to settle disputes when things go wrong.

The new system must be legally water-tight as the stakes are very high.

____________

Summary of Legal Posts- BC(A)R SI.9

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Alarming Legal opinion: BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

Architectural Technologists- Building Control Act 2007 in breach of EU Law – click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Difficult Senior Council Opinions: BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

Senior Council advice on BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

extraordinarily loose and vague”: Legal Implications of BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Law Society posts

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

Law Society of Ireland Update on BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

New Law Society Guidance Note on BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

BC(A)R SI.9 and Law Society of Ireland? -  click link here

Law Society response to self-builders – click link here

Self builders escalate to Law Society: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Law Society Gazette: https://www.lawsociety.ie/News/Gazette/

Legal Firms advice 

Legal Firms Advice: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

(click on title for PDF): 

Legal Firms Advice: BC(A)R SI.9

Reddy Charlton: Building control amendment regulations 2014

William Fry: Building Control Amendment Regulations 2014

McDowell Purcell: Impact of the building control amendment regulations 2014

Arthur Cox: second time lucky building control amendment regulations 2014

Dillon Eustace: The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014.pdf

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope this list in one area is useful, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

Top 20 Breg Blog posts for June 2014.

by bregs blog admin team

top34 June 2014 had the second highest ever number of Breg Blog views per month at 20,686.

The issue of the continued exclusion of Architectural Technologists from the register of professionals under the new regulations occupies half of our list, including the three most popular posts. Current interpretation of BC(A)R issued by Cork County Council was high up on the list as was Constantin Gurdgiev’s critique on planning permission decreases this year, contrary to recent media hype. Again very popular was this month’s update on the continuing low level of commencement notice lodgment under the new regulations.

We also completed our second survey of readers- the Breg Blog 100 days- Assigned Certifier Survey- see post here. In our survey:

  • 83% of respondents were unwilling to be an Assigned Certifier on a self-build project
  • 60% of respondents “did not feel more confident” or “remained unsure” (20%) about their ability to implement the Building Regulations
  • 86% of respondents supported the concept of an alternative system of independent inspections by properly resourced Building Control Officers and/or independent approved inspectors

Top 20 posts for June 2014:

Architectural Technologists- Building Control Act 2007 in breach of EU Law

O’Cofaigh letter to Mick Wallace TD

Mick Wallace message to Architectural Technologists

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9

Architectural Technologist letter to Minister Hogan

UPDATE- CIAT Register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better”

Who should be a Certifier- Part 1: Architectural Technologists?

Commencement notices- Building Register @ 17th June 2014

BC(A)R SI.9 + Construction Product Regulations 2013

4 tips for Assigned Certifiers…

5 POPULAR MYTHS ABOUT BC(A)R SI.9

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility

Is ‘drawing a house’ as straightforward as ‘delivering the post’?

Dáil: response on Architectural Technologist Register in 7 days

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates

Who should be a Certifier- Part 2: Architects?

Dáil: Architectural Technologists back on the agenda

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read

Press: RIAI fearful Local Authorities will start “finding something to invalidate as a method of workload control”

by Bregs Blog admin team

HouseForSaleSign_large-2

In this Press article, representative body for architects’ (RIAI) spokespersons fear Local Authorities re-adopting a policy of “finding something to invalidate as a method of workload control”. This is of particular concern for completion stage under the new building regulations, when many industry commentators feel the cracks in the current system will begin to appear and delays/ claims will invariably result on many construction projects.

Quote: “…John Graby is concerned at the impact of a ramping up in development activity after a period when staffing in planning offices has been steadily reduced during the downturn…”Construction activity is down at 6% of GDP. It should be at 11 to 12%. At present, the system is more or less coping, but could it cope with an increase?”…

Recent changes including the introduction of long awaited building control regulations…have added to the administrative workload of local authorities and architect-developers…

Read the full article from the Irish Examiner here

Extract to follow:

_____

Time to increase housing supply | Irish Examiner

In 2012 when the topic of housing in Ireland came up for discussion, the terms ‘negative equity’ and ‘ghost estate’ were bandied about with numbing frequency.

Since then, the debate has been turned on its head — at least as far as the country’s capital city and other large urban areas including Cork and Galway are concerned. House prices in Dublin are up by over 20% in the past year.

A cause of celebration perhaps for struggling vendors, or rather for their impatient lenders. a source of headaches for families in search of suitable starter homes.

The soaraway growth in rents and the surge in homelessness are concerns which also increasingly preoccupy people.

The message is clear: It is time to increase the supply of houses. Easier said than done, it would appear.

In April, the Housing Agency forecast that the country’s urban areas will require a supply of 80,000 houses at a minimum, with the annual requirement rising from 9,500, this year to almost 21,000 in 2018. The Dublin region alone will require around 37,500 additional units, at least.

A vigorous debate is under way over what type of properties should be supplied.

The builders want previous permissions for apartments to be amended so that family houses can be supplied instead. The planners beg to disagree.

According to Irish Planning News, three quarters of all new households in the period up to 2018 will consist of three people or fewer, while 57% of new households will consist of one or two. The make up of home supply must be adjusted to reflect this new reality.

Supplying the wrong kind of houses can appear to be a distant concern when weighed against the possibility that many of the planned residences may not appear at all within an acceptable time frame.

Finance is a crucial issue. The country’s cash-strapped banks now expect builders to put up around one half of the initial capital cost. It is easier to build out estates of houses on a piecemeal basis, using the funds from early sales to fund the rest of the development.

Perhaps, the banks will loosen the purse strings once the great ECB health check has been completed. But even if the builders are able to ramp up supply, they will run up against another set of obstacles.

A lot of suitable land on the fringes of urban hotspots lack the necessary services. The task of providing water and sewerage services to enable development to get under way could be hobbled by the inevitable teething problems associated with the setting up of Irish Water.

Architect Stephen Musiol was involved in a survey carried out by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland into member concerns. Member architects fear that developments could be held up because the necessary water infrastructure is not in place. This could be a real roadblock, though Mr Musiol believes that the emergence of the new body, with a commercial mandate in place of individual local authorities could turn out to be positive, over the longer run.

Many practitioners experience frustration on a daily basis in their dealings with the country’s local planning authorities.

Mr Musiol highlights a number of things that can go wrong with applications.

Original applications can be invalidated due to minor technical breaches. Requests for additional information also serve to add to workload and slow up progress.

Third party appeals to an Bord Pleanála, often lodged by people without a connection to the site, is another source of annoyance.

Clearly a balancing act is required. Appeals should not be vexatious, but nor should development be railroaded through without attention to the detail.

According to RIAI director John Graby, the system needs to be streamlined. “Why is there not a national planning application form? Each local authority has a version, yet a tax form is the same whether one lives in Donegal or in Dundrum.”

He would also like to see a better arrangement for consultation and the validation of applications, allowing for speedy correcting of any defects.

Scope for consultation was introduced fairly recently into planning legislation, but problems remain, according to Mr Graby.

“There is a concern about the accuracy and consistency of pre-consultation measures.”

The RIAI director also points to the increasing complexity of newspaper planning notices, involving entire recitals drafted by lawyers.

Another potential headache exists in the form of problematic compliance conditions.

No time limits are set on conditions being issued by councils after developments have been completed.

In one recent case, the developers of a school were instructed to relocate the entrance gate months after completion.

Stephen Musiol recalls that at the height of the boom, councils appeared to have a policy of “finding something to invalidate as a method of workload control”.

Could those days return? John Graby is concerned at the impact of a ramping up in development activity after a period when staffing in planning offices has been steadily reduced during the downturn.

“Construction activity is down at 6% of GDP. It should be at 11 to 12%. At present, the system is more or less coping, but could it cope with an increase?”
Recent changes including the introduction of long awaited building control regulations following the Priory Hall/pyrite scandals, have added to the administrative workload of localauthorities and architect-developers. Some small developments end up being caught up in the building control net simply because there is a requirement to apply for a fire certificate. Architects such as Stephen Musiol call for an end to this ‘blunder buss’ approach.

There are positive signs. In Kilkenny, a forerunner in urban planning, the local council has found itself in the eye of a storm over plans to run an inner relief road through a historic part of the town. However, the city manager, Joe Crockett, is now working closely with the RIAI and with leading architects such as Tony Reddy, Niall McCullough and Shelley McNamara to develop a master plan for a large site being vacated by the brewers, Diageo.

Such consultations could be the way of the future. In Britain, the coalition government has espoused the concept of neighbourhood plans based on extensive local participation. This is seen as tackling some of the roadblocks created by ‘nimbyist’ tendencies: The idea is that local people can be won round to accepting schemes through efforts at genuine information and consultation.

Legislation has recently been introduced aimed at reducing the burdens faced by developers of smaller housing estates. New systems of self financing for local councils are also in train.

But above all, local councils need to box clever and display flexibility. Their approach to IT also is in need of overhaul. Architects call for a greater acceptance by councils of e-planning so that documents can be filed electronically rather than in multiple printed forms.

Too much effort is going into jobsworth type activity of the type favoured by old style bureaucracies.

A streamlined planning administration may not by itself provide the new generation housing units, often city centre and urban infill, which are now required. But it will certainly represent a good start.

Other posts of interest:

Commencement Notice figures 25th June 2014 – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey - click link here

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Building Control Officer issues: Conference April 2014- click link here

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started - click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

 

 

Dáil: CIAT & RIAI- 2 Architectural Technologist Registers

by Bregs Blog admin team

20110520-2-pillars-bucksome-boomer

In the Dáil this week the Minister stated he may be placing two new Architectural Technologist registers on a statutory footing following receipt of proposals recently.

In response to questions from Claire Daly TD and Jim Daly TD on the status of Architectural Technologists under SI.9, Minister Phil Hogan confirmed he would be meeting with both CIAT and the representative body for architects (RIAI) in July 2014 concerning separate registers for Architectural Technologists for the new building regulations. Link to Dáil exchange here.

Extract as follows:

_______

Written answers, Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government- Architectural Qualifications

Clare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)

301. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he will respond positively and promptly to the proposal to operate a voluntary register for architectural technologists in Ireland with a view to it becoming statutory subject to ministerial approval, to allow those competent architectural technologists on the register to act as both the design certifier and assigned certifier alongside registered architects, building surveyors and engineers under the BC(A)R. [27817/14]

Jim Daly (Cork South West, Fine Gael)

329. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he has given further consideration to the status of Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists members being recognised as assigned certifiers; if can assist them further in any way to allow them to certify works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28288/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 301 and 329 together.

…My Department has recently given preliminary consideration to the proposals put forward in recent weeks by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists and by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland for separate voluntary registers of architectural technologists with a view to these registers being placed on a statutory footing at a future date. Both bodies have been invited to meet with my Department later this month in order to discuss how both sets of proposals for the registration and regulation of Architectural Technologists can be progressed…

Other posts of interest:

Dáil: response on Architectural Technologist Register in 7 days – click link here

Dáil: Architectural Technologists back on the agenda  - click link here

Hot topic: Architectural Technologists and SI.9  - click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Who should be a Certifier- Part 3: Chartered Engineers + Building Surveyors? – click link here

Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9. – click link here

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here

Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9 – click link here

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists - click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here

Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010  - click link here

 

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations

by Bregs Blog admin team

property-development

The following opinion piece was written by Breg Blog Team and is based on submissions on 1st July 2014 by an architect and others who are involved in the speculative build-for-sale sector.

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations

  • Assigned Certifier employees: Under SI.9 an Assigned Certifier can be employed directly by the developer as an employee. This can be an engineer/ surveyor/ architect from anywhere who registers in Ireland for the duration of the project. In one case a registered professional engineer is being indemnified by his employer, a development company, against future claims. A developer can indemnify the Assigned Certifier under his own current Professional Indemnity Insurance policy (which can be stopped at the end of the project). Effectively, the Certifier is a ‘man of straw’ against whom there is no redress. In the event of a claim post-completion by a homebuyer if the Assigned Certifier has no Professional Indemnity Insurance there is no way to guarantee he/she has adequate assets to cover any potential consumer claim.
  • Shelf Companies: Developers can set- up project-specific companies (a shelf company) for each development. In many cases this is done for financing/ licensing purposes anyway and each company is folded-up after completion to minimise liability. Everyone else will get sued except the main beneficial owner, the developer.
  • Foreign Certifier Companies: Assigned Certifiers can be individuals who are registered professionals in Ireland but employed by a foreign company, with PI in another jurisdiction. We have heard of one case of a foreign based company of certifiers operating in the Ireland. We are in the process of finding out more but it would appear that if any case is taken against this company it will be in the courts in another country possibly increasing costs for a homebuyer seeking redress for defects.
  • Ownership change: Developers can “sell” a development 13 days or less before completion to a shelf company, that then sells on to a homebuyer. As the new owner does not sign the Completion Certificate the homebuyer will have no redress against the vendor. The omission of the Owner’s name and signature from the completion certificate is a flaw at present.
  • Joint and several liability: “Joint and several liability” means that any professional involved (perhaps even the architect providing only Planning drawings for a low fee) could be 100% liable if they are the last man standing with Professional Indemnity Insurance. This means that professionals, however marginally involved, still carry significant and potentially disproportionate liability for any involvement in build for sale developments. Significantly for homebuyers seeking redress post-completion one Professional Indemnity policy holder may not have enough cover to cover for large or multiple claims.
  • Partial-service appointments still continue: Anecdotally we have heard of part-services appointments still going on. In these projects,  independent professionals are involved only at planning stage and all other professional services (engineering, certification etc.) are provided in-house (employees of development company) on-site. Developers now have more control over the process and there is marginal additional independent oversight of projects on site. As the Assigned Certifier is an employee of the developer, they are in charge of and maintain all records, ancillary certificates, declarations of performance, materials and products information. Critically persons not involved with the construction of a project can be held liable for the faults and negligence of others.
  • CIF Ancillary Certificates: The CIF Ancillary Certificates issued recently suggest that the builder-developer’s liability and the liability for sub-contractors has actually reduced under SI.9. We await a review of these documents by the other representative bodies involved (ACEI, SCSI and RIAI).
  • Speculative “Self-Builders”: the Minister has confirmed that owners can undertake the role of builder under SI.9. This means that owner/ builder-developers of large speculative developments can continue to operate essentially unregistered and unregulated. There is no mandatory register for builder-developers of speculative multi-unit developments.

In all the above scenarios we believe it may be very unwise for any registered professional to provide Design Certifier services on these projects. We have a system where the professions involved in the construction stage of a project are registered; however builders and developers are not.

Critically the homebuyer is still left seeking redress through the courts with no guarantee of success.

We were repeatedly told the new regulations were brought in to stop two things from happening again. The first was a re-occurrence of pyrite.

The scene is set for the next Priory Hall.

Business as usual.

Others of general interest:

5 Posts every builder must read- BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates – click link here

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – click link here

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates – click link here

RTÉ Radio- CIF: professionals to Guarantee under BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? – click link here

New Law Society Guidance Note on BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

 

5 Posts every builder must read- BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

670px-Choose-the-Best-Contractor-for-Home-Improvement-Step-5

Following on from a number of contractor email queries here’s a short selection of 5 posts on BRegs Blog that are of interest to contractors.

  • In our first post we discuss  implications for clients for contractor appointments to projects under SI.9. We discuss some issues involved for new contractors taking over part-completed projects where the original builder has either resigned, gone bust or has been dismissed. Completion certification will be more complex for contractors under the new system.
  • In our second post we suggest all sub-contractors have their draft certificates agreed at the outset of projects with the Assigned Certifier to minimise delays later on. Under SI.9 this paperwork may be extensive. One report of an early project completed under SI.9 noted there were over 120 individual certificates required for completion validation. We expect Local Authority guidance soon to be revised to require only the Ancillary Certificate to be lodged on completion. However the Assigned Certifier will require all the appropriate certificates at this stage for his/her records.
  • We discuss the addendum to the RIAI forms of contract in our next post. This is an architect’s view of the new responsibilities designers and specifiers are writing into contract documents for builders. Quote: “…The addendum sets out to make the contractor responsible for some of the design…if you want the contractor to insure his design, you need to tell him that before he signs the contract. Otherwise, he may claim more money from your client…
  • In post 4 we discuss the problem of no retrospective compliances. Quote: “There is no mechanism in law to have the building or works inspected and passed in the future. This is a very significant oversight, particularly as there has been no public information campaign, no transition arrangements and no guide available to the Building Control Officers advising the public  in 34 different local offices.”
  • In our last post we note that considerable delays for completion of projects under SI.9 are expected due to lack of industry readiness and inadequate resources allocated to Local Authority building control sections. There are no revised forms of contract that incorporate SI.9. Delayed possession of projects by owners may result in costly disputes. Prepare for delays and Local Authority invalidations due to lack of appropriate staff and an incomplete BCMS Elodgement system.

Posts every builder must read- BC(A)R SI.9 (click on title):

  1. Re-tendering- What if the first builder goes bust?
  2. 4 Tips for Sub-Contractor Ancillary Certifiers
  3. Changes to the RIAI Building Contract -builders may need insurance for design
  4. No retrospective compliance under new Building Control Regulations
  5. ‘We want to be in for Christmas’ -new arrangements at handover

Others of general interest:

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates – click link here

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – click link here

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates – click link here

RTÉ Radio- CIF: professionals to Guarantee under BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? – click link here

New Law Society Guidance Note on BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Competition Authority complaint: CIF & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

The Engineers Journal- CIF’s new register of builders – click link here

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) – click link here

 

 

O’Cofaigh: fit-outs that are exempt from SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

exempt-full The following opinion piece was submitted by a previous president of the representative body for architects (RIAI), Eoin O’Cofaigh, on the 27th June 2014. He outlines the criteria and rationale where SI9 may not apply to some modest non-residential fit-out projects.

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Opinion upon the procedures required to achieve statutory compliance under the building regulations and the building control regulations in respect of an office fit-out project- 27 June 2014

I have been asked twice by colleagues in recent weeks about the maze of regulation surrounding a simple office, shop or industrial fit-out project. Colleagues working on such a project may find it helpful to note that in my opinion, the “certification provisions of S.I. 9” do not apply in many circumstances, as follows. 

I will be delighted to hear from any colleague holding a view different to mine, as to the “whys and wherefores”.

1. Project description

This Opinion sets out the building regulations and building control regulations applicable in the following circumstances.

Fit out as offices of a storey (or of several storeys, or of part of a storey) of an existing building in office use, or a shop in retail use; or of an industrial building in industrial use.

  • The existing building has a fire safety certificate for office/shop/industrial use as appropriate (so, no change of purpose is involved) and is statutorily compliant.
  • No subdivision of an existing building is involved (otherwise, a fire safety certificate is required).
  • The building does not contain any residential use (otherwise, a fire safety certificate is required).
  • The reader should note that a shop is not a “unit in a shopping complex”. A material alteration to a unit in a shopping complex requires a fire safety certificate. It is also subject to the full rigour of S.I.9 so that, for instance, a weekend’s work in a small unit in a shopping complex requires the submission of certificate of completion and allows the BCA three (or five) weeks to validate the material before the shop unit may be opened, used or occupied.

2. Fit out of a floor in an existing building in office/shop/industrial use

Work will inevitably involve, inter alia, new partitions and doors, the installation or modification of the fire detection and alarm system, and the emergency lighting.

The work involves new partitions etc.

In the writer’s view, this is not work involving only “minor works”, which are defined at article 5(4) of the building control regulations as 

Works consisting of the installation, alteration or removal of a fixture or fitting, or works of a decorative nature.

3. Compliance with the requirements of the building regulations

All new work must comply in full with the requirements in Parts A-M of the building regulations and the work must not trigger any new or greater contravention of those requirements, in the existing building.

4. Compliance with the requirements of the building control regulations

The requirements for compliance with the building control regulations vary depending on whether the works constitute a “Material Alteration to an existing building”, or not.

5. Whether the works constitute a “Material Alteration to an Existing Building”

Article 5(4) of the Building Control Regulations 1997—2014 defines a “material alteration” as follows.

“material alteration” means an alteration (other than a repair or renewal), where the work, or any part of the work, carried out by itself would be subject to a requirement of Part A or B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations.

The work involves new partitions.  In the writer’s view it is therefore not work of “repair or renewal”.

In the writer’s view, the proposed works are subject to requirements of Part B of the building regulations and therefore constitute a material alteration to an existing building.

For example, the partitions are subject to building regulation requirement B2:-

B2 (Linings) For the purpose of inhibiting the spread of fire within a building, the internal linings – (a) shall have, either a rate of heat release or a rate of fire growth and a resistance to ignition which is reasonable in the circumstances (b) shall offer adequate resistance to the spread of flame over their surfaces.

The partitions are subject to the Part B requirement to achieve the Class 1 surface spread of flame rating. One cannot make them, for instance, out of raw chipboard as this would breach building regulation requirement B2. That is a compliance issue under building regulations and not building control regulations. But whether the partitions are actually to be built from chipboard or gypsum board is irrelevant to the consideration of compliance with building control regulations.

6. Whether a fire safety certificate is required for the proposed works

The circumstances in which a fire safety certificate is required are set out in Part III of the building control regulations, at article 11:- 11.

(1) Subject to sub-article (2) and articles 3 and 6, this Part applies to—

(a) works in connection with the design and construction of a new building,

(b) works in connection with the material alteration of—

(i) a day centre,

(ii) a building containing a flat,

(iii) a hotel, hostel or guest building, or

(iv) an institutional building, or

(v) a place of assembly, or

(vi) a shopping centre, but excluding works to such buildings, consisting solely of minor works,

(c) works in connection with the material alteration of a shop, office or industrial building where —

(i) additional floor area is being provided within the existing building, or

(ii) the building is being subdivided into a number of units for separate occupancy,

The text which is relevant is in bold. A fire safety certificate is required in connection with the material alteration of an shop, office or industrial building where, and only where, the building contains a flat, or where additional floor area is being provided, or where the building is being subdivided into a number of units for separate occupancy.

Given that this project involves none of these circumstances, it follows that no fire safety certificate is required in respect of the proposals.

7. Whether a Commencement Notice must be served 

Article 7 of the Building Control Regulations 1997—2014, sets out the circumstances in which a Commencement Notice must be served on the building control authority and, further along, what documents ((if any) must accompany that notice.

7. (1) Subject to sub-article (2) and articles 3 and 6, this Part applies to—

(a) the erection of a building,

(b) the material alteration or extension of a building, and

(c) a material change of use of a building,

to which the Building Regulations apply.

Specifically in relation to the material alteration of a shop, office or industrial building or part thereof, article 7 says:-

(b) This Part applies to works in connection with the material alteration (excluding a material alteration consisting solely of minor works) of a shop, office or industrial building to which Part III, or Part III of the Building Control Regulations, 1991 and 1994, do not apply.

It is clear that the proposed works constitute a material alteration, that the material alteration does not consist solely of minor works, and that Part III doesn’t apply.

It follows that a Commencement Notice must be served in connection with the proposed works.

8. What documents must accompany the Commencement Notice (The “new requirements of the 2014 building regulations”)

Article 7(1)(b) of the building control regulations as amended states that an inspection plan, assigned certifier, drawings, specifications, certificate of completion etc etc are required for all projects subject to paragraph (2).

Paragraph 2 of Article 7 then states:-

(2) The requirements of paragraph (1)(b) shall apply to the following works and buildings -

(a) the design and construction of a new dwelling,

(b) an extension to a dwelling involving a total floor area greater than 40 square metres,

(c) works to which Part III applies

As the proposed fit out is not works to which Part III applies (i.e., the works do not require a Fire Safety Certificate), it follows that the requirements of paragraph 7 (1)(b) do not apply to the proposed works.

In simple terms, one must serve the Commencement Notice, and apart from the fee, no accompanying documents per 7(1)(b) are required.

9. Conclusion

Compliance with statutory duty in respect of a project of a type described at (1) requires service of a Commencement Notice on the building control authority, without submission of any supporting documents such as an Inspection Plan, appointment of Assigned Certifier, Certificate of Compliance on Completion and the rest of it laid out at article 7(1)(b).

No fire safety certificate is required for the proposed works.

To submit any supporting material along with the Commencement Notice, or to apply for a fire safety certificate, would be an error.

Eoin O’Cofaigh 27th June 2014

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NOTE: Opinion posts are not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope this information that may be useful to professional implementers working within these new and difficult regulations. 

If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns we would be interested in hearing from them also. As this is an opinion piece, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or comments in this post. We suggest professionals contact their respective professional bodies with concerns or queries.

Other posts of interest:

Eoin O’Cofaigh: SME’S & BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

Collins & O Cofaigh- A BETTER way: BC(A)R SI.9 Solutions – click link here

O’Cofaigh: Competitiveness issues & BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents Collins + O’Cofaigh - click link here

O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer - click link here

O’Cofaigh letter to Mick Wallace TD – click link here

Eoin O Cofaigh: The architectural technologist and BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

O’Cofaigh letter to Senators: BC(A)R SI.9 (SI.105) - click link here RTÉ

Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

RTÉ.ie Radio 28th Feb. ’14: Morning Ireland: Storm in a tea-cup? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Radio Clip: Joe Duffy “what government in their right mind would make people unemployed?” – click link here  

Was pyrite discovered in concrete blocks in 2013?

by Bregs Blog admin team

Key_structure_writing_for_Hummingbird

The following opinion piece was written by Bregs Blog Team on July 1st 2014.

Was pyrite discovered in concrete blocks in 2013?

An industry alert for pyrite in blockwork was issued at the end of May 2014 by both representative bodies for engineers and architects (ACEI and RIAI). However we suspect that this issue first arose at a much earlier date. See previous blog post here.

The radio interview in the following link, regarding pyrite in Donegal, is 6 mins long and is well worth listening to- it dates from November 2013: click link here.

This second radio piece gives an overview to the pyrite occurence in Donegal- this was also broadcast in November 2013. Click radio link here.

Were the Department of the Environment and the Local Authority in Donegal aware of these much earlier Donegal cases?

Quote from the radio interview: “it appears that cases involving pyrite and defective concrete blocks in Donegal first came to light on 17th October 2013- A chartered engineer based in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal did an interview on Highland Radio on the 17th of October on the issue of pyrite. Very quickly, the station was swamped with callers- all describing similar structural problems in their homes. In the two days after the interview Damien (the engineer) was called out to inspect 200 affected buildings.

The Minister for the Environment has stated in the Dáil that he was only made aware of the problem of pyrite in blockwork on 7th April 2014 (see Dáil statement here).

Quote: “…In this specific case raised by the Deputy, the report from the Institute of Construction Professionals found that the relevant local authority did carry out a site inspection on 7 April 2014 in respect of the manufacture of the solid 100 mm concrete blocks which it was alleged were contaminated with pyrite and sulfates. ..”

If the Local Authority in Donegal and the Department were aware of pyrite blocks in 2013 why did they not issue an industry alert immediately? The recent demolitions carried out in Leinster might have been avoided if appropriate action had been taken back in 2013?

It is imperative that the Department explains what and when they knew about pyrite problems and what action was taken by its officials. The Department should also immediately inform the public if it is currently aware of any other defective building products on the market in Ireland. Are there any other ‘contaminants’ the industry should be made aware of (muscovite mica, sulphur etc)?

There are many questions that remain to be answered on the handling of the Donegal pyrite problem to ensure that consumers and construction professionals are protected.

Other posts of interest:

Pyrite blocks in Donegal- October 2013. – click link here

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now? – click link here

Dáil debates: Mick Wallace and Minister Hogan- Pyrite – click link here

Quick history of pyrite- press articles – click link here

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite – click link here

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite – click linkhere

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – click link here

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

 

RIAI Prospective Compliances?: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

A-crystal-ball-008

The following opinion piece was submitted on Sunday May 25th 2014 by a registered architect in connection with recent advice issued by the representative body for architects (RIAI) on Prospective Certification.

RIAI advice on prospective compliance:

Q: How will the Prospective Certificate work?

A: 3-5 weeks in advance of “a nominated date for completion of the building” submit information so that the authority may consider the validity with a view to facilitate the inclusion of the details of the Certificate of Compliance on Completion on the statutory register on the nominated date, plus one day. (Ref Code of Practice section 8.3)”

How will this work? 

Even on a relatively simple project it is not possible to obtain Ancillary Certs 3-5 weeks BEFORE the Completion date: a boiler will have to be commissioned, an entrance path laid, an air permeability test carried out, a handrail snagged, a drain laid. Without ALL of this documentation, the local authority will not be able to sign-off on the ‘Prospective’ Completion Certificate.

On a larger project there will be commissioning Certs for the lift (for lifts telephone lines will need to be installed), testing Certs for the sprinkler system, sound transmission tests between apartments, records of site materials, AHUs, fire alarms. It will not be possible to obtain any of this 3-5 weeks BEFORE the anticipated completion date.

So is a ‘Prospective Certificate’ EVER workable? It will be interesting to see how this is interpreted by the local authorities. Either they will agree to process ALL of this late information in 24 hours OR all incomplete prospective certs will be rejected as invalid. And then there will be a 21 day standstill on EVERY project before a building can be occupied.

At time of writing there is still no facility for electronic lodgement of completion documentation in Local Authorities.

Other posts of interest:

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

4 tips for sub-contractor Ancillary Certifiers – click link here

5 POPULAR MYTHS ABOUT BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

4 tips for assigned certifiers - click link here

4 things I am putting in my fee agreements- click link here

4 tips for Design Certifiers…  - click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read - click link hereComplaint to Minister: Fee fixing & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Minister Hogan concerned at exploitation by professionals: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

Note to readers Bregs Blog on Post format

by Bregs Blog admin team

email Recently we received an email from a reader towards the end of June 2014.

This was message: I decided to follow the bregs blog a couple of weeks ago as I think it is important…Can you not limit it to once a day or even once a week with a link to that day’s/week’s relevant articles?

Our technical dept have said readers should be able to set the email subscription to a weekly digest here if you’re logged in here:

https://wordpress.com/following/edit/

Currently we are trying to cut down to maximum 2 per day at the moment- the blog is very keen to keep all posts short, factual and to the point (there is a lot going on however). The feedback we have received mainly to date is that readers prefer shorter posts (a greater number) rather than single long ones.

The sun is shining, the world hasn’t ended and BC(A)R isn’t going anywhere soon by the looks of it. We hope to be patiently posting up condensed news and relevant information for a while longer.

July was our second highest with over 20,000 views in one month. Thanks for your continued support- please keep comments and emails coming!

Other posts of interest:

BREG Blog Archive 2- December 2013 

BREG Blog Archive 1- November 2013

Top 10 for June 7th – click link here

Hot topic: Architectural Technologists and SI.9 - click link here

Top 12 posts- week ending 31st May - click link here

TOP 10 for the week ending 17th May 2014 - click link here

Top 7 posts for the week-10th May - click link here

Top 10 Posts for Easter break - click link here

TOP 10 Breg Blog Posts for March:BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

RTÉ Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

 


3 must-read posts for employees

by Bregs Blog admin team

MUST READ POSTS

3 must-read posts for employees

Here are three posts we think you should read if you are a new subscriber to the Blog and have heard there is some issue with employees liability under the new building regulations.

  • The first post below refers to a recent bulletin to all members of the representative  body for architects (RIAI) which stated “Employees acting as Assigned Certifier and Design Certifier may be personally liable in the event that their employer no-longer exists after the demise of the practice. Employees are therefore advised to exercise extreme caution before taking on the roles of Assigned Certifier and Design Certifier.” 
  • In the second post concerns are tabled, based on emails received to the Blog from worried employees (both in the public and the private sector). Many private firms and staff in the Office of Public Works and in Local Authorities are reluctant to take on new certifier roles due to open-ended liability issues.
  • The third post is a general one describing what professional indemnity insurance is, and noting under current Irish Law “...in Ireland there is ‘joint and several’ liability. This means that even if a professional is 1% liable, the entire claim can be made against him as the ‘last man standing’.

Extreme caution for employees: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify? BC(A)R SI.9 -click link here

What is PI Insurance? - click link here

Other posts of interest:

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Alarming Legal opinion: BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

Difficult Senior Council Opinions: BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

BREG Blog Archive 1- November 2013 – click link here

 

 

 

 

Commencement figures- June 25th 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

house-falling-down-flickr-judybaxter

Building Register: 25th June 2014

Building Control Management System (BCMS)

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) published the third edition of the Building Register on Wednesday 25th June 2014 at 12.10 p.m. The Building Register records all of the validated Commencement Notices received throughout Ireland through the Building Control Management System (BCMS). The latest Building Register may be viewed here: http://www.localgov.ie BuildingRegister25thJune2014

PDF: BuildingRegister25thJune2014

The Building Register now records a figure of 945 as the total number of validated Commencement Notices received over the past four months (16.5 weeks) since the introduction of the BCMS on 1st March 2014. This figure equates with an average of approximately 57 Commencement Notices per week. Of the 945 Commencement Notices received, 359 (38%) appear to be ‘Short Form’ notices (where an Assigned Certifier is not required).

The average weekly number of commencement notices lodged nationwide in 2013 was 143 per week.

Dublin City Council, with a total of 190, has the highest number of validated Commencement Notices. The Dublin City Council figure continues to demonstrate a very high percentage of ‘Short Form’ notices at 118, or 62%, of the ‘Short Form’ type. Interestingly the figures for Louth County Council have no ‘Short Form’ notices.

Varying figures and statistics are being quoted in relation to the numbers of Commencement Notices by different stakeholders. Continuing problems with the BCMS system for lodgement of Commencement Notices have contributed to these discrepancies. At present it is not possible to lodge ‘short form’, 7-day notices or Completion Certificates on the BCMS system. In addition as Commencement Notices are being validated individually by the 34 Building Control Authorities differences have arisen between the numbers of Commencement Notices started online or hand-delivered and those that are being assessed, have been validated and/or invalidated. The above figures are based on the official BCMS record of validated Commencement Notices.

We have been unable to establish the frequency with which the BCMS intend to publish the Building Register statistics at this time. We will continue to monitor the figures closely as and when they are published. We are currently reviewing the impact of the above figures as indicators of activity in the construction industry and will report on this in a future post.

Other posts of interest:

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis – click link here

Commencement notices- Building Register @ 17th June 2014 – click link here

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall - click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started - click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey - click link here

What does pyrite do?

by Bregs Blog admin team

Take 2 minutes out and have a look a this video- it was posted on twitter on 30th June 2014 by the owner of a pyrite affected house in Mayo: “My house in Ballycastle, Co Mayo”

For more information on Pyrite and consumers visit the pyrite action group on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/PyriteAction

Other posts of interest:

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now? – click link here

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite – click linkhere

Dáil : Pyrite Remediation Programme: 10th June 2014 – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – click link here

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

CIF: “extend inspections to stamp out shadow economy”

by Bregs Blog admin team

ShadowEconomy

The following article was published on the Construction Industry Federation’s (CIF) website on 27th June 2014. In this article the CIF call for increased inspections on building sites, not for building control but by the Revenue Commissioners. We assume any and all cases of builders not operating within the tax net have and will be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Link to article here

Extract from article:

_________

EXTEND INSPECTIONS TO STAMP OUT SHADOW ECONOMY AND PROTECT CONTRACTORS - POST 27 JUNE 2014

Inspections should include sub contractors, specialist contractors and main contractors

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has called on the Government and Revenue to help stamp out shadow economy activity on State contracts by extending inspections to all contractors operating on all public projects.  The CIF said such a change in approach would prevent this work going to those misusing the system and ensure that legitimate operators were awarded work.

“Most people will be aware that there is a shadow economy problem in the Irish construction sector still,” said CIF Director General Tom Parlon.  “So we were not surprised when the latest reports arose in the Dáil of this type of activity as we receive reports of this nature regularly from our members.  There are still a substantial number of contractors operating outside the law in this country – not paying their taxes, not meeting their employment obligations and using social welfare to help subsidise wages.

“This is hitting the legitimate contractors, specialist contractors and sub contractors who are missing out on projects because they are being undercut when tendering for work. That is not what the economy needs and it is not in the interests of the State.  It is particularly galling when these problems occur on public projects – as was recently highlighted in the Dáil.  The only way to stamp out this activity is to change the inspections regime and ensure that all contractors are being monitored.  We also need to extend the inspections to all public projects.

“Currently where inspections do take place they are usually limited to the main contractor.  However we believe that all contractors – specialist contractors, sub contractors and main contractors should be subject to these inspections.  We also believe that the inspection process needs to be widened to ensure that all public projects are covered.  If these steps were taken then we would eliminate black economy activity on public projects very quickly.

“No one in the legitimate industry likes seeing reports appearing that shadow economy workers are being employed on public projects while also receiving the dole.  It undermines the legitimate contractors throughout the industry – those who pay their taxes, pay PRSI and meet their other employment obligations.

“On a wider basis we also believe that the Government needs to look at the way public construction contracts are awarded as part of the review of public procurement.  If you award on a lowest price principle, as is currently the case, then you encourage abnormally low tenders.  Abnormally low tenders involve corners being cut somewhere along the line – usually in the form of shadow economy activity of some description.

“If the Government were to move to a best value principle in awarding public contracts this would dramatically help stamp out shadow economy activity in this country.

“We would encourage anyone who is aware of shadow economy activity in the construction sector to report it.  If more people were prepared to highlight cases it would certainly help the more legitimate companies operating in the construction industry.  We would remind all our members and everyone involved in the construction industry that they can make anonymous reports to the Revenue via the ‘Good Citizen’s Report’.  The process involved for this can be found at –http://cif.ie/goodcitizens.html

Construction Industry Federation – Good Citizen’s Report Form (PDF and Jpeg):

GoodCitizensReport Form

GoodCitizensReport Form

 

Other posts of interest:

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland – click link here

Is CIRI the only register of contractors? BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey  - click link here

RTÉ Radio- CIF: professionals to Guarantee under BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?  - click link here

The Engineers Journal- CIF’s new register of builders  - click link here

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)  - click link here

CIF suggest self-building no longer possible after March 1st 2014 – click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? – click link here

Self-Builders escalate to Europe: BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9?

by Bregs Blog admin team

tc-cinderella-delia-matthews-clock-stars-poster_1000

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9?

We noted in an earlier post (see post here) that the Design Certifier (DC) seems to have disappeared from a lot of government guidance.

  • The list of Commencement Notices published from the BCMS  lists only the ‘Designer’ (who is not required to be a registered professional) and the ‘Certifier’ (clearly meaning the Assigned Certifier). See pdf list: Building Register 17th June 2014.
  • The Law Society Practice Note (see link) advises solicitors to use the Completion Certificate only. The Design Certificate will not be used in conveying property.

It is clear then, that the Design Certifier has become the “Cinderella” of Building Control and that this role has been minimised to an ‘outline’ compliance certificate that does not even appear on the public record. For most projects the Assigned Certifier (AC) will take on the job before tendering and will audit the design before the start and as the projects goes along on site.

This is a sensible solution; it reduces the workload at commencement and is readily workable on all types on contracts. The Assigned Certifier’s role is clear and there is a second pair of eyes on all design work, both the professionals or subcontractors throughout (only if the DC and AC are different people).

SI.9 has evolved, since its implementation, into being a paper trail with a single point of responsibility- the Assigned Certifier. The disappearing role of the Design Certifier is reflected in the Department’s own Code of Practice.

For most projects it is likely that there will be no extra fees for the role of Design Certifier. Unless practitioners have specifically negotiated these, it is reasonable to assume the responsibilities associated with the role should be minimised also.

Other posts of interest:

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.  - click link here

RIAI: time needed for schools- BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Specialist Certifier 4- COMPANY: Questions and Answers – click link here

4 tips for Design Certifiers… - click link here

4 things I am putting in my fee agreements - click link here

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility - click link here

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) - click link here

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

 

 

BREGS Blog Archive 2- DECEMBER 2013

by Bregs Blog admin team

historical-archive_2_large

Don’t forget our archives!

At time of writing on 29th June 2014 we have over 1,030 daily subscribers to Bregs Blog that have access to over 400 posts. For many recent readers our December 2013 posts will be a new source of information and background on the new regulations.

Click on the following link and scroll through the second month’s posts we published- many of these highlight some of the issues we are currently experiencing.

Click title: BREGS Blog Archive 2- DECEMBER 2013

Following on from a formal policy adopted by the representative body for architects (RIAI) in October 2013 at the largest ever EGM, on December 16th a petition was submitted to Minister Hogan signed by over 500 members of the RIAI requesting deferral of the new building regulations in the interests of consumer protection and industry readiness. This number represented over 25% of all registered architects in the Ireland. See PDF of letter here: 500 petition letter to Minister.

Given the recent re-occurrence of pyrite in the construction industry it would appear little has happened to regulate and stop this problem. In the post “The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel” we listed key recommendations of the pyrite panel report, a report commissioned and endorsed by the Government, that were disregarded in the formation of the new regulations. See post here.

In this month we posted:

  • Priory Hall resident spokesman Graham Usher noted “As a former resident of Priory Hall, I read the proposed changes to the Draft Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012 with interest…After reading, I cannot help but feel Environment and Local Government Minister Phil Hogan and his department have failed utterly to learn the lessons of Priory Hall.” He added “…Incredibly, it would appear there will still be no inspections by the local authorities...In my opinion the aim of the proposed amendments is to ensure that the State succeeds in absolving itself of having to take any responsibility for potentially dangerous defects to peoples homes despite the funds they have and will continue to receive through large levies & stamp duty.” (see post here)
  • Deirdre Lennon architect and current council member of the representative body for architects (RIAI) in a personal opinion piece added to the widespread calls for comprehensive local authority bulding control inspections (see post here): “If the Minister is really serious about strengthening the Building Control System he can task the Building Control authorities to carry out independent inspection and review protocols similar to that operated in the UK. This system has been tried and tested and following review in 2012 has been confirmed to be the most cost effective solution for protecting the quality of the built environment. We would welcome it.”
  • In another opinion piece (see post here) the Irish system of Building Control was shown to be unique internationally. The Department of the Environment target of only one site visit to 12-15% of buildings was compared to 100% inspection rates of all dwellings in the USA and in much of Europe.
  • In a letter to the editor of the Irish Times 7 past presidents of the RIAI asked the question “New or same old building regulations?” (see link here)
  • Past president of the RIAI Joan O’Connor discussed the obligations of the State and consumer rights in a personal opinion piece. She concluded with a question Dare we look aim for a radical overhaul of the system to simplify the administrative aspects of building control to focus on essentials such as education, inspection and insurance?” Read post here.
  • In Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 (see link here) we noted the multitude of recommendations and reports disregarded (like the pyrite report) in the design of SI9 (SI80).
  • The very cursory regulatory impact assessment (RIA) for the new regulations from 2012 was noted (see post here) in contrast to similar RIA undertaken in the uUK in 2012. In the UK teh comprehensive study was set to examine how to streamline the UK’s system of approved inspectors. We noted that “The UK report included the Irish system as a option: light-touch, low-cost (to local authorities), self-certification, but discounted this early on due to cost to the consumer and to the wider industry.
  • We also posted the first of many posts on the problems of self-builders: “Self-builders to be phased out under S.I.80″ (click post here)

Previous Archive posts (click title):

BREGS Blog Archive 1- NOVEMBER 2013

Other popular “top read” posts:

Top 10 for June 7th – click link here

Hot topic: Architectural Technologists and SI.9 - click link here

Top 12 posts- week ending 31st May - click link here

TOP 10 for the week ending 17th May 2014 - click link here

Top 7 posts for the week-10th May - click link here

Top 10 Posts for Easter break - click link here

TOP 10 Breg Blog Posts for March:BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

RTÉ Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

 

Home page comments moved to post and get involved on Twitter!

by Mark Stephens

conversation

 

You are invited to participate via Twitter in the widget below- get involved in the many aspects of BC(A)R SI.9 that are discussed every day on Twitter. Join the hundreds of Twitter followers who are chatting about the new building regulations and get the separate daily twitter feed of news, gossip and discussions.

The following comments have been moved from the home page to aid clarity .

______________

Ordinary_Member
November 27, 2013
Who are the BRegs group? Is it just the 7 Past Presidents or are there others involved? Why is there no information on this site, is it available elsewhere?

Reply:
Many thanks for your comment, which is well made. We’ve added the description below to our About page. The names listed here are not exhaustive, we’ll add more as people give us their permission to do so:

The BRegs Forum was established to debate the 2013 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, which will affect all new buildings due to start on site from 1st March 2014. The forum grew out of the 2012 public consultation which resulted in over 500 submissions to the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government from a wide body of stakeholders including architects, engineers, surveyors, government agencies, property holders, builders and consumer interest groups.

The purpose of the forum is to investigate the implications of the BC(A)R, to rigorously test the proposals and to propose workable, cost-effective solutions which will be in the greatest long-term benefit to the Irish Public.

The BReg Forum is not a representative body.

Contributors include: Padraig Murray, Michael Collins, Peter Hanna, Joan O’Connor, Eoin O’Cofaigh, Arthur Hickey, Sean O Laoire, Sean Carew, Orla Hegarty, Joe Kennedy, Claire McManus, Mel Reynolds, Mark Stephens, Vivian Cummins, Caomhan Murphy, John O’Keeffe, Colin Jennings. Paddy O’Toole, Eoin O’Morain, Martin Murray, Deirdre Lennon, Gerry Egan and Jimmy Delahunty

Dermot Kearns
November 22, 2013
Over the last three years I have contacted Government many times clearly identifying serious and life threatening issues in relation to thermal,acoustic and fire safety in both domestic and commercial buildings. I sent images clearly identifying breaches in building regulations and health and safety. Not one senior minister has agreed to meet with me to discuss any of these issues. Why? In my honest opinion they simply do not care. Building control is a useful tool only when building inspectors are educated in what they should be inspecting. Most of the problems I see on a regular basis stem from poor quality design and specification of the building project. Inadequate communication between the Client/Developer, Architect, Builder and Sub contractors.
It is this simple, where a building is found not to be in compliance with the building regulations the purchaser must be entitled to a full refund if the works cannot be rectified in an agreed period of time. Our laws favor the rich and powerful (friends of government) not the general public.
We are now beginning to build again in this country and the same crock of S–t is on offer to the general public as so called quality buildings.
Where the thermal insulation is wrong you can bet your life the fire stopping is wrong.
Thermal, acoustic, fire safety, ventilation and radon protection are inextricably linked and require clarity at the design stage of every building project. Equal or approved should never be written on a building specification and should be replaced with equal or better. The insulation, ventilation and fire specification should be clearly identified by the architect and the design team.

To insulate is to protect Dermot Kearns November 2013

Reply:

In response to recent high-profile building failures a new more comprehensive building control regime being introduced. The current system was inherited. This intervention, SI80, is well-intentioned and is being done in the face of serious public-sector cutbacks and financial constraints. ” Do more with less” etc.

I am sure a number of instances of failures due to the current flawed system self-certification system have surfaced in the last few years like the one you outlined. Everyone involved will dive for cover and hope it will go away.

Really we should have a building control section with the same powers as, say the Health & Safety inspectors. They visit sites unannounced and if signage and site is not in accordance with strict guidelines the site is closed down. In the example you quoted above that site should have been shut as soon as it was opened.

In other countries developers are obliged to carry building control approved drawings and permits to build on site. When a building control inspector calls if these documents are not there the site is closed. This is not rocket-science. Currently Irish local authorities have roving inspectors that visit all road works undertaken by contractors around the country, and if not in accordance with safety plans lodged in the local authority in advance the works are stopped. Its not that complicated, and a lot more usable, cost-effective and transparent than SI80. And it protects the consumer.

Redcloud
November 21, 2013
How can the Government expect a new regulation to be enforced without offering a proper system of policing. If you look at fire or health and safety there is a proper inspectorate system with powers that we strive to comply with. We need the government to empower building control to have a full inspectorate role. As a nation we have a very poor record of obeying rules that are not policed. The consumer will lose out again- minister Hogan has made a brave move but needs to back it up with an inspectorate and latent insurance system.

Joe Kennedy
November 21, 2013
This is one of the most serious issues facing the construction industry and home owners. The Regulations as currently drafted will fail to protect consumers, will make scapegoats out of a few Certifiers and will not lead to the standard of building construction badly needed.

Maoiliosa Reynolds

November 29, 2013

In the Irish Independent article today: “.. The new regulations do not and cannot change the legal responsibilities set out in the Act of 1990. They merely activate a provision in the Act of 1990 enabling certificates of compliance as a means by which those responsible can demonstrate how their statutory obligations have been fulfilled.”
I agree entirely that this is the home truth. The current defective system of self-certification introduced in 1990 remains. We will have more paper, not better buildings. Rogue developer-builders can rest easy. Under SI80 unregistered builder-developers can now assume total control of the building process with no third party inspections as of March 2014. Have we learnt nothing from Priory Hall, the pyrite scandal? Has anyone in the construction industry seen what is happening again in Meath this week? How many Priory Halls must be unearthed before stakeholders start acting in the interests of the consumer and not in the narrow interests of members that they represent? Collectively all stakeholders must come forward now and act in the interests of the consumer and call for postponement and amendment of SI80. The industry is completely unprepared for this deluge of paper and bureaucracy. We will have a serious hiatus in the construction industry in 2014 and still be left with a dysfunctional, unregulated, light-touch system eith no third-party independent inspections and no local authority enforcement. The courts held that the local authority was responsible for rehousing residents of priory hall. Government resistance in facing up to their established legal responsibilities will continue to cost the taxpayer and consumer dearly for years to come.

Patrick Doherty

December 14, 2013

Ireland is full of regulations for everything, but as the banking crisis and the hundreds if not thousands of priory halls out there prove, you can have all the regulations you want, they are all completely worthless without having regular inspections, and above all ENFORCEMENT.
Also anyone in Ireland is allowed to call themselves a ‘building contractor’ and construct property worth hundreds of thousands of Euro without any type of technical training, or knowledge, or any care for even the most basic building regs. No contractors licence of any type is necessary. Yet you can’t even own a dog here without having a licence.
How long will Ireland continue being an international joke ?

michael quirke

February 28, 2014

this amendment wont work without building control inspections.
by work i mean ensure a substantial improvement in compliance/quality of workmanship.
in England you cant get final certification without the building control officers having inspected the works at least once during the build.
The minister can say what he likes but this amendment in practice has more to do with a)taxation than certification, the “registered builder” can now be easily traced to projects he has signed off to check up on his tax liabilities.
and b) insurance liabilities. the government/state doesn’t want to be paying for any more priory halls. Insurance liabilities / that’ll be for YOU the certifier. Take a close look at SI 224/2013 regarding CE markings and certification and associated dept of environment guidance documents. It seems that where CE certification is available for a particular product and such a CE certified product is used in the building works the main ASSIGNED CERTIFER will be required to ensure and keep a record of his/her methodology in this process . That process will not be time consuming for say a gas boiler, there will probably only 1 CE marking on it and the suppliers/installers certificate will be required but for a host of other construction elements this will be a huge task if you the certifier are to do the job right. eg each rafter/truss on will have to be checked by YOU individually for a CE mark. A letter/statement from the builder wont do, and you would be wise to be careful of builders statements. You better bring a packed lunch with you on site inspections from now on , and by the way im an Architectural Technologist just recently excluded from certification by the minister , my qualification along with 30 years of experience counting for nothing in the ministers view.
michael quirke

Bregs Blog admin team

February 28, 2014

Thanks michael you are correct as CPR 2013 has been rolled into Part D of the regulations the Assigned certifier has to keep a record of all materials and components used on site. This includes CE marks and declarations of performance also. Our take is that this record is not the responsibility of an ancillary certifier, builder, but is the responsibility of the assigned certifier. This will need to be digitised and submitted as part of completion documentation also. As assigned certifier is not part of supply chain it is hard to understand how this will work in practice. As you say this is a huge additional amount of work which up to now has not really been identified or discussed.

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates

by Bregs Blog admin team

stateofireland-home2013

Today 27th June 2014 Engineers Ireland posted current draft building regulation certificates on their website. These include new drafts written and issued recently by the Construction Industry Federation for their members.

Professionals should consider carefully how these certificates tie into contractual obligations and ensure that the ‘one size fits all’ certificates drafted by the professional bodies are appropriate to the particulars of your job. In all cases it is important to explain these arrangements to your client, as he building owner is ultimately responsible. It is advisable to seek independent legal advice for complex contracts.

As these are draft documents and may be subject to revisions we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or duties in this post. We suggest professionals contact their respective professional bodies with concerns or queries.

See link to Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates here.

Extract to follow:

________

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates

The suite of Ancillary Certificates have been developed in response to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, BC(A)R, published as S.I. No.9 and S.I. No 105, both of 2014 and complemented by the associated Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works.

The four organisations that represent the design professionals that can act as Assigned Certifier and Design Certifier under S.I. No. 9;

The Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI)

Engineers Ireland (EI)

The Royal Institution of Architects of Ireland (RIAI)

The Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI)

The Ancillary Certificates are required to be signed off by a Principal or Director of the company employing the individual who prepared the Ancillary Certificate. The selection of the person who signs off on the Ancillary Certificate is a matter for the company concerned in compliance with their own Professional Indemnity Insurance.

While these are not statutory documents, it is the recommendation of all four organisations that the wording and format of this suite of documents are not changed for individual project use. Milestone reviews of all the documentation generated by S.I. No.9 may initiate a review of the Ancillary Certificates at an agreed date in the future.

Ancillary Certificates for Engineers

The following Ancillary Certfiicates will be required to be signed off by the Engineer for their Design at the Design Stage and the Completion Stage. Note there are two certificates required at Completion Stage, one covering Design and the other covering Inspection.

ENGINEER_Design_ACEI-EI_BCR_1401

ENGINEER_DesignCompletion_ACEI-EI_BCR_1402

ENGINEER_Inspection_ACEI-EI_BCR_1403

Ancillary Certificates for Competent Persons or Specialists

It is proposed that the following Ancillary Certificates will be required to be signed off by competent persons or specialists (i.e. Facade Designer, Fire Systems Designer, Lift Specialist etc.) for their design at Design Stage and at Completion Stage. Note there are two certificates required at Completion Stage, one covering Design and the other covering Inspection.

SPECIALIST_Design_RIAI_ACD_02

SPECIALIST_DesignCompletion_RIAI_ACCD_02

SPECIALIST_Inspection_RIAI_ACI_02

Ancillary Certificates for Builders

It is proposed that the following Ancillary Certificates will be required to be signed off by competent persons or specialists (i.e. Facade Designer, Fire Systems Designer, Lift Specialist etc.) for their design at Design Stage and at Completion Stage. Note there are two certificates required at Completion Stage, one covering Design and the other covering Inspection.

CIF01_Ancillary_Certificate_of_Compliance_on_Completion__Sub-Contractor_Ma

CIF02_Ancillary_Completion_Certificate_Sub-Sub-Contractor_May-2014

Other posts of interest:

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Alarming Legal opinion: BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Difficult Senior Council Opinions: BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

Senior Council advice on BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

“extraordinarily loose and vague”: Legal Implications of BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Law Society of Ireland Update on BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

New Law Society Guidance Note on BC(A)R SI.9 -  click link here

 

Irish Residential Property Prices: May 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

HouseForSaleSign_large

The following piece was posted on 25/6/2014 by Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev, lecturer in Finance in Trinity College. Link to his Blog “True Economics” is here

Blog comment:

The following post is a follow-on from yesterday’s “‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis” which drilled down into some of the actual Central Statistics Office figures (and trends) coming out for planning permissions. While house prices are not directly relevant to building regulations, we feel they are an important component in painting the overall picture of where the construction industry is at and is going. Residual site values are directly related to sales prices etc. Given consumer lending is down significantly for mortgages from 2011 (see earlier True Economics post on this here) and prices are rising in Dublin, we may be looking at a localised investor-led recovery in parts of the capital.

The recent Construction Industry Federation (CIF) survey (see post here) suggested a patchy Dublin-centered recovery, primarily in the commercial sector. The drop-off in residential permissions (as noted in Mr Gurdgiev’s here) implies that a housing shortage for ordinary first-time buyers will not improve in the short to medium term. Certainly this diverse input suggests that the construction industry is undergoing a tentative recovery, one that should be carefully monitored. The effect of BC(A)R SI.9 is still to be felt due to the spike in commencements pre March. Early signals such as PMI data for later on in the summer should indicate whether tender activity will begin to tail-off as a result of the marked fall-off of commencement notices due to SI.9 since March.

CIF members will probably be the first to know if the industry is starting to slow again, and pretty soon.

True Economics: 25/6/2014: Irish Residential Property Prices: May 2014- see link here.

Extract as follows:

_______

25/6/2014: Irish Residential Property Prices: May 2014

CSO published Residential Property Price Index today for May 2014. Lots of various headlines reporting double digit gains in property prices and lauding general recovery in the market, as usual.

Let make some sense of the data as we have it:

Point 1: National house prices: Index was at 70.1 in April 2014 and this rose to 71.7 in May 2014. April reading was just a notch above 70.0 in December 2013. In other words, for all annual gains, we were just about back to the level prices were in December last year. In May, this rose above December 2013 levels, and closer to September-October 2011 average.

I would not call this a ‘recovery’, yet, especially since we have drawn another ‘u’ around December 2013-April 2014.

That said, relative to peak prices are down 45.1% and are up 11.9% on crisis period low. Cumulated gain over last 24 months is only 9.47% which equates to annual average growth in the ‘recovery’ period of just 4.63%. Again, given the depth of decline from the peak, this is not a ‘bubble’-type recovery.

3mo moving average was down through April 2014 at -0.23% compared to 3mo period through January 2014, but in May this moved into positive territory of +0.86% compared to 3mo average through February 2014.

Current national prices are 26.9% below Nama valuations (inclusive of LTEV and risk cushion) so for Nama to return profit on average acquired loan it will need ca 27.4% rise from here on. At current running 24 months growth rate, that will require roughly 6 years.

1

Point 2: National property prices ex-Dublin: the index reading is at 68.2 barely up on 68 in March 2014. Compared to crisis trough, the index is now only 3.2% up. Cumulated rate of growth over 24 moths through April 2014 is negative at -1.02%. 3mo MA through May 2014 is 1.02% below 3mo MA through February 2014. In other words, nationally (excluding Dublin) things are not getting better.

2

Point 3: Dublin properties, despite all the talk about ‘new bubble’ and ‘boom’ are only now in line with those nationally (chart above shows this much). In other words, Dublin ‘boom’ is a correction for much steeper decline in Dublin properties relative to the rest of the country.

3

Point 4: Dublin all properties index is now at 72.2 in May, which is up on 69.3 in April 2014, and is the highest reading since February 2011.

Relative to peak, Dublin properties are still down 46.3% although they are now 26% above the crisis trough. Cumulated gain in Dublin over 24 months through May 2014 is 23.6% which equates to roughly 11.2% annual rise – robust and clearly signalling recovery, in contrast to ex-Dublin markets.

But, 3mo MA through April 2014 was % below 3mo MA through January 2014, while 3mo AM through May 2014 is 2.66% up on 3mo MA through February 2014, which shows some volatility in the index and can be a sign of the rally regaining some momentum or seasonal effects combining with some improved economic news or simply volatility taking hold of the recent data. Simple answer – we have no idea what is going on.

Crucially, as chart above shows, apartments segment of Dublin market is showing weaker growth over the last 6 months than houses segment. This is surprising, given rapid rises in rents and reported shortages of accommodation.

So here you have it: for all the hoopla about ‘mini-bubble’ etc, things are still very much shaky:

•Growth in Dublin is strong, but so far consistent with the market catch up with more conservative price declines to trough in the rest of the country.

•Meanwhile, outside Dublin, things are solidly dead.

Other posts of interest:

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis – click link here

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop – click link here

Taoiseach: get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’- click link here

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall - click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started - click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite

by Bregs Blog admin team

0009245f-614

In this report from RTÉ News (Wednesday 25th June) it appears that the remaining houses (except one) in a development in Co Louth will be demolished due to pyrite affected blockwork. Previously it had been reported demolition had commenced on a small portion of the development.

For RTÉ News report click here

Extract from article:

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite

An entire social housing development under construction in Co Louth will have to be demolished following confirmation that all but one of the homes is contaminated with pyrite.

The 25-unit housing scheme is a partnership between North and East Housing Association and Louth County Council.

The alert was raised in April when the housing association’s technical staff noticed cracks in the walls of six of the houses at Moneymore in Drogheda.

A detailed examination found that the cracks resulted from under floor filling containing pyrite, which caused the material to expand and cracked the block work.

The results of a second phase of tests have now confirmed that a further 18 units have been contaminated with the mineral.

Demolition has already begun on the first six homes.

Building contractor Andrews Construction and North and East Housing Association have now agreed to knock and rebuild all 25 units in the development.

The additional cost arising from the demolition and reconstruction will be borne by the builder and their supplier.

The need to demolish and rebuild the houses will mean a further nine-month delay for those on the council housing list hoping to secure one of the units.

Breege Dolan, acting CEO of North and East Housing Association, said: “We had hoped to deliver the 25 houses in November 2014 but it will now be August 2015 taking account of demolition and rebuild works.

“We are lucky that the houses were not fully constructed, when we identified the problem the houses were 60% complete.”

Related Stories

Dublin houses demolished after pyrite discovery

Local authorities investigating new pyrite reports

Scheme opens to repair pyrite-affected homes

Other posts of interest:

Dáil : Pyrite Remediation Programme: 10th June 2014 – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – click link here

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

 

Senator Paschal Mooney, Minister Hogan and Seanad debate

by Bregs Blog admin team

0007a68b-642

The following letter from the representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) to Senator Paschal Mooney takes issue with a reply the Senator received from Minister Phil Hogan. Senator Mooney had written to the Minister, on behalf of self builders, following a complaint made by the IAOSB regarding statements made in a Senate debate in April 2014. In the following letter it appears that the transcript of the Seanad debate was edited and omits specific references made by Minister Hogan concerning the IAOSB in the Seanad.

Extract off IAOSB website to follow, link here

___________

Iaosb’s reply to Senator Paschal Mooney regarding the response from Minister Hogan on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I.9 of 2014

Minister Hogan’s response to Senator Paschal Mooney regarding S.I.9 of 2014 3rd of June 2014

–—————————————————

Dear Senator Mooney,

Firstly I would like to express our thanks to you on behalf of all of our members for taking up the issues we raised directly with Minister Hogan. We are a voluntary body with scant resources to pursue these matters.

We remain astonished at the contradictory replies in the Seanad and now in Minister Hogan’s letter reply to you. We previously had tabled our concerns in a letter of 11th April directly to Minister Hogan also.
iaosb letter to minister hogan following his replies in the seanad

In the Seanad Minister Hogan clearly mention us, and that we had participated in the formation of SI.9. In his reply to you on 3rd June Minister Hogan goes on to contradict that. We repeat our request for an independent inquiry into the Minister’s misrepresentative comments and now contradictory statements concerning the IAOSB involvement in any stakeholder process.

Quote (3rd June letter): I made no reference to IAOSB having been kept informed or participated in the formation of the regulation

I would like to point out that on the transcript of the Seanad Debate on 10th of April, the Minister says “In respect of self-certification, people involved in self building have been consulted all along. The organisation that allegedly represents them certainly did not make any particularly strong submission to suggest that these regulations should not be introduced in the interests of the consumer” kildarestreet.com sendebates 2014-04-10a.74

However, if you would be kind enough to view the recording of the same debate (Minute 2.09.00), you will notice that the actual wording was “Association of Self build people have been consulted all along” but the words Association of self build have been omitted on the transcript above. oireachtas.ie DocID=25876&&CatID=129
We are outraged that an elected representative can clearly issue contradictory and misrepresentative comments concerning a voluntary organisation such as ourselves.
Due to conflicting Ministerial and Department statements concerning the status of self-builders and conflicting advice from local authorities, we have left it to the judgement of our members to read all relevant information for themselves and make decisions on whether or not to proceed with self-builds now post implementation of S.I.9. We have repeatedly asked for formal legal confirmation of the status of self-building now under the new regulations, both from the Minister and the Attorney General.

iaosb letter to attorney general, maire whelan sc from iaosb regarding s.i.9

We would urge the Minister if he has received this legal opinion to provide our members with this as we do not have the resources to commission a senior council opinion.

The Minister suggests we take responsibility for our involvement- on behalf of our members we have demonstrated this in the significant correspondence to his office listed on our website here www.iaosb.com

The matter of the register of professionals, the monopoly on the new roles in the building regulations, is not new. The Minister himself referred to “cartel” or monopoly practices in the Dáil in a recent debate called for by Mick Wallace, TD. He brought the exclusion of Architectural Technologists (in our opinion unfair exclusion) to the Dáil recently. Minister Hogan is well aware of this issue having taken Minister Gormley to task concerning Architectural Technologist exclusion from the register when in opposition some years ago.

debates oireachtas.ie dail 2010/02/18

The increase costs as outlined in our letter to Minister Hogan, up to and in excess €40,000 for a typical home are accurate and reflect the experience of a large number of our members. The costs range frequently stated by he Minister of between €1000 and €3000 is simply not correct.

In his reply to you the Minister reiterates that it is incorrect that a building owner may not assume the role of builder under SI.9. Has the Minister obtained clarification form the Attorney General that this is the case? Or is this just an opinion of his senior civil servants on this legal matter? We know, from a reply we received from the Law Society, that the Law Society, remarkably, was not consulted by the Minister or Department on SI.9.

iaosb letter_to_and_from_mr_mark_mcdermott,_law_society_of_ireland.html

We would have assumed that conveyancing and the multitude of consequences following on from SI.9 for the sale and refinance of a property, would dictate that the Law Society be a key stakeholder in the formation of any legislation? Apparently not.

As a result every self-builder that takes the Minister’s statement at face value and commences a self-build after 1st March is taking a huge risk that there may be conveyancing an re-financing issues down the line. In an R.T.E radio programme Joe Duffy asked the question will the Minister and his Department come down to the high court with self-builders to sort out these issues when they occur? These are the major concerns that are effecting our members.

In his reply the Minister seems to be putting the mandatory register of contractors on the long finger. This makes absolutely no sense as we now have a construction industry where everyone is “registered” except for one group that needs to be- contractors. The frequently quoted rationale of SI9 is to rid the industry of the cowboys. Unfortunately a statutory register of contractors, within a system of self-certification, will put the ban of self-building firmly on a statutory footing. Again a symptom of the flawed logic behind the new building regulations.

Regarding the UK system proposed, a system of independent local authority inspections, we are all aware that this probably will cost the consumer. No one including our members, professionals or others involved in construction object to reasonable costs for an improved system. What we do object to is vastly increased costs for a system that offers no additional consumer protections, just additional “red tape”. In the UK independent local authority inspections allow for self-building, and this is one sector of the residential market which has received significant stimulus funding.

The recent re-occurrence of pyrite in the construction sector is proof enough that the current system of self-certification, hands-off low cost limited local authority inspections and enforcement, simply does not work.

We disagree with the Minister’s interpretation of the Law Society Conveyancing Committee advice to professionals not to undertake certifier roles for self-builders: it’s pretty clear that is what they are saying in black and white (See attached). Our members can’t get professionals to certify self-builds where the owner isn’t an experienced construction professional or builder. This places self builders in the position that they have to use a building contractor or abandon the project completely.

Producing vague, undefined legislation in a premature fashion with no local authority additional resources to police, monitor or operate is not acceptable. Leaving up operation of new laws “…to the professional judgement..” of professionals and builders with clear vested interests is not acceptable. These representative bodies and organisations, when asked by the IAOSB, refer us back to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. In fairness to the C.I.F they have been the one organisation with clear unambiguous advice to self builders – that it is no longer possible under S.I.9. Passing the buck must stop.

The Minister must take responsibility himself for the mess he has created and start cleaning it up, starting with the self-builders.

Once again I thank you for all your help and assistance regarding this very important matter.

Kind Regards

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of Self Builders

www.iaosb.com

Gazzett of Law Society

Other posts of interest:

Senator Mooney letter to Minister Phil Hogan – click link here

Complaint to Minister re Seanad Debate: BC(A)R SI.9 (SI.105)- click link here

Listen to Seanad Debate: SI.9 (si.105) - click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link here

Radio Clip: Senator Mooney- BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists - click link here

Minister Hogan concerned at exploitation by professionals: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

by Bregs Blog admin team

5690690936_d1e2281081_z The following piece was posted on 24/6/2014 by Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev, lecturer in Finance in Trinity College, Dublin and in the Smurfit School of Business, UCD. He has served as the Head of Research and Partner with St Columbanus AG, Head of Macroeconomics (Institute for Business Value, IBM), Director of Research (NCB Stockbrokers), Adviser to the Irish Exporters Association; Group Editor and Director (Business and Finance Publications). He also served as non-executive member on the Investment Committee of Goldcore. Link to his Blog “True Economics” is here. Interesting analysis of Dublin property prices also this week.

Extract from blog “True Economics:

Planning Permissions in Ireland: the ‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

There are many drivers for planning permissions applications in Ireland, including traditional ones (economic fundamentals, demand, credit supply availability etc) and idiosyncratic (changes in planning regime etc). Not to comment on either of these, here are the latest stats (through Q1 2014) on the subject. Q1 2014 registered an uplift in total number of planning permissions granted, which rose y/y by 17.0%. This sounds like a large number, except the problem is – it comes off such a low base that Q1 2013 actually was an absolute historical low for planning permissions for any quarter since Q1 1975. In real terms, as the chart below clearly shows, since Q1 2011 through Q1 2014, maximum number of planning permissions granted barely reaches previous historical low in Q1 1988. That’s right: the worst of the 1970s-1980s is the best of 2011-present range. In fact, Q1 2014 ‘improved’ activity in terms of planning permissions is 11.7% lower (that’s right – lower) than 1975-1999 lowest point. pp total 2 Dwellings permissions are currently sitting 38.9% below their absolute low of 1975-1999 period, although these did rise 3.36% year on year. pp dwellings 3 In terms of total square meters relating to permissions granted, things are no better. Year-on-year volume of permission granted by square meters is down 20% for all applications. From Q1 2011 through Q1 2014, total square meters of permissions granted have been trending basically in line with the lowest levels reached in the 1980s. 4pp granted I am not sure if anyone can tell with any degree of confidence as to what the effect of new regulatory regimes is on these numbers, but one thing is very clear – the recovery is not to be seen anywhere in the above numbers, yet. Despite some reports in the media and from the industry suggesting that things are getting better and better.

Other posts of interest:

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop – click link here

Taoiseach: get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’- click link here

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall - click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started - click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Practical Post Series 1-20

by Bregs Blog admin team

practical-tools-small-business-social-media

In response to a number of comments to the Blog and queries in our two recent surveys (see posts here and here) we ran a series of twenty Practical Posts, written by and aimed at the home/ business owners, SME’s, and professionals about the new regulations.

Our starting point was extensions, given a large number of comments/ queries we have received relate to questions like “does this minor extension/ alteration qualify under BC(A)R SI.9?“.

Posts cover a multitude of aspects of the new regulations and are a useful place to start if you have any initial queries. Posts are intended to be short and to the point and most headings are dealt with elsewhere in the Blog at greater length. Issues discussed affect end-users such as vitners, offices, employees of larger professional firms and insurance issues, lack of retrospective compliances, off-license and creche fit-out issues, phased completion and contractor issues.

Many new subscribers may not have seen some of these so we have consolidated into one post here for ease of access. Given the range of questions received we will continue this series for another ten posts.

____________

Posts in this series:

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments- click link here

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers- click link here

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices - Click link here

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?- Click link here

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier - Click link here

Practical Post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles! - Click link here

Practical Post 7: Existing Shopping Centres - Click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify: BC(A)R SI.9 - Click link here

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections?: BC(A)R SI.9 - Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 - Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? - Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?-  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 -  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection -  Click link here

Practical Post 15: “architects only” club? -  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? - Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  - Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 -  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? - click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope this list in one area is useful, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

Dáil : Pyrite Remediation Programme: 10th June 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following exchange took place in the Dáil this week on 10th June concerning the Pyrite Remediation Programme

Pyrite Remediation Programme- written Dáil answers 10th June 2014. (click link here)

Clare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)

403. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the services being provided by HomeBond to thepyrite board. [24689/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

Discussions have been on-going for some time between the Pyrite Resolution Board and HomeBond on services to be provided byHomeBond in connection with the implementation of the pyrite remediation scheme. The discussions have recently concluded and my Department understands that an agreement has now been reached under which HomeBond has agreed to contribute technical and project management services to the value of €2million, and such services will include assisting in the auditing of Building Condition Assessments, organising and managing the testing of dwellings and project management of remediation contracts. HomeBond has also agreed to make available to the Pyrite Resolution Board/ Housing Agency the results of testing undertaken by it prior to the operation of the scheme.

All services will be provided under the direction and supervision of the Pyrite Resolution Board and/or the Housing Agency and in this context it should be noted that HomeBond staff will not be making decisions on the eligibility of applicants under the scheme. In addition, while working on the pyrite remediation process, staff from HomeBond will not be acting as agents of the Pyrite Resolution Board/Housing Agency to whom they will be answerable.

Clare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)

404. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government his views on the number of building condition assessments reporting damage condition rating 2; and if this is less than, in line with, or greater than the estimates made of the numbers of houses potentially requiring remedial works in the estates concerned by the pyrite board. [24690/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

It is a condition of eligibility under the scheme that an application to the Pyrite Resolution Board must be accompanied by a Building Condition Assessment with a Damage Condition Rating of 2. To date the Pyrite Resolution Board has received approximately 500 applications, almost all of which are accompanied by Building Condition Assessments with a Damage Condition Rating of 2.

The level of applications under the scheme is broadly in line with the expectations of my Department and the Pyrite Resolution Board. It was anticipated that volumes would be high initially and would then level off and continue at a steadier rate; this has been the experience under the scheme and applications are now averaging 10 per week. This would suggest that the total number is likely to be within the figure of some 1,000 derived from the figures of the report of the independent Pyrite Panel and substantially less than some of the speculative figures which have been publicly quoted.

Other posts of interest:

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – click link here

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

 

Building Inspector view of BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following opinion piece was received on 17th June 2014 from a building inspector for the insurance industry.

Building Inspector view of BC(A)R SI.9

What is clear from any assessment of BC(A)R SI.9 is that the result of the ‘new’ system of Building Regulation compliance/enforcement has not improved consumer protection.

The consumer has been afforded no greater protection under the new requirements than what previously existed. However, the cost to the consumer of achieving the same result will no doubt be greater due to the clear and auditable paper trail now required of the professionals involved.

BC(A)R SI.9 has in effect just created a paper trail to support the previous system of building regulation ‘sign off’.

The same professionals are still going to ‘sign off’ projects, albeit with a differing cap on i.e Design Certifier, Assigned Certifier etc. The Local Authority Building Control officials (BCO’s) will still maintain a ‘hands off’ approach to the inspection of the works i.e a 10-15% target of commencement notices rather than a 100% inspection requirement. Responsibility for building regulation compliance will still ultimately rest with the consumer. Should the consumer require redress for any building regulation non compliance issues that may result in a structural defect, moisture ingress, a risk to life etc. then redress (if possible) will only be achieved through the courts where the consumer will have to prove professional negligence against the professionals involved.

The ongoing regulation of the professionals providing services in this arena appears to be completely overlooked. In the absence of an independent system of ongoing monitoring and evaluating the professionals involved, it is difficult to ensure the integrity of the system of Building Control. The professionals involved need to demonstrate that building regulation compliance will (at design stage) and has (at construction stage) been achieved. There would appear to be an inherent conflict of interest when the Design Certifier may also be the Assigned Certifier. It is only logical that the Assigned Certifier is ‘independent’ of the Design Certifier, i.e. the assigned certifier has no other financial interest in the project other than their involvement as AC.

However, what is done is done. What is the best way to address the issue of consumer protection?

Mandatory Latent Defects Insurance (LDI) may be one solution.

LDI could provide protection to the consumer and in effect provide independent ‘regulation’ of the professionals involved. LDI is not a panacea for the flaws in BC(A)R SI.9. However, as the insurers will only issue unendorsed warranties on projects that present a normal/ acceptable risk, to achieve this, the insurers will monitor the risk stages of a project through independent plan check assessment (design) and onsite inspections (construction) of the relevant risk stages of a project. LDI will not police the professionals per se, however, if any building regulation non conformities are not addressed during the life of the construction process then an unendorsed warranty would not be issued.

The recent RIAI calls for mandatory LDI on projects are laudable. It is only a pity that this was not called for when we were building 90,000 housing units a year.  A note of caution to the professional bodies, be careful what you wish for as you might just get it!

Other posts of interest:

Building Control Officers: Survey  - click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

What is Latent Defects Insurance and how much does it cost? – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better”   - click link here

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Dáil: Proactive vs Reactive Building Control? BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland

by Bregs Blog admin team

residential-home-construction-builder-on-rooftop-nki

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland

The Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) was launched earlier this year in consultation with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DECLG). It is promoted as the only register of construction companies, sole traders and builders that are vetted by Government nominees and industry professionals. It is intended that it will become the Statutory Register for registered building contractors as part of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations S.I. 9. CIRI is a private register and is owned and operated by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). Link to website here: ciri.ie

The uptake to date to join CIRI, by construction companies, has been slow. On the 21st June 2014 only 196 companies had registered with CIRI. This figure may be compared with the existing 1500 + existing members of the CIF (who own and manage CIRI) and the 7500+ members of the National Guild of Master Craftsmen (see link to Guild website here). It is worth noting that Homebond have another (unconnected) register: homebond register.ie. Dublin city and county have the largest CIRI listing with 51 companies whereas Co. Longford has none.

The poor uptake for CIRI may possibly be explained by the following:

  • The register has not been placed on a statutory footing so there is no mandatory requirement (yet) to be registered. Recent Dáil statements suggest the March 2015 date for placing CIRI on a statutory footing may be delayed.
  • The cost of being listed on CIRI (€600 excluding VAT) may be a deterrent to small firms. There would appear to be no scale of charges i.e. a sole trader pays the same fee as the largest construction company in the country.
  • While the status of self-builders and the need to use a registered contractor remains ambiguous under the S.I. 9 legislation, there seems to be no advantage for a contractor to be on CIRI. Contrary to the CIF the Minister and Department have stated on a number of occasions that self-builders, owners without relevant construction experience, can still undertake the role of builder under the new building regulations. This suggests that membership of CIRI is unnecessary at present.
  • Many construction professionals remain sceptical of the qualitative assessments for inclusion on CIRI. No data has been issued yet by the CIF so it is not possible to know how many applications were refused or are under appeal or pending.

It is difficult to see how this register will be put on a statutory footing in 2015, as there are bound to be issues in trying to merge the other registers into CIRI.

Other posts of interest:

Is CIRI the only register of contractors? BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey  - click link here

RTÉ Radio- CIF: professionals to Guarantee under BC(A)R SI.9  - click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?  - click link here

The Engineers Journal- CIF’s new register of builders  - click link here

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)  - click link here

CIF suggest self-building no longer possible after March 1st 2014 – click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? – click link here

Self-Builders escalate to Europe: BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

 

 

 

 

Dáil: Gerry Adams TD and Minister Phil Hogan- Pyrite

by Bregs Blog admin team

GerryAdamsWeb3001

In the following exchange Gerry Adams TD poses a number of questions to Minister Phil Hogan regarding recent pyrite affected projects. The Minister confirms that he was only made aware of this issue in April 2014 and believes it’s the responsibility of the local Authority to address the matter. Previously we posted that the issue of pyrite in blockwork actually made headlines in Donegal back in September 2013 (see post here).

Local authorities and in particular building control authorities are hopelessly understaffed at the moment. The Minister has stated that the reason he does not want to introduce more extensive building control inspections (and quite possibly quarry or material policing) is the cost of employing the necessary staff to provide this service to the public (see post here).

Dáil : Pyrite Incidence: 18 Jun 2014: Written answers- click link here

Extract off Dáil exchange to follow:

______________

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government- Pyrite Incidence

Gerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)

115. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he will report on the pyrite problem that has emerged in the construction of 25 homes at Moneymore, Drogheda, County Louth. [26308/14]

116. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the steps his Department is taking to ensure the problem of pyrite that has emerged in this instance is not repeated in other housing developments. [26309/14]Gerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)

117. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the discussions his Department has had with the North and East Housing Association Ltd. in respect of the pyrite discovered in houses it is constructing at Moneymore, Drogheda, County Louth. [26310/14]

118. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the measures his Department will take to ensure that the 25 new homes in the Moneymore, Drogheda, County Louth area are completed and available to citizens on the council housing list. [26311/14]

119. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if his Department is aware of any other new developments about which there is concern at the possible presence of pyrite. [26313/14]

120. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if, in respect of the discovery of pyrite and the planned demolition of newly constructed homes at the North and East Housing Association Ltd. development in Moneymore, Drogheda, any on-site inspections were carried out over the course of construction by planning control inspectors and-or engineers; under building regulations, if any inspections or tests are carried out regarding quality of building supplies-suppliers; and if there will be a cost to the public purse. [26314/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115 to 120, inclusive, together.

A potential problem concerning pyrite in concrete blocks was signalled to my Department in early April 2014 by the market surveillance authority (i.e. building control authority) in whose functional area the block manufacturer is located. Subsequently, some industry representatives have also contacted my Depart ment in relation to the issue. Under the European Union (Construction Products) Regulations 2013, building control authorities are designated as the principal market surveillance authorities for construction products that fall within the scope of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) andare responsible for the market surveillance of such products. Concrete blocks are covered by a harmonised European standard ( EN 771-3 -2011-Aggregate concrete masonry units (dense and light weight aggregates)and therefore come within the remit of the CPR.

The European Union (Construct ion Products) Regulations 2013 provide building control authorities with a wide rang e of powers to ensure that constructions products placed on the market comply with the requirements set out in the Construction Products Regulation. Such powers include the issuing of a notice to require corrective actions to be taken by an economic operator within a specified period of time and, in the event of a serious risk being identified, to request the nister to prohibit or restrict a construction product from being made available on the market, to withdraw it from the market or to recall it, or to make its use subject to special conditions as deemed appropriate.

On being advised of the problem the relevant market surveillance authority took immediate and appropriate action under the applicable legislation to deal with this issue. The authorised officer of the market surveillance authority involved visited the premises of the block manufacturer and requested detailed information as to the precise nature and extent of the problem including where the blocks had been supplied, the actions taken or being taken by the block manufacturer to deal with the problem as well as necessary documentation to demonstrate compliance with the harmonised European standard for blocks and with the requirements of the CPR.

It is understood that a small number of construction sites have been supplied with the affected blocks, that t he company is co-operating with the market surveillance authority and has supplied certain information on the extent of the problem, the actions being taken to provide for a resolution and compliance documentation. Additional information has been sought from the company to provide clarity o n a number of pertinent issues.

My Department has written to the building control/market surveillance authorities in whose functional areas the construction sites to which it is understood the blocks were supplied are located and advised them to visit the construction sites identified for the purposes of assessing whether the concrete blocks used in the construction works on these sites are “proper materials” within the meaning of Part D of the Building Regulations 1997, i.e. that they are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions in which they are to be used.

One of the developments involved is a social housing development of 25 dwellings commissioned by North and East Housing Association Ltd. in Moneymore, Drogheda, County Louth. As matters stand, it would appear that six houses in the development will have to be demolished due to the incorporation of defective blocks in the construction. Testing of the blocks on the six houses involved confirmed the presence of pyrite in the blocks and the solution is for demolition and rebuild. It is understood that the contractor and the concrete block manufacturer are co-operating in order to provide a resolution to the problem through the construction contracts. Further testing of the remaining 19 houses in the development is being carried out and these results are awaited to determine what, if any, remedial action will be needed in respect of the remaining houses. On completion of a satisfactory resolution to these matters, the 25 housing units in Moneymore will be made available for social housing purposes.

From the information available at this stage, it appears that testing has also been carried out in a small number of other developments identified as having been supplied with the affected blocks which has confirmed the presence of deleterious material (sulphates/pyrite) in the blocks. My Department understands that in each case the costs of resolution are being pursued, in the first instance, with the relevant contractors and suppliers through the construction contracts. The actions taken thus far by the relevant parties involved suggest that the regulatory system is functioning effectively and that an appropriate means of redress is being pursued through those responsible for the building failure.

My Department will continue to work closely with the building control/market surveillance authorities involved in dealing with this particular matter to monitor the situation. It will continue to provide whatever advice, guidance or clarifications as are required to ensure that the necessary actions are taken to resolve the problems identified and to safeguard against defective products being placed on the market.

Other posts of interest:

Pyrite News roundup- week ending 13th June – click link here

Pyrite blocks in Donegal- October 2013. – click link here

Dáil debates: Mick Wallace and Minister Hogan- Pyrite – click link here

Quick history of pyrite- press articles – click link here

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite – click link here

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – click link here

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

 

 

Architectural Technologist letter to Minister Hogan

by Bregs Blog admin team

Write-a-Letter-to-a-Friend-of-the-Opposite-Sex-Step-7

The following letter was written by an Architectural Technologist to Minister Phil Hogan on 20th June 2014. 

Dear Minister Hogan,

I am writing to you in relation to the issue of Architectural Technologists exclusion from the list of professionals allowed to provide design and assigned certification under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations SI 9 of 2014.

I am an Architectural Technologist with 16 years’ experience in the Architectural profession, a key role of my job function as an Architectural Technologist is the design, detailing, analysis and inspection of buildings to ensure they are in compliance with the Building Regulations. Ensuring compliance is something I do every day, I have been trained at third level to do it and I have spent the last 16 years doing so. It has been my experience that architects and engineers will seek my advice on building regulation compliance. These architects and engineers rely on my professional experience and knowledge to ensure that the buildings we produce are fully compliant with the Building Regulations.

At the moment, I am currently working on a project which has just been issued to tender and which will fall under the remit of SI 9 of 2014. I am the design team leader for the project; I have designed the architectural elements of the project, produced the architectural drawings & schedules and have written the architectural specification for the project. I have co-ordinated the design elements of the rest of the design team, worked with the project manager and the quantity surveyor to ensure that the design is within budget and can be delivered within programme.

While waiting on the tender return, I have started to compile all the necessary documentation for submittal of the commencement notice. I have already prepared a preliminary inspection plan as part of the tender documents, this will aid in the development of the Inspection Notification Framework to be submitted with the commencement notice. I am in the process of gathering Ancillary Certificates for design from the other consultants and I will be providing an Ancillary Certificate for design for the architectural elements. All of these documents I will then handover to my manager, a RIAI registered architect, who will sign the statutory Certificate of Compliance for Design. I can also foresee that I will be asked to register on the BCMS in my manager’s name and to go through the online commencement notice submission on his behalf, no doubt the process of Assigned Certifier will be similar.

My question to you Minister is this: how can it be fair that I am precluded by law to perform the roles of Design and Assigned Certifier, when I am already performing those roles by proxy?

I recently joined the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists as an Associate member and I am hoping to gain Chartered status with the institute before the year is out. I know that both CIAT and the RIAI have submitted proposals to your department for the establishment of a voluntary register of Architectural Technologists, and I would take this opportunity to urge you to please expedite your decision, allow for the establishment of a register and make that register a statutory register in relation to the Building Control Act. I am fortunate that I am employed in a practice and can perform these duties (even if by proxy) and earn a living, but a large number of my fellow technologists are self-employed and not in a position to secure work due to the implications of SI 9 of 2014.

I would also like to take this opportunity to lend my support to the CIAT submission, and ask you to please allow the CIAT to operate a register of architectural technologists in Ireland. The CIAT is an institute which has always supported architectural technologists and has done more for the architectural technology profession than the RIAI has ever done. Architectural Technologist members of the RIAI have minimal rights within that organisation and have one seat on the RIAI council. The RIAI is an institute run by architects for architects. CIAT is an institute run by Architectural Technologists for Architectural Technologists; members must adhere to a strict code of practice and meet continual CPD requirements.

I know you have previously stated that if Architectural Technologists want to gain entry to a register that they should apply for assessment for either the Register of Architects or the Register of Building Surveyors, but I personally have no wish to be a registered architect or a building surveyor, I am an architectural technologist and proud of the skills and knowledge that I have developed over the course of my career. I may remind you that while you were in opposition, you asked the then Minister of the Environment why Architectural Technologists where excluded from the lists of registered professionals under the incoming Building Control Act 2007, what has changed your opinion since then?

Other posts on this topic:

UPDATE: CIAT Register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland – click link here

Mick Wallace message to Architectural Technologists – click link here

Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9. – click link here

O’Cofaigh letter to Mick Wallace TD – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologist and certification – click link here

Thoughts on a Register for Architectural Technologists – click link here

Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9 – click link here

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists - click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here

Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010  - click link here

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD - click link here

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT  - click link here

 

 

BRegs Blog 100 Days | Assigned Certifier Survey

by Bregs Blog admin team

philo100

BRegs Blog  100 Days | Assigned Certifier Survey

The BRegs Blog conducted a survey of our readers to attempt to record their responses to working as Assigned Surveyors over the first 100 days of the operation of the Building Control Management System (BCMS). The survey was carried out over a five day period up to Friday 13th June 2014. Unfortunately the number of those who responded to the survey who had actually submitted a ‘Long Form’ Commencement Notice was too low to get reliable indicators of attitudes and experiences to operating the new system. This is not surprising with so few actual ‘Long Form’ Commencement Notices being submitted nationwide (approximately 468 to 17th June 2014). However we are very grateful to all those who did respond and here are the survey results.

S1

The overwhelming majority of responses were from those who had not submitted a Commencement Notice under the BCMS and this was for a variety of reasons including 20% of responses coming from architectural technologists who are not permitted by the legislation to act as Assigned Certifiers. The remaining responses were from architects (50%), Surveyors (20%) and Engineers (10%) and seem to be more reflective of the make-up of our readership. The main reason given in the responses for not taking on the role of Assigned Certifier was “unwillingness to take on the increased liability (30%).

KEY RESULTS:

83% of respondents said that they would not be willing to be an Assigned Certifier on a self-build project.

S3

60% of respondents “did not feel more confident” or “remained unsure” (20%) about their ability to implement the Building Regulations 100 days after their introduction.

S2

Attitudes on whether the new system would improve compliance with Building Regulations on Irish building sites was evenly split between “yes” (52%) and “no” (29%) or “not sure” (19%).

86% of respondents supported the concept of an alternative system of independent inspections by properly resourced Building Control Officers and/or independent approved inspectors. This is almost identical to the result of our survey of Building Control Officers.

S4

SAMPLE COMMENTS:

“The system, procedures and documentation for being an Assigned Certifier are complicated, confused and ill-prepared”

“A change in mindset is needed to perform the role of assigned Certifier”

“The Assigned Certifier role is defective and carries unsustainable levels of liability”

“The only potential consumer advantage of S.I. 9 would be if there were separate appointments for designer certifier and assigned certifier to ensure some degree of peer review”

Thanks from

the BRegs Blog  Team.

Other Posts of interest:

BC(A)R FIRST 100 DAYS SURVEY – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey - click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey  – click here

Breg Snapshot Survey: BC(A)R SI.9 – click here

Specialist Certifier 1- ENGINEER: questions and Answers – click link here

Specialist Certifier 2- ARCHITECT: Questions and Answers – click here

Specialist Certifier 3- SURVEYOR: Questions and Answers  – click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pyrite News roundup- week ending 13th June

by Bregs Blog admin team

Pyrite_60608

The issue of pyrite resurfaced earlier this month natiowide with new cases in Drogheda, Mayo, schools in Balbriggan and now demolitions of housing in Shankill, Dublin. As there has been continuing Dáil, Seanad and media coverage we will be compiling a selection of reports of interest on this. The following consolidated post is for the week ending 13th June 2014.

Press article from Drogheda Life from 9th June here.

Extract from article:

Demolition of six new Drogheda homes starts after pyrite discovered

“Work began today on the demolition of six newly built homes in Moneymore estate in Drogheda because pyrite was discovered in some of the blocks used to build them.

Residents had been due to move into the 25-house scheme late last year but, since the Pyrite was discovered, the houses have remained empty pending analysis. It seems that the future of other houses in the scheme is also in doubt.

Pyrite is a natural occurring material which is found in stone, it becomes unstable when exposed to air or water. When used in building it causes cracking, splitting and buckling of walls, floors and ceilings.

Workmen were today removing windows, doors and other fittings prior to the houses being demolished.

Minister Fergus O’Dowd said he welcomed the decision to demolish the six “social housing units”.

He said: “While it is unfortunate that this course of action has to be taken, I am glad that this pernicious material has been discovered at this stage rather than when the buildings become family homes.

“I will be seeking definitive answers on all of the houses in the scheme so that we conclusively know that this important scheme can progress.”

Taoiseach in the asked Dáil question about pyrite on Tuesday 10th June- click link here

Extract from debate:

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent) “Is the Taoiseach aware that several houses were knocked yesterday as a result of the pyrite scandal? We have the Pyrite Resolution Act 2013. It is a shame that the industry has not been regulated or that the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has not taken action to show—–”

Seán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle) “When is the pyrite Bill due?”

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent) “There are a number of houses, a school in Balbriggan and many affected products on the market….It could have major consequences for the taxpayer.”

Seán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle) “. Every day I have to tell the Deputy that we cannot debate a particular issue.We are only asking about promised legislation.”

Mattie McGrath: “I am not debating the issue; I am simply asking about it.”

Enda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael): “As the Deputy is aware, the Pyrite Resolution Bill has been enacted. There is an issue for all builders, developers and quarry operators to determine whether pyrite is contained in the material they supply.”

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent) “Where are the regulations?”

Clare Daly TD and Minister Phil Hogan in Dáil on 10th June- click link here

Extract from Dáil:

Extract from article:Clare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)

403. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the services being provided by HomeBond to the pyrite board. [24689/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

Discussions have been on-going for some time between the Pyrite Resolution Board and HomeBond on services to be provided by HomeBond in connection with the implementation of the pyrite remediation scheme. The discussions have recently concluded and my Department understands that an agreement has now been reached under which HomeBond has agreed to contribute technical and project management services to the value of €2million, and such services will include assisting in the auditing of Building Condition Assessments, organising and managing the testing of dwellings and project management of remediation contracts. HomeBond has also agreed to make available to the Pyrite Resolution Board/ Housing Agency the results of testing undertaken by it prior to the operation of the scheme.

All services will be provided under the direction and supervision of the Pyrite Resolution Board and/or the Housing Agency and in this context it should be noted that HomeBond staff will not be making decisions on the eligibility of applicants under the scheme. In addition, while working on the pyrite remediation process, staff from HomeBond will not be acting as agents of the Pyrite Resolution Board/Housing Agency to whom they will be answerable.

Fergal Quinn on pyrite in Seanad, June 11th - click link here

Extract from Seanad:

Feargal Quinn (Independent): “ The problem of pyrite has cropped up again and a number of houses in Drogheda and elsewhere have had to be demolished as a result. Are the necessary building regulations being properly enforced, since pyrite continues to be a problem? I would like to think that something is being done in this respect. Can the Leader confirm that there are building regulations to stop this problem? Pyrite is not the fault of builders but rather the fault of suppliers. There is no cost to the State because, to the best of my knowledge, the supplier is probably insured. On that basis, therefore, the insurance company will pay for it. Building regulations are needed to ensure we can avoid pyrite related difficulties in future.”

Maurice Cummins (Fine Gael): “I will find out what is the position regarding pyrite for Senator Feargal Quinn. As Senators will be aware, the problem has raised its head again in Drogheda. I will check whether the building regulations apply in the case the Senator raises. I hope they do. The concept of paying doctors for patients whom they keep healthy is a good, albeit one which may not work.”

Drogheda Life, June 12th - click link here

Extracts from article:

“I have since got it confirmed that phase one, which consists of the first six houses are to be demolished and test results from the remaining 19 houses have yet to be confirmed.”

Cllr Munster said it is looking likely that if the blocks used on all the houses were from the same source then all of them will have to be knocked.

She said that this is “…the worst possible blow given that we have over 1,600 people on the housing list in Drogheda with many waiting over six years to be housed, and a government that is refusing to roll out a proper, substantial house building programme to tackle this housing crisis.”

Historic articles from Journal.ie from 2012

pyrite-there-are-legal-and-moral-responsibilities-532018-Jul2012

homebond-snub-over-pyrite-a-matter-of-serious-public-concern-committee-329297-Jan2012/

Other posts of interest:

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – click link here

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 - click link here

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