The cost of professional fees: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

hourly-rate

In a recent radio interview on 28 February 2014, Morning Ireland RTE News, Minister Phil Hogan was very certain on the costs of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) for a typical house, and other non-residential projets.

Quote: No it will not be expensive! All this exaggeration about thirty, forty, fifty thousand and that direct labour was going to be out the window or banned as a result of this is absolute nonsense. It’ll cost about one to two thousand euro depending on what figure they negotiate with professionals”

In previous posts we have noted the huge additional costs for self-builders having now to employ CIF registered competent builders to manage qualifying projects (+€18,000 for a typical house).

The representative body for architects (RIAI) currently recommend separate appointments for Design and Assigned certifiers on all projects. In a recent CPD event attended by over 500 architects at the Aviva stadium the RIAI tabled a membership survey that indicated only one in twenty architects were ready (or willing) to take on these new certifier roles under BC(A)R SI.9. It would appear these new roles, as a result, will be undertaken primarily by the other registered professionals, certified engineers and chartered surveyors. Currently other technically competent persons are precluded from undertaking these duties such as highly qualified and experienced architectural technologists.

At the same RIAI CPD a keynote speaker Shane Santry presented the additional time required for professional service by new certifiers under BC(A)R SI.9. The initial estimate of additional time required for a typical residential project would be in the region of 160 hours over and above normal professional duties.

A conservative salary for an engineer qualified and competent to undertake these new roles would be in the region of €60k. For 1600 hours on average worked per annum this would give an hourly rate of between €75 and €112.5 per hour including overheads, professional indemnity insurance, office rental costs, light/heat, travel and other overheads and expenses. This range would depend on whether the practitioner is a sole trader or works in a larger firm. By this simple calculation the extra costs for certifier roles only (excluding additional ancillary certifiers) for a typical house could be:

€93.8 (av. ph) x 160 hours = €15,000

Even with a heavy discount this cost is a considerably higher cost that that quoted in the Regulatory Impact Assesment  2012 (RIA) figures of between €1,000 and €3,000 per housing unit. This is what we assume is the source of the minister’s figures quoted in his interview. We are aware that, notwithstanding any consumer discounts, the cost to the industry and consumer remains €15,000, a significant multiple of that quoted by the minister.

We wonder if the Minister and department were adequately briefed by the stakeholder groups involved in the formation of SI.9? The Minister appears to know the number of attendees at recent professional CPD events but we wonder is he aware of the content of presentations and information on extra hours being circulated by key stakeholders to their members?

The Minister has noted that this regulation has been well telegraphed and has been on the cards for 2 years. We wonder why no revised RIA was completed during this two year period to establish an accurate cost for SI.9.

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

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