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.

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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.

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