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.

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