BC(A)R SI.9 and Law Society of Ireland?
by Bregs Blog admin team
Following the puzzling suspension of the Building Regulation Advisory Body (BRAB) in 2012 a stakeholder group was set up to progress SI.9 (post: “BRAB and BC(A)R SI.9“). This smaller steering group consisted of the representative bodies for surveyors, engineers and architects (SCSI, ACEI and RIAI respectively), along with the Department and the Construction industry Federation (CIF) only. Everybody knows the National Consumers’ Association, the Competition Authority, the National Competitiveness Council, ISME, IBEC, IDA and many more weren’t at the table. From a legal point of view, the one influential group not invited was the Law Society of Ireland.
There have been numerous legal and senior council opinions to date on SI.9. We have commented on some of these in previous posts “Legal firms advice: BC(A)R SI.9“. The law society’s members will be involved in day-to-day conveyancing of properties- this is the cliff face where legal determinations on the regulation will be made. The Society has been remarkably quiet on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) and we are not aware of any publications on SI.9 after the 1st March 2014.
The Society issued advice offered last year on conveyancing. In the context of BC(A)R SI.9 one could assume where design, assigned and ancillary certifiers provide documentation for conveyancing purposes, solicitors may only retain and refer to the main certifier’s certificates (guarantees) for the works.
This advice would suggest the Law Society has a preference for a single-point of responsibility for compliance, under SI.9 the design and assigned certifier, for the purpose of conveyancing. While this may come as a relief to builders and other sub-contractors and consultants acting as ancillary certifiers, it may be of some concern to registered professionals, surveyors, engineers and architects, currently considering assuming the new certifier roles. Link to Law Society advice “Update On Important Changes In Building Regulations”:
Extract: “Having considered these submissions carefully, the committee is persuaded that its original guideline is no longer appropriate and that, where an architect’s certificate of opinion on compliance confirms compliance with the Building Regulations and confirms that, in coming to this opinion on compliance, reliance has been placed by the architect on confirmations received from other professionals, it is not necessary for a purchaser’s solicitor to see such confirmations and the solicitor may rely on the architect’s certificate of compliance itself. One of the RIAI forms refers to copies of the confirmations being attached and the committee has requested the RIAI to remove these words, and solicitors acting for purchasers being furnished with certificates of opinion on compliance should seek to have these words deleted where confirmations are not being produced. This is not to suggest that solicitors should object to being furnished with copies of the confirmations, but solicitors should not review the confirmations and, if appropriate, should make it clear that they are relying on the architect’s expertise in that regard.”
We wonder have any of the professional representative bodies for engineers, surveyors or architects, ACEI, SCSI and RIAI respectively, consulted with or forwarded on the negative senior council opinions obtained on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) to the Law Society? Have they sent queries in to the Society about the status of self-builders and whether their members can certify these projects? If they have not it may be the time to do so.
We wonder what the ACEI, SCSI and RIAI are doing to protect their members’ interests around the “Certificates” and property conveyancing? We haven’t heard anything at all yet. If anybody knows, they might like to tell us…