Minister Hogan explains part-deferral SI.105

by Bregs Blog admin team

Stephen-Donnelly-2 In the following Dail exchange Stephen Donnelly TD puts a number of interesting questions to Minister Phil Hogan. Principally he asks “…the rationale for deferring implementation of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014; in respect of educational and hospital projects…” We have previously posted on SI.105 here “Ghost estates and public housing: BC(A)R SI.9 no 3?” In his answer the Minister notes the timeline for SI.105: part-deferral for hospital and school projects.

  • “On 15 January 2014, the President of the RIAI wrote to me, and I understand to several other Ministers, seeking deferral of the implementation of the Regulations
  • On 5 February 2014 the Minister for Education and Skills wrote to me seeking that the planned implementation date of 1 March 2014 be deferred by at least 12 months, to ensure the planned school building programme is not put at risk
  • My Department immediately consulted with relevant Departments/ agencies … in relation to the implications of the Regulations for the public capital programme
  • Several Departments/ A gencies , including the Department of Education and Skills, the National Development Finance Agency and the Health Services Executive, expressed concerns that the new requirements may cause delays in the Public Capital Programme.
  • On this basis, the Regulations were amended to provide for an alternative but equivalent means of complying with the requirements…This alternative means of compliance applies to a limited range of public and privately owned buildings”

This sequence of events suggests Minister Hogan consulted with other departments and agencies on BC(A)R SI.9 after 5th February, following-on from the representation by Minister Ruairi Quinn.We have previously noted that Minister Quinn is an architect himself and is very well briefed on the unintended consequences of the new regulation. We wonder is SI.105 the first in a sequence of part-deferrals? We wonder, when other Ministers and departments are brought up to speed, will a series off part-deferrals be requested? Political Q+A to follow.

Link here: Building Regulations Amendments: 26 Mar 2014: Written answers

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Question Nos. 127 , 128, 129 , and 130 Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil:

To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:               

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the rationale for deferring implementation of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014; in respect of educational and hospital projects, if he will provide all data and analysis used to reach this decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider deferring the implementation of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 in respect of educational and hospital projects on all public sector projects, including social housing, art buildings, State offices and more, above and beyond educational and hospital projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider extending the implementation of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 in respect of educational and hospital projects to cover crèches, child care facilities, old peoples’ homes and convalescent homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider extending the implementation of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 in respect of educational and hospital projects to cover all publicly funded housing projects in view of the skills in local authority engineering and architecture departments and their effective management of housing construction and refurbishment projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Stephen S. Donnelly.     

 

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 26th March, 2014.    Ref No s : 14231/14 , 14232/14, 14233/14 and 14234/14

REPLY    Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Mr. P. Hogan)   

I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 , 128 , 129 and 130 together.    The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 came into effect on 1 March 2014 and require greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates of compliance.

On 15 January 2014, t he President of the RIAI wrote to me, and I understand to several other Ministers , seeking deferral of the implementation of the Regulations. I refer to the reply given to Questions Nos. 137 and 138 dated 12 February 2014 which deals comprehensively with the concerns raised in this correspondence. On 5 February 2014 the Minister for Education and Skills wrote to me seeking that the planned implementation date of 1 March 2014 be deferred by at least 12 months, to ensure the planned school building programme is not put at risk.

My Department immediately consulted with relevant Departments/ a gencies represented on the Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC) , in relation to the implications of the Regulations for the public capital programme . Several Departments/ A gencies , including the Department of Education and Skills, the National Development Finance Agency and the Health Services Executive, expressed concerns that the new requirements may cause delays in the Public Capital Programme. Large-scale public infrastructure projects, in particular, are prone to costly delays due to strict national and EU procurement rules which do not generally apply to private sector projects. Other agencies, notably the OPW, reported that the necessary arrangements were in place to administer contracts in accordance with the new requirements.

Following discussions at GCCC level, an oversight group will be established to deal with issues arising in the first twelve months of the new arrangements. This will ensure that a process is in place to signal at an early date, and resolve, any difficulties in relation to public capital programme projects and major investment projects.

On this basis, the Regulations were amended to provide for an alternative but equivalent means of complying with the requirements to assign a person to inspect and certify the works (the Assigned Certifier) in line with a plan lodged at commencement and implemented during construction. Subject to the oversight g roup’s determination of the matter, this requirement may be fulfilled by lodgement of such inspection plan, inspection records and certificates as may be deemed appropriate and necessary by the group in order to demonstrate that compliance with the Building Regulations has been achieved for the building or works concerned.

This alternative means of compliance applies to a limited range of public and   privately owned buildings classified as first – , second – or third – level places of education;   hospitals or primary care centres for which planning permission has already been obtained and for which c ontract documents will be in place before 1 November 2014 and works will commence before 1 March 2015. It does not amount to a deferral or a derogation of the requirements of the Building R egulations. The sole accommodation given is an alternative means of compliance with the inspection and certification requirements fulfilled by the Assigned Certifier that will apply to a narrow range of buildings for a temporary period .

I understand that in excess of 100 commencement notices have been lodged on the Building Control Management S ystem since 1 March 2014 suggesting that the necessary arrangements for the successful implementation of the Regulations are in place and are working effectively in practice.   In the circumstances , I am satisfied that the concerns raised did not warrant a deferral of the necessary reform of the building control system and I have no plans to broaden the scope of transitional arrangements to other public sector or privately owned projects .

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