BRegs Blog

A blog to debate the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BCAR): The BRegs Blog presents an opportunity for free expression of opinion on BCAR 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.

Month: February, 2014

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

by Bregs Blog admin team

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In the following radio segments on Friday 28th 2014 the impending Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) is discussed. Many rural Councillors have called for deferral of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). Self-builder Amanda and Raymond tell the interviewer that they are abandoning their dream home because of the new regulations. As they now have to employ a main contractor for their build they will no longer be able to afford their house. Legal advice confirms on the builder’s certificate of compliance “must be signed by the principal or director of a building firm”. Contrary to department of the environment and Minister’s statements, main contractors will be required on all new qualifying projects. The Construction Industry Federation welcome the regulations and suggests costs will increase. James, a sub-contractor, notes his own employment and a that of a great number of others will be adversely affected. Spokesperson Joan O’Connor of the architects representative body (RIAI) outlines the current RIAI policy requesting deferral on grounds of industry readiness, contracts being incomplete and documentation not being ready at this point on the eve of introduction. Link here:

http://www.rte.ie/news/morningireland/

Minister Hogan is interviewed in the following segment. He states there is no change to technical standards and suggests self-builders can continue in the role of builders. (This is in contrast to written statements he has made previously on the matter in November 2013). He suggests all stakeholders are ready and supportive of implementation of the regulations. He confirms the cost per house for SI.9 should be between €1000 and €3000. He suggests any other larger estimates are “wild exaggerations”. When asked about the builder’s completion certificate signature he does not answer the legal question. He is surprised after 2 years working on this legislation that there is late resistance to the introduction of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9). He contradicts the official RIAI spokesperson Joan O’Connor and suggests that recent calls for deferral are ill-timed and are made not officially by the RIAI but by a minority of architects. He goes on to say both president and Director of the RIAI are supportive of BC(A)R SI.9.

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 28th February 2014.

Self-Builder Amanda Gallagher on RTE One Morning Edition #BloodSweatandTears

by Mark Stephens

Self-builder Amanda Gallagher explains why she is now unable to self-build her own house for herself and her family.

CLICK HERE FOR THE RTE PLAYER STARTS AT: 56:45

Irish Times: Government job creation plans: “year of jobs”?- BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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In the following article from the Irish Times on Thursday 27th February 2014 the government launched a new annual action plan for jobs for 2014.

Link to article Here:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/government-outlines-latest-in-series-of-job-creation-plans-1.1706779

Mr Kenny said the figures bolstered his Government’s aim to create 330,000 new jobs in the Irish economy by 2020. We wonder has the negative impact of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) been factored into these figures. Industry estimates by 2020 the cost of si.9 could be €3bn, the equivalent to 30,000 jobs. Key stakeholders in the industry have been repeatedly calling for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9. In a recent letter to Minister Bruton the representative body for architects (RIAI) wrote stating current RIAI policy for deferral and highlighting issues such as industry readiness, resources in local authorities and unintended consequences as a result of the premature introduction of the regulation. This follows a similar request in January 2014 made to Minister Hogan.

There has been widespread unrest around the country regarding the adverse effects and costs of SI.9 on the industry and consumers, particularly from self-builders and other technically qualified professions excluded from newly formed professional registers; many who consider they will be made redundant by the new regulation. The negative effects of SI.9 on capital projects, foreign direct investment projects, Ireland’s competitiveness and World Bank rankings may well all be exacerbated by the introduction of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014).

 

Latest Response from DECLG and Reply from IAOSB: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

riolo-lettere

Here is the most recent reply from officials in the Department of the Environment regarding IAOSB (the representative body for self-builders) requests for clarification on the status of self-building under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014).

Latest Response from DECLG and Reply from IAOSB – Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014; Link:

http://www.iaosb.com/latest_response_from_declg_and_reply_from_iaosb_-_building_control_(amendment)_regulation_s.i 9_ of_2014.html

Extract with permission of IAOSB to follow:

25th of February 2014

Dear Mr McCloud,

I have been asked by Mr. Phil Hogan, TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to reply to your email of 21 February and related correspondences received by the Minister’s Office and the Department in recent weeks, in relation to the status of self-builders under S.I. No. 9 of 2014.

At the outset, I wish to emphasise that from the Minister’s and the Department’s perspective your association can rely fully on information given by the Minister in reply to Parliamentary Questions (PQs) on this issue.

There have been several PQs in relation to self-building since 28 January 2014 to the current date. In response to all such question the clear and unequivocal response has been that SI No. 9 of 2014 does not terminate or prevent an owner from building their own home.

This can be taken as the Department’s policy position on the matter. In devising and developing SI No. 9 of 2014 at no stage has there been any policy imperative to prevent self-building.

The Department shares your concern about the misinformation in the public domain about the question of self-build but it cannot be held responsible or accountable for the opinions or communications of others.

As regards the legal consequences of S.I. 9 of 2014, it is important that to understand in the first instance that the legal obligations on owners, designers and builders to design and contract in accordance with the building regulations arise under the Building Control Act 1990. The Department’s view would be that regulations made under the Act of 1990 cannot undermine or undercut the statutory obligations set out under the Act itself and cannot introduce new obligations that are not provided for in the Act. On this basis, the Department’s view would be that SI No. 9 of 2014 does not create new legal obligations on owners, designers or builders so much as put in place certain procedural arrangements by which each of these parties can demonstrate that they have fulfilled their statutory obligations.

As you may also be aware, the Government is committed to bringing in statutory registration of builders and contractors by 2015 – a voluntary register is currently being introduced by the Construction Industry Federation, working in conjunction with the Department and industry stakeholders, as a first step in this process. This Government priority of statutory registration of contractors and builders can be achieved in a manner that accommodates and supports self-build arrangements. The Department will be happy to liaise further with your association in this regard.

If a meeting to discuss your concerns would be of assistance to your association, the Department will be happy to facilitate you at an early date.

I trust this clarifies the Department’s position for you.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Vaughan

Assistant Principal

Architecture/Building Standards

—————————————————————————–

Dear Mr Vaughan,

I would like to firstly take this opportunity to thank you for your reply on behalf of the Minister Hogan regarding S.I. No.9 of 2014.

As an association we are grateful that we can rely fully on the information given by the Minister in reply to Parliamentary Questions (PQ) since 28th of January 2014 as far as the effect of S.I. No.9 of 2014 on Self Builders building their own homes.

I do understand that neither the Minister or the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government are responsible for what has been discussed in the public domain and therefore would like you to clarify some points below which include the answer that was given by Minister Hogan on 5th of February 2014 following a question asked by Mr Thomas P Broughan T.D.

“Question No. 544 of 28 January 2014, if persons who self-build their homes will be required to take on full responsibility for ensuring that the properties concerned are in compliance with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (SI No 9 of 2014)..” the Minister replied; “ Local building control authorities have powers to inspect and enforce compliance and where concerns exist in relation to a particular building, the authority may serve an enforcement notice on both the owner and the builder. In a self-build situation the owner and the builder will be one and the same.” and “In practice, even in a self-build situation, the owner-builder may contract out certain construction tasks. Under the new Regulations the owner-builder will also be required to engage competent registered professionals to undertake the design and to perform the role of the Assigned Certifier who will prepare an inspection plan, ensure this plan is implemented by himself and others and, in conjunction with the self-builder, sign the Certificate of Compliance on Completion.”

We understand from the reply above that has been given by the Minister, a Self Builder can nominate themselves as the Builder and sign the completion certificate. Which would be a great news for us but so that you can make it clear for a simple person like myself, can you please let me know how the following works? S.I.9 of 2014 was signed into law on 15th of January 2014 by Minister Hogan, which makes it a legal document. Looking at this document (attached for your attention), under Article 9, “UNDERTAKING BY BUILDER FORM OF CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE”. In this document you can see: Signature: ————————— Date: ———————— (to be signed by a Principal or Director of a building company only). Now according to the Minister’s reply above “the owner and the builder will be one and the same”. Therefore, can you please tell me, how a building owner can sign a legal document (That is the law and will be seen by any court in the country as the law) as the builder confirming the Certificate of Compliance when they are not a Principle or Director of a Building Company?

I would also like to point out Article 20 F, Certificate of Compliance on Completion, which again is asking for the builder to sign the certificate and once again; (to be signed by a Principal or Director of a building company only). Surely Mr Vaughan, you and Minister Hogan are not asking the descent, hard working and honest people of Ireland to break the law and sign a legal document which would imply that they are a Principle or Director of a Building Company, when they are not. Are you?

Please, with all due respect, do not reply with another one of those politically correct statement about the reason for this amendment and how beneficial this would be to the country. All we as self builders want to know is, can we go ahead and do a self build house for our family by using the old traditional direct labour route? If we can as it is being confirmed by the Minister and the government publications, what is the purpose of the sentence “to be signed by a Principal or Director of a building company only”. If this sentence does not apply to self builders, why is there not the words “/ building owner” instead of “only”?

Just to get a little bit more technical, I notice that you personally presented this amendment to the Engineers Ireland on 17th of January 2014 (Attached for your attention). In this document under the Final Cert- Builder, you mentioned “Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works”. Under the Code of Practice (Attached for your attention), “Builder” means a competent builder appointed, for purposes of the Building Control Regulations, by the building owner, to build and supervise the works; “Competent Person”: a person is deemed to be a competent person where, having regard to the task he or she is required to perform and taking account of the size and/or complexity of the building or works, the person possesses sufficient training, experience and knowledge appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken. Can you please tell me who decides that a person working on the house has the sufficient training, experience and knowledge to do the job. Can the building owner go ahead and employ anyone that they are confident in to do the job properly, as it has been done before S.I 9 of 2014 or S.I 80 of 2013?

And finally, I would greatly appreciate it if you could clarify how on the following article from Irish Independent on 26th of February 2014, Minister Hogan’s comment “wild exaggerations made in relation to the increased costs of building a home which will arise, saying the likely impact on homeowners would be between €1,000 and €3,000 per unit.” That is very interesting that should you go ahead and build under S.I. 9 of 2014, the extra cost for the design certifier, inspection certifier and profits taken by a Building Contractor (If one is used) and other administration fees would only be an extra €1000 to €3000. Would the Minister be kind enough to give us details of how this figure was worked out? http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/new-rules-to-prevent-repeat-of-botched-buildings-30041874.html

I would like to thank you for getting back to me and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of Self Builders
www.iaosb.com

RTÉ Liveline clip: Thursday 27th February

by Bregs Blog admin team

the-live-line.gif [Converted]

The conversation continues on day three on Joe Duffy’s Liveline. In this segment an established civil engineering consultant, 26 years qualified, with his own practice 21 years talks about the catastrophic effects of SI.9 on his practice and liveleyhood. A straw poll of similar professionals in his region suggests 17 out of 21 will be seriously impacted upon after March 1st. Based on this participants research hundreds of engineers will be affected.

Link: minute 59:20 to 01:18:59

http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=9:10255634:53:27-02-2014:

A comprehensive survey of architectural practices in 2013 noted 60% of all firms in Ireland are sole-traders. The additional administration costs, projects delayed and deferred, additional hours worked as a result of SI.9 for all sectors of work, residential, retail, license applications, non-residential, schools projects, hospitals and healthcare- all areas will be affected by Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014).  Some established technically qualified professionals will no longer be able to inspect and certify works for the purposes of conveyancing if they are not on a register of professionals.

The SCSI, the representative body for Chartered Surveyors stated in the Irish Times on 27th February 2014 that self-building would no longer be possible after 1st March. This follows on from the architects representative body (RIAI) at a CPD event on Monday 23rd February stating the same view. On 17th January 2014 at an engineer’s conference organised by the engineer’s representative body the IEI the consensus was self-building would be deemed non-compliant with SI.9 from March 1st onwards.

For self-builders they well may be told by the minister and department that they can continue to operate as normal after 1st March. There have been numerous conflicting, misrepresentative and contradictory statements from various government and local authority sources to date. The problem will be that the consensus professional view, by the registered professionals, is that self-building is no longer permitted under SI.9 and the Code of Practice. Self-builders simply will not be able to get anyone to certify their projects unless they employ a separate established builder preferably registered with CIRI, the new private register recognised by the government and operated by the Construction Industry Federation.

Industry estimates 17% of all house starts per year will be abandoned by self-builders unable to bear the extraordinary extra costs to them of BC(A)R SI.9. Current output would suggest 1,800 house builds abandoned in 2014 alone. This has huge implications for an industry stuttering back to life. The issues mentioned by the participants in today’s segment are even more stark- they will no longer be able to provide significant services they are well qualified to do, and have done for many years. Effectively they will be out of business. The cost of SI.9 over 6 years could be €3bn or 30,000 jobs, effectively wiping out the initiatives launched on 27th February announced with great fanfare by ministers.

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 28th February 2014.

Job creation slowdown due to Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

With all the recent talk of job creation we thought it might be useful to re-post this essay on job slowdown from earlier in the month.

BRegs Blog

canceled man 300

As noted in previous posts there is widespread concern regarding the upcoming introduction of SI.9 in just two working weeks on 1st March. Many influential stakeholders, consumer groups and government departments believe a significant hiatus will be created in both capital projects and also the construction industry in general. The RIAI, the architect’s representative body and an influential stakeholder involved in the design of SI.9, has recently called for deferral due to lack of industry readiness.

While delays in capital projects may ironically improve various departments spending year on year, delays in this critical area may affect the tentative signs of recovery recently noted by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). Industry sources suggest the cost to the taxpayer, industry and consumer of SI.9 at €250m per annum, with little benefit to the consumer. What we have not discussed is the significant possibility of destruction of jobs and employment by this…

View original post 395 more words

Press Article, Independent: New rules to prevent repeat of botched buildings

by Bregs Blog admin team

app01hog

In the following Independent article from 26th February 2014 Minister Phil Hogan criticised “wild exaggerations” made in relation to the increased costs of building a home which will arise, saying the likely impact on homeowners would be between €1,000 and €3,000 per unit.

Link to article:

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/new-rules-to-prevent-repeat-of-botched-buildings-30041874.html

Extracts: There are also fears that people who directly employ labour to build a family home may be forced to pay higher costs because experts will have to be employed to sign off on the works.

But there are concerns they will result in higher costs and the exclusion of some people working in the industry who may not have qualifications, despite years of experience.

“Owners and developers will now be required to assign a competent person to inspect and certify the works. This requirement could add between €1,000 to €3,000 per housing unit to the overall building costs, although in reality this actual cost will be decided by market forces.”

______
Comment:

It would appear that Minister Hogan is quoting from the only Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) done on SI.9 (previously SI.80) completed in 2012. See document here The RIA part (section 4)  is only six pages long and does not appear to be backed up with any research, methodology or explanation as to how these figures were arrived at. The only costs noted are a notional cost per dwelling of between €1000 to €3000. Costs associated with self-builds, non residential capital projects, delays due to industry readiness, other non-residential projects were not listed. The cost of SI.9 to SME’s is not addressed.

In the absence of any detailed government costings for SI.9 here is an extract off a previously tabled industry estimate of the cost of SI.9 on the industry, taxpayer and consumer. Based on these figures the initial cost of SI.9 could be €600m for 2014 with €480m an recurring annual cost based on record 2012 low levels of construction output.

By 2020, in 6 short years, SI.9 may have cost the economy €3bn, or 30,000 jobs.

ESTIMATED ANNUAL COST 2014 FOR BC(A)R SI.9

RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS (€1.476bn qualifying)

1,800 houses not built in 2014                    €325m

Increased costs for self-builders                €103m

Increased professional costs on consumer   €21m

SUBTOTAL RESIDENTIAL                      €449m

CAPITAL PROJECTS (€600m qualifying)

Increased cost for qualifying capital spend €18m

Cost to capital projects due to delays          €69m

SUBTOTAL CAPITAL PROJECTS              €87m

NON RESIDENTIAL-PRIVATE SECTOR (€400m qualifying)

Increased costs for non-residential sector   €12m

Cost to non-residential due to delays          €46m

SUBTOTAL  NON RESIDENTIAL             €58m

TOTAL SI.9 COST (2014)                            €594m

Notes:

RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS: Assume €1.476bn qualifies under SI.9 out of €3.94bn total; this is equivalent to 8,700 house completions with average house cost €180k incl vat. The 1,800 houses not built in 2014 are based on IASOB assessments: self-builds abandoned- recurring loss annually due to 1,800 house starts lost with a value €180k average cost incl vat for each house. The increased costs for self-builders : this is self-builds that assume additional costs and  will be a recurring additional cost for 4,500 self-build houses @€23k per house for additional contractors fees, costs and professional fees. The increased professional costs on consumer are for non-self build residential: these are recurring annual cost for 4,200 houses  for additional professional fees at €5k per typical house (industry sources) including assigned and design certifier, ancillary or other professionals increases in fees.

CAPITAL PROJECTS: assume €600m qualifies under SI.9 out of €3.2bn this year. The increased cost for qualifying capital spend  is tabled at the lower (consevative end) for government projects- recurring cost on €600m capital spend: +3% average on construction cost net vat. The cost to capital projects due to delayed implementations is a 6 week delay; a once-off non-recurring cost (2014 only).

OTHER NON RESIDENTIAL (PRIVATE SECTOR): assume €400m qualifies under SI.9 out of €673m total. The increased costs for qualifying non-residential private sector  will be a recurring cost of conservatively +3% on construction cost. The table excludes all agricultural construction output. The cost to private sector non-residential due to delays  is again a 6 week delay once-off cost non-recurring (2014 only).

The above costs exclude all agricultural projects, infrastructure and domestic qualifying extensions/ refurbishments. Once-off delay to industry assumed lower end of current industry estimates at 6 weeks in 2014. Delay in completion or validation period assumed part of this figure. 3% extra cost for non residential projects at conservative end of current industry estimates for all certifier roles, ancillary certifiers and sub-contractors etc. As such we suggest the above table of costs is at the lower end of the predicted cost range for SI.9. Figures based on 2012 construction outputs from Forfas report (table 2.12 (p16) Value and volume of construction output, 2012-2012E; Source: DKM Economic Consultants analysis for Forfás, 2012). As the current construction levels are assumed to be at the bottom of the current cycle these increased costs should pro-rata upwards as construction output recovers in coming years.

Link to Forfas report:

http://www.forfas.ie/media/19072013-Irelands_Construction_Sector-Publication.pdf

Extract off Forfas report table 2.12 p 16

forfas report table 2.12 p16

 

Radio Clip, Highland Radio: Councillor suggests submit commencement notices immediately

by Bregs Blog admin team

Seamus-ODomhnaill

A Donegal councillor is urging people with planning permission to submit their commencement notices to Donegal County Council in the next two days in order to avoid substantial costs.

Link to Higland.ie:

http://www.highlandradio.com/2014/02/27/odomhnaill-says-new-building-regulation-costs-can-be-avoided-by-submitting-commencement-notices-immediately/

Councillor Seamus O’Domhnaill says new building regulations which come into force from the 1st of March mean architects or engineer will have to sign off on every stage of a building, and every material used in its construction. He says this could add up to €15,000 to the price of constructing a House.

However, Cllr O’Domhnaill says if commencement notices are submitted before the end of the month, the new costs can be avoided.

He says the new regulations are secretive and unnecessary, and will place a burden on people building a new home……….

Self-builders launch nationwide campaign: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

self-build-540

This week the representative body for self builders (IAOSB) launched a nationwide campaign to lobby all local representatives. The letter template is on their site (extract below) which is being sent by members to TD’s and representatives nationally. We wonder will any other disenfranchised group do the same and start banging on TD’s doors? With less than 100 days to go before the  elections this may be an interesting route to progress the debate for many who are adversely affected by Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2104) and will be soon suffering it’s unintended consequences. Extract below:

_____________

Take Action, Stand up for your rights and support the Campaign

Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014

We at  Irish Association of Self Builders will make every effort possible to support and stand up for your rights. However, the following are some of the further options that are available to you to support the campaign for the revision of Amendment S.I 9 of 2014.Your Local Government Representative

Letter to be sent to your local T.D regarding Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014. (Word Doc)

Please add you name to this letter and send it to all your local T.D’s followed by a phone call  to see what has been done about it.

Contact details for your local T.D’s:

http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=31&disp=mem

Media

Get  in touch with your  Local and National Newspapers, Radio Stations, TV Station. Make sure that they understand the effect Building Control (Amendment) S.I 9 of 2014 will have on you and your family.

 _____________

 Dear TD xx,

Re: Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014

I am making this complaint as a self-builder and citizen of Ireland. I strongly fee my rights as an Irish and European citizen are being infringed upon with recent legislation. When the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) comes into force on 1st March 2014 I will no longer be able to act as a Builder on my own house, co-ordinating other sub-contractors on the build. As this legislation requires an established builder, someone with at least 3 years similar building experience to undertake this role, the attendant costs of employing a main contractor will mean that I will not be able to undertake to build my own house. Contrary to numerous written statements by Minister Phil Hogan recent legal advice obtained by the representative body for self-builders the Irish Association of Self-Builders (IASOB) has confirmed that self-building, or undertaking the role of main contractor on dwellings, will no longer be possible under the new legislation.

The tradition of building one’s own home has been established in Ireland for generations. Acting as a co-ordinating main contractor an owner can make considerable savings on build costs allowing many the only opportunity to own a house. Self-built houses frequently are more cost- effective to build to a higher specification than many speculatively built offerings. The additional cost to build this using normal procurement methods would be over 12% more than if I was to adopt the role of main contractor myself. I will not be able to afford to commence building my own house as a result.

I believe the current legislation restricts my right as a European Citizen. A voluntary register of contractors under the control of a private company, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has been created to facilitate SI.9. The government specifically mentions this voluntary register (CIRI) in SI.9 and it is planned to introduce primary legislation to put this on a statutory footing. The completion certificate for the “Builder” in SI.9 states the builder’s completion certificate “must be signed by the director or principal of a building company only”. In effect this precludes owners such as myself from undertaking this role.

The representative body for self-builders the IAOSB have indicated approximately 17% of all housing starts may be abandoned due to the increased costs of buildings created by SI.9 on self-builders. We are the silent majority here with industry estimates of over 60% of all housing completed nationwide being self-built dwellings. This year the IAOSB suggest almost 1800 self-built house projects will be abandoned as a direct result of BC(A)R SI.9.

The structure of self-certification and codified roles inherent in SI.9 is defective and interferes with my rights as a European citizen to provide shelter in a cost-effective manner for my family. Elsewhere in the EU, the normal arrangement is a system of independent local authority inspections; in the UK there are a system of independent inspections and Independent regulation of the construction industry. Under this system I can operate as a builder and “self-build” domestic projects. There is no question that any self-builds in the UK or elsewhere in the EU are in some way deficient or less compliant than other forms of procurement. Self-building is a valid and essential way for citizens to undertake cost-effective construction of their own houses in a financially friendly way. The existing reinforced system in Ireland of self-certification and codified roles inherent in SI.9 is defective and interferes with my rights as a European Citizen to provide shelter in a cost-effective manner for my family.

For persons such as myself undertaking self-builds after 1st March the legal advice obtained by the IAOSB indicates we will be non-compliant, and as such will not be able to have our completion documentation validated by Local Authorities. As there is no mechanism in the regulation to obtain this local authority validation retrospectively this suggests self-builds, commenced after 1st March 2014,may encounter conveyancing issues and re-financing problems later on. This situation is of grave concern.

The current form of SI.9 and the proposed register of builders ends this tradition and infringes on the rights of Irish and EU citizens. I deserve better treatment by my government. I will not be able to afford to commence building my own house as a result of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). I should to have the right to build my own home and provide for my family.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards

Xxx

Date

Members Database 1919 – 2014 – Houses of the Oireachtas – Tithe an Oireachtais

http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=31&disp=mem

Link to IAOSB site: Take Action, Join the Campaign and stand Up for your rights: http://www.iaosb.com/take action, join the campaign and stand up for your rights.html

RIAI confirm self-building not possible after 1st March 2014: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

BCAR_Practical_Guidance__banner_

At  a CPD event attended by over 500 architects in the Aviva on Monday 24th February by the representative body for architects (RIAI) a keynote speaker Orla Fitzgerald suggested that under the Code of Practice issued by the Department of the Environment self-bulding would no longer be possible after 1st March 2014. This view supports the recent legal opinion received by the IAOSB.

Link to the Code of Practice:

Code of Practice Building Control Regulations 2014

Link to SI.9 (Builder’s Completion Certificate):

SI9 Builder's cert

 

RTÉ Liveline Clip: Wednesday 26 February 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

20090313-radio1

The adverse and unintended consequences of Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (SI.9 of 2014) are explored by contributors to this radio programme:

http://www.rte.ie/radio1/liveline/podcasts/

The discussion regarding Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) continues with representations by technically qualified persons not registered to provide new certifier duties and the adverse implications on their liveleyhoods. A building supplier talks about local gatherings to discuss adverse implications on his business. All contributors explore the conflicting information provided by the Department of the Environment to date. Quote from the presenter Joe Duffy: “The one thing we have not gotten from anyone has been clarity…the Department of the Environment tried to tell us yesterday (in a written statement to the show) on the one hand there was no difference, on the other hand additional costs…if there is no difference there should be no additional costs”. Still no representative from the Department of the environment has appeared to explain the issues.

Conflicting information from localgov.ie: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

Interesting. We noted that the localgov.ie FAQ section was offline earlier this week. It would appear the section dealing with self-builders Question 12 has been revised. Here is the newly worded section- read below for comparison with previous. Can you spot the differences?

12. Can I build my own house myself or by direct labour?

Yes.  You may appoint yourself as the builder and sign the Certificate of compliance (Undertaking by Builder). As the builder, you are responsible for compliance with the Building Regulations. You must sign the Certificate of Compliance on Completion and you must also appoint an Assigned Certifier to inspect the works during construction.

As an owner, how can I appoint a competent builder?

A competent person may generally be regarded as a person who possesses sufficient training, experience, and knowledge to enable them to undertake the project tasks they are required to perform having regard to the nature of the project and its scale and complexity.  Competence can be verified, for instance, by reference to involvement on previous similar projects.  One way of choosing a competent builder is to select a builder included on the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI).  Further details may be found on http://www.ciri.ie

 

BRegs Blog

confusion-fingers

Here are some interesting Frequently asked questions from the website localgov.ie. Interesting to see yet another different interpretation of the status self-building under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). This one seems to have conflicting guidance within the same document- item 12 and 18 (extracts below in italics). This public guidance would also appear to be at odds with a recent public guidance document written by the Department and issued by Local Authorities (document attached below for reference).

So according to this one it would appear that an owner can undertake to self-build on commencement, but cannot occupy the completed building until sign-off by a “Builder”. We may need to do a separate post listing off the confusing interpretations between minister, government departments and stakeholders on this one issue to keep track. Extracts below from localgov.ie FAQ section:

12. Can I build my own house by direct labour?

Yes. You must…

View original post 165 more words

Press Article, Leinster Express: Changes to building regulations could “destroy building”

by Bregs Blog admin team

IMG_2564

With the impending introduction of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) on 1st March the recent discussion in Laois County Council of the adverse implications are noted in the following article:

http://www.leinsterexpress.ie/news/local-news/concern-over-new-building-regulations-1-5899292

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extract:

Changes to building regulations could “destroy building” and “mark the end of one off houses and extensions”, according to Laois County councillors.

A number of updates have been made to the building regulations by the Building Control Authority which will come into action on March 1.

The system will be a national online system. There will be a €30 fee for online submissions. This fee will rise if hard copies are submitted to the authority. There will now be six forms to fill out, previously there was one form.

Another major change to the regulations is that a certificate of completion must be submitted to the authority before the building is used. These changes will give the Building Control Authority more information when carrying out inspections on buildings.

Speaking to the Leinster Express, Angela McEvoy, senior planner with Laois County Council said that this will be positive for new builds. “It is a plus for the quality of the workmanship on the building. Whoever is designing and building will have to be registered”.

Most county councillors were unhappy with the new regulations.

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said that she had major concerns. “The fee is €30 but I was told that this could cost €20,000 or €30,000. No one knows yet. I think its a scandal, it is a dreadful cost to ordinary people”.

Cllr John King said that it was a huge shock. “This will finish DIY building. People will be totally in fear and in shock. This is going to make serious money for chartered engineers”.

Cllr Brendan Phelan said that “it will be almost impossible for a person in rural Ireland”, while Cllr John Joe Fennelly added: “this will be the end of housing applications coming into us now”.

Cllr Paul Mitchell said that the updates were too much. “This is an over-reaction and over-regulation and will add to prices”.

Cllr Willie Aird told the meeting that he would council caution. It will destroy building and it could be the end of one off houses and extensions. No big developments are taking place, it is all nearly one off houses”. Cllr Caroline Dwane added that it “could be a money making racket”.

Opinion piece: View of an architectural technologist: BC(A)R SI.9

by bregs blog admin team

architectural services and technicians

Two separate radio interviews posted on the BRegs Forum Blog in the past week have hinted at one of the significant issues of the car crash that is BC(A)R and the subsequent SI9 – the complete exclusion of architectural technologists from the provisions of both.

In one interview, a registered architect and MRIAI sidesteps any responsibility by architects for high profile failures to comply with Building Regulations by wrongly pointing the finger of blame at ‘technicians and draughtsmen’ instead, and in the other, an experienced architectural technologist complains of his inability to certify his own work after March 1st.  Both hint at the existence of an issue, neither addresses it directly.

That issue relates to the lack of a defined professional context for architectural technologists in this country, and a definition of the role that we should be expected to fill on the basis of that context.

While the debate around the exclusion of technologists from this legislation normally descends into an argument around the reservation of architectural function, the truth of the matter is clearer than that. That truth is that parties as diverse and discordant as the professional organisations, educators and architectural technologists themselves, all agree that the technical design of buildings is the core competence of the professional architectural technologist, and that establishment of Building Regulations Compliant solutions is a key component of this area. The case could in fact be made that architectural technologists are among those best placed to design, inspect and certify building regulations compliance, and yet SI 9 completely fails to deal with or even to acknowledge this issue.

At the start of the last decade, architectural technology education, originally set at Ordinary Degree Level began to move towards the awarding of Honours Degrees, now generally accepted as the required minimum standard. The ordinary degree is 3 years to Honours degree which is 4 years. The increasingly technical nature of the science of building and associated performance and calculation standards and complex building regulations are now also seeing a shift to Postgraduate Specialisms. Consumers, professionals and educators have all identified the need for more highly qualified architectural technologists in recent times, yet SI 9 again fails to acknowledge this fact.

While the members of the two existing professional organisations argue over who is best placed to lead architectural technologists, these organisations themselves have failed to do so – one through refusal to do so, the other through inability to be heard. Meanwhile professional architectural technologists continue to fall through the cracks.

Minister Hogan, the DECLG and broader Government and the industry stakeholders deemed worthy of inclusion in the conversation around the Legislation insist that in order to play a lead role in this new regime, professional architectural technologists, many with decades of experience, must now deny their primary qualification in architectural technology, and claim instead to be Architects or Building surveyors, and seek entry to those Statutory Registers. They are told to submit to assessment by peers who are already established in those professions, with little sympathy for their professional plight, and the security of protected title and the reservation of function that now goes with that. Ironically, it is feasible that younger members of these Regulated professions could undertake the role of Assigned Certifier with just a fraction of this experience, and the expertise that comes with it.

This is an insult and an injustice to graduates of architectural technology courses in Irish educational institutions, it is an insult and an injustice to those who have filled this role in architectural and other practices for decades, and it is a threat to the very existence of architectural technology as a profession in the future.  Highly valued professionals in the construction industry now face a sea change in the way they must go about their work, with no clarity as to what is expected from them or what the future holds in terms of employability.

Either this situation must change or the profession of architectural technology, established for more than 40 years in this country, will wither and die in the absence of a viable and sustainable career model.

The Building Control Amendment Regulations provided the opportunity for such a model to be created. The case, and perhaps the need to include architectural technologists is obvious and clear. What is missing is the will to do so.

If true consumer protection is to be achieved, all those involved in the provision of assurances around Building Regulations Compliance should be capable of being held accountable, and there should be third party oversight and audit to ensure this. Where a designer is unwilling or unable to accept the role of Assigned Certifier, then that role should be capable of being filled by a competent, independent professional consultant, suitably accredited and insured, and subject to the imposition of statutory sanctions in the case of non-performance. More importantly this role should be capable of being filled by competent and professional architectural technologists.

There is a growing clamour for deferral of SI 9, a policy adopted by the RIAI earlier this year, but deferral is of little use without change. For that change to be meaningful and worthwhile, it must include a viable and sustainable role for this country’s architectural technologists. That change must be informed by the baggage of past debates being cast aside, and the core competences of architectural technologists being accepted and embraced by all parties, architectural technologists included.

It is vital that those who can bring clarity to this issue for architectural technology professionals do so, clearly and without fear or favour of any other party. If such change is achieved, not only will architecture and architectural technology be the stronger for it, but so too will the Building Control System that stems from it.

The above opinion piece is posted on 25th February 2014 by Bregs Blog admin on behalf of an Architectural Technologist

RTÉ – Liveline Clip 2:”A tax on blood sweat and tears”: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

1_articleimage

Link to discussion: New building regulationsSean, Amanda, Gerry, Kieran, Dominic and Margaret on how new regulations on self-build projects will affect people who just want to build their own homes

feed://www.rte.ie/radio1/podcast/podcast_liveline.xml

Comment:

On RTÉ’s Liveline yesterday 25th February the discussion on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) continued. Self-builders including one well-informed mother of five called in to discuss the issues and incredible costs of SI.9 on the their projects. The recent legal advice obtained by the representative body of self-builders the IAOSB confirming that self-building would no longer be permitted after 1st March 2014 was mentioned along with recent contradictory and incorrect  public guidance on BC(A)R SI.9 issued by Local Authorities.

Although invited to make a comment the Department were unable to provide a spokesperson. A written statement from the Department to the show was discussed and some inherent contradictions were explored by participants. Other issues were mentioned inclusing recent requests by stakeolders such as the architects representative body the RIAI to minister Bruton for a deferral.

Over 95% of architects are not prepared to implement the regulations next Saturday, and 75% believe serious delay and disruption to the industry as a whole will result from premature introduction of SI.9 (reported at an RIAI CPD event in the Aviva on 24th February) .

The impacts on rural communities, ordinary citizens, of SI.9 were well documented in this discussion. One person noted in a recent call to the Department, he was told self-building could continue under BC(A)R SI.9. This was strongly rebutted by others and Joe Duffy’s response “will the Department go with you to the high court?” is but one of the observations made on the programme concerning the contradictory interpretations of SI.9 by the Department.

We hope the discussion continues and representatives of the Department and Minister Hogan participate in the discussion.

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 26th February 2014.

 

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

by Bregs Blog admin team

euro With 3 working days to go to the introduction of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) the representative body for self-builders the IAOSB have escalated their concerns to Europe. Below is an extract off their website and a complaint template for their members to complain to the European Ombusdsman.

Take Action, Join the Campaign and stand Up for your rights

http://www.iaosb.com/take action, join the campaign and stand up for your rights.html

Although this is not the first complaint against SI.9 to be lodged in Europe by a concerned stakeholder this would seem to be the first one that suggests a possible restrictive or non-competitive practice. This follows a formal unsuccessful complaint to the National Competition Authority.

Quote: “The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI.9 of 2014) coming into force on 1st March 2014 will prevent competent citizens such as myself from continuing to self-build our own houses in the Republic of Ireland. This is a role which many are qualified to perform and have practiced for many generations. This action, I consider, is in breach of European Law in respect of competition, free market and freedom of movement, as well as the basic human right to provide shelter for one’s family. The restriction on the market to membership of a voluntary (non statutory) private contractor’s organisation is a restrictive and anti-competitive practice supported by the Irish Government.

The following is a direct extract off the IAOSB website. The actual complaint document follows:

_________________________________

Take Action, Stand up for your rights and support the Campaign Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014

We at  Irish Association of Self Builders will make every effort possible to support and stand up for your rights. However, the following are some of the further options that are available to you to support the campaign for the revision of Amendment S.I 9 of 2014.

European Ombudsman

This should be done if you wish to take further action by a complain to the European Ombudsman for the unfair treatment of the Irish Government towards you as a self builder.

The document below should be filled with your Name and then copy and pasted and emailed to the European ombudsman: SG-PLAINTES@ec.europa.eu

Subject::  COMPLAINT DETAILS TO THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES CONCERNING FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH COMMUNITY LAW

COMPLAINT DETAILS TO THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES CONCERNING FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH COMMUNITY LAW (Word Doc).

Documents to attach with the above:

Builder’s Certificate of completion (SI.9 of 2014)

Local authority public guidance Copies off cif voluntary register CIRI etc.

RIAI letters to ministers requesting deferral

Letter from Robin Mandal, RIAI President to Minister Bruton

Copies of selection of written minister’s responses to TD’s concerning Self-builders :

Iaosb response to Minister Phil Hogan T.D

Iaosb response to Minister Phil Hogan T.D1

People of  Ireland, Stand Up for Your Rights

___________

COMPLAINT DETAILS TO THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES CONCERNING FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH COMMUNITY LAW

Member name:  xxx

Complaint Failure to comply with European Community Law, restrictive practices

Field: Self-building in Republic of Ireland

Place of Activity: Republic of Ireland

Member State or public body alleged by the complainant not to have complied with Community law: Minister of the Environment, Republic of Ireland

Subject of the complaint:

I am a self-builder resident in the Republic of Ireland. I am concerned that my rights as a citizen are being debased and I may experience and will continue to experience problems as a result of the new Irish Building Control System, Building Control (Amendment) Regulation 2014 (SI.9 of 2014), which is due to come into force on 1 March 2014.  I consider this legislation to be in breach of European Law in respect of competition, free market and freedom of movement. This new legislation will expressly prohibit competent owners and registered professionals along with normal citizens from undertaking the  role of builder in Ireland which they are qualified and competent to undertake and which is an established tradition in Ireland and the EU for generations.

The core issue is the restriction on the market to membership of a voluntary (non statutory) private organisation, The Construction Industry Federation voluntary register of contractors (CIRI) . This is a restrictive practice. Industry estimates over 60% of houses built in Ireland are self-build projects, owners acting as main contractors. The consequence of SI.9 is that it will prevent self-builders from building their own dwellings and may result in many not being able to enter the housing market. Industry estimates an annual drop in house starts of 17% or 1,800 self-builder that will abandon projects a result of this legislation (out of projected 10,500 completions annually).

This situation can be rectified and solutions are available which allow for self-builders to build homes for their families. These solutions have been proposed to the Irish Minister for the Environment. The Minister of the Environment (Minister Phil Hogan), under the Building Control Act 1990 has the authority to establish a system of independent local authority inspections. Minister Phil Hogan has the authority to extend the Regulations to include a Register (held and administered in the Republic of Ireland under this legislation) for an independent system of building control inspectors (approved inspectors) directly managed by Local Authorities. I suggest that this be executed without delay and that the Minister immediately extend the Regulations to provide for an independent system of inspections similar to that operated in the UK and elsewhere in the EU.

The UK system permits self-building unlike the Irish system of building control which is a complete self-certification system with codified roles and professions. An independently regulated system allows self-builders and others not codified to fully participate in the procurement process: risk-based assessment is applied by a local authority inspectorate which may trigger more frequent inspections if a main contractor is not formally appointed to a project.

If required, the Minister for the Environment has the power to amend the primary legislation.

As can be demonstrated by the Irish Association of Self-Builders (the representative body for self-builders in Ireland- IAOSB), most self-builders have the prerequisite knowledge and skills to occupy the role of builder under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). However, the Minister’s commitment to reinforcing the system of self-certification requires an immediate amendment to include self-builders as competent persons who can undertake the role of builder specifically mentioned in the legislation.

The IAOSB have already made an unsuccessful complaint to the National Competition Authority. I feel this matter needs to be escalated to your organisation as a matter of urgency.

Personal Statement

When the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) comes into force on 1st March 2014 I will no longer be able to act as a Builder on my own house, co-ordinating other sub-contractors on the build. As this legislation requires an established builder, someone with at least 3 years similar building experience to undertake this role, the attendant costs of employing a main contractor will mean that I will not be able to undertake to build my own house. Contrary to numerous written statements by Minister Phil Hogan, recent legal advice obtained by the representative body for self-builders the Irish Association of Self-Builders (IAOSB) has confirmed that self-building, or owners assuming the role of main contractor on dwellings, will no longer be possible under the new legislation after 1st March 2014.

The additional cost to build a home using normal procurement methods and with a main contractor appointed would be over 12% more than if I (a self-builder) occupy the role of main contractor myself, co-ordinating various sub-contractors on the build. I will not be able to afford to undertake this build as a result.

The restriction placed on me to employ a  contractor member of a voluntary register operated by a private company (CIRI operated by the Construction Industry Federation) is a restrictive practice, and is against my fundamental rights and restricts my ability to provide for my family. The fact that this is enshrined in legislation indicates that the Minister is supportive of this restrictive practice.

I believe the current legislation restricts my right as a European citizen. The register of contractors mentioned in SI.9 is voluntary at present but it is planned to introduce primary legislation to put this on a statutory footing. Notwithstanding this the completion certificate for the “Builder” in SI.9 states the completion certificate “to be signed by a Principal or Director of a building company only”. In effect this precludes competent owners such as myself from undertaking this role. The structure of self-certification and codified roles inherent in SI.9 is defective and interferes with my rights as a European citizen to provide shelter in a cost-effective manner for my family.

The core issue is the restriction on the market to membership of a voluntary ( non statutory) private organisation. This is a restrictive practice supported by the Irish Government. The Construction Industry Federation primarily and all the professionals mentioned as “competent persons” on the register of professionals (Engineers, Building Surveyors, Architects) stand to benefit financially from this restrictive and unfair regulation.

Current Position regarding Self-builders pre 1 March 2014

As a self-builder I can assume the role of builder and notify the local authority of this in a commencement notice issued in advance of commencement on site. I am subject to all the current legislative requirements and am required to get any build certified by a suitably qualified professional on completion.

New Position regarding Self-builders post 1 March 2014

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI.9 of 2014) coming into force on 1st March 2014 will prevent competent citizens such as myself from continuing to self-build our own houses in the Republic of Ireland. This is a role which many are qualified to perform and have practised for many generations. This action, I consider, is in breach of European Law in respect of competition, free market and freedom of movement, as well as the basic human right to provide shelter for one’s family. The restriction on the market to membership of a voluntary (non statutory) private contractor’s organisation is a restrictive and anti-competitive practice supported by the Irish Government.

Many citizens have already suffered due to the property collapse in Ireland and subsequent banking crisis. Due to the announcement of this new legislation and its implications many citizens will not be able to own their own home. Misleading and misrepresentative statements by Minister Hogan and the department of the Environment concerning the status of self-building may result in self-builders commencing work after 1st March. Recent legal advice obtained by the representative body for self-builders the Irish Association of Self-Builders (IAOSB) has confirmed that self-building, or undertaking the role of main contractor on dwellings, will no longer be possible under the new Regulation. On completion the builder’s certificate “must be signed by the principal or director of a building firm only”. Owners who sign this document will be deemed to be non-compliant. This would suggest possible issues with self-builders commencing after 1st march under the new regulation being non-compliant on completion. Refinancing on conveyancing difficulties may be experienced by self-builders as a result. As there is no provision for retrospective compliance in this regard this situation is of grave concern.

Action required 

I invite the European Commission to investigate my complaint as a matter of urgency, considering the evidence attached and to act swiftly to ensure that the core issue is the restriction on the market to membership of a voluntary ( non statutory) private organisation. This is a restrictive practice.  I invite the European Commission to preserve their right to allow citizens to provide a home for their families in a financially affordable fashion and allow those commissioning projects as self-builders the opportunity to operate in the role of builder. It is critical that this injustice to the citizens of Ireland, and anyone else from the EU who wishes to reside in Ireland, is rectified immediately.

These solutions have been proposed to the Irish Minister for the Environment.

Solutions

In the UK there is a system of independent local authority and approved inspector inspections- a system of independently regulated government inspections similar to most other EU countries. Under this system I can operate as a builder and “self-build” domestic projects. There is no question that any self-builds in the UK or elsewhere in the EU are in some way deficient or less compliant than other forms of procurement. Self-building is a valid and essential way for citizens to undertake cost-effective construction of their own houses in a cost-effective and appropriate fashion.

History of self-building

The tradition of building one’s own house is age-old. In Ireland due to its history the tradition of owning one’s own house is Very strong. Ireland has a very high proportion of house ownership compared to mainland Europe. Industry estimates well over half (60%) of all homes built in any given year in Ireland are self-builds, houses where the owner is the main contractor co-ordinating other trades and sub-contractors. The IAOSB have estimated that due to the introduction of SI.9 approximately 28% of self-builds will be abandoned annually due to additional costs. In 2012 there were 10,500 house completions- out of this number 6,300 would have been self-builds. When SI.9 comes into effect, and based on a similar output the number of self-builds abandoned annually would be 1,800.

Irish Association of Self-Builders (IAOSB)

The Irish Association of Self Builders is a voluntary organisation that was set up in mid 2003 by a group of self builders whose aim has been to provide help and support to people who are taking up the challenge of building their own home.

Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

Adequate Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) was not completed for SI.9 of 2014 (previously SI.80 of 2013). It would appear that the Department did not carry out a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) of the March 2013 wording of S.I.80. The RIA part (section 4)  is only six pages long and does not appear to be backed up with any research. For example, under the Section 4.6(i) Impact on National Competitiveness, the report makes the simple claim “There will be no negative impact on Ireland’s competitiveness”. The only costs noted are a notional cost per dwelling of between €1000 to €3000. On the housing side the more significant costs to self-builders, house starts abandoned, and increased costs on smaller qualifying residential extensions are not mentioned. Remarkably the cost to SME’s, capital spending delays and costs for all non-residential  projects (qualifying) are not assessed. This is an extraordinarily brief assessment of a very significant amendment. Current industry estimates of the possible impact of SI.9 suggest a recurring annual cost of up to €500m per year.

Self-builders have complained to local representatives and TDs, but the Minister for the Environment has consistently ignored self-builders rights, qualifications and skills. The Minister appears to be unaware that self-builders have historically practiced building to a high standard in the Republic of Ireland and that they are qualified and competent to act as builders. The following link is to a question asked by a local TD to the Minister for the Environment. Link to Minister Phil Hogan’s response to Irish Association of Self Builders regarding SI 9: http://www.iaosb.com/minister phil hogans response to irish association of self builders regarding si 9.html Self-builders Members complained to Minister Hogan,. Link to Letter from Iaosb to Minister Hogan for further clarification of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014:

http://www.iaosb.com/letter_from_iaosb_to_minister_hogan_for_further_clarification_of_building_control_(amendment)_regulation_s.i_9_of_2014.html

The Irish Government and the department have issued conflicting and misrepresentative information concerning the status of self-builders. The IASOB has written to local authorities and to the department of environment requesting that this be rectified: Link to Letter from IASOB to Building Control Departments:

http://www.iaosb.com/letter from iaosb to building control department’s.html

Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (S.I. 9 of 2014) excludes self-builders

The core issue is the restriction on the market to membership of a voluntary (non statutory) private organisation. This is a restrictive practice. The new Regulations exclude competent self-builders from undertaking the role of builder, certifying works and compliance with Building Regulations for all buildings, a role in which many are specifically trained, experienced and competent.

No detailed or legitimate reasons have been given for excluding self-builders practising in the Republic of Ireland:

The new Regulations exclude self-builders, but no detailed, evidenced or legitimate reasons for this have ever being provided. The Irish Government has never explained its motives for excluding self-builders and for excluding established, qualified and competent persons from continuing to practice in the Republic of Ireland. In addition the massive cost to industry, citizens and taxpayers has been inadequately addressed. One of the key stakeholders involved in the formation of SI.9 the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has written to Minister Hogan and others strenuously requesting the legislation be deferred (attached).

The core issue is the restriction on the market to membership of a voluntary (non statutory) private organisation- the voluntary contractor’s register. This is a restrictive practice. There is no evidence to suggest this will enhance the value or quality of dwellings currently being enjoyed by self-builders. The competency and assessment criteria for prior experience for entry to this  voluntary register (CIRI) are unclear and arbitrary. Access to the voluntary register, supported by Minister Hogan, favours existing Construction Industry Federation (CIF) members who do not have to prove relevant experience and mitigate against others who may or may not be granted  entry after a subjective assessment.

Non-compliance with European Law

The Irish Government has no legitimate reason to exclude self-builders from continuing to practise in Ireland. The actions taken against self-builders are not proportionate. Self-builders have been excluded with the result of restricting the market to a voluntary register of established builders. The proposed mandatory register to be introduced shortly in 2015 compounds this. On this ground I find the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation 2014 (SI.9) in breach of European Law and a restrictive practice.

The Good Friday Agreement 1998

It is also important to recognise the particular issue specifically within Ireland and the The Good Friday Agreement.  The ‘Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity’ section clearly states that the parties affirm the right to equal opportunity in all social and economic activity, regardless of class, creed, disability, gender or ethnicity. As an EU citizen I can undertake self-builds in the north of Ireland.

The Example of the EU

In the UK they operate an independent system of local authority inspections (and independent inspectors) that accommodate self-building within a statutory framework of independent regulation and independent building control inspections. A simple cost-effective system ensuring adequate pro-active consumer protection against defects as they occur rather than the current Irish system of self-regulation.

Conclusion

The Irish Government is knowingly depriving self-builders the well-established tradition to continue practicing in the Republic of Ireland.  This is a direct contradiction to the intent of the Regulations and therefore not in the interest of Irish consumers, nor in the interest of the public. There is no legitimate motivation for such action. The core issue is the restriction on the market to membership of a voluntary (non statutory) private organisation. This is a restrictive practice.

Even if the Irish Government had a legal reason to deprive self-builders of their right to practice in the state, the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI.9 of 2014) do not propose proportionate alternatives to assist established self-builders in the Republic of Ireland to continue to provide homes for their families.

As detailed this grave situation can be rectified and solutions are available which provide for self-builders to be included as competent to undertake the role of builder. The restrictive practice of a voluntary (and proposed mandatory) register of contractors is not necessary if a normal independently regulated system of building control was introduced instead of a codified reinforced system of self-regulation as proposed in SI.9. These solutions have been proposed to the Irish Minister for the Environment.

NAME AND DATE

END

Posted with permission of IAOSB on 25th February 2014

 

 

Political Q+A: Mister Hogan suggests Builder separate appointment: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

faq-teaser

In the following exchange Minister Hogan appears to reverse his previous position on self-building. He suggests the role of builder should be a separate appointment, with no mention of an owner undertaking the role of builder. This view is supported by recent legal advice obtained by the representative body for self-builders in Ireland (IAOSB) and separately confirmed yesterday in a CPD event attended by 500 architects run by the architects’ representative body, the RIAI in the Aviva stadium. Keynote RIAI speaker, Orla Fitzgerald, suggested that under the Code of Practice definition self-bulding would no longer be possible after 1st March 2014.

The minister appears to be recommending that the voluntary register, CIRI, the privately run voluntary directory and register established and operated by the Construction industry Federation will be the standard for competency for the role for builder under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014).

Link here:

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2013-11-06a.262&s=%22Phil+hogan%22+register+builders#g264.r

Extract below with Minister’s reply in italics (relevant section in bold,)

____________

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

Building Regulations Compliance

All Written Answers on 6 Nov 2013

Dara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)

110. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the provisions that are made for non-direct labour in the draft building control regulation plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47238/13]

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

Generally speaking the requirements of the building regulations, which represent the minimum legally enforceable performance standards, apply to a newly constructed building or to an existing building undergoing an extension, a material alteration or a material change of use. The Building Control Act 1990 firmly places the statutory responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the building regulations on the owners, designers and builders of such buildings. Earlier in 2013, I signed the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013 into law with a view to ensuring that effective administrative arrangements are in place by which those responsible can demonstrate how their statutory obligations have been fulfilled. These Regulations will usher in a new era of quality and a new culture of compliance in an industry where consumers have in recent times too often found that work on their homes does not comply with the minimum requirements set out in the building regulations.

For relevant building projects commencing on and from 1 March 2014, the regulations will require design drawings and particulars, certified by a registered construction professional as having been designed to comply with the requirements of the building regulations, to be lodged with the local building control authority; inspections during construction to be undertaken by a registered construction professional known as the assigned certifier; and certificates of compliance in respect of the works or building as completed, to be signed by the builder and the assigned certifier.

The owner will be responsible for ensuring that they appoint a competent builder – a register of builders, contractors and tradespersons known as the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) will be established on a voluntary basis for this purpose on or before 1 March 2014 and placed on a statutory footing by 2015 – and that they employ a competent registered professional to undertake the roles of designer and assigned certifier.

In the case of an existing home, the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013 will only apply to works involving the addition of an extension which is greater than 40 square metres, or to works to an apartment which would require an application for a Fire Safety Certificate. nor works or works of a repair and maintenance nature do not come within the scope of these regulations. Accordingly, the new obligations to lodge drawings, to inspect during construction or to sign statutory certificates would not apply, although the relevant requirements of the building regulations must be complied with in all cases.

It may also be worth noting that the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 came into effect on 1 August 2013 and have implications for construction projects in dwellings which involve more than one tradesperson, which involve a particular risk or which extend beyond 30 days or 500 person days. I have no function in relation to this aspect of the matter but it is relevant to a full understanding of the context in which works are undertaken in existing dwellings.

 

Radio Clip: Joe Duffy “what government in their right mind would make people unemployed?” BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

article-new-thumbnail-ehow-images-a01-um-5e-book-radio-interview-agent-800x800

“The theme of this year is jobs jobs jobs. What government in their right mind would make people unemployable after 1st march?”  Joe Duffy askes some pointed questions in this radio broadcast.

In the following radio clip a number of self-builders and an experienced construction professional explore the adverse consequences of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014).

link to clip: http://www.rte.ie/radio1/podcast/podcast_liveline.xml

__________

Comment: The self-builders have been  very vocal on the issues concerning their own sector due to BC(A)R SI.9. The current estimate is that almost 17% of house starts will be abandoned annually as a result of the extraordinary extra costs of SI.9. These are self-builder dwellings that otherwise would have been constructed if SI.9 had not been introduced. As confirmed by legal opinion obtained by the Irish Association of Self-Builders (IAOSB) self-building will no longer be possible after the introduction of SI.9 on 1st March 2014. Industry estimates the extra fees for employing established contractors on self-build residential projects will increase house build costs by over 12%, putting the possibility of home ownership for almost 1,800 families every year out of reach (IAOSB estimates). The remaining self-builds, 4,500 homes will, of course, need to employ established contractors and members of the CIF which will add to owners costs considerably. Quite a bit of extra work however for contractors and CIF members.

Later on in the segment an experienced construction professional highlights the difficulties for certain qualified persons with the new regulation. Under SI.9 no allowance has been made for those qualified as ‘technical’ experts who want to work as technical Certifiers but are not the designers. This unfair situation applies to both experienced architectural technologist members of the RIAI (the representative body for architects) and those who are not. This will have adverse consequences for many throughout the country, leading to unemployment for many as the contributor believes. In other countries architectural technologists are well-established practitioners in building control inspections and compliance.

The unintended consequences of SI.9 are not restricted to self-builders and technical experts. The cost impact on all sectors of the economy, from small residential works (qualifying), SME’s, small retail works and changes of use,  license applications, larger government capital projects, commercial non-residential projects and foreign inward investment are considerable.

The question we have been asking is why is this government promoting a regulation that could cost the industry and taxpayer €3bn over 6 years and by 2020 cost the economy 30,000 jobs? We hope this conversation continues today and for the remainder of the week in the media.

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 25th February 2014.

Results for Twitter poll + RIAI Survey: is BC(A)R workable on 1st March?

by bregs blog admin team

POLL_RESULTS_46

A few days ago the Bregs Blog set-up a twitter poll. We wanted to see the if readers thought the industry is ready for Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) due to come in in one working week.. The online poll consisted of one question:

“Are you confident that the new Building Control (Amendment) regulations are workable on 1 March?”

Results are in and are pretty definitive. 100% of respondents polled:

NO

In addition 95% of architects are not prepared to implement the regulations next Saturday, as reported by the representative body for architects the RIAI at a CPD event in the Aviva today (24th February) attended by over 500 members. The Breg Blog twitter poll supports the research done by the RIAI on implementation issues. The RIAI have repeatedly called for deferral of SI.9 on the grounds of lack of readiness in the industry.

Please keep your eyes open for more polls. The more responders we get the more accurate our results are. Many thanks to all who took time to respond. Organised by Bregs Blog.

Link to RIAI letters calling for deferral to Ministers Hogan and Bruton:

RIAI_PRESIDENT_LETTER_TO_MINISTER_BRUTON

Letter_from_RIAI_President_to_Minister_Hogan_15Jan2014

Self builder confusion: BC(A)R SI.9

by bregs blog admin team

confusion

One could forgive the self-builders for being confused as to their status under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) from 1st March onwards.

• In an Institute of Engineers of Ireland conference in January 2014 the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Department of the Environment (DOE) and Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI)  representatives present all agreed that owners taking-on the role of main contractor would be deemed non-compliant with the regulation from 1st March onwards.

• On January 23rd 2014 the CIF director of housing Hubert Fitzpatrick in an interview confirmed that self-building would not be possible after 1st March 2014. Local councillors appeared to also be inadequately briefed as noted in a radio interview on Sligo FM on 6th February also.

• In numerous written answers to TD’s Minister Hogan has contradicted this view suggesting self-building could continue as before under the new regulation.

• The minister’s view  was confirmed by the  Director of the architect’s representative body the RIAI, John Graby, in an interview on 6th February 2014, suggesting self-building was still possible under BC(A)R SI.9.

• This confusion was added to in guidance issued by local authorities stating that an owner could elect to be the builder on commencement providing a competent builder sign the completion certificate. Different to all of the above.

• Finally we have the recently FAQ section on www.localgov.ie which seemed to offer contradictory advice within its own section regarding owners assuming the roles of builder on commencement, and builders signing completion documentation. The site suggests that an owner could undertake to self-build on commencement but would be unable to occupy the completed building until sign-off by a “Builder”. No mention that the “Builder” signing-off could be the owner etc.

The one consistent line of course which has not changed is that on the completion certificate for a builder  in SI.9 which states “(to be signed by a Principal or Director or of a building company only)“- see form below.

We have a minister and his department with different interpretations of the regulation, two key stakeholders: the CIF and the RIAI also with different opinions, followed by local authorities and localgov.ie who have yet more interpretations of the self-builder status under BC(A)R SI.9.

We have 5 days before implementation of the regulation.

Extract of SI.9 Builder’s completion certificate:

SI9 Builder's cert

Radio Clip: Hubert Fitzpartick of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF Director of Housing) on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation on SI.9 of 2014. Radio Kerry podcast:

http://media.radiokerry.ie/mediamanager/embed/player/podcasts/9/item/17585

Radio Clip: John Graby of RIAI on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation on SI.9 of 2014. Ocean FM: Thursday 6th Feb 2014. Segment starts 1:03:16 to 1:12:13:  https://m.soundcloud.com/oceanfm/north-west-today-thurs-6th-feb

Radio Clip: Sligo councillors clash over Building Regulation (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). Ocean FM: Thursday 6th Feb 2014. Segment starts 33:53 to 47:24 : http://www.oceanfm.ie/nwt

Ministers written statements (selection of):

Maureen O’Sullivan TD to PH on 30th January on self-builder’s concerns:

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2014-01-30a.348&s=Building+regulation

Minister Phil Hogans response to Irish Association of Self Builders regarding SI 9 (written answer on 28th January 2014):

http://www.iaosb.com/minister phil hogans response to irish association of self builders regarding si 9.html

Local Authority Public Guidance:

http://www.louthcoco.ie/en/Services/Building_Control/Guide-to-the-Building-Control-Amendment-Regulations-2014.pdf

Link to FAQ section on www.localgov.ie site:

http://localgov.ie/en/link-type/bcms

Political Q+A: Mark Daly asks hard questions: yes or no? BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

questions image

In the following Seanad exchange Mark Daly reiterates his original question to Fergus O’Dowd: was a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) carried out in 2013 for SI.9 (previously SI.80)? Of course we know the answer-  no. A very brief RIA was undertaken on a previous draft version of SI.80 in 2012. To quote a previous BReg Forum post on this: it would appear that the Department did not carry out a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) of the March 2013 wording of S.I.80. A very brief RIA was completed in 2012 and the lack of a follow-up would suggest some of the very significant changes introduced by the Minister in the March 2013 draft have not been comprehensively examined. The RIA produced by the department is included as a small part of the following document “Strengthening the Building Control System – A Document to inform public consultation on Draft Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012“ . See document here

The RIA part (section 4)  is only six pages long and does not appear to be backed up with any research. For example, under the Section 4.6(i) Impact on National Competitiveness, the report makes the simple claim “There will be no negative impact on Ireland’s competitiveness”. The only costs noted are a notional cost per dwelling of between €1000 to €3000. On the housing side the more significant costs to self-builders, house starts abandoned, and increased costs on smaller qualifying residential extensions are not mentioned. Remarkably the cost to SME’s, capital spending delays and costs for all non-residential  projects (qualifying) are not assessed. This is an extraordinarily brief assessment of a very significant amendment.

Current industry estimates of the possible impact of SI.9 suggest a recurring annual cost of up to €500m per year.

___________

Seanad debates

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Adjournment Matters

Building Regulations Amendments

Mark Daly (Fianna Fail)

Link to this: Individually | In context

I raised a matter previously on the Building Control Act regulations and related statutory instruments of 2013. Was a regulatory impact assessment carried out on the impact of the changes to the regulations which will result in job losses for many architects, structural engineers and architectural technicians who no longer will be able to certify works from 1 March 2014?

Fergus O’Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)

Link to this: Individually | In context

I thank the Senator Daly for bringing this issue before the House. I take this debate on behalf of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan.

The new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations will greatly strengthen the arrangements currently in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with building regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates. The new regulations are necessary following the widespread instances of failure by owners, designers and builders to comply with their legal obligations under the Building Control Act 1990 to design and construct buildings in accordance with the building regulations.

An extensive public consultation process was undertaken in 2012 to inform the development of the revised building control regulations which will come into effect on 1 March 2014. Comprehensive consultation documents were published, including Strengthening the Building Control System – A Document to inform public consultation on Draft Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012, which sets out the context in which the reforms, which are now signed into law in the form of SI 9 of 2014 which supersedes SI 80 of 2013, will operate and the regulatory impact of these for building owners and industry stakeholders. This document is available on the website of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

In summary, it can be said that the arrangements being put in place for the control of building activity may result in additional design, inspection, certification and, possibly insurance costs which must ultimately be borne by the building owner-contracting authority. Such additional costs would be justified by the enhanced quality and standard of design and construction of the building project concerned in light of several notable instances of non-compliant buildings which failed to meet minimum building standards. We all know of instances of this in the past year or so.

It is anticipated that the statutory inspection process will reduce the incidences of defective works on site and the resultant associated costs of carrying out remedial works will reduce accordingly. Owners will now be required to assign a competent person to inspect and certify the works. For buildings where this would not previously have been the case, industry sources suggest this requirement could add between €1,000 to €3,000 per housing unit to the overall building costs, although in reality this actual cost will be decided by market forces.

The Government is acutely aware of the employment and competition consequences that may result. Overall the new regulations will have a positive effect on employment in the sector. The regulations will serve to ensure the involvement of competent registered professionals in the design, inspection and certification of buildings generally and competent builders in the execution and certification of works. In this way, owners, designers and builders will meet and account for their legal obligations under the Building Control Act 1990 which recent experience has shown to have been widely flouted. The cost of this, which must be borne by the responsible parties, will be justified by safer, compliant buildings in keeping with the legitimate expectations of consumers.

There have been wild exaggerations in circulation of the increased costs the regulations will impose on the self-build home sector. There has been no change in the technical performance standards. Any person who intended meeting their statutory obligations to design and build in accordance with the building regulations will face the additional design and certification costs referred to, but any additional building costs will be negligible.

The construction industry, in particular the residential sector, includes an unusually high number of SMEs. A large proportion of the work of such firms would involve repair, renewal and renovation work or extensions to existing dwellings. Such works would not come within the scope of the proposed Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. In addition such firms would operate as subcontractors on larger projects. In such cases the impact and the administrative burden would fall on the principal contractor. The impact of the proposed regulations on SMEs has thus been kept to a minimum.

Mark Daly (Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I thank the Minister of State for taking my question. I know he is not the Minister in charge of this. The question I asked was whether a regulatory impact assessment was carried out on the Building Control Act regulations of 2013. The Minister of State knows that this question was not answered in the reply. In fact, my questions could have been answered by a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

The Minister of State has had to take matters on the Adjournment for other Ministers and Members have argued that the question they asked was never answered in the course of the reply. I will take the matter up with the Cathaoirleach and the Minister. It is important the reply from the relevant Department answers the matter that was raised on the Adjournment. One of the proposals in the programme for Government is that regulatory impact assessments would be conducted continually. I believe that fewer than three have been done in some Departments in the past three years.

Fergus O’Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)

Link to this: Individually | In context

I thank Senator Daly for his comments. I assure him that I agree that the question asked must be answered. I regret that this has not been the case. I will take it up as a matter of urgency with the Department. It takes time and effort to raise a matter on the Adjournment and it should be answered in a direct way.

Press Article: New code could add €50k onto cost of self-builds

by Bregs Blog admin team

irish examiner

From the Irish Examiner, Friday, February 21, 2014. Extract:

________

People planning to build their dream home are in for a nasty shock following the introduction of new building control regulations, which could add up to €50,000 extra on to the cost of a constructing a one-off dwelling.

Clare councillor Richard Nagle predicts the new 2014 Building Control Regulations will effectively end the practice of direct labour, which will put the construction of new one-off houses beyond the reach of most successful planning applicants.

“Most people aren’t aware of the huge implications arising from these new unfair and unreasonable building regulations…There has been little or no problems with the standard of construction of most one-off houses in rural areas. There is no factual basis for crucifying people who want to build a permanent family home on their own land or those who purchased a site for a permanent house.”

________

The article is from the Irish Examiner By Dan Danaher on February 21st 2014. Link to article here: “New code could add €50k onto cost of self-builds”

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/new-code-could-add-50k-onto-cost-of-self-builds-259468.html

Self-builders request retraction of inaccurate local authority guidelines: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

rubbish-removal-services

The representative body for self-builder’s in Ireland the IAOSB have recently written to every local authority and to the Department of the Environment asking for recent inaccurate public guidance to be retracted. The public guidance document is attached after the letter below. Letter from Iaosb to Building Control Department’s regarding Building Control (Amendment) S.I 9 of 2014 to follow (extract off IASOB website):

________________________

Dear Building Control Section,

RE: Self- Builder status under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

I am writing to you on behalf of the Irish Association of Self Builders regarding the status of self-builders from 1st March onwards. Despite numerous written from Minster Phil Hogan to questions asked on our behalf by other TD’s the status of our members remains vague.

We have been informed by attendees that at an Engineer’s briefing on January 17th 2014 the consensus view of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Department of the Environment (DOE) and Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) representatives was that self-building would no longer be possible from 1st March onwards. Hubert Fitzpartick of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF Director of Housing) confirmed this position that self-building would end on 1st march (interview on January 23rd 2014).

Contrary to this in numerous written answers to TD’s you have stated that self-building can continue as before under SI.9. John Graby, the Director of the RIAI stated that self-building was possible under BC(A)R SI.9 in an interview on 6th February 2014.

We have read with dismay recent Local Authority public guidance on BC(A)R SI.9. It is unfortunate that a recent local authority guidance to the public on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) would appear to be inaccurate and contradictory. Given that we have less than 2 weeks before the implementation date of 1st March, incorrect information is of no assistance to members of the public and professionals who are scrambling to adapt to the new regulation.

Reading item 22 together with 11 and 12 it would appear that Local Authorities may deem owners that undertake the role of builder on commencement compliant, provided the completion certificate is signed by a “Builder”- a “Director of Principal of a building company”. This could indicate that a completion certificate provided by a competent “builder”(someone not involved in the build or inspection during construction) could be satisfactory compliance with SI.9. So we now have the unacceptable situation where we have the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government at odds with his Department with different interpretations of the regulation, the CIF and the RIAI also with different opinions (two key stakeholders) and finally local authorities who issued different guidelines again on the status of the self-builder under BC(A)R SI.9.

Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 OF 2014) of course has not changed and the completion certificate for a builder states “to be signed by a Principal or Director or of a building company only”.

We the Irish Association of Self Builders, have sought independent legal advice on the status of self-builders under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). Our legal advisor confirmed that the sentence “to be signed by a Principal or Director or of a building company only” is the applicable section that has been signed into law. If that sentence is not removed or changed to include building owner, then the building owner may find themselves with legal actions taken by or against them should they go ahead and sign the certificate as the builder. The document Building Control (Amendment) Regulation SI.9 of 2014 was passed in to law by the Minister on the 15th of January 2014 and it can not be changed for individual cases.

On behalf of our members we request that you formally retract this guidance document and correct any public statements regarding concerning the status of the self-builder; we believe your public guidance is misleading and bring local authorities into disrepute. We will also be writing requesting a formal correction from Minister Hogan and the RIAI that have issued conflicting and misrepresentative advice on this matter also. Why we are not afforded the courtesy of a correct and legally accurate response and guidance to our one simple question “can self-building continue after 1st March”? What has been given up to now is not acceptable to our members and to the citizens of this country affected by this legislation.

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours Sincerely,

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of self Builders

www.iaosb.com

________________________

Link to Letter from Iaosb to Building Control Department’s:

http://www.iaosb.com/letter from iaosb to building control department’s.html

BC(A)R LA GUIDE 1

BC(A)R la 2

SI.09 completion cert for builder:
SI9 Builder's cert

Conflicting information from localgov.ie: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

confusion-fingers

February 21st 2014

Here are some interesting Frequently asked questions from the website localgov.ie. Interesting to see yet another different interpretation of the status self-building under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). This one seems to have conflicting guidance within the same document- item 12 and 18 (extracts below in italics). This public guidance would also appear to be at odds with a recent public guidance document written by the Department and issued by Local Authorities (document attached below for reference).

So according to this one it would appear that an owner can undertake to self-build on commencement, but cannot occupy the completed building until sign-off by a “Builder”. We may need to do a separate post listing off the confusing interpretations between minister, government departments and stakeholders on this one issue to keep track. Extracts below from localgov.ie FAQ section:

12. Can I build my own house by direct labour?

Yes. You must appoint yourself as the builder and sign the Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Builder) document. As the builder, you are responsible for compliance with the Building Regulations. You must sign the Certificate of Compliance on Completion and you must also appoint an Assigned Certifier to inspect the works during construction. Preferably, the builder should be registered with the Construction Industry Federation and should provide a ‘Construction Industry Register Ireland’ (CIRI) number. Further details can be found on www.cif.ie.

 18. What is a Certificate of Compliance on Completion?

For Commencement Notices, to which the additional requirements apply, a Certificate of Compliance on Completion must be lodged with the Building Control Authority and placed on the public register before the building may legally be opened, occupied or used. The Certificate must be signed by the Assigned Certifier and the Builder. It certifies that the building or works have been carried out in accordance with the Building Regulations.

BC(A)R LA GUIDE 1

BC(A)R la 2

Building Control Guidance: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

31984

Just one working week before the implementation date for please find correspondence issued by Kerry CoCo. It would appear that Tralee Fire station is the new location for the Building Control Management System (BCMS) for the county. From the correspondence some Building Control sections will be practising on the preferred E-lodgment system next week, less than 5 days to the implementation date of 1st March. We wonder how many additional skilled personnel have been allocated to understaffed building control sections throughout the country. Attachments to original correspondence are listed below (4 in total). Email presented without comment.

____________________

To:      Our list (email) of agents/consultants in Building Control matters in Kerry

(Replies to:  buildingcontrol@kerrycoco.ie)

A Cháirde,

You are probably very aware of the above-mentioned regime that is coming into effect and into operation on 1st March 2014. The lead-in, as we are all aware, is slack on hard information and pre-launch guidance on either the substance of the new regulations or the operation of the new Building Control Management System (BCMS). Within Building Control Authorities, the impact is similar upon us as upon your-selves to a large extent. We are receiving some training on the BCMS and we will (here in Kerry) have an opportunity from next week to practice on the system.

I am attaching some documents which may be of assistance to you, including copy of a simple ‘Powerpoint’ presentation given to Kerry County Council this week, the DECLG simple guide to the new regulations, the regulations themselves SI 9 of 2014 and the Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works as recently published.

I am aware of an Engineering Ireland (An Ríocht and Local Government Divisions joint) lecture on the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014.  It is taking place at 6:00pm, 25 February 2014 in the Sólás Building, North Campus, IT Tralee. All are welcome at this event, regardless of EI membership, and for my part I am happy to draw your attention to the same in the circumstances. The official EI poster for this presentation is also attached. The presenter is Mairéad Phelan, Senior Engineer at Fingal County Council. Mairéad herself led the pilot BCMS project hosted by FCC, so there is no-one better placed to answer your questions on the entire matter at this point than she is.

I intend to revert to you in the coming week or so with details of a seminar that Kerry County Council will arrange at which we will give out the information/knowledge that we will have at that time. You will be welcome to attend.

Individual owners, assigned designers, assigned certifiers and assigned builders must individually register themselves on the BCMS. May I draw your attention to the qualifications required for your registration in any of these capacities but designer and assigned certifier in particular. This is an essential pre-requisite to the registration on the BCMS of any Commencement Notice or 7-Day Notice from the 1st March 2014 onwards.

I would like to advise you also that from 1st March 2014, there will be a dedicated Building Control [BCMS] work station here at Fire Headquarters. This will comprise only of a PC at which you may, if necessary, interface with the BCMS yourself. We will be glad to assist you with the benefit of our own (emerging) training and knowledge of the system.

Let me emphasise that, whilst it is permissible under the regulations to submit a hand written or typed commencement notice or 7-Day notice with its supporting documentation in paper form to us here. It seems to me to make little sense to do so because of an amendment to Article 9 of the Principal Regulations.  Article 9 (1)(b) (i)  (III) requires “ the completion of an online assessment, via the Building Control Management System”. Furthermore, you may submit your Commencement Notice or 7-Day notice with its supporting documentation on USB Device or Optical media such as DVD or CD at the BCMS work station here at Fire Headquarters. However, the expressly preferred route is that you would submit all your documentation online directly from your own facility. Where paper-based documentation is submitted here, this Authority will scan the said documents and upload the same onto the BCMS on your behalf. This is chargeable work under the new regulations and a scale and schedule of said charges will be distributed very shortly. The said scale/schedule is set nationally rather than locally.

Regards for now,

Chief Fire Officer

Building Control Officer

PLEASE CHECK YOUR HOME SMOKE ALARM THIS EVENING!

An Riocht Lecture Series 2013-2014 - Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014  An Riocht AGM - 25th Feb 2014.pdf [Converted]

Presentation on BC Amendment Regs 2014 [Read-Only]

Guide to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014

Code of Practice Building Control Regulations 2014

S I 9 of 2014

Press Article: “Nightmare Scenario”: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

ruins-7647-400x250

An alarming article from the North Wicklow times on 9th February 2014 outlines some of the difficulties local councillors see in implementation and costs for the upcoming Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). Comments by Local representatives, CIF and RIAI.

“New building regulations coming into effect on March 1st will lead to mass unemployment in the building sector and increase emigration among young people, councillors in Wicklow have warned.”

Link to article here:

http://clients.newsaccess.ie/customers/show_article.cfm?t=D6DD4A499B4128BCA7C0031A53A39794&i=88C3B9D4233F9A01FBBFF205002ACF24

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

by Bregs Blog admin team

priory-hall

Kevin Hollingsworth, Chairman of the professional representative body of the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI) in a recent article in the Sunday Business post on 9th February 2014 on the importance of enforcement and resourcing of Local Authorities. The SCSI is a key stakeholder involved in the design of the regulation.

extract off article: “More Priory Hall scenarios could happen if the the laws are not enforced

One of the key issues in relation to the success of the new system will be the resourcing of the local authorities. The administration of the system will involve maintenance of submitted information and registers of certificates. A consistent approach to the administrative validation by individual local authorities will need to be demonstrated, to ensure confidence in the system by the industry and others affected by it.

Local authorities will also be responsible for the policing of the system. Traditionally, the building control system suffered resource issues and struggled to achieve 15 per cent rates of inspection.

By way of comparison, there is a 100 per cent inspection level for new homes in Northern Ireland. The same is the case in the US and in much of Europe, where 100 per cent inspection levels are required by law. The adequate resourcing of local authorities to carry out inspections and administration will be a key factor in the effectiveness of the new building control legislation.

The resources allocated by Local Authorities to the implementation of BC(A)R SI.9 in one of the issues noted in the recent repeated calls to ministers by the architect’s representative body the RIAI  to defer SI.9. The RIAI is also a key stakeholder in the formation process for BC(A)R SI.9.

Link to SCSI Sunday Business post article on 9th February 2014:

http://www.odpm.ie/_fileupload/News/More Priory Hall Scenarios Sunday Business Post – 09022014.pdf

Link to RIAI letters to Minister Hogan and Bruton calling for deferral:

RIAI_PRESIDENT_LETTER_TO_MINISTER_BRUTON

Letter_from_RIAI_President_to_Minister_Hogan_15Jan2014

UK Article: House Builders blame red tape for 12% drop in Wales during 2013

by Bregs Blog admin team

_73073281_house_pa

Given recent industry estimates that the cost to the construction industry and consumer of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) could be €3bn over 6 years, the equivalent of 30,000 jobs lost, it is interesting to see the negative effects of added bureaucracy  in Wales in this article. The current estimate for house builds abandoned in Ireland due to BC(A)R SI.9 for the 6 year period to 2020 is 10,800 or 1,800 per year.

extract: 

Red tape has been blamed for Wales being the only part of the UK to see a drop in new houses registered. The overall UK figure increased by 28% to 133,670 in 2013 but Wales saw a 12% fall from 4,065 in 2012 to 3,577. House builders blamed over-regulation in Wales, a poor planning system and the delayed implementation of the Help to Buy scheme for borrowers.

Link to article below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-26245867

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 19th February 2014.

Radio Discussion: BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

radiomic

Implications of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) discussed on Southeast Radio:

http://www.southeastradio.ie/podcast/items/2/Building.mp3 

Who will certify under BC(A)R SI.9?

by Bregs Blog admin team

dt_signing-generic_729_20120427152531327529-420x0

Here is a link to the recently launched Homebond register for certifiers and builders for the upcoming Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) on 1st March. For Dublin there are 22 practices listed at the moment. In some of the offices listed, individuals spoken to had not realised that their practices had been listed, and said that they would not be willing to accept separate appointments as certifiers. Some were unsure they would be undertaking certifier roles. It would be interesting to see how many practices listed would be willing to undertake the roles of certifiers not only on their own projects, but on others as a separate appointment?

With Engineer’s appearing only to recommend appointment as ancillary certifiers (and not design certifiers) and architects at a Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) CPD event recently expressing only limited interest in operating the roles (less than 7% only and primarily on their own projects according to attendees), it would suggest the pool of certifiers willing to certify under SI.9 for other projects would be quite limited. We believe the numbers of building surveyors is quite limited (less than 200 members).

Recently the RIAI repeated its request to the government formally to defer SI.9 as the industry is not ready. Will there be enough certifiers to go around? Surely the only course of action now is deferral?

Taken off Homebond.ie site:

“Thank you for visiting HomeBondRegister.ie. HomeBondRegister.ie allows you search for: Registered Builders / Developers, Assigned Certifiers, and Construction Product Information.”

Link:

http://www.homebondregister.ie/

link to RIAI letter requesting deferral:

RIAI_PRESIDENT_LETTER_TO_MINISTER_BRUTON

Inaccuracies: Local Authority Guidance to BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

bureaucracy-1

Here is a recent local authority guide to the public on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2104). Link to PDF here:

http://www.louthcoco.ie/en/Services/Building_Control/Guide-to-the-Building-Control-Amendment-Regulations-2014.pdf

There would appear to be numerous inaccuracies and some inconsistencies in the recent local authority public guidance document as follows:

Item 8: just to be correct 40 square meters is a little over 430 sq. feet.

Item 9: The guidance document is suggesting that the Assigned Certifier will assume the role of Design Certifier.

Regarding Self-builders items 11 and 12 would seem to be in conflict. The guide does not mention a building owner being able to sign the builder’s completion certificate, rather “the builder” must sign this document.

Reading item 22 together with 11 and 12 it would appear that Local Authorities may deem owners that undertake the role of builder on commencement compliant, provided the completion certificate is signed by a “Builder”- a “Director of Principal of a building company”. This could indicate that a completion certificate provided by a competent “builder”(someone not involved in the build or inspection during construction) could be satisfactory compliance with SI.9. Is this the equivalent of a (builder’s) visual only inspection certificate of compliance operated by professionals for the past 20 years? The singular weak point in procurement identified in the “build for sale” identified in the formation  of SI.9?

Item 16 may need to be revised. A Commencement Notice is not needed where (a) the works or change of use are exempted development under Planning Acts 1963-1993 (This is a very subtle exemption: not Planning Act 2000, for example) and also where those works or change of use don’t require a fire safety certificate. However, a Commencement Notice is in any event is also needed in the case of a material alteration (excluding a material alteration consisting solely of minor works) of a shop, office or industrial building, even if no fire certificate is needed. The Local Authority Guidance would appear to overlooks this. Material alterations inside a house which isn’t a Protected Structure, does not require planning permission and are exempted development: these do not require a fire certificate, so they don’t need a Commencement Notice.

_________

Relevant Extracts below off “Local Authority guidance document”:

8. Which type of development requires the additional documents? The additional documents are required for the following works

• Construction of a dwelling house

• Extension of a dwelling house of more than 40 square meters (400 sq. feet)

Works which require a Fire Safety Certificate.

9. What new Documents do I have to submit with my Commencement Notice? In addition to the Commencement Notice, a building or site owner, must submit the following documents

Certificate of Compliance (Design), signed by the Assigned Certifier

• Notice of Assignment of Person to Inspect and Certify Works (Assigned Certifier), signed by the building owner. 

• Undertaking by Assigned Certifier, signed by the Assigned Certifier

• Notice of Assignment of Builder, Signed by the Building Owner

• Undertaking by Builder

• Plans, Specifications and particulars which demonstrate how the building or works will comply with all Building Regulations. 

11. I am building by direct labour, who do I nominate as the builder The Undertaking by a Builder can only be signed by the builder  who, preferably is registered    with    the    Construction    Industry Federation and can provide a ‘Construction Industry    Register    Ireland’ (CIRI)    number.    Further    details    can be found on www.cif.ie

12. I am a building owner. I have designed my own building and intend to build by direct labour. Do I still need an assigned Certifier. If your development is one of the types listed in Question 8    then,    Yes, you must    still    nominate    an    Assigned    Certifier. Additionally, you  must,    yourself,    sign    the    ‘Undertaking by Builder’ document. In doing so you will undertake the responsibility for compliance with the Building Regulations

16. Is there any type of development which does not require a Commencement Notice at all? Yes. If the works are, or the Material Change of Use is exempted development specified under the Local Government (Planning and Development) Acts 1963 -1993 and a Fire Safety Certificate is not required, then you do not need to submit a Commencement Notice. 

22. What is a Certificate of Compliance on Completion? A Certificate of Compliance on Completion is a statutory document submitted to a Building Control Authority following the completion of works. The Certificate is signed by the Assigned Certifier and  the Builder. It confirms that the building or works have been carried out in accordance with the Building Regulations. The Certificate of Compliance on Completion must be submitted to the local Building Control Authority, and entered onto the Register before a building, or works, or part there of can be opened, operated or occupied.   

 BC(A)R LA GUIDE 1
BC(A)R la 2

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 18th February 2014.

Local Authority Guidance to public: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

bureaucracy-1

Here is a recent local authority guide to the public on BC(A)R SI.9. Link to PDF here:

http://www.louthcoco.ie/en/Services/Building_Control/Guide-to-the-Building-Control-Amendment-Regulations-2014.pdf

Comment:

It is unfortunate that a recent local authority guidance to the public on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) would appear to be inaccurate and contradictory. Given that we have less than 2 weeks before the implementation date of 1st March, incorrect information is of no assistance to members of the public and professionals who are scrambling to adapt to the new regulation. Attention is drawn to items 8, 9, 11, 12, 16 and 22. More on this in post to follow.

 
BC(A)R LA GUIDE 1
BC(A)R la 2

The extraordinary cost of BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

Money_pit500

With 11 working days to the implementation date for si.9, let’s look at the actual costs of this difficult and premature amendment.

Here we summarise the possible costs of SI.9 on the industry. Do the benefits of SI.9 outweigh the costs? The bottom line number for this year is 6,000 construction jobs may be lost for 2014. Based on the figures the initial cost of SI.9 could be €600m for 2014 with €480m an recurring annual cost based on record 2012 low levels of construction output. By 2020, in 6 short years, SI.9 may have cost the economy €3bn, or 30,000 jobs.

ESTIMATED ANNUAL COST 2014 FOR BC(A)R SI.9

RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS (€1.476bn qualifying)

1,800 houses not built in 2014                    €325m

Increased costs for self-builders                €103m

Increased professional costs on consumer   €21m

SUBTOTAL RESIDENTIAL                      €449m

CAPITAL PROJECTS (€600m qualifying)

Increased cost for qualifying capital spend €18m

Cost to capital projects due to delays          €69m

SUBTOTAL CAPITAL PROJECTS              €87m

NON RESIDENTIAL-PRIVATE SECTOR (€400m qualifying)

Increased costs for non-residential sector   €12m

Cost to non-residential due to delays          €46m

SUBTOTAL  NON RESIDENTIAL             €58m

TOTAL SI.9 COST (2014)                            €594m

Notes:

RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS: Assume €1.476bn qualifies under SI.9 out of €3.94bn total; this is equivalent to 8,700 house completions with average house cost €180k incl vat. The 1,800 houses not built in 2014 are based on IASOB assessments: self-builds abandoned- recurring loss annually due to 1,800 house starts lost with a value €180k average cost incl vat for each house. The increased costs for self-builders : this is self-builds that assume additional costs and  will be a recurring additional cost for 4,500 self-build houses @€23k per house for additional contractors fees, costs and professional fees. The increased professional costs on consumer are for non-self build residential: these are recurring annual cost for 4,200 houses  for additional professional fees at €5k per typical house (industry sources) including assigned and design certifier, ancillary or other professionals increases in fees.

CAPITAL PROJECTS: assume €600m qualifies under SI.9 out of €3.2bn this year. The increased cost for qualifying capital spend  is tabled at the lower (consevative end) for government projects- recurring cost on €600m capital spend: +3% average on construction cost net vat. The cost to capital projects due to delayed implementations is a 6 week delay; a once-off non-recurring cost (2014 only).

OTHER NON RESIDENTIAL (PRIVATE SECTOR): assume €400m qualifies under SI.9 out of €673m total. The increased costs for qualifying non-residential private sector  will be a recurring cost of conservatively +3% on construction cost. The table excludes all agricultural construction output. The cost to private sector non-residential due to delays  is again a 6 week delay once-off cost non-recurring (2014 only).

The above costs exclude all agricultural projects, infrastructure and domestic qualifying extensions/ refurbishments. Once-off delay to industry assumed lower end of current industry estimates at 6 weeks in 2014. Delay in completion or validation period assumed part of this figure. 3% extra cost for non residential projects at conservative end of current industry estimates for all certifier roles, ancillary certifiers and sub-contractors etc. As such we suggest the above table of costs is at the lower end of the predicted cost range for SI.9. Figures based on 2012 construction outputs from Forfas report (table 2.12 (p16) Value and volume of construction output, 2012-2012E; Source: DKM Economic Consultants analysis for Forfás, 2012). As the current construction levels are assumed to be at the bottom of the current cycle these increased costs should pro-rata upwards as construction output recovers in coming years.

Link to Forfas report:

http://www.forfas.ie/media/19072013-Irelands_Construction_Sector-Publication.pdf

Extract off Forfas report table 2.12 p 16

forfas report table 2.12 p16

 

Are Local Authorities ready? Industry concern for completion stage: BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

Are-you-ready-for-the-Touch-Point-Explosion1

Many stakeholders do not believe local authorities are prepared for the new roles required for validation of completion documentation under SI.9 from 1st March 2014. In recent letters to ministers calling for deferral of SI.9 the president of the architects representative body the RIAI noted widespread concern at the resourcing of local authorities for the incoming legislation and the potentials for delays in the construction industry as a result “…Unfortunately the systems are not yet ready and have not been road-tested. Without streamlined administration, delays, confusion and frustration may be expected...”. From a recent RIAI “Interim Client Guidance Note” on 12th February to members the new validation/completion procedure is noted:

“...The Assigned Certifier and the Builder having collated all the required certificates identified in the Inspection Plan, collected from all those identified, sub-contractors, suppliers, testers, manufacturers and are satisfied that the building is built in accordance with the Building Regulations, co-sign the Statutory Completion Certificate and lodge it with the BCA, 3 -5 weeks in advance of the Completion date. The Building will not be permitted to be occupied, used or rented, without the building being placed on the Building Control Authority Register. …”

Under the Code of Practice issued by the Department, following submission by the relevant professionals of the completion information, there is a 3 week period when the local authority will deem the submission valid, or not, in which case the completion documentation will will be returned and revised documentation will need to be re-submitted. Second or subsequent submissions will require a 7 day period before validation (or return & invalidation). If local authorities do not respond within these timescales validation can be assumed by default (this process also has not been defined).

What the guidance or code of practice does not highlight is the lack of a formal appeals process, or any safeguards to mitigate repeat incorrect local authority determinations resulting in invalidations by local authorities (due to lack of resources or available competent staff). Due to the lack of appropriately qualified building control staff nationwide the possibility for administrative issues due to lack of upskilling of local authority staff is a concern. There is no upper limit on the number of re-submissions and the process may be open, for whatever reasons to undue influence.

This new completion procedure is critical for numerous occupants and end-users: fit-outs for large retail stores, licensing applications, users that have key-dates for occupancies. Large multiples when signing as anchors for larger shopping centers frequently have very onerous penalties for shell-and-core possession dates being missed: up to €100,000 per week in some instances. A delay of 4-5 weeks can lead to a very large contractual claim (€500k). Practically there may be a limit to how early design teams can apply for validation. For licensing applications previously certs of compliance along with planning permission documentation would have been required at legal proceedings. One colleague noted a fire officer was requested to be in attendance at one licensing hearing. With the introduction of SI.9 judges may well insist that validation by a local authority should be in place for any licensing application. Delays due resource levels allocated to completion & validation stage for BC(A)R SI.9 in local authorities should be of concern.

In 2007 there were less than 70 Building Control Officers for the entire country. Are the local authorities ready for 1st march 2014?

The RIAI, a key stakeholder involved in the deign of SI.9, is not convinced and has repeatedly called for deferral of the legislation. The Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI) recently expressed these specific concerns in an article in the Sunday Business Post on 9th February 2014. The SCSI is another key stakeholder involved in the formation of SI.9. Competent professionals assuming the roles Certifiers under SI.9 will need to inform clients as to potential risks of claims & delays caused by inadequate staffing and validation procedures in local authorities.

Link to SCSI Sunday Business Post Article on 9th February 2014:

2014-02-09_Business Post

Links to RIAI letters requesting deferral to Minister Bruton and Minister Hogan (29th January and 15th January respectively):

RIAI_PRESIDENT_LETTER_TO_MINISTER_BRUTON

Letter_from_RIAI_President_to_Minister_Hogan_15Jan2014

Link to Code of Practice:

2014-02-07 Code of Practice Building Control Regulations 2014

Link to RIAI “Interim Client Guidance Advice”:

RIAI_InterimClientGuidanceNote_12Feb14

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 14th February 2014.

 

Self builders call for action: Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

images-9

The following piece was posted by the Irish Association of Self Builders (IASOB). They currently have written to all elected TDs representing the views and concerns of their members concerning the impending introduction of SI.9.

_____________

“People of Ireland,  Stand Up for Your Right

On 8th of March 2013, the Minister for Environment, Community and Local government introduced Building Control (Amendment) S.I 80 which was then revoked in January 2014 and replaced by S.I 9 and will commence with effect from 1st of March 2014.

This amendment was brought in with the involvement of several key stakeholders which included Architects, Engineers, Building Surveyors and Construction Industry Federation.

Self Builders under Building Control (Amendment) S.I 9 , 2014

As a self builder, you will not be able to nominate yourself to be the builder after 1st of March 2014 when the new regulations comes into effect. What this means is that should this amendment proceed as it is, as a self builder you will not be able to participate in the construction of your build if you wish to do so. After this date to operate in the role of contractor you will may be deemed to be not in compliance with the building regulations as you do not fulfil the Department’s criteria of a “competent person”: have at least 3 years relevant contracting experience and be the principal of a building firm. Due to inadequate resources the likely hood of getting a local authority inspection are remote. However when it comes time to sell on your property if the necessary compliance documentation is not in place in the local authority it may effect the sale of your property. These requirements will essentially preclude non-contractor self-builders from operating the role as contractor for their own projects.

Minister Hogan’s explanation for the reason of this amendment is as follows:

“The new Building Control Amendment Regulations will greatly strengthen the arrangements currently in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgment of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates. The new regulations are necessary following the widespread instances of failure by owners, designers and builders to comply with their statutory obligations under the Building Control Act 1990 to design and construct buildings in accordance with the building regulations. “

Since the introduction of S.I 80 and S.I 9 there has not been any information released to the general public as far as how this new amendment will effect the residential self builders and even now with only a few days to go there seems to be a lack of information by the government and the media about the actual details within this document.

Minister Hogan has recently replied to the effect of S.I 9 for the self Builders of Ireland:

The Building Control Act 1990 places a legal obligation on owners, designers and builders to ensure that their building complies with the relevant requirements of the building regulations. These obligations apply to all sectors of the housing and construction market, including the self-build sector.

Local building control authorities have powers to inspect and enforce compliance and where concerns exist in relation to a particular building, the authority may serve an enforcement notice on both the owner and the builder. In a self-build situation the owner and the builder will be one and the same. The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations do not change or vary the legal position set out in the Act of 1990. It will, however, greatly strengthen the arrangements currently in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgment of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates.

In practice, even in a self-build situation, the owner-builder may contract out certain construction tasks. Under the new Regulations the owner-builder will also be required to engage competent registered professionals to undertake the design and to perform the role of the Assigned Certifier who will prepare an inspection plan, ensure this plan is implemented by himself and others and, in conjunction with the self-builder, sign the Certificate of Compliance on Completion. The resolution of problems arising between the owner-builder and any of the parties engaged by them as Designer, Contractor or Assigned Certifier is a matter between the owner, the relevant parties and their insurers, subject to the terms of any contracts in place. Where contractual issues cannot be resolved through dialogue and negotiation they can be enforced by civil action through the courts.

However, this contradicts with what is actually in the Document of S.I 9 as with the sections for the completion certificate, a building contractor has got to sign the certification. This has been made clear by the wordings under the signature as :

Signature: ————————————————————— Date: ——————
(to be signed by a Principal or Director of a building company only)

If what the minister says is correct, this section should be removed or changed to Owner/Builder

Stand up for your human rights

Local TD’s

We at Irish Association of Self Builders have written to all the TD’s in Ireland informing them of the effect this amendment will have on the self builders who would not be able to afford the sky high premiums that some builders will be charging for the construction of their family home. We are very grateful to the few of them that have replied and are representing the people by questioning Minister Hogan  about the effect of this amendment to the self builders who can no longer take the direct route to build their house.

And our message to those TD’s who did not even bother to respond to our emails or take any actions on behalf of the people in their constituency regarding this very important issue is, you should be ashamed of yourself. You were voted in as a representative of the people and you can not even response  and stand up for a matter that could severely effect the chances of People being able to build a home for their families.

Media

There has been a lot of letters that have been sent to the national newspapers, magazines and television programs, including Prime time but no response. Why? It is amazing that an article about Flappy bird is more important to get the headlines than the effect of S.I 9 on the hard working self builders.

Our message to you:

People of Ireland, the Building Control (Amendment) S.I 9 places a restriction on your human right to be able to provide a family home for yourself and your family. You might feel that this does not effect you at present time but if you do not stand up for the rights of your fellow country man or woman, the same kind of thing could happen to you in the future when no one would stand up for your rights when you need it most.

Ask yourself, why has there not been any information released by the government to the people through national advertisement, leaflet drops or through local authorities? Why is it that the government is only talking to the industry people about this amendment instead of the people who will be directly effected by it? Why is it that self builders are not suppose to find out about the actual details until after the commencement date of 1st of March 2014? Why is it that one of the main key stakeholders, RIAI have officially determined that SI 9 is not in the interests of the consumer and industry but the Minister is not taking any attention? Why isn’t there any information available about the building contractors registration criteria commencing on 1st of March 2015?

Please spread the news, complain to your TD’s, report it to your local and national newspapers, TV and radio stations. Let the government know that because of this amendment your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours who are doing their best to provide a roof for their families could be left out of the property market.. Tell them that they can not just go ahead and stop an old Irish tradition that has been going on for centuries .

Go ahead and stand up for the rights of the people of Ireland and don’t let the corporate and developers win, once again.”

_____________

Original Link: People of Ireland, Stand Up for your right

http://www.iaosb.com/people of ireland, stand up for your right.html

The above piece was reposted with the permission of the IASOB on 13th February 2014.

Delays in Capital spending and jobs: BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

by bregs blog admin team

adding-job-groups-to-delayed-jobs-255x212

In a recent statement the CIF suggested the construction industry was set to grow to €11 billion and create 10,000 jobs in 2014:

http://cif.ie/news-events/current-news/construction-industry-to-grow-to-€11-billion-and-create-10000-jobs-in-2014/

Quote in Italics:

“We are expecting to see a strong increase in construction activity during the course of the coming year,” said CIF Director General Tom Parlon.  “For the first time in 7 years there are a lot of reasons for the construction sector to have a positive outlook for the upcoming year…You can see a wide variety of reasons why we expect the industry to grow on a macro level in the next 12 months.  The sector turned the corner in 2013 and all the expectation is we will see further growth during the year.  Given the number of factors in play that will generate activity during the coming year we predict that the sector will grow by approximately €1 billion on a national level.  This will bring the overall value of the sector to an estimated €11 billion.  

“We’ve seen already how a small increase in construction activity can create a lot of employment so we believe that an additional 10,000 jobs will be generated in the sector over 2014.  For example in 2013 there was a 1.9% increase in activity between Q2 and Q3 2013 according to the CSO’s ‘Production in Building and Construction Index’.  That coincided with a jump in employment of 2,700 jobs.  We would expect the level of activity increases to at least match those levels at a quarter on quarter basis during 2014.  

“There are also a number of other reasons for the surge in confidence that has been experienced in the industry.  The Construction Contracts Act will take effect from the spring which will boost the flow of payments around the industry.  The new building regulations will come into effect on 1st March 2014.  The new register of Irish construction companies will be launched in March.  Government has begun undertaking a review of the Government form of construction contracts, while a review of public procurement also likely.  All these various measures will all help the construction sector. 

“When you also take into account the Government’s commitment to bring forward more measures to boost the sector, we think 2014 will be a very positive year for our industry,” Mr. Parlon concluded.  

_________

Comment:

This is a welcome and long overdue positive outlook for the construction industry. However the premature introduction of SI.9 may cause delays in capital spending. Currently due to be come into effect on 1st March this regulation has been introduced against the backdrop of calls by numerous stakeholders for deferral on the grounds that the industry is simply not ready. The RIAI, the representative body for Architects and a key stakeholder in the formation of SI.9, has repeatedly called for deferral of the legislation recently in a letters to ministers. Delays due to implementation issues could cause a major hiatus not only in government capital projects but across the board in the construction sector. This may have consequent impacts on foreign direct investment,  job creation and the  fragile recovery mentioned above by the CIF.

5 years of acute recession combined with tighter lending practices has resulted in pressure across the industry from reduced overdraft facilities and diminishing turnover. We know of delays already happening due to appointment issues for design teams and the new certifier roles. It’s only a matter of time before these translate into delays in tenders for projects and commencement on site.

The capital budget for 2014 is €3.2bn. Out of this if €1bn is for qualifying works to come under the remit of SI.9 (i.e, non infrastructure etc) , 6 weeks delay could cost the construction industry €125m. The real possibility of delays due to SI.9 is something that should be of great concern to the CIF and it’s members, along with other industry stakeholders. In this respect the recent RIAI letter to Minister Bruton should be carefully considered.

Link to RIAI letter of 29th January 2014 requesting deferral to Minister Bruton:

RIAI_PRESIDENT_LETTER_TO_MINISTER_BRUTON

Link to RIAI letter of 15th january 2014 requesting deferral to Minister Hogan:

Letter_from_RIAI_President_to_Minister_Hogan_15Jan2014

Legal advice form Matheson Solicitors:

131213LetterfromMatheson2.154138

Legal Advice from Dennis McDonald SC:

131206 Letter from Denis McDonald 4 Dec 2013

FAQ’S on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

faq

In a recent member’s bulletin the architect’s representative body the RIAI published a number of frequently asked questions. The following is a direct quote form the bulletin to members on 11th February 2014. Answers have been highlighted in italics:

__________

“The FAQ answers given below are subject to a disclaimer.  They are the best information or opinion available at this time as the situation in relation to BC(A)R evolves. The editors invite comment not only from elsewhere in the RIAI, but also from those working on the BC(A)R Framework document being prepared under the chairmanship of John O’Connor of the Housing Agency for building control authorities.

The editors will be pleased to consider corrections and contrary opinions submitted to bcar@riai.ie please give a contact telephone number with such submissions.

The Department of the Environment also have an email address where BC(A)R questions can be sent: buildingstandards@environ.ie 

FAQs

Q1: I have a project that recently secured planning permission and will likely go to site in March. I am assuming I need to lodge a commencement notice (CN) before 1st March to avoid coming under the new regulations. Do I also need to ensure that the Commencement Date is before 1st March? i.e. would I need to issue the CN before 14th Feb with a start date on or before 28th Feb?

A: If a valid Commencement Notice is submitted before the 1st of March 2014 then the current legislative conditions will apply. If a Commencement Notice is submitted on or after the 1st of March 2014 then the new Legislation will apply. 

Q2: A building was commenced with viable Fire Certificate and Commencement Notice under the BCR 1997. It is incomplete. Does its completion remain under the original Commencement Notice and therefore no new Commencement Notice under BC(A)R 2014 is required after 1st March 2014?

A:  Yes. 

Q3:  Will any change in Building Owner and/or Assigned Contractor after 1st March 2014 be required to be notified?

A: Yes any changes will be notifiable although it is not clear if notification will trigger the new Regulations.

Q4: Can you confirm that the BC(A)R regulations will apply only to buildings or works for which a commencement notice is lodged on or after 1st March?

A: If a valid Commencement Notice is submitted before the 1st of March 2014 then the current legislative conditions will apply. If a Commencement Notice is submitted on or after the 1st of March 2014 then the new Legislation will apply. Written confirmation of the above should be obtained from the relevant building control authority you are dealing with.

Q5: What will the correct level of documentation be for a Commencement Notice, being lodged in respect of a domestic extension under 40sqm and where planning permission was required.  – After 1st March 2014?

A:  If the extension is under 40m2 in floor area, and a commencement notice is required, it will be in the form of commencement notice which exists under the 1997 Building Control Regulations.

Q6: We are involved in a project, in the xxx* County Council area, for an office building which will be subject to the New Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013. This project will involve a Building Contract for a four storey Shell and Core Office Building with separate fit-out contracts for the lettable areas. The fit out contracts may run in parallel or subsequent to the Shell and Core Contract. It is not clear to us from our reading of SI.9 (2014) how the legislation proposes to deal with this scenario. Can you advise?

A: The RIAI advises a note of caution, as the legislation seems unclear. Given the information provided it would seem that two commencement notices should be submitted: the first with the required Fire Cert and DAC for the shell and core contract, and the second subsequently also with a relevant Fire Cert and DAC. The Fire Certificates and DAC may be the same for both notices depending on the layout, whether it is single occupancy and open plan or not. It would be best to seek clarification on this from the relevant Building Control Authority.

Q7: Is there an information sheet available to send to clients which will highlight the impact on them of the new building control regulations in ‘lay man’s’ terms?

A: Please refer to Client Guidance Note attached to this BC(A)R Bulletin.

Q8: What CPD is available from the RIAI in relation to Registered Architects acting as Design Certifier and/or Assigned Certifiers and if so, where will it be provided?

A: There is no CPD scheduled at this time. The RIAI are awaiting the completion of documentation by the Technical Groups and others. We will advise RIAI members as soon as possible.

Q9: After 1st March 2014 can a builder “provide” the assigned certifier to client as part of his overall offering to potential clients? In other words, if the assigned certifier does not have to be independent of the builder, can such a builder have someone who is a registered architect as an employee and get him to “provide” completion certificates?

A: Yes, the builder can provide the Assigned Certifier provided that the proposed assigned certifier is from one of the three registered professions under building control. “

*specific location removed by bregs blog admin

Link to RIAI issued Interim Client Advice Note:

RIAI_InterimClientGuidanceNote_12Feb14

The compelling case for Deferral of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by bregs blog admin team

There is widespread concern regarding the timing of the introduction of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, S.I.9 of 2014 and potential consequences for the building industry and public projects. 

Background

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, 2014, S.I. 9 of 2014, was signed into law earlier in January 2014.  Two separate Senior Councils have examined previous versions (SI.80 of 2013) and found the wording of the regulation to have serious liability issues with consequences for Professional Indemnity Insurers.  The Minister and his officials started a process to review some wording in late 2013 and published a revised document (S.I.9 of 2014) which was circulated late Thursday the 16th January and which retained the same implementation date, the 1st March 2014.

Basis for concern

The new Regulations mark a significant change in the way building projects are managed and a new regime of certification, documentation and records is involved. Many of the fundamental systems that are necessary to achieve a proper and realistic implementation of S.I.9 on the 1st March are not in place and are unlikely to be in place for several months. The fear is that the confusion and problems that will inevitably arise in the absence of readiness will lead to delay in the roll out of badly needed projects, contractual claims from Contractors which may be difficult to defend against and reputational damage to our building control system with consequent impact on Foreign Direct Investment.  In essence, with the best will in the world and with every party working together, it is not possible for all those involved and affected to be ready in time.

Main issues.

• The new inspection and certification regimes will need to be provided for in all forms of Building Contract.  The two principle forms of contract (GCCC and RIAI) have yet to be amended.  For example, it is thought that 14 clauses in the standard RIAI Contract will have to be amended or rewritten.   These revised forms of Contract are not ready and will not be ready in time.  Ad hoc clauses will probably be drafted as stop gap measures but that is a high-risk way of dealing with building contracts.  New or revised forms of building contracts have to be extensively scenario tested a checked to ensure risk if positioned where it belongs.  This cannot be achieved before the 1st of March.

• In order to procure valid and reliable tenders, the exact details of the contract that a successful tenderer will be asked to sign need to be included in the Tender Documents.  Many private and public sector projects out to tender at present but do not have the relevant contract clauses or the new requirements for Builders, Suppliers and Sub-contractors in relation to certification.    The tender documents are unavoidably incorrect or incomplete, delays will ensue as these issues are trashed out before a Contractor can be appointed and in many cases there is a risk of the tender award being challenged..

• Client procurement of the Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier.  These roles do not exist at present.  Where Design Teams are currently appointed on public projects, the issue of compliance with procurement rules will arise.  This issue does not seem to be in the process of being addressed and typically takes several months to complete.

• Inspection Plan. The Assigned Certifier is obliged to prepare an Inspection Plan before construction commences.  This plan may have cost implications for the Contractor and arguably should to be a tender document.  Negotiations with the preferred tenderer once the Plan is done will inevitably take time; the alternative is to proceed with the contract and deal with contractual claims for delay afterwards.

• Building Control Authorities will have to manage a large amount of documentation at various stages of the new process.  It was intended that a national I.T. system would be in place in all BCAs to handle this and much good work has been done, led by David O’Connor in Fingal County Council, to progress this.  Unfortunately the systems aren’t yet ready and haven’t been road tested.  Many BCAs have only one Building Control Officer and s/he has not been trained in the operation of the new Regulations.  Without systems to ensure a steam-lined administration, delays, confusion and frustration are guaranteed

• Practical Completion.  Normally defined as being when the building can be used for the purpose it was designed, this will fundamentally be changed with the new Completion Certificate.  The building will now be capable of being used for the purpose it was designed when the Completion Certificate is accepted by the BCA.  In an environment where the local Building Control Officer is under resourced and trying to deal with completely new systems and extensive amounts of documentation, it is foreseeable that delays will occur.  These delays will be seen as intolerable by many international companies central to the recovery.

Foreseeable consequences

Hiatus.  A significant hiatus in the Construction Industry is foreseeable in both private and public sectors.  Anecdotally, this is already happening with some project tenders being delayed until there is more clarity.  This risk arises as tender processes already in train need to be revisited and tender processes about to start do not yet have the necessary contract forms to be referenced.  Further delays will occur as the two principles Certifier appointments are advertised or negotiated.

Confusion, Disputes and Litigation.  

In an environment where people are not prepared properly, an ordered and controlled process cannot be realised.  The resultant confusion is breeding ground for disputes, litigation and unwelcomed reputational damage to the building process in Ireland, which is already well down in the World Bank’s ratings.  A significant number of GCCC projects are already in some sort of dispute resolution process.  The premature implementation of these Regulations will increase the areas of risk in the Contracts and will have financial and delay implications for many important projects.

Solution

Defer the implementation date.  There is no one calling for the regulations to be introduced  by the 1st March and many calling for postponement to ensure readiness.  It is the general belief that all stakeholders in this matter would welcome a deferred implementation date.  What could be achieved during the time allowed by deferral?

• An implementation task group can be quickly set up with various stakeholders involved to coordinate the preparation and development / completion of systems.

• Agree a realistic end date from the liaison groups dealing with GCCC and RIAI contracts and ensure all work towards that target.

• Road-test IT systems and scenario-test procedures to anticipate problems, especially in the FDI and Public Sectors.

Conclusion

No one is ready for this and it would be reckless on many fronts to proceed knowing this to be the case. The logical conclusion is that the date for implementation would be put back and it is likely that no one will object and most will welcome this at all levels and in all sectors. Time is not on our side and action is needed quickly but the goal of avoiding foreseeable significant problems is worth achieving. The industry, taxpayer and consumer need deferral of SI.9.

The RIAI recommends separate appointment of Assigned Certifier under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

advice1

The architects’ representative body the RIAI has produced an Interim Client Guidance Note in a bulletin to members on 11th February 2014. Quote from bulletin: “….Although the information and documentation remains incomplete, the RIAI recommends that Architects ensure that their clients are aware that the changes in regulations will apply to most building works, will increase project costs and have potential to cause delays…We have provided an Interim Client Guidance Note which you can view through the link below. We will review and update this note in light of new information as it becomes available...”

Link here: RIAI_InterimClientGuidanceNote_11Feb14

Regarding RIAI Standard Forms of Agreement for Services to Clients: “…The RIAI recommends that the appointment as Assigned Certifier is always an appointment separate from that as Architect …”

Regarding Costs: The new processes and professional appointments will require additional time and resources from the architect, which will have an impact on project costs.

More worryingly the impact on current tenders due to recent introduction of SI.9 is highlighted: “Where tender documents are currently being prepared (or due to be prepared), these cannot fully take into account the new requirements as there is no revised form of Public Sector Contract nor Private Sector Contract published (nor revised guidance on contract specification preliminary clauses) which can be referenced in the tender documents for this project.”

The Building Owner’s Obligations under BC(A)R : “Building owners will be required to appoint, for almost any building or works starting from March 2014 onward, a Design Certifier and an Assigned Certifier as well as a competent Builder…Building owners will be required to…Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Builder to construct the new building in accordance the Building Regulations. 

Regarding Registration of Builders: “The Construction Industry Federation, representing Builders in Ireland, have launched information on a voluntary register of builders and sub-contractors…This voluntary register will have a code of practice and a sanctions procedure whereby builders can be struck off the register…A Statutory Register of Builders is proposed to be established in 2015.”

Regarding new completion procedures: “The Assigned Certifier and the Builder having collated all the required certificates…and are satisfied that the building is built in accordance with the Building Regulations, co-sign the Statutory Completion Certificate and lodge it with the BCA, 3 -5 weeks in advance of the Completion date. The Building will not be permitted to be occupied, used or rented, without the building being placed on the Building Control Authority Register.

Job creation slowdown due to Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

canceled man 300

As noted in previous posts there is widespread concern regarding the upcoming introduction of SI.9 in just two working weeks on 1st March. Many influential stakeholders, consumer groups and government departments believe a significant hiatus will be created in both capital projects and also the construction industry in general. The RIAI, the architect’s representative body and an influential stakeholder involved in the design of SI.9, has recently called for deferral due to lack of industry readiness.

While delays in capital projects may ironically improve various departments spending year on year, delays in this critical area may affect the tentative signs of recovery recently noted by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). Industry sources suggest the cost to the taxpayer, industry and consumer of SI.9 at €500m per annum, with little benefit to the consumer. What we have not discussed is the significant possibility of destruction of jobs and employment by this legislative instrument. We will attempt to quantify this over the next few posts.

For the self-builder we have previously discussed the extraordinary cost of SI.9 to individual builds. Despite statements to the contrary by the Minister, self-builders would appear to be restricted from the role of builder from 1st March 2014. Consequently the increase costs for a typical house could increase by €23,000 (contractor costs for a typical €180,000 self-build, excluding additional professional fees for new certifier roles). Including additional professional fees this figure could be as high as €40,000.

Some self-builders can absorb additional costs of SI.9, some will reduce the scope of their build to accommodate these additional costs (i.e. build smaller or part- complete areas etc). The reality is that others, presumably at lower cost end, will simply not be able to afford to construct their own houses.

The following is a break-down of the total of 6,300 new-build houses in a typical year: the new house completion table (for self-builders) under SI.9. The following table excludes any qualifying extensions to existing houses:

Self-Build completions table 2014 (source IASOB)

House completions that will absorb costs directly with no scope change: 2,500

House completions that will reduce build and absorb costs:  2,000

House completions cancelled but to extra costs of SI.9 : 1,800

Total number of self-builds to be completed :  4,500  (1,800 cancelled)

A significant portion of these self-builders will, as a result of increased costs of employing a main contractor, be unable to build their own houses. By industry estimates up to almost one-third of self-builders will not construct their own houses due to the imposition of SI.9. This may cost the construction industry and economy €324m in 2014. In a recent radio interview Tom Parlon of the CIF  suggested that there were 10,000 new jobs for every €1Bn of additional construction spend. If this is correct then SI.9 could cost 3,200 jobs per annum. By 2020 SI.9, in the self-build domestic sector, 6 years of SI.9 may remove almost 20,000 construction jobs with a loss to the domestic economy of €1.94Bn. That’s a big number for little or no consumer protection added by SI.9.

* (Source: Forfas report: Table 2.12 Value and volume of construction output, 2010-2012E (page 16); Source: DKM Economic Consultants analysis for Forfás, 2012)

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 11th February 2014 (edited August 2014).

Code of Practice for Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

Paperwork

The Code of practice for SI.9 was released late last week.

Link to pdf: 2014-02-07 Code of Practice Building Control Regulations 2014

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

by Bregs Blog admin team

FDA-mixed-messages-create-QbD-confusion-consultant_strict_xxl

Radio Clip: John Graby of RIAI on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation on SI.9 of 2014

Ocean FM: Thursday 6th Feb 2014. Segment starts 1:03:16 to 1:12:13:

http://www.oceanfm.ie/nwt

________________________

Radio Clip: Hubert Fitzpartick of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF Director of Housing) on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation on SI.9 of 2014

Radio Kerry podcast:

http://media.radiokerry.ie/mediamanager/embed/player/podcasts/9/item/17585

________________________

Completion certificate for Builder (extract off SI.9)

SI9 Builder's cert

TD confirms extra costs for Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

money-problems-solutions-golden-question-mark-bundle-euro-notes-34550066

Brian Hayes TD has suggested that SI.9 may bring additional costs to qualifying capital projects and that professional hourly rates could apply to any additional duties for existing appointments under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). This should give some relief to professionals who are grappling with the basis of additional fees for additional work under the regulations on government capital projects.

Kevin Humphreys TD to Brian Hayes TD on 29th Jan 2014 the cost impact of new regulations on capital projects:

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2014-01-29a.168&s=Building+regulation

:…Projects for which contractual arrangements have previously been entered into but which have not yet commenced will now have to take on board the additional requirements of SI No. 9 of 2014. …As part of the competitive process for each project, the standard conditions of engagement require consultants to submit rates for time charges and these tendered rates are evaluated before appointment. The submitted rates will provide the basis for reimbursement for any additional services required from the consultants arising from the requirements of S.I. 9 of 2014. The additional cost arising for each project will depend on the particular specifics of that project....”

The issues of “untenable liability” for new certifier roles still needs to addressed by professional bodies however in their advice to members and formal letters of appointment for new roles.

Previous legal advice on SI.9 roles included below:

131213LetterfromMatheson2.154138

131206 Letter from Denis McDonald 4 Dec 2013

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 10th February 2014.

Councillors clash over Building Regulation (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

confused

Radio Clip: Sligo councillors clash over Building Regulation (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

Ocean FM: Thursday 6th Feb 2014

Segment starts 33:53 to 47:24 : http://www.oceanfm.ie/nwt

Answers that beg more questions…

by Bregs Blog admin team

Question-People

Here is a selection of recent political Q+A concerning Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) in the past few days.

_____________

Kevin Humphreys TD to Minister Ruairi Quinn on cost impact of SI.9 on capital projects in the department of education.

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2014-01-29a.109&s=Building+regulation

“...The original Statutory Instrument, S.I. 80 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013, was published on 15th March 2013 and specified an implementation date of 1st March 2014. Following its publication, a process of consultation between the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and industry stakeholders was embarked upon. This culminated in the issue of a revised Statutory Instrument, S.I. No. 9 of 2014, on 20th January 2014. My Department is currently assessing the implications of the revised S.I. on projects in the capital programme, including potential additional professional fees arising from the regulations...”

Comment:

The Minister admitted that he did not know and currently is in the process of assessing the cost impact on department of education capital projects. We note the consultation process mentioned occurred in 2012 on an earlier draft of SI.9 (previously SI.80).

_______________

Kevin Humphreys TD to Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore on 29th January as to cost impact on capital projects in the Department of Foreign Affairs

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2014-01-29a.55&s=Building+regulation

The implementation of the new Building Control Regulations 2013, in relation to capital building projects in buildings occupied by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, falls within the remit of the Office of Public Works.”

_______________

Clare Daly TD to Minister Phil Hogan on 30th January increased costs of SI.9 and the suggestion to revert to system of oversignt by local authorities with enforcement.

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2014-01-30a.368&s=Building+regulation

“…Local authorities have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under the Fire Services Act 1981, the Building Control Act 1990 and the Planning and Development Acts and they have used such powers on a number of occasions in recent times in order to address instances of serious non-compliance with fire and safety requirements in homes and buildings.

These powers of inspection and enforcement are separate and distinct from the requirements of the Building Control Regulations which put in place the administrative arrangement by which owners, designers and builders are required to demonstrate their approach to achieving compliance with the Building Regulations…”

Comment:

Enforcement and inspections are only a remote possibility under SI.9 due to current building control authority understaffing levels. In 2007 we had less than 70 building control officers for the entire country. The proposed regulations will increase costs and add little to consumer’s rights. “Self-certification is no certification” was the strap line for the residents of Priory Hall. Independent government regulation of a €10bn industry still is not in place under SI.9.

_______________

Maureen O’Sullivan TD to PH on 30th January on self-builder’s concerns:

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2014-01-30a.348&s=Building+regulation

“...The method of construction used for a building is matter of choice for the owner and the designer…”

Comment:

Minister Phil Hogan appears to not adequately answer whether an owner can nominate themselves as a builder under SI.9 after March 1st 2014.

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 7th February 2014.

Sligo man abandons plans to build own house: the effect of Building Regulation (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

6383406951_fd02e7fe86

Radio Clip: Ocean FM: Wednesday 5th February 2014

Segment starts 19:39 to 27:56 : http://www.oceanfm.ie/nwt

“enforced by civil action through the courts” Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

judge

In a recent answer to a question by Tommy Broughan TD on 5th February 2014  Minister Phil Hogan suggested the ultimate resolution of problems arising between parties under the SI.9 could be “…enforced by civil action through the courts”. We include the relevant extract off the 1990 Building Control Act followed by the Q+A:

Extract off 1990 Building Control Act:

1990 Building Control Act:

Limitation on civil proceedings. 21.—A person shall not be entitled to bring any civil proceedings pursuant to this Act by reason only of the contravention of any provision of this Act, or of any order or regulation made thereunder.

_____________________________________

Question No. 124

Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil:
To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 544 of 28 January 2014, if persons who self-build their homes will be required to take on full responsibility for ensuring that the properties concerned are in compliance with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (SI No 9 of 2014).

Thomas P. Broughan.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.

Ref No: 5852/14

REPLY 

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Mr. P. Hogan) 

The Building Control Act 1990 places a legal obligation on owners, designers and builders to ensure that their building complies with the relevant requirements of the building regulations.   These obligations apply to all sectors of the housing and construction market, including the self-build sector. 

 Local building control authorities have powers to inspect and enforce compliance and where concerns exist in relation to a particular building, the authority may serve an enforcement notice on both the owner and the builder. In a self-build situation the owner and the builder will be one and the same. 

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations do not change or vary the legal position set out in the Act of 1990. It will, however, greatly strengthen the arrangements currently in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates. 

In practice, even in a self-build situation, the owner-builder may contract out certain construction tasks. Under the new Regulations the owner-builder will also be required to engage competent registered professionals to undertake the design and to perform the role of the Assigned Certifier who will prepare an inspection plan, ensure this plan is implemented by himself and others and, in conjunction with the self-builder, sign the Certificate of Compliance on Completion. The resolution of problems arising between the owner-builder and any of the parties engaged by them as Designer, Contractor or Assigned Certifier is a matter between the owner, the relevant parties and their insurers, subject to the terms of any contracts in place. Where contractual issues cannot be resolved through dialogue and negotiation they can be enforced by civil action through the courts.     

Irish Association of Self Builders look for answers- Letter to Minister Phil Hogan

by Bregs Blog admin team

The Irish Association of Self Builders of Ireland (IASOB) are currently campaigning against the introduction of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). They have contacted local TDs nationwide to express the strongly held views of their members. Self-builders currently build over 60% of all homes completed in the state and are one of the largest consumer groups negatively affected by the introduction of SI.9 in March. Below is a letter sent recently by the IASOB to Minister Phil Hogan TD. It has been circulated as part of their public campaign to have SI.9 deferred and amended.

Letter as follows (extract from IASOB website http://www.iaosb.com/):

__________________________________________________________

The following is  a copy of the letter from Irish Association of Self Builders that was sent to the Minister for Environment, Community and local government, Mr Phil Hogan T.D on 30th of January 2014 in response to the reply  from the Minister on 29th of January 2014 regarding Building Control (Amendment) S.I.9 2014

Dear Minister Hogan,

Re: Building Control (Amendment) S.I 9 2014 – Reference Number 3932/14 and 4147/14

I am writing to you regarding the above amendment which will be coming to effect on 1st of March 2014 and following representation that was kindly made by Mr Thomas P. Broughan T.D and Ms. Olivia Mitchell T.D on behalf of Irish Association of Self Builders to you on 28th of January 2014, I would be grateful to you and your department if you could clear a few points for us that were made in your reply to the questions No. 544 and 554. (BReg forum note: Minister’s original statement in italics)

1) The new Building Control Amendment Regulations which come into operation on 1 March 2014 will greatly strengthen the arrangements currently in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates.

On behalf of the self builders I would like to thank you for more control of building activity and requiring accountability in relation to compliance and Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, inspection and other validation and registration certificates. I am sure and confident that you and your department have done the research and have set up a great system that is well capable of dealing with these new regulations and the extra work involved to achieve all that you have mentioned above and I would also like to thank you again for doing this for our protection. After all, in a letter that was sent to Robin Mandal , President of RIAI on the 16th of January 2014 you have confirmed that “Having conferred widely with key stakeholders in recent weeks, I have decided that the new regulations will come into operation on 1 March 2014.” (S.I. 9 Doc.1). However, we were under the impression that under Building Control (Amendment) S.I 9 2014, Architects were one of the main key stakeholders as they are one of the groups that have been selected to be the design certifiers and it comes as a great concern that according to the letter from Mr Robin Mandal (S.I 9 Doc.2) to you dated 15th of January 2014, he is raising a number of issues that are of concern to the RIAI which could cause delays, cost increases and potential disputes. According to Mr Mandal, as of the date of the letter, the code of practice for inspections has not been finalised, the electronic systems for lodgement of commencement Notices and Design Certificates have not been tested or rolled out; the construction contract forms – whether for private or for publicly funded works – have not enough information to have been amended to take account of the necessary changes; and the finalised versions of the design and completion certificates are not available, for reference in contracts now being entered into, and to allow their reasonableness and insurability to be formally verified. He continues with “ To proceed in the absence of these crucial elements runs the increasing risk of unforeseen delay in construction projects, embroiling new contracts in claims for additional payment, and increased costs for building owners, for commissioning bodies and house purchasers, and ultimately for the tax payer.”

2) Neither the Building Control Act or any regulations thereunder, including the new Building Control Regulations , place any restrictions on whom an owner may assign as a builder once the owner is satisfied that the builder is competent to undertake the works involved.

I have full confidence in local sub-contractors that I have known for years and I am satisfied that they are competent to undertake the works involved and as there are no restrictions under the new Building Control regulations I would like to support my local community to use these sub-contractors to build the house for me. Your response would be greatly appreciated.

3) An owner who intends to self-build will assume responsibility for ensuring that building or works concerned will comply with the requirements of the second schedule to the building regulations. They must undertake to do everything necessary to achieve this and to ensure they are in a position to certify the building or works on completion thereby taking legal responsibility as builder. 

Therefore as long as I accept responsibility and ensure that the building or work concerned comply with the requirements of the second schedule to the building regulation and do everything necessary to achieve this and sign the certification on completion and take legal responsibility as a builder I can go ahead and self build? Am I correct on this? If I am, in Building Control (Amendment S.I. 9) 2014, under certification section to be signed by the builder can you please remove (to be signed by a Principal or Director of a building company only) as I am not a principle or Director of a building company. Your response would be greatly appreciated.

4)The new regulations also require an owner to assign a competent, registered professional to certify the design prior to commencement and to inspect the works during construction so that the assigned certifier is in a position, in conjunction with the owner-builder, to sign a certificate of compliance on completion.

We welcome this part as no one should design a property without a professionals help.You have confirmed that the owner-builder and assign certifier will have to sign a certificate of compliance on completion. So as of part 3, a self builder can nominate themselves as the builder as long as they take legal responsibility for the build. Your response would be greatly appreciated.

Minister Hogan, I am a simple man and I have already self built my home for my family and the new Building Regulation would not make any difference to me as we have no intention of moving. However, this new amendment will make a big difference to all other people who wish to give their family a roof over their heads called home. As I am sure you know, the whole country is suffering financially from the result of the mess made by successive government and to the average self builder who are already struggling with their finances and hope to be able to get on the property ladder, this amendment will have big repercussions .

According to a recent survey done out of all the houses built last year, 60% of them were done by self builders. Based on that figure, in 2014 there should be around 5000 homes being done by the self builders. I would like to point out that while this amendment will give extra protection to people of Ireland, it will reduce the number of houses being built due to higher costs involved. The average cost of a property being in Ireland is currently at €180000 and it has been worked out that the professional certifiers will have to increase their fees by around €5000 to cover the extra work and time that this new regulation will require. On discussion with building contractors, they have informed us that a property built through them will have an extra cost of at least 10% compared to the route of sub-contracting. This is the minimum that will be charged by them and this figure could be a lot higher due to extra responsibility and insurances that are required under S.I. 9 2014. Based on the low figure of 10%, that would mean an extra €18,000 on the average home. Therefore, the total extra cost for an average house built by the self build route would be €23,000.

On daily basis we get emails from people who are very worried about the effect that this would have on them and their families. There has not been any clear details released by your department to let people know how this amendment will effect them. Local authorities are clueless as what is going to happen from 1st of March 2014 and they are not advising people. Under S.I 80, there was the mention of Building Contractors being registered with C.I.F but this has been taken out on S.I 9. Under S.I 80, a self builder could nominate themselves as the builder until 1st of March 2015 but again no mention of this in S.I 9. There is the question of the builders certification form being signed by the Principle or Director of a Building Company, surely this could mean that anyone that deals with building work could do this, a builders merchant, a tile company or electrical contractor, etc. Surely, this does not make sense.

I think the risk is that self-build projects on which a “competent” contractor is not appointed and does not sign the completion certificate, could be deemed to be non-compliant and the Local Authority could refuse to put it on the register, in which case it should not be occupied. However, because of the absence of staff in the Local Authorities, it is unlikely that there will be any more enforcement under the new regulations than there is now and self-builders may well get through the whole process without any action by the Local Authority.

The long term risk for the self-build home owners is that if they wish to sell or re-mortgage their house at some time in the future and it has not been certified properly, it will not be on the register in the Local Authority as being compliant, which in turn will make it difficult if not impossible to sell or mortgage. There is no provision within the Building Control Act to rectify the position if that were to occur.

We assume as a mandatory register of builders is to become established by March 2015 any possible transition period allowing self-building will cease from this date onwards in any event.

My final point to you regarding Building Control S.I 9 2014 would be that we welcome the new regulation but not as it is. We do understand that you and your department are trying to make sure that the days of cowboy builders and shoddy homes are a thing of the past by bringing in the new regulations. But I would like to remind you that it was not the self builders that caused pyrite problems and dangerous breaches of fire regulations in the past. By introducing this amendment on 1st of March 2014 as it is, you will be punishing the self builders for something that was not their fault and if things are not changed on the form, the only people that would benefit would be the building contractors and the developers, again.

I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this very important matter.

Kind regards,

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of Self Builders

www.iaosb.com

Letter from RIAI requesting deferral to Minister Hogan on 15th January 2014:

Letter_from_RIAI_President_to_Minister_Hogan_15Jan2014

Letter in response to RIAI request from Minister Hogan on 16th January 2014:

Letter_from_Minister_Hogan_to_RIAI_President_16Jan2014

Minister Phil Hogans response to Irish Association of Self Builders regarding SI 9 (written answer on 28th January 2014)

http://www.iaosb.com/minister phil hogans response to irish association of self builders regarding si 9.html

 

 

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The above letter is reproduced with the consent of The Irish Association of Self Builders of Ireland. 

Political Q+A: Jimmy Denihan to K. Humphreys on cost to Arts of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

Written answers Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Building Regulations Compliance

Kevin Humphreys (Dublin South East, Labour)

89. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in relation to capital building projects currently underway under the remit of his Department, and the building programmes planned for 2014, if he will outline the impact the new Building Control Regulations 2013 which will come into effect on 1 March will have on the costs of each specific project; if he will list the projects under way; the extra costs that will be incurred on each due to increase professional fees due to the increased supervision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4360/14]

Jimmy Deenihan (Minister, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Kerry North-West Limerick, Fine Gael)

The capital allocation to my Department’s Vote Group encompasses a small number of building projects. A number of these projects are delivered by bodies/agencies within my Department’s ambit, including the National Cultural Institutions, the Heritage Council, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Waterways Ireland or by the Office of Public Works on behalf of the Department or its agencies. As the Deputy is aware, the Regulations in question, which come into effect on 1 March, do not apply to projects which have already commenced. The impact of the Regulations on the costs of projects to commence after that date will be determined by market forces and the normal public procurement rules and cannot easily be anticipated at this time.

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Comment:

In his response to Kevin Humphries TD, Minister Jimmy Denehan TD admitted he did not know what cost increases would occur on various capital projects arising from the introduction on March 1st of the amended building regulations SI.9 of 2014.  His reply suggests that SI.9 will not apply to projects that have commenced by 1st March 2014.

SI.9 will not apply to projects that have commenced on site by 1st March 2014. For projects already underway or in the planning process SI.9 will apply in full. Separate appointments for Design and Assigned certifier will be needed. Additional fees associated with the new duties of ancillary certifiers will need to be obtained from established design teams also. For tenders already received new provisions may be negotiated and priced-in to contract sums in advance of commencement. Contingency sums should be allowed for possible costs of delays on completion due to the more complex local authority validation procedure and submissions required under SI.9.

Current industry estimates suggest the cost of SI.9 on capital and social projects (depending on who you consult) could add up to 5% or more depending on type of project, level of complexity etc. For complicated refurbishment and extensions such as art galleries or places of assembly (high risk) the costs could be well in excess of this figure. Some arts capital spend may come under the heading public buildings etc. so it may be difficult to extract out the costs of SI.9 on the arts sector.

However if we do a projection based on 2012 numbers* the category of Social Infrastructure had a total €142m spend on “public buildings” and “other social”. Conservatively if we assume half of this figure is non qualifying (i.e. exempt from SI.9) then the extra cost of SI.9 on the remaining would be in the region of €3.55m. Quite a considerable impact to be funded out of a department’s existing annual budget.

*(Source: Forfas report: Table 2.12 Value and volume of construction output, 2010-2012E (page 16); Source: DKM Economic Consultants analysis for Forfás, 2012)

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 5th February 2014.

The Cost Impact of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

by Bregs Blog admin team

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In his response to Kevin Humphreys TD, Minister Richard Bruton TD admitted he did not know what cost increases would occur on various capital projects arising from the introduction on March 1st of the amended building regulations SI.9 of 2014.  He did note however that where central government has made an allocation, this will not be changed. Such increases as may arise therefore are a matter for the individual commissioning organization and there will be no further allocation from central government.  Such increases as will inevitably occur will still be picked up by the taxpayer either way.

The government is required to carry out a detailed impact assessment on the community of all legislation, before it is implemented.  A preliminary assessment was carried out at the very early stages of this legislation but was not updated before the final version of the legislation was enacted.  Had this process been followed by the government, many of the problems of cost increases, delays, litigation and difficulties caused for groups such as the self-builders would have been identified.

The following table is based on housing output 10,500 units completed in 2012*

Out of 10,500 house completions approximately 60% are self-builds. According to industry estimates a typical house may incur €5,000 extra in professional fees with self-builds incurring an additional €18,000 on top of this for contractors fees and costs.

Residential Sector- additional cost of SI.9

6,300 self builds x €23k extra = €144.9m (18k each to contractors, €5k to professionals)

4200 normal houses x €5k each = €21m (€5k to professionals)

Total residential new build direct cost €165.9m**

**This excludes qualifying residential refurbishments and extensions over 40sqm.

This cost excludes the cost of SI.9 on capital and social projects that, depending on who you consult, could add up to 5% or more depending on type of project, level of complexity etc. That is an average of 5% on the cost of every school, hospital ward, social housing unit built from March 1st onwards.  We have a capital project allocation of approximately €3.2bn for this year and if we discount half for non-qualifying projects (roads, transport, power etc) then various government departments could be looking at direct and indirect costs of up to €80m annually (based on 3% mid-range extra cost)

Potentially SI.9 of 2014 could cost the industry, taxpayer and consumer €250m annually. The projected €2bn saving in irish water will be squandered in 8 years. With no benefit to the consumer.

The residents of Priory Hall, the authors of the Pyrite Report, The National Consumer Agency and the IPFMA and other consumer groups all concur in previous statements and submissions that BCAR SI.9 will do little to improve the rights of the consumer. The RIAI, the registration body for architects, have called on this legislation to be deferred as recently as 15th January 2014 citing that the industry is not ready and the regulation is not in the best interest of the consumer.

* (Source: Forfas report: Table 2.12 Value and volume of construction output, 2010-2012E (page 16); Source: DKM Economic Consultants analysis for Forfás, 2012)

Link to Forfas Report “Ireland’s Construction Sector: Outlook and Strategic Plan to 2015”

19072013-Irelands_Construction_Sector-Publication

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 3rd February 2014.