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

Certifiers to keep records of all materials used on sites under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team


Regulations introduced last year in July 1st 2013 means that all products specified on Irish construction projects must comply with Construction Products Regulation 2013 (CPR2013) which supercedes the earlier Construction Products Directive (CPD).  All products will now need to have CE mark (previously voluntary, but now mandatory) and also a Declaration of Performance (DoP).  Part D of the building Regulations has been revised to incorporate this requirement (Materials and Workmanship) so it is now part of the building regulations.

Link to Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) 2013 here: ria 2013 part D and CPR 2013

The government has stated for CPR2013 “…enforcement of the Building Regulations is primarily the responsibility of the 37 local Building Control Authorities, each of which has a designated Building Control Officer.  Responsibility for compliance with the Building Regulations is primarily a matter for the owner and builder of a building…” (p7/8 RIA 2013)

However as a result of its inclusion in Part D of the Building Regulations it would appear demonstration of compliance with CPR2013 will rest with the new professional certifiers in the SI.9 self-certification process. These roles have little or no control over the supply chain of materials and products in the procurement process.  Worryingly enforcement is separate and still rests with the BCA.  It will be a considerable undertaking for persons not directly involved in the procurement of materials to effectively and accurately maintain records with this significant, and required, level of detail.

Market surveillance, compliance with Part D, assembly of this very onerous level of documentation and submission to the local authority (BCA) to demonstrate compliance with the building regulations is a significant additional duty for the certifiers; the professionals assigned to the roles of guaranteeing compliance with the building regulations under SI.9.  The government indicates: “…This should not have any significant impact on design and supervision fees... ” (RIA p7).

The lack of clarity on this and possible conflicts during the procurement process should be of concern to all involved.  The very onerous level of paperwork required to demonstrate compliance of ALL products used on site under the new revised Part D will further impact on industry costs and costs to the consumer.

Revised Part D here: part d building regulations

Department of the Environment Link:

Political Q+A: Kevin Humphreys: What are the costs to capital projects of (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)?

by bregs blog admin team

Kevin Humphreys (Dublin South East, Labour)

Link to this: Individually | In context

71. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to capital building projects currently under way 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. [4369/14]

Richard Bruton (Minister, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)

In my Department the following Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) capital building projects are underway:

Project-  Estimated Exchequer capital building cost (€) -Status of project at 30/09/2013 (see note below)

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) – Environmental Health Sciences Institute (EHSI)- €8.29m- Planning stage

Dublin City University (DCU) Nano-BioAnalytical Research Facility (NRF-TRH)- €9.29m- Under construction

National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) – ICT Infrastructure- €4.27m- Under construction

Project- Estimated Exchequer capital building cost (€)- Status of project at 30/09/2013 (see note below)

National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) – Innovation Value Institute (IVI) – Phase II- €1.12m- Under construction

University College Cork (UCC) – Environmental Research Institute at the Maritime & Energy Cluster, Ireland (ERI @ MeRC)- €7.5m- At tender stage

UCC – Food & Health- €0.45m (refurbishment)- At tender stage

University College Dublin (UCD) – Science Centre- €34.3m- 3 buildings; 2 complete; 1 at planning stage

University of Limerick (UL – National Centre for Applied Materials Research (NCAMR)- €8.2m- Under construction

Note: Quarterly Financial Reports (QFRs) to end December 2013 will not be available until end February 2014).

Enterprise Ireland is expecting building works to take place works in two locations in 2014; the National University of Ireland Maynoooth (NUIM) and the DIT Grangegorman Campus. The building works being undertaken at NUIM includes an Enterprise Ireland Incubator Unit with a budgeted cost of €1.25 million.

It is not possible for me to comment on the impacts of the Building Control regulations 2013 which have yet to take effect or to give detail of extra costs, if any, that might be incurred on projects as a result of the legislation. It should be noted, however, that Exchequer liability on all PRTLI capital projects is limited to the formal approved amounts. Any subsequent costs additional to those approved are borne by the Higher Education Institution (HEI) to whom the funding has been awarded. Likewise, in the case of building works relating to Enterprise Ireland, any changes in Building Control regulations and any associated cost will be borne by the college with no increase in award amount being provided by Enterprise Ireland.

In so far as IDA Ireland is concerned, consultant appointments are awarded based on a competitive tender on a fixed fee basis which include in the scope of service a requirement to address all and any regulatory requirements. At present IDA Ireland has two capital projects for Athlone and Waterford which are in the final phase of tender and it is expected that commencement notices will issue in advance of 1 March 1 2014.



In response to recent questions by Kevin Humphreys TD on the costs of the impending SI.9 on capital projects we note the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA on SI.80) quoted in a response by Minister Phil Hogan dated from 2012 and contained little detail on extra costs to the industry, taxpayer or consumer.  There was no RIA completed for the 2013 versions (SI.80) or the signed regulation SI.9.

Current industry estimates place the direct additional cost of SI.9 for non-residential projects up to 1% of the construction  cost of a project.  The indirect costs such as delays, other additional professional costs, defensive specifications and duplications of roles may well be a multiple of this. Some of these costs have been mentioned in the preceeding opinion piece. For example some healthcare projects may have two sets of design teams already in place and the application of SI.9 could create  duplication of roles and conflicts in duties on site. These in turn may lead to contractual issues and delays/ claims. Depending on who one consults the extra costs for SI.9 on non-residential projects, based on type and level of complexity, could be up to 5% with some estimates above this level.

Completion of stalled or part-completed projects such as ghost estates or part-completed buildings (such as the Anglo-Irish Bank office building in Dublin’s Docklands) may be complicated and costly as a result of SI.9. Part-completed projects may well involve newly appointed professionals assuming liability for unfinished works by others. There does not appear to be provision for exclusions of this nature in SI.9- certifiers guarantee compliance for entire buildings. Newly appointed design teams and contractors may need to price-in this risk. This apparent oversight in SI.9  may have cost implications for the commissioning bodies involved and also result in delays in build-timescales as a result.

The direct costs attributed to residential can be reasonably assessed due to numbers of house completions per annum. The direct and indirect costs of SI.9 (which does not appear to have been scenario tested) on non-residential and government capital projects that are already underway in particular is far more difficult. We assume the additional costs, up to and possibly exceeding 5% of the construction cost, will be funded out of each department’s annual budget.

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 31st January 2014.

Opinion Piece: The Cost of Construction

by Bregs Blog admin team

In his answer to a question from Kevin Humphries TD, to the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD, regarding the impact the new Building Control Regulations on capital building projects, the Minister said that the new regulations “may result in additional design, certification and, possibly, insurance costs”.  There is little doubt about that. There was however no mention of the increased cost of the building itself, which is likely to be more significant than any of the increased costs listed by him.

In general, public works contracts are already carried out by the building professionals under a full service agreement, including normal inspections.  A significant increase in liability for the professionals will arise under SI.9 from changing the duty to use reasonable skill and care only, to one that comes close to providing a guarantee of compliance as envisaged under the legislation and manifest in the department’s refusal to accept any qualification of the word “compliance”. This increase in liability is compounded by the terms of appointments currently being sought by the Department of Health which places a direct obligation on architect to “ensure” compliance of both the complete design and the construction.  This extraordinary level of liability will inevitably result in defensive design and specification by professionals.  This, in turn, will result in higher specifications, demand for more site supervision by contractors, increased levels of testing and certification and more paperwork, not to mention the impact on design and construction programmes.  It would be foolish to think that these will not have a significant impact on the cost of construction.

The real question is whether the improvement in quality that the Minister believes will result from these measures will in fact materialize on projects which already have design teams on full service agreements.  It is very unlikely.  While the current arrangements are by no means perfect there is no evidence to suggest that the extraordinary measures now being imposed on the construction industry are justified outside, perhaps, of the speculative residential sector, where there are significant problems.  Normal building design and construction in Ireland have high levels of safety built into them. Minor deviation from the standards will not normally result in a defect which causes damage to the building or the occupants.  They are not manufactured products, but if they are constructed to a normal good standard, they will serve their purpose for a hundred years or more.  There is no evidence to suggest that there is a need to raise the standard of normal well-constructed buildings in Ireland to the level higher than that.  What is needed is to ensure that all building design and construction is brought up to that standard. That is not difficult, or expensive. All that is required to achieve it and bring our procedures into line with international best practice is a simple system of independent audit of design and construction under the control of the Building Control Authorities.

The country can ill afford to waste money on complex regulatory systems that are unnecessary in most circumstances and which may not work where they are most needed.

Opinion piece by Michael Collins and Eoin O Cofaigh, Presidents 1986-1987 and 1998-1999, Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. Written in January 2013 .