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: April, 2014

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections? BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

number-9-web

Although my practice is south of the border, much of my work over the years has been in Northern Ireland and I am very familiar with the Building  Control system there. I thought that this inspection system could be the basis of my new services as Assigned Certifier.

I recently made a fee proposal for a client who intends to build a large house in rural  Ireland next year. On the basis of the Northern Ireland Building Control inspection regime, I proposed nine ‘building control’ inspections and I structured my fees accordingly. This seems reasonable to me but my client has queried it because the Department of the Environment suggested a rate of €1000-3,000.

In negotiating with my client, I pointed out that the RIAI suggests twenty six inspections (not nine) for a house that will be on site for a year. My client thinks that these site inspections are in the standard architects services and that I am trying to charge on the double for my work.

We are at an impasse and I am concerned now that if I don’t agree to some nominal additional fee for Assigned Certifier I will lose the job.  Has there been any professional guidance (good practice guidance) on the recommended number of inspections required for residential projects?

____________

Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments– click link here

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers– click link here

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices – Click link here

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?– Click link here

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier – Click link here

Practical Post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles! – Click link here

Practical Post 7: Existing Shopping Centres – Click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?–  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection –  Click link here

Practical post 15: Code of conduct issues –  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  – Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

 

 

Building Control Officer issues: Conference April 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

housing-market-recovery-unanswered-questions

IBCI Conference Sligo: April 2014

In the course of the conference of the Irish Building Control Institute conference, which was held in Sligo on the 2nd-3rd April 2014, many issues were raised by speakers and the delegates which confirmed the belief that there was a great deal of uncertainty about the implementation and implications of SI.9 that needed to be resolved.

Among the issues that were raised were the following:

1. Building Control Authorities

Resources:   There were repeated calls for the Building Control Authorities (BCA)to be properly resourced with the appropriate number of staff.  Aside from the additional administrative duties it was envisaged that 15% of buildings would have to be be inspected 4 times.  The department officials stated that there would be no increase in central government funding.  The allocation of resources was a matter for each local authority.

The code of practice or “framework” for the guidance of BCAs in the operation of SI.9 is still in draft form and had not been made available to the BCAs.

It was noted that there was no representative of the building control officers or the fire officers (who will be responsible for implementing the code) in the steering group which was drafting this document.

The following are proposed section headings for the  Code of Practice for BCAs which is urgently needed:

  • Introduction
  • Purpose of Framework
  • Regulatory Design Principles: Regulatory Oversight
  • Role of Building Control Authority: Overall Role
  • Commencement Stage – Validation
  • Construction stage – assessment and inspection
  • Completion stage
  • Risk Assessment: Aims, Benefits and Risk assessment approach
  • Consistency and Standardisation
  • National Co-ordination
  • National Building Control Management System
  • National & Regional Inspectorates
  • Standard Approaches
  • Validation
  • Administrative Validation
  • Technical Assessment
  • Commencement Stage
  • Submission to Building Control Authority
  • Construction Stage Inspection
  • Inspection & Completion Stage
  • Submission at completion
  • Validation and Registration of Certificate
  • Prior Notification of Submission of Completion
  • Certificate
  • Phased Completion
  • Assessing Fire Safety Applications
  • Assessing Disability Access Certificate
  • Applications
  • Archiving of Records

The department officials hoped to issue a draft of the Code of Practice soon but there was no commitment as to when it might be finished and issued formally.  In the meanwhile there was concern that there may be 34 different interpretations of the regulations given that there are that number of authorities. There was urgent need for the following:

  • Training & Information for all required including BCA staff
  • BCO inspection staff need to be instructed not to issue directions on site
  • Standardised written QA procedures required
  • Need for regular CPD updates
  • Consolidated Regs (Draft DoECLG) required
  • Coherent Framework including inspection policy required and implemented by Local Authorities

Clarification is urgently required on the appropriate qualifications of personnel appointed to act as building control officers within local authorities, given the very strict rules applied to Assigned Certifiers and Design Certifiers under SI.9. A program of training and continuing professional development needs to be undertaken for building control officers.

2. Online Registration System

There were numerous reports of glitches in the operation of the on-line registration system. It was seen as a work in progress and a number elements are still subject to further development including the following:

  • Completion Certificates
  • Short Commencement notices
  • Translation to Irish
  • Online Help
  • Accept Roles Online
  • Dublin City Payments
  • Update Project Details
  • Additional Roles

The following elements remain to be done and were seen as Phase 2 of the system:

  • Completion Certificates
  • Inspections
  • Risk Analysis
  • Reporting
  • Integration of Fire Safety Certificates
  • Integration of DAC’s?

3. Fire Safety 

Concern was raised by speakers and delegates about the lack of con-ordination between a number of existing process and the requirements of SI.9.

Where a Completion Certificate is issued for a building which does not comply with a fire safety certificate issued for the same building. Which takes precedence and what should the BCA do about it?

There is provision under the “pre SI.9” regulations for a regularization certificate, but this is not provided for under SI.9.  How is that to be resolved?

Procedures for applications for fire safety and disability access certificates are different and un-coordinated with the procedures set out in SI.9

In formulating the risk assessment process to determine which buildings will be inspected, it appears that the work already done on a system of fire risk assessment (known as PRIME)  has not been integrated into the process of risk assessment currently proposed under SI.9.

Integration of the requirements of SI.9 with other existing legislation:

  • Fire Services Act
  • Licensing
  • Pre-Incident Planning
  • HIQA Registration
  • Multi-Unit Developments Act

4. Self Builders

While it was stated by department officials that the question of the status of self- builders had been clarified by the Minister and that he had made it clear that they could sign completion certificates as “competent builders”, there was little evidence that anyone actually believed that.  The representative of the Society of Chartered Surveyors (who is a member of the department’s advisory group) expressed the opinion that self- builders would be playing “Russian Roulette” unless they engaged the right supervisory /professional staff. A number of speakers and delegates called for clarification which would put the matter beyond doubt.

In summary there was a significant number of questions raised that remained unanswered.  There was a general expectation that it would take another 6 months to clear the majority of those issues.

 

World Bank rankings & BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

In case anyone hasn’t read this one still very relevant now that BC(A)R SI.9 has been introduced and the additional costs and delays, previously forecast, are currently being experienced in the industry.

BRegs Blog

World-Bank-Headquarters

The World Bank “Doing Business” Report 2014 was mentioned by Minister Richard Bruton in January of 2014 (Irish Times 5/01/14). The construction industry was specifically mentioned as one key area for improvement. Currently we rank 115th out of 189 countries in “Dealing with construction permits”. The UK ranks 27th. Based on the World Bank example of a 1300 SqM production/warehouse building, the cost of statutory permissions (planning and building control) in the UK are less than 15% the cost of our system here. A key cost of an integral component to our recovery, foreign direct investment and job creation (warehouse & manufacturing space) is over 5 times more expensive here than across the water.

The cost to obtain all relevant statutory permissions for this one building type in the UK is a little over €19,000 and takes much less time. This cost includes 100% independent building inspections by a licensed building…

View original post 260 more words

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify? BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

Number_8_by_itExotik

My practice has come through the last 5 years and I now have a staff of three, one experienced technologist and two young (registered) architects. At the height of the boom we were up to 12. The practice is generally very ‘hands on’ with clients and takes a proactive approach to site inspections and problem solving. We work with builders that we know.

We have taken on the roles of Design and Assigned Certifiers for one of our current projects, a public sector project. We were informed by the local authority they expect the new duties to be rolled-into our existing appointment, and we feel we don’t have a choice- accept or loose the job.

I have been reading the guidance about the new Certificates and I have run CPD in-house for my staff. In discussion, the two architects have now said that they are not willing to be appointed personally as Certifiers as they do not think they are experienced enough and they don’t have the technical expertise. The Certificate will “guarantee” structural and mechanical and electrical installations which they feel they don’t have adequate competence in. We believe this is a problem generally with the new regulations.

In addition, due to Code of Practice issues they feel if the practice either looses its insurance cover or closes down later on, they will be personally liable for work they certify currently using their own name while working as my employees. I cannot argue with this as this is a potential problem that we highlighted in our in-house CPD.

The architectural technologist frequently shares the site inspections at the moment and he looks after the technical and construction issues. However he cannot be named as Design or Assigned Certifier either as he is not a registered architect.

Does this mean that I, as principal, have to commit to site inspections every two weeks on EVERY job in order to sign off on the Inspection Plan at Completion? I cannot see another way around it unless I take on another member of staff and make this part of their job description.

____________

Other Posts in this series:

Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments– click link here

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers– click link here

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices – Click link here

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?– Click link here

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier – Click link here

Practical Post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles! – Click link here

Practical Post 7: Existing Shopping Centres – Click link here

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections?: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?–  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection –  Click link here

Practical post 15: Code of conduct issues –  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  – Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

 

 

Complaint to Minister: Fee fixing & BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

customer-complaint

Here is a personal complaint sent by a “competent registered professional” to the the Minister and his Department concerning fee fixing and distortion of the market in early March 2014. As the complaint is personal the author has requested their name be removed from the post.

In our recent post “The Engineers Journal: how BC(A)R SI.9 works in practice” architect and RIAI representative Orla Fitzgerald noted the time required to discharge duties of new certifier roles “...a requirement for an additional 18 days of input“. One of the group of three architects that made up a key negotiator group on behalf of the representative body for architects (RIAI) with the Department in the formation of SI.9, this time assessment is at odds with the Minister’s much-repeated estimate for additional costs for BC(A)R SI.9 at between €1000 to €3000 for a typical project. 

The RIAI has also issued advice at a February 2014 CPD event suggesting 160 hours was required for a typical house for these roles. Based on the Minister’s cost range this would indicate €6.25 per hour as an hourly rate including vat at 23% for a competent engineer/ surveyor or architect to undertake these duties, a remarkably low figure which would normally include expenses, office overheads, insurances and travel expenses.

Given that self-builders have taken issue with Minister Hogan’s recent statements on the matter of costs in a Seanad debate (see post here), we wonder have any of the representative bodies concerned, engineers, surveyors or architects (ACEI, SCSI, RIAI respectively) made similar representations, on behalf of their members, to the Minister or Department? If not it looks like their members are facing an uphill battle with clients, trying to agree a sustainable fee for the new certifier roles, with Ministerial public statements on costs uncorrected.

_______________

Complaint to Minister:

Dear Minister Hogan

In numerous occasions recently you have quoted fees for the new Design and Assigned Certifier roles under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) at between €1000 to €3000 maximum per house. This fee range was noted in a regulatory impact assessment undertaken for SI.9 (previously SI.80 ) in 2012. This fee range is below-cost and inhibits free market forces, distorting the market in the process. You have spoken on the airwaves, on the major morning news programme on the principal broadcaster,  about the fee which a house owner could expect to  pay for an architect (or competent person) to act as Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier under the new regulations. Many of my clients, whether actual or potential, listen to this programme. The matter is of such personal importance to those people, that they will remember the advice of their Minister.

You have said that my clients can expect to pay “between €1000 and €3000” for these services. This has now made it impossible for me to say to my client that the fee should be a multiple of these figures, as my clients question my professional honesty. These services are necessary on all new dwellings and on all extensions to dwellings exceeding 40 square metres (about 430 square feet) starting after last Saturday. This is a major portion of my business and of my family’s livelihood.

This inappropriate intervention by a Government Minister gives me a choice to:-

1. Withdraw from the market, with the consequent loss of my livelihood;

2. Quote a fee which is a multiple of what the Minister has said, causing my clients to doubt my integrity;

3. Undertake the work at a fee equal to, say, the highest figure which you has said, but which is then only 20% of what I need to charge to break even for an annual personal income of €60,000.

Regards

(A concerned professional)

_______________

 

O’Cofaigh: Competitiveness issues & BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

 Business-Studies-A-Level-Competitiveness

Implications for competitiveness in the Irish Construction Sector: Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. 9 and 105 of 2014

1. Background to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013-2014

The building regulations were introduced in 1991 in response to the “Stardust disaster”, in which many people lost their lives, a tragedy never to be repeated. They were welcomed by the construction sector and did raise building standards. But the construction regulation in Ireland is always reactive; and already in 1992 and repeatedly in the years afterwards, architects – among others – called for better enforcement of the regulations. Despite promises from Ministers and the Department of the Environment, the resources for a system of comprehensive inspection and enforcement were never put in place.

It took the pyrites and “Priory Hall” disasters to introduce the next round of changes. An Irish solution to an Irish problem:- “When there’s a problem with enforcing a law: change the law.”

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013, as subsequently amended and re-introduced as S.I. 9 of 2014, seek to respond to pyrites and “Priory Hall”. The Minister’s intention was and remains lauable, even if non-enforcement was the problem; and even if the new system is a complete disaster and will not make matters better for house buyers.

2. What’s wrong with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations?

S.I.9 of 2014 (as amended by S.I. 105 of 2014):-

  • Impacts on every significant building and interior fit-out project (not just on the speculative residential sector where the problems were caused);
  • Confers a de facto monopoly on building design and inspection of construction on registered architects (also “registered surveyors”, but of whom there are only about 150 in Ireland compared with 2500 architects, and “chartered engineers”, most of whom work entirely outside the construction sector);
  • In return requires those architects to certify (not “give as their opinion”) that everything designed and built complies in every detail with the building regulations, and places the architect between the house buyer and the builder;
  • Excludes experienced competent architectural technologists from earning a livelihood in this field any longer;
  • By requiring a competent builder to be appointed, closes down the centuries old tradition of “self-build” in rural areas – a tradition still flourishing in well-regulated countries such as the United Kingdom and Sweden;
  • Does nothing for a new house buyer except set up a paper trail for them to follow in the event of building failure;
  • Distances the local authority building control inspectors from the practicalities of the entire process;
  • Exposes valuable intellectual property to internet theft (Foreign Direct Investment projects);
  • Introduces two key gateways to every project: a Commencement Certificate and a Completion Certificate, to be signed by the architect but which the local authority can reject as invalid, putting the opening of new projects at significant risk.

3. The implications for competitiveness of these regulations

Recent studies have ranked Ireland as having the 115th most competitive construction sector out of 189 countries in which to do business. These new regulations will have a further and considerable adverse impact on competitiveness in construction.

They introduce new gateways (“Certificate of Compliance – Design” and “Certificate on Completion”) along the construction process. These certificates require new, extensive documentation submissions to building control authorities. Those authorities must validate those submissions before the building or works may be opened or occupied and have the right to reject them as invalid with consequent delay and cost implications. Local authorities have up to five weeks to validate the submissions. These are provisions for “rapid validation” but this process must be started several weeks in advance of project completion.

Interior fit-out projects in shopping complexes, schools, or other places of assembly, are commonly undertaken with tight deadlines to meet opening dates in advance of shopping seasons, school term starts, or suchlike. The provision to prohibit occupation or use of a premises in advance of local authority validation is likely in practice to add complexity, cost, and delay.

By conferring de facto monopoly on certification of design and construction, the regulations remove the established rights of architectural technologists to manage construction projects. Last April, the Minister for the Environment said that the system was “likely to add to the overall cost of construction projects”:- the regulations will increase cost by requiring the employment of a registered professional.

They introduce additional layers of information into an already complex system and miss the opportunity of aligning with other construction permits, including the closely-linked fire safety certificate and disability access certificate, both of which are required under building control regulations.

The regulations miss the chance, flagged in the Programme for Government, to implement a national building inspectorate. The efficiencies of such a system – which would be self-funded – would reduce the overall compliance cost.

That cost will increase through the cost of the sourcing, collating, and lodging the extra certification required from all participants in the design and the construction process; the time delays on sites caused by the new regulatory gateways; and the recurring cost of obtaining and providing product certification at interim payment stages on the site.

4. So what should be done with S.I. 9?

S.I. 9 should be scrapped. It impacts unnecessarily on all sectors of construction, as it imposes unnecessary cost and complexity of paperwork, and achieves nothing useful except monopoly conferral on a small number of construction sector actors in return for unacceptable levels of liability.

A proper system of independent third-party inspection, by experienced architects and engineers paid for by the developer but licensed by and answerable to the local authority, would achieve better results; would level the field for the self-builders; would allow experienced technologists to participate; would guarantee local authority-backed inspection of 100% of building sites; would solve the intellectual property issues; and could be done for €2m per year.

Such a system can be seen in operation in both Northern Ireland and in England. Such a system can and does work, can deliver better building, and can cost the State nothing. The small cost to set-up and administer a register of Independent certifiers could be paid for by the Developer through increased Commencement Notice fees payable to the local authorities.

The above opinion piece was submitted by previous president of the representative body for architects (RIAI) Eoin O’Cofaigh on 25th April 2014.

 


Irish Countrywomen’s Association and BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

microphone-at-conference

Here is an address delivered to the Sligo Federation of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, on Tuesday, April 23 2014 in the Sligo Park Hotel by Amanda Gallagher, Self-builder

Good evening Ladies and I thank you giving me some of your time tonight  to speak to you about these new Building Control Laws – I know when we here those words – building control – we usually zone out or nod off but trust me this is Building Control – out of control!

One of dreams one has as a young adult, when we think about our future – is of the dream house we will live in some day.   I was blessed the day I married Raymond, he is an electrician, we have 5 children We have five children and four of them are under 4.  I am a full time mother and housewife.    Myself and Raymond first saw our Architect in October 2012, between the three of us we came up with a plan of our dream home – everything we need as a family.  Raymond had just completed his Green Cert in Agriculture so the time was right in our lives and we were all set for our next adventure as a family.  We even built a little model of the house and the children know their rooms – they imagine what it will be like when we move there.   This house was always going to be a self build. Raymond would do the majority himself – we would employ some trades also – Groundswork team, block-layers, plasterers etc..

A few months ago Raymond came home from a meeting with our Architect and I could tell when he walked in that something was desperately wrong. He asked me had I read anything about new Building Regulations coming in?  After some internet research I came up with some very contradictory and confusing information. I rang the Department of the Environment the next day and the lady I spoke to assured me that Raymond could still build the house – ‘but’ she said most sternly – will your architect be happy if Raymond builds the house?  I found her question strange to say the least.

Our Planning Application was due to be lodged and our Architect informed Raymond that if this was going to be a self build project he would unfortunately have to let go of our hands. We didn’t understand at the time but we now know that anyone who intends to self build in Ireland will not find an Assigned Certifier to work with them – even the Law Society have advised these professionals that it would be too ‘risky’ to work with self builders – I don’t blame the Assigned Certifiers because these regulations are put together in such a way where all the responsibility of the build is on the certifiers shoulders.   Myself and Raymond were so desperate for answers we contacted Ocean FM, where we received more confusing information, we then called Joe Duffy’s Liveline, Raymond spoke one day, I the next, I was then contacted by RTE and they sent an interviewer to our home, we then were invited to the Morning Edition TV Show and we were featured on the Six One News.

I contacted you ladies as I am shocked at the mis-information that is coming from our Government. Minister Hogan says you can still self build – even though he knows that the Assigned Certifiers will not work alongside a self builder – there is nowhere for a self builder to sign the certificates within these new laws.   The government thinks these laws are needed to eradicate the ‘black market’ – they have this notion that they are losing out on revenue by people  self building their family homes.  I have pointed out that my husband is a PAYE worker – he is tax compliant, we would be purchasing all materials at local builder’s merchants, I am sure they are tax compliant – I hope the Government aren’t suggesting they want Tax from our Blood, Sweat and Tears?

You only have to do a little research yourselves and you will soon realise the same thing – If your husbands, sons, daughters or grandchildren are intending to build a home or extension or certain farm buildings,  they must employ a building contractor, an assigned certifier and a project supervisor.  The cost of all of the above compared to what the build could be done for by direct labour is monstrous.  If fact I would even go so far as to say – many of these planned builds will simply not go ahead now – this is very sad. This will have a disastrous effect on the future of rural Ireland and for the future of farming.

As you must employ a main building contractor – this will mean that many local tradesmen now have no chance of employment – this is terrible – we can no longer choose our own tradesmen – what will this mean for them now? After all – it is the tradesmen who are the actual ‘builders’ of our homes – not the building contractors – they may not know a hammer from a nail – they may be merely businessmen.

Ireland is now the only country in the world to ‘ban’ self building – this is a shocking fact – across the water in the UK they reward, support and encourage people to build a home for themselves – they quote up to £100,000 of a difference between self building and the cost of a building contractor- they encourage people on low incomes to self build a family home – giving them a purpose, dignity and something solid to leave their children one day.  I wanted to come here tonight to ask you ladies a few questions:

•Do you want your children and grandchildren to grow up in the Ireland that we all grew up in – the good old days – the days when everything didn’t revolve around money?

•Do you want your children and grandchildren to be free of the burden of debt – free of the massive mortgage that has so many poor people crippled in this country today?

•Do you want your local tradesmen to have a fair chance at gaining employment?

•Do you want to have the right to manage the build of your own family homes, extensions and farm buildings?

•Do you want to see Rural Ireland thrive once more like the days of old?

•Do you want to see an end of the greed and corruption of Developers and Builders that has destroyed this country?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions then I ask you to make your voices heard – research what I have told you here tonight – discuss it with your husbands and families. Pray to St. Joseph and to Jesus – those great carpenters – those magnificent Self Builders – these laws are an attack on the Irish Family – and there’s one thing I am sure of – the Irish mother and wife will not let anyone attack her family!

Question the Local Election Candidates – tell them Minister Hogan must immediately amend the wording on these documents to include the words building owner / self builder as opposed to a principal or director of a building company only.  Tell them this is outrageous and it is a national scandal. Tell them that this country’s survival depends on us, the ordinary men and women of Ireland, the farmers, the tradesmen, the children of tomorrow – not on builders or developers.  Tell them sometimes life is hard and we do not  need our government to make it harder when there is another sensible solution that would be fair.

You know this whole thing is so irrational when you grasp the fact that a building contractor and a self builder do exactly the same thing – we both study the house plans, we both purchase materials, we both employ tradesmen, we both listen to the architects advise – there is one difference however, the building contractor gains a hefty profit and puts a lot less love in to the build!  A building contractor is the one person that a self builder does not need to employ – it is the one expense that will send the budget out of control – we most definitely do not need to burden ourselves with debt and enslave ourselves to builders and banks for the rest of our days – after all:  If you buy what you don’t need you might have to sell what you do!!

Amanda Gallagher – My email: mandy.gall@hotmail.com

 

Top 10 Posts for Easter break

by Bregs Blog admin team

TOP10-easter-island

For anyone away last week over the Easter break here’s a summary of the top 10 most popular Breg Blog posts in the past week. With over 61,000 views to date, the interest in  BC(A)R SI.9 is growing. Just click on title to get to the post.

Registered surveyor letter to TD’s: BC(A)R SI.9

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier

Self builders escalate to Law Society: BC(A)R SI.9

Helpful advice for architects: BC(A)R SI.9

Radio Clip- O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer

Press Piece- Hot questions for election candidates: BC(A)R SI.9

BCMS: Are we getting what it said on the label?

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad

Radio Clip: Senator Mooney- BC(A)R SI.9

The Engineers Journal: how BC(A)R SI.9 works in practice

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following article appeared in The Engineers Journal on 24th April 2014: “Building Control Regulations: how it works in practice“.

In it, architect Orla Fitzgerald MRIAI notes the time required to discharge duties of new certifier roles under Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (SI.9 of 2014): “there is…a requirement for an additional 18 days of input“. One of the group of three that made up a key stakeholder group on behalf of the representative body for architects (RIAI), this time assessment is at odds with Minister Phil Hogan’s repeated estimate for additional costs for BC(A)R SI.9 at between €1000 to €3000 for a typical project. Not bad for an estimated 18 days. The test project noted has a similar administrative burden as a typical €180,000 house.

The RIAI issued advice at a CPD event on Monday 24th February 2014 in the Aviva stadium to over 500 members on the issue of hours required to undertake these new roles under the regulation. The presentation suggested 160 hours was required for a typical house for these roles. Based on the Minister’s cost range this would indicate €6.25 per hour as an hourly rate including vat at 23% for a competent engineer/ surveyor or architect to undertake these duties. Many practitioners and commentators feel that is a significantly below cost figure, and that the Minister’s figures also distort the market for any other EU registered professional wishing to compete for services in Ireland.

The RIAI, ACEI or SCSI have not made any statements contradicting the Minister’s assessments of costs for BC(A)R SI.9 to date.

Link to article here

Extract from article:

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Building Control Regulations: how it works in practice

Orla Fitz.Gerald explains the workings of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations and writes that the focus for compliance with S.I.9 can be summarised as: competence, resourcing, co-operation, documenting and certifying

Architects have heretofore provided services for design, contract administration and monitoring/inspection of construction works sufficient to issue an opinion on compliance with Building Regulations. The requirements under S.I. 9 are such that there is now a statutory requirement for the following:

  • Competence;
  • Formal review and certification of design;
  • Registration on the Building Control Management System (BCMS);
  • Requirement for formal submission of documents to the BCMS;
  • Inspection plan and records of inspection;
  • Overall record keeping;
  • Certification.

S.I.9/2014 is supported by the Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works, which gives guidance with respect to inspecting and certifying works or a building for compliance with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations. Many of the queries pertaining to ‘how’ are well dealt with in the Code of Practice (CoP) and familiarity with the document would serve practitioners well.

Take, for example, ‘competence’, which might reasonably be deemed as a prerequisite for a construction professional. Within the CoP, there is strong emphasis on competencefor all involved in the design, construction and certification of works or a building.

The limitation of certain functions (design certifier and assigned certifier) to registered architects, building surveyors or chartered engineers is a new requirement. The fact of being registered or chartered does not, of itself, give licence to certify. Every practitioner must consider the nature of the works they are being asked to certify and consider if they are competent to undertake such work.

The nature of construction has become quite complex and it is recognised that few, if any, will possess the broad skill-set at a sufficient level of competence so as to execute aDesign Certificate or Certificate of Compliance on Completion in the absence of reliance on third parties. Said third parties will provide Ancillary Certificates.

Of relevance and interest is that the CoP recognises that persons other than those entitled to sign the statutory certificates may provide Ancillary Certificates provided that they are competent and “exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence in the exercise of their duties”. It is probable that ‘specialists’ will emerge, particularly architectural technologists, with expertise in particular elements.

The above requirements have a cost consequence, as at various stages of the project, there are additional inputs necessary so as to undertake the following:

  • Ancillary Certificate for Design;
  • Design Certificate;
  • Preliminary Inspection Plan;
  • Submission of Commencement Notice;
  • Ancillary Certificate for Inspection for Completion (to provide to assigned certifier so to support the Certificate of Compliance on Completion);
  • Certificate of Compliance on Completion.

As a practitioner, I am of the opinion that the provision of services to accommodate the demands of S.I.9/2014, for the purpose of fee proposals and agreements, will need to be broken into elements relevant to each statutory certificate and also the provision of Ancillary Certification. Where projects would otherwise have had ‘full service’, there will be areas of overlap and therefore an economy in engaging the lead designer as the assigned certifier.

Projects that heretofore may not have benefited from ‘full service’, i.e. those understood to have been primarily ‘partial service’ prevalent in the ‘spec development’ arena, will have a greater adjustment to make in adapting to the new regime.

Taking a notional project as an example, consider the above in the context of a non-complex building project with a project value of circa €500,000 and a construction period of 26 weeks. The context of the following is as an architect who will undertake both the Design Certificate and the Certificate of Compliance on Completion, i.e. the role of the design certifier and the assigned certifier.

Inputs relating to the provision of third-party ancillary certificates – such as those from engineers – are not included, although will be necessary.

1.0 POST GRANT OF PLANNING PERMISSION TO SUBMISSION OF COMMENCEMENT NOTICE

1.1 Ancillary Certificate for Design, leading to Design Certificate:

  • Undertake Design Audit, including work of third parties to ensure their ancillary certificate is complete;
  • Document/record basis of ability to complete Design Certificate.

1.2 Preliminary Inspection Plan (PIP)

  • Prepare PIP for architectural elements;
  • Gather PIPs from other design consultants and co-ordinate to prepare Inspection Notification Framework (INF);
  • Discuss PIP and INF with contractor and owner and incorporate contractors programme and inspection regime into PIP for submission with Commencement Notice;
  • Co-ordinate and ensure completion of all statutory assignments and undertakings;
  • Gather and upload to BCMS required drawings, specifications, schedules and documents in support of Commencement Notice.

TOTAL TIME ANTICIPATED

Design Certificate work: 3-4 days

Inspection Plan: 2½-3 days

TOTAL INPUT ANTICIPATED: 6 days

2.0 CONSTRUCTION PHASE (BASED ON SIX-MONTH CONSTRUCTION PERIOD – 26 WEEKS)

2.1 Additional administration

  • Formal monitoring of inspections by all parties involved in relation to PIP;
  • Recording of amendments to drawings and uploading to BCMS;
  • Recording of inspections and testing identified as necessary.

2.2 Additional inspections

  • Inspections in addition to those undertaken in normal course of contract administration

TOTAL TIME ANTICIPATED

Additional administration: ½ day/fortnight

Additional inspections: ½ day/fortnight

TOTAL INPUT ANTICIPATED: 1 day/fortnight over 26 weeks = 13 days

N.B. NOT INCLUDED: possible additional inspections necessary due to works not ready or non-compliant at time of inspection.

3.0 COMPLETION STAGE – FINAL CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE CO-ORDINATION

3.1 Co-ordination

  • Contractor to ensure all ancillary certs, et cetera, from contracting side are in place;
  • Design team to ensure all ancillary certs et cetera and amended drawings, specifications and schedules are undertaken and prepared for upload to BCMS.

3.2 Completion and upload of Statutory Certificate

  • Attain signature of contractor on Statutory Certificate;
  • Upload all necessary documents, drawings et cetera to BCMS;
  • Complete Statutory Certificate of Compliance on Completion and upload to BCMS.

TOTAL TIME ANTICIPATED

Co-ordination: ½ day

Uploading to BCMS: ½ day

TOTAL INPUT ANTICIPATED: 1 day

4.0 SUMMARY OF ADDITIONAL INPUTS NECESSARY TO COMPLY WITH S.I. 9/2014

Inputs necessary up to and including submission of Commencement Notice:  6 days

Inputs necessary during construction period as set out above: 13 days

Inputs necessary to prepare and upload Compliance on Completion Certificate: 1 day

TOTAL ADDITIONAL DAYS REQUIRED: 20 days

There are no doubt persons who would consider the above is overstated. Nevertheless, if a margin of 10% is deducted, there is still a requirement for an additional 18 days of input.

Is the above realistic? In my opinion, many practitioners are unrealistic in what inputs are required in a construction project. Scheduling the activities assists in demonstrating what is necessary, in this instance, to fulfil the obligations of S.I.9/2014.

Adequate resourcing of projects is also set out in the CoP, under the Building Owner’srole, but this does not alleviate the practitioner in ensuring that they can resource adequately, indeed this is a core component of the RIAI Code of Practice. A race to the bottom in undercutting fees will result in lesser or poor service and expose the practitioner to a greater risk of liability.

Overall support and guidance is essential, particularly in the early stages of implementation. The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland is in the process of developing supporting documentation and guidance to assist members. Ongoing co-ordination with Engineers Ireland, the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland is also ensuring that all are aware of the progress within each grouping and, where possible, documents are being agreed between all.

There is robust debate and differing opinion, which presents even within a single discipline. It is essential that all who engage in the provision of either Statutory or Ancillary Certification should give active feedback to their respective organisations such that ongoing improvements and understanding of best practice in implementation can be shared and provided to all.

In summary, the focus for compliance with S.I.9/2014 can be captured in the following:

  • Competence;
  • Resourcing;
  • Co-ordination,
  • Documenting/recording and
  • Certifying.

Orla Fitz.Gerald is an architect in practice for over 25 years…FitzGerald was a member of the stakeholder working group liaising with the Department of Environment Community and Local Government in relation to the Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works under the Building Control Amendment Regulations 2014, and is a nominee from that group to the Building Control Management System oversight group. She is a current member of Technical Assessment Board as established under Building Control Act 2007.

 

Practical Post No. 7: Existing Shopping Centres

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Practical Post No. 7: Existing Shopping Centres

Under the building control regulations, it has always been the case that a “Material alteration to a unit in a shopping complex” requires a fire safety certificate, and that the developer has to lodge a Commencement Notice before starting work. The reasons for imposing these requirements, to do with fire safety and universal access, are widely understood and accepted.

A “Shopping Complex” covers many large and small centres including Jervis Centre, Dundrum Town Centre, Blanchardstown Centre, Liffey Valley Centre, Mahon Point, Crescent in Limerick; Sligo Quayside etc.

Within a centre, there are many units from large anchor tenants like Dunnes Stores, M&S, Heaton’s, Champion Sports to local independent retailers, coffee shops, fast food outlets, cinemas, parking and creches.

A “material alteration” is a change in layout which has implications for structure or fire safety. This could be moving a partition wall, changing the layout, sub-dividing a shop unit, adding a staircase, putting in a cooking area, changing a shopfront, increasing the occupancy etc.

There is no “downward limit” on the scope of works affected. This type of work is very frequent. Given day-to-day trading pressures, it’s often carried out at night-time, over a weekend, or in a fallow trading period in advance of, for example, the “Christmas rush”. Completion deadlines are vital.

The disastrous effect of S.I. 9 since 1 March is its impact on timescale to completion and occupation of the works. In fit-out projects of this nature there is no question of “turning a blind eye” to the law or to their insurance requirements. Landlords and tenants alike are concerned to the utmost to achieve full statutory compliance, as the safety of shoppers would be a fundamental requirement. But to achieve such full statutory compliance means that where part of the premises is changed, that part cannot be occupied or used unless and until the local authority have accepted as valid, the Certificate of Completion.

If the project is scheduled, as is frequently the case, to be done over a weekend; the 3 working day “down time” turns into five weeks and three days before the works can be opened or occupied.

If the building owner wishes to avail of the express validation procedures set out in S.I. 9 and thereby shorten this down time, the Certificate of Completion must be lodged with the local authority before the work commences on site (before the Commencement Notice is lodged) which is not legally or practically possible.

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Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments– click link here

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers– click link here

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices – Click link here

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?– Click link here

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier – Click link here

Practical Post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles! – Click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections?: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?–  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection –  Click link here

Practical post 15: Code of conduct issues –  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  – Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

 

 

BCMS: Are we getting what it said on the label?

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Building Control Management System : Are we getting what it said on the label?

Anyone who experienced the abysmal failure of the attempt at a nationwide validation system for planning applications welcomed the stated vision behind the Building Control Management System (BCMS) of “A single standardised fully electronic BCMS with standardised approaches and common protocols to ensure nationwide consistency in the administration of building control functions”. Most professionals involved in the construction sector understood this to mean that Commencement Notices would be lodged to a national / central portal where they would be validated before being issued to the individual Building Control Authorities for monitoring.

That does not seem to be the case with validations being determined by individual Building Control Authorities. Already word is getting back on confusion between authorities as to what constitutes a valid Commencement Notice submission in terms of drawings and specifications. Some seem to be happy with a few general arrangement plans and a written specification. Others are requesting drawings showing full compliance with every Technical Guidance Document diagram from the Building Regulations. Cork County Council reported at the Irish Building Control Institute Conference of having invalidated all 20 Commencement Notices that it had received during March.

The Building Control Authorities have highlighted their concerns about this process with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG). These include:

  • No Code of Practice has been issued by the DECLG to the Building Control Authorities on dealing with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R).
  • The DECLG did not conduct a public information campaign with each Building Control Authorities having to deal with a huge number of inquiries from both the public and professionals e.g. the status of the self-builders.
  • There is no DECLG / industry standard of what constitutes a Commencement Notice submission. Definitive guidance is required.
  • Anomalies in the online forms to be completed.
  • The required qualifications of the Building Control Officers assessing the submissions by the competent professionals have not been defined e.g. should these be equivalent or greater than the Assigned Certifiers.
  • Building Control Authorities have not received training or additional resources for managing BC(A)R. The previous goal of inspecting 15% of buildings once must now expand to inspecting buildings four times.
  • There is no standard building inspection sheet for the Building Control Officers.
  • The BCMS is not fully functional and the Local Government Management Agency has indicated recently that it will not be fully functional for 18 months.

Unfortunately it appears that 34 Building Control Authorities may equal 34 interpretations of the BC(A)R legislation which may make the planning validation fiasco a mere walk in the park compared to trying to lodge a Commencement Notice under BC(A)R!

The BReg Blog would appreciate receiving feedback on readers’ experiences of using the BCMS.

 

Other Breg Blog posts on this topic of interest:

Press Piece- A “perfect storm” for certifiers: BC(A)R SI.9– click here

No checks of Designer, Builder or Assigned Certifier on #BCMS – click here

The BCMS System – A Quickstart Guide… – click here

 

 

 

 

Radio Clip- O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer

by Bregs Blog admin team

In case you missed this from earlier in the week it’s worth a listen!

BRegs Blog

radio-mic-1

Continued confusion concerning the new building regulations and concern for self-building and was discussed on Ocean Fm, Ireland’s fastest growing radio station, on Wednesday 16th April.

Listen to clip North West Today, Wed, 16th April by OceanFM- click here

The building control segment starts on 41.46.

In this segment, mother of five and self-builder Amanda Gallagher reiterates her concerns regarding the halting of self-building projects due to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). She, and her family, planned to build their own house on her husband’s family farm. However due to the increased costs of employing a CIF registered contractor along with additional professional costs as a result of the new regulations, the cost of her planned house has spiralled beyond their reach- It will no longer be possible. She notes due to contradictory statements made by Minister Hogan and the Department, self-builders like herself and her family, have stalled commencement until…

View original post 231 more words

Helpful advice for architects: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Given recent legal opinions regarding certifier roles under Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (SI.9 of 2014) we thought this advice note “Architects and the Foundations of Negligence Claims (1.11.2010)” from Holmes O’Malley Sexton Solicitors may come in useful.

Link here: Architects and the Foundations of Negligence Claims (1.11.2010)

Quote from webpage:

“Each day professional indemnifiers are being called upon in order to consider potential claims. This article focuses on some of the most common areas of architect’s negligence.

 What is Professional Negligence?

Negligence is the failure to act as a reasonable person would be expected to act in similar circumstances. The standard of care which an architect must uphold is “reasonable care and skill” which is usually established by reference to the general practice of the building profession. A feature of the building profession is the large number of codes of practice relating to the manner of construction. However a professional is not entitled to blindly follow the provisions of a code of conduct without considering the precise relevance to the project at hand. The knowledge required of an architect will generally be judged by the standard of the ordinary competent architect. However if an architect carries out the job of quantity surveyor he or she will be judged by the standards of a reasonably competent quantity surveyor…

To Conclude

Even seemingly small negligent errors or omissions by an architect may result in vast awards of damages if buildings must be reworked and rectified. Accordingly it is vital that architects take care and take particular heed of some of the common pitfalls set out above.

Summary

There are common areas of negligence by architects which frequently become the subject of litigation. Early legal advice and alternative dispute resolution can assist in damage limitation for architects. Architects should consider limiting their warranties.”

Architects and other registered professionals should familiarise themselves in detail on the legal implications of the new building regulations.  Regarding the last sentence of the above advice note “Architects should consider limiting their warranties“, one of the main difficulties of the new regulations, for certifiers, is the word “certify” which is an absolute (see post here). Certifiers issue an unconditional guarantee for others work.

Some previous legal posts on aspects of BC(A)R SI.9 are listed here (click on title for post):

Alarming Legal opinion: BC(A)R SI.9

Difficult Senior Council Opinions

New Law Society Guidance Note

Legal firms advice on BC(A)R SI.9

BC(A)R SI.9 and the Law Society of Ireland

Legal Perspective: consumer benefit?

Senior Council Advice on BC(A)R SI.9

 “extraordinarily loose and vague”: Legal Implications of BC(A)R SI.9

Practical post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles!

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Practical post 6: We have an architect and engineer on board but neither of them will take on being Assigned Certifier.

We have an architect and engineer on board but neither of them will take on being Assigned Certifier.

Many professionals have concerns about future liabities and increasing PI (professional indemnity) insurance costs. In your situation, you can engage any other registered professional (architect, engineer or building surveyor) to take on this role alongside your existing team. The cost should not be any more than if your existing architect or engineer did this extra role.

This independent person can be an extra pair of eyes on the site and will also be responsible for putting together the full Completion Certificate file of documents for the local authority.

Directories of registered professionals in you area can be found through the professional bodies:

ACEI – The Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland: http://www.acei.ie/

SCSI – The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland: http://www.scsi.ie/

RIAI – The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland: http://www.riai.ie/

 

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Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments– click link here

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers– click link here

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices – Click link here

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?– Click link here

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier – Click link here

Practical Post 7: Existing Shopping Centres – Click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections?: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?–  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection –  Click link here

Practical post 15: Code of conduct issues –  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  – Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio Clip- O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer

by Bregs Blog admin team

radio-mic-1

Continued confusion concerning the new building regulations and concern for self-building and was discussed on Ocean Fm, Ireland’s fastest growing radio station, on Wednesday 16th April.

Listen to clip North West Today, Wed, 16th April by OceanFM- click here

The building control segment starts on 41.46.

In this segment, mother of five and self-builder Amanda Gallagher reiterates her concerns regarding the halting of self-building projects due to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). She, and her family, planned to build their own house on her husband’s family farm. However due to the increased costs of employing a CIF registered contractor along with additional professional costs as a result of the new regulations, the cost of her planned house has spiralled beyond their reach- It will no longer be possible. She notes due to contradictory statements made by Minister Hogan and the Department, self-builders like herself and her family, have stalled commencement until the problems associated with the regulations are ironed out. She views the new law as being a restriction on civil liberties, unique in Europe. She notes, in contrast, that in the UK financial incentives were recently introduced to promote self-building.

Ex president of the representative body for architects (RIAI) Eoin O’Cofaigh, speaking in a personal capacity, comments on issues raised. He confirms Ms Gallagher’s concerns and specifically notes the SI.9 builder’s completion certificate must be signed by a principal of director of a building company only- a very clear requirement on the form. He confirms the problems with the new building regulations generally for consumers. He also noted that the RIAI had unanimously decided that si9 is not in the interests of the consumer, as passed at recent EGM. He notes, despite the best intentions of the Minster, that SI9 simply will not work.

Mr O’Cofaigh suggests a more effective, simpler system of local authority inspections would give consumers far greater protection.

This system successfully operates in the UK presently and a similar system pre-dates our current defective system of self-certification. He suggested that self-regulation has not worked in other areas; banking, finance, charity sector- why should it be expected to work here in the construction sector. After 20 years it has resulted in systems failures such as Priory Hall and the pyrite scandal. He confirms that the new regulations, unfortunately, will not stop construction scandals like these from re-occurring.

 

Radio Clip: Senator Mooney- BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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On Ocean Fm, Ireland’s fastest growing radio station on Thursday 17th April, Senator Paschal Mooney discusses comments made by Miniser Phil Hogan in a Seanad debate on 10th April 2014. He mentions a subsequent complaint made by the representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) to to Minister Hogan- see letter here. The IAOSB have confirmed that, contrary to the Minister’s statements, self-builders had never been part of any consultation or stakeholder process.

Listen to clip North West Today, Thurs, 17th April by OceanFM- click HERE

The building control segment starts on 26.48 to 37.56 and a short piece later.

The real-world costs for SI.9 for a typical house were noted. For a €180k house the additional costs for employing a CIF registered contractor would be €22k; in addition to additional professional fees total costs (including professional fees) could add-up to €40k for self-build typical dwellings. This is against the Minister’s quoted figures in the Seanad of between €1,000 and €3,000.

He notes CIRI, the contractor’s register owned and operated by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), is written into legal documents, the Statutory Instrument. This, he feels, may suggest a “deal” done by the Government and the CIF to ensure only CIRI registered members can only works on residential builds.

The Senator notes there are only 2 registered certifiers in County Leitrim.

Towards the end of the segment Senator Mooney notes that the Law Society have recommended professionals not to certify self-build projects. This issue alone will preclude self-building at the moment in advance of a mandatory builder’s register.

 

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT

by Bregs Blog admin team

EU_gavel

It is understood that the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) representing particularly its Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland members, has received confirmation from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), that the European Commission has received a sufficient amount of complaints regarding CIAT Member exclusion from the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations SI 9 of 2014 to investigate this matter further

It is further understood that clarification regarding the Commission’s views should be made after Easter.

The high level of complaints made by some MCIAT members in the Republic and some Northern Irish members who practice in the Republic have resulted in the proposed EU investigation. The complaints have been based on a number of factors including, inter alia, the following:

  • The BCAR (i.e. SI 9 of 2014) are preventing some Chartered Architectural Technologists from continuing to offer and provide building design and compliance services in the Republic of Ireland which they are qualified to perform and have practiced for many years.
  • Being competent professionals, Chartered Architectural Technologists are being prevented from certifying design and compliance with the Building Regulations of construction works which it is being submitted to the EU is in breach of European Law in respect of competition, free market and freedom of movement, as well as their right to earn a living.
  • Some Chartered Architectural Technologists  have already suffered the loss of potential clients and commissions due to the Regulations. Question: Why would clients employ an MCIAT to lead the design and management of a project but are not able to fulfil the required certification role under the new regulations?
  • The BCAR excludes Chartered Architectural Technologists from undertaking the roles of the ‘design’ and ‘assigned certifier’ without any detailed evidence or legitimate reasons for doing so. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) has never explained its motives for excluding Chartered Architectural Technologists who are well established, qualified and competent practitioners from continuing to practice in the Republic of Ireland. Note: It is emphasised that ‘architects’ ‘building surveyors’ and chartered engineers’ are not the only construction professions typically involved in the design of construction works in Ireland as the DECLG and Minister Hogan seem to think.
  •  There is an apparent conflict between certain exclusionary aspects of the BCAR and The Good Friday Agreement. This is particularly in relation to the section dealing with ‘Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity’ within which the parties to the agreement affirmed the right to equal opportunity in all social and economic activity, regardless of class, creed, disability, gender or ethnicity.  MCIAT based in Northern Ireland who practice in the Republic are now at a disadvantage.
  • The qualification of Chartered Architectural Technologist is one of the best placed for the  purpose of certifying design and compliance with Building Regulations for all buildings, a role in which they are specifically trained, experienced and competent. Therefore their inclusion on the list of approved certifiers is an essential requirement for the effective operation of the Regulations.
  • That the MCIAT is a distinct qualification. Chartered Architectural Technologists are qualified and competent in their own right as professionals. It is emphasised that they are not assistant architects, part qualified architects, ‘practically trained architects’, Architectural Technicians nor ‘Architectural Technologists’ as defined/qualified by the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland, (RIAI).
  •  That there is no legitimate reason to exclude Chartered Architectural Technologists from continuing to practice in Ireland. The actions taken against Chartered Architectural Technologists and CIAT are not proportionate. Chartered Architectural Technologists have been excluded with the result of eliminating fair competition from other suitably qualified and competent professionals and thus it is considered by some complainants that the BCAR are in breach of Articles 101 and 102 of the European Treaty.

Self builders escalate to Law Society: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

irishlawsoc

The representative organisation for self builders (IAOSB) have written to the  Attorney General concerning the status of self-building in Ireland following the introduction of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) on 1st March 2014. This letter was sent after contradictory and conflicting guidance was issued by Minister Phil Hogan T.D. and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG). See letter here.

Following on from further recent legal advice the IAOSB have sent the following letter to the Law Society. This letter concerns recent Law Society guidance issued to their members. In this guidance note they recommend profesionals not to undertake certifier roles for self-builds. This would suggest that any self-builder, currently commencing or about to commence a project (after 1st March 2014), may run into financing and convayancing difficulties notwithstanding Ministerial and DECLG statements to the contrary.

Here is a link to the IAOSB letter to the Law Society – Click here.

Extract with letter off IAOSB website (with permission of IAOSB):

___________________

Letter to Mr John P Shaw, President of Law Society of Ireland

regarding Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I.9 of 2014

Dear Mr Shaw,

With the introduction on 1 March last of the Building Control (Amendment) regulations 2014, (S.I.9 of 2014) self-builders have been received confusing and contradictory advice from the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and from his Department as to whether it is possible for an owner, someone without prior contracting experience, to manage and build their own home under the new regulations. Our assessment of the situation under the regulations is as follows.

1) The owner may be able to nominate themselves as the “builder” (as per DECLG advice attached). However, also per the DECLG advice attached, only a principal or owner of a building firm, a “competent builder”, may sign the completion certificate. A “competent builder” is defined in the attached code of practice.

2) Provided a registered professional assumes the duties of assigned certifier (which is contrary to LSI advice), stage payments will be made (usually) on foot of recommendations for payment as per a normal building contract. This will remain unaffected unless the contractor or the professional certifier retires from the project.

3) At completion stage, the final payment usually is due on practical completion. This may remain the case under the S.I. 9 regime. However, no revised contract has been issued to incorporate the necessary S.I.9 local authority completion/validation process. This stage is unclear.

4) Completion documentation ideally should be lodged 3 weeks before practical completion, to ensure validation and practical completion occur at same time.

5) However under S.I.9, a building may not be occupied or used until the local authority has received and also validated the Certificate of Completion. It is likely that such validation will become a condition of financial institutions to release final payment, because occupation and “fit-for-purpose” now are governed by two separate sets of documentation. It is quite possible that under the building contract the build may be practically complete, i.e. “fit for purpose”, while at the same time an owner may not be able to occupy the building until the local authority validation procedure is completed. Under S.I.9 time is “at large” if completion documentation is deemed by a local authority to be invalid. This is a source of concern due to timing, delays and possible claims.

6) Under S.I.9, the builder’s completion certificate “must be signed by a principal or owner of a building company only”. The DECLG have issued conflicting guidance to local authorities and IAOSB on this. However, your Society has indicated that there may be difficulties for certifiers in compliance with this, and you recommend certifiers not to undertake any self-build projects (see your attached guidance note, and DECLG correspondence).

7) Notwithstanding this, no local authority code of practice has been issued as a definitive guide to implementation by DECLG to building control officials in local authorities. Due to this there may be differing interpretations by building control officials of S.I.9; e.g., commencement and completion documentation’s, certificates, materials records, part D compliance etc.

8) The code of practice issued to professionals does not mention anywhere an owner undertaking the role of builder in a project- it stipulates a “competent builder”. The definition of a competent builder is a person who has at least 3 years similar building experience. This is at odds with DECLG advice to date. This is referenced by law society guidance to professionals not to certify self-builds.

Conclusion

Due to the following:

  • Contradictory guidance issued by DECLG to date; that owners may nominate themselves as builders on commencement but that a “competent builder” must sign the completion certificate;
  • The uncertainty around “competent builder” where the owner / self-builder does not have at least 3 years similar building experience;
  • The law society guidance recommending professionals not to certify self-builds;
  • The lack of a local authority code of practice giving definitive guidance on status of self-build;
  • The lack of appropriate guidance from the Attorney General on the matter;
  • The lack of building contracts that incorporate new roles in S.I.9

One could conclude that any self-builder, nominating themselves as builder for their own house, is likely to experience completion delays and legal/ conveyance issues.

Therefore, we at Irish Association of Self Builders, on behalf of our members about to commence self-builds request clarification on conveyance issues from the Law Society as a matter of urgency.

Look forward to hearing from you soon and hope that you include your guidance in the gazette of law society.

Kind regards,

 

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of Self Builders

www.iaosb.com

 

We attach the following documentation for your information on the matter;

Code of practice

S.I.9 and Builder’s Completion Certificate

IAOSB letter to attorney general

localgov.ie guidance

Correspondence to and from DECLG (Martin Vaughan)

Law society advice on S.I.9 (March 2014)

Press Piece- Hot questions for election candidates: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

shutterstock_147931301-310x415

Here is a Link to Drogheda Independent 2nd April 2014: “Hot questions for election candidates” which tables 5 simple questions to ask upcoming election candidates when they arrive to your door. Although these questions are posed by a self-builder, we wonder how many questions could be asked by other groups who are the subject to adverse unintended consequences of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)? If any Architectural Technicians, farmers, SME’s, registered professionals, victims of pyrite, building control officers; anyone and everyone affected by BC(A)R SI.9, would like to write in to us here we would be only happy to assemble appropriate and relevant questions on an easy to access list.

Extract from Letter to Editor:

_______________

Dear Editor

I would like to ask your help in printing this list of questions on the the new Building Control laws for citizens to ask local election candidates when they canvass at our doors.

To all Citizens of Ireland who are thinking about building a home or an extension over 40 msq. New Building Control laws (known as SI 9) implemented by Minister Phil Hogan on March 1st this year now mean that all construction MUST go through a main building contractor, an assigned certifier, a project supervisor design stage and a project supervisor construction stage must also be employed. Effectively this all means that building a home in Ireland is now reserved for the privileged few – the very rich among us.

Here are some questions you can ask your local candidates:

(1) Why has Minister Hogan banned Self Building in Ireland? (if they say he hasn’t banned it – just tell them that all the documents are to be signed by a principal or director of a building company only.  The Minister has made absolutely NO provision for the self builder in these regulations.)

(2) Why is the self builder being punished for the mistakes of the Contractors and Developers of the Property Boom?

(3) Why did the Minister not listen to pleas for a deferral of these laws and listen to the sensible solutions put forward by members of the RIAI (Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland)?

(4) Why did the Minister amend these laws one week after they were implemented exempting Schools and Hospitals from these strict regulations?

(5) Why is Minister Hogan not being truthful with the Nation by refusing to issue a statement informing us that he has banned self building?

Thank you.

Amanda Gallagher

Ballisodare

Co. Sligo

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier

by Bregs Blog admin team

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier

Demuth-Figure5InGold

I am a garage owner arranging an extension to my business. The architect did not want to be the Assigned Certifier, so we engaged another registered professional at a very competitive rate. The Assigned Certifier rarely appears on site and I am concerned- what are my options?

Building Owners are now responsible under law for appointing competent professionals to the roles of Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier. The owner must also engage a competent builder.

There are two particular problems with the new regulations that apply to your situation. Firstly, if the Assigned Certifier does not do his job (perhaps his rate was too competitive?) the local authority may ‘red flag’ your site through the BCMS computer system. It is the Assigned Certifier who has control of the building file in the BCMS system so you need to make sure that YOUR legal obligations are being met. Under the Building Control Act, only the owner or the builder can be prosecuted, not the Assigned Certifier, so you need to make sure that YOU are not falling foul of the law.

A second problem can arise if you have to fire the Assigned Certifier or if he completely abandons the project. Under the new Building Regulations, YOU are obliged to appoint a new Assigned Certifier and to notify the local authority within 14 days. The new Assigned Certifier (if you can find one to take this on) will have access to the previous BCMS records but he have to take over and sign off that all of the work (even the work that he has not inspected himself) is in compliance at the end of the project.

If the Assigned Certifier fails to lodge the Completion Certificate or if it is not validated you cannot ‘open, occupy or operate’ the building until this is resolved.

____________

Other Posts in this series:

Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments– click link here

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers– click link here

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices – Click link here

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?– Click link here

Practical Post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles! – Click link here

Practical Post 7: Existing Shopping Centres – Click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections?: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?–  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection –  Click link here

Practical post 15: Code of conduct issues –  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  – Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

Registered surveyor letter to TD’s: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

How-To-Write-Personal-Letters

The following is a personal letter sent by a registered building surveyor (member of the SCSI) sent to his Local TD’s regarding the adverse consequences of Building Regulation (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). As the letter was a personal one we have removed the author’s name.

Re:Building Control Regulations (S.I.9) implemented in 1st March 2014.  

This letter is written in a personal capacity & contents & information contained are of personal opinions only.

I am a Registered Building Surveyor practicing privately in a rural location since 1999 & a very proud member of SCSI.  I oppose to the changes, which the Minister for the Environment has made to the building control regulations (S.I.9) that was implemented on the 1st March 2014.  In the public’s best interest, S.I. 9 should be immediately deferred & immediate consultations with stakeholders should recommence.

The reasons for my opposition I assure you are only the tip of the iceberg & our profession has many other concerns.

1.The remit of S.I 9

Although the Regulations were intended to be limited to just new buildings, extensions greater than 40 sqm & any development requiring a fire certificate, S.I.9 now impact on the majority of most significant buildings, interior fit-out projects, shop front replacements & agricultural developments greater than 200 sqm.

It now clear that S.I 9 has a direct impact to other industries & S.I 9 has not been designed from the outset with this in mind.  Confusion is in place amongst competent professionals to what exactly is & what is not within the remit of S.I 9.  Legal clarification & additional guidelines are urgently required on this matter.

2.Fees 

No professional knows how much work is required. There are no working samples or guideline samples to reference to. I have heard fees quoted of €1000 to €3000 costs from Minister Hogan for the process, however I have also read many times there is well in excess of 100 hours of additional work involved (RIAI estimate 156- 200 hours).

At a recent Seanad debate Minister Hogan has said he is ‘monitoring costs.’ To expect any competent professional to work at a guideline rate of €10 an hour, including Vat and expenses, is unsustainable. I hope he takes the appropriate measures to address this.

Only when working guidelines are published, can professionals & Minister Hogan, be in a competent position to issue guideline prices.  Until then the Minister should cease vilifying my profession , Engineers and Architects in the public arena and cease the accusation s of extortion.

3.Retrospect compliance with Building Control Regulations

S.I.9 has not allowed for retrospective compliance with Building Control Regulations.  Like it or not, it is a fact of life that genuine mistakes will occur. Considering the ever-increasing gray areas within the technical guidance documents, this is now inevitable. S.I.9 requires urgent revision to address these genuine non-compliant cases. To see such a system in operation and see how it succeeds, one need only to look to the UK.

4. Monopoly on building design

S.I 9 confers a de-facto monopoly on building design and inspection of construction on registered Surveyors, Engineers & Architects.  S.I 9 excludes experienced competent Architectural Technologists from earning a livelihood in this field any longer.

My father is a highly experienced and very competent design Technician and this year he is about to hang up his pencil and retire from the profession.  I am personally very lucky that I have had access to such a wealth of advice from such a competent professional.  With a stroke of a pen, S.I 9 now, for no good reason, deems my father (along with many others) a non-competent professional.  I cannot state clearly enough how insulting this elitist legislation is to this to my father  and many other similar professionals working in our building industry.

S.I 9 urgently requires 4th tier revision to acknowledge that Architectural Technologists are competent professionals.

5.Alarming Legal Opinion of S.I 9.    

S.I 9 requires a competent professional to CERTIFY (not “give as their opinion” but guarantee) that everything designed and built complies in every detail with the building regulations, and places the competent professional between the house buyer and the builder.  As no professional can be the master of all trades, Ancillary Certification was introduced to add protection to the professional for works carried out outside his/hers competence. I wish now to bring the following very concerning Legal Opinion to your attention.

At a recent CPD event organised by Commercial Media Group (CMG) Events in Dun Laoghaire on Wednesday 26th March 2014, some very alarming legal opinions were made on professional liability by very well respected & experienced Legal Professionals.

Barrett Chapman, Partner, Contruction Department, McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors:

Certificates “…should have said ‘I am of the opinion…If you certify and the building doesn’t comply, you are liable. There is no doubt about that…” Barrett Chapman stated that the DECLG need to review the word “certify” as it is “an absolute“.

Mr. Chapman gave a very bleak appraisal of the SI.9 certificate wording and said that a professional could certify, quote: “based on last night’s episode of the Simpsons” and it wouldn’t change the fact, that certifiers are offering an absolute (i.e. a guarantee) that a building complies. Despite additions of ‘based on the above’ and ‘using reasonable skill care & diligence’, the “absolute wording is still there“.

If a professional certifies that a building complies with building regulations, and later the building does not comply, the professional has made a “negligent misstatement”. While professionals may be able to avail of a cap for liability under a contract, a contract wording cannot change tort liability to 3rd parties.”

He additionally suggested that certifiers should make sure they have professional indemnity insurance. Regarding advice is to assigned certifiers in light of his presentation, whether to act in the new certifier roles, Barrett offered this advice: “Don’t“.

Fiona Forde, Barrister-at-law, Law Library:

Fiona Forde confirmed Barrett’s bleak assessment. Quote: “Assigned Certifiers will not be able to rely upon ancillary certificates. The courts have already proven this…Joint & Several liability is held on sacredly by the courts…(People will be) unable to put up much of a fight as ancillary or assigned certifiers.” She suggested architects’ P.I. Insurance would continue to be a target.

Both Mr. Chapman’s & Ms. Forde’s presentations are shocking, very alarming & very depressing.  These presentations cannot be ignored.  My reading of this clearly suggests that unless clarified by the Attorney General (or similar) of course, that the attempt to introduce Ancillary Certification to protect the Assigned Certifier has been ill thought out & has completely failed. Reference Post (both quotes):

“Alarming Legal opinion: BC(A)R SI.9”

Assigned Certifiers are clearly responsible & are unacceptably liable for 3rd party Ancillary Certifiers works.  S.I.9 has imposed significant responsibilities on the professional. It is creates unfair risks including criminalisation. Professionals are essentially under duress to work work within these precarious guidelines out of necessity needs.

Unless the Attorney General can address this serious issue & restore confidence in Ancillary Certification, professionals cannot act as an Ancillary Certifier under S.I 9.  If correct, this will have a knock on effect to public works, infrastructure etc. & grind these projects to a halt.

Given the onerous duties imposed by the Design Certificate, it would appear ridiculous to expect a professional to act as an Assigned Certifier.  The insurance back stop we rely upon upon through these Specialist Ancillary Certification is clearly not there or at least is highly questionable.

Alarmingly, it now appears that professionals are currently unnecessarily exposed for claims & court proceedings.  Logically, it is also only a matter of time before professionals becomes uninsurable as we are now sitting ducks against these proceedings.

I ask that the Department of Environment produce urgent clarification from the Attorney General that Ancillary Certification can be legally relied upon as it was intended to do within S.I.9.  Without this clarification, professionals cannot act as an Ancillary Certifier under S.I 9.  If full clarification by the Attorney General does not comprehensively address this issue then S.I.9 requires immediate deferral.

6.Register of Builders

A register of builders is welcome & there can be little argument against it. The Construction Registration Industry (CIF) has proposed very sensible, proactive & workable solutions to introducing a Building Register of Builders.  A €600 (ex VAT) fee however is completely excessive.

I am concerned that there is only one register managed by one private company and in the interest of competition, there should be a minimum of two.  There should be a legal undertaking that should a builder be removed from one register, the same builder would not be allowed onto the other.

I am sure I am open to criticism on this opinion, however what is clear & the point I’m trying to make is that the CIF will have an monopoly on the Building Register and can charge what they like.  This is already happening with a proposed hefty €600 fee (ex VAT).  Other commentators have already noted there is in existence a National Guild of Master Craftsmen with over 7,500 members (annual fee €195) . The minister appears to be conveying competitive advantage on the CIF in recent legislation in this regard. See reference here: “Is CIRI the only register of contractors?

At a recent Seanad debate on 10th April, Minister Hogan stated that he is ‘monitoring costs & will not allow any professional body an easy way to extortion.  I will be monitoring very closely’.  I suggest he starts with the CIF, as it is the intention of the CIF to charge disproportionately a single self employed sole trader the same fee as a large building firm employing many workers.

7.The end of Self-Build

S.I 9 requires a competent builder to be appointed.  The “Certificate of Completion” “must be signed by a Principal or Director of a building company only”. Minister Hogan’s attempt to clarify that self-build is still possible has clearly failed, as intended or not, this wording has banned self building.

Self builders are now faced with increased construction costs of up to 12% to any future dwelling. This equates to a €24,000 Euro construction cost increase to an typical €200,000 house.  Please note 60% of housing projects each year are constructed by direct labour.  I sincerely hope that the Minister is also monitoring these costs very closely.

In a recent Law Society Guidance Note to members, a number of issues are noted concerning the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). I attach a copy for your records.

In particular please note the following section

“In the meantime, however, a self-build owner will have to be willing to complete forms as indicated above and to find an architect, engineer or surveyor that is willing to undertake the task of acting as an Assigned Certifier – in most cases for a person with no experience acting as a “builder”. Doing so will clearly increase the risk for the architect, engineer or surveyor and such professionals would be best advised not to undertake such a role in this sort of situation.”

Professionals are now best advised’, under the publication Law Society Gazette issued by the Law Society 1st April 2014, not to undertake a supervision role for self build.  One cannot occur without the other.  If there is no Assigned Certifier, self-build cannot occur.

It would be professional suicide to ignore such an alarming publication issued by the Law Society & this now clearly ends the centuries old tradition of “self-build” in rural areas – a tradition still flourishing in well-regulated countries such as the United Kingdom.  In the UK the Building industry is actively embracing Self-Build & under the 2014 Budget, the British Chancellor announced £150 million sterling to support self-building projects as part of a plan to help resolve the UK’s housing crisis. Yet S.I.9 at a minimum rips the confidence out of the self build industry in Ireland, however in reality clearly bans it.

S.I 9 requires a competent builder to be appointed and has banned self-building. This is reinforced, as the Completion Certificate to be signed by a Competent Builder must be signed by a Director or Principal of a Building Company only.  It is clearly in black & white.  The IAOSB (representative organisation of self-builders) has requested clarification on the status of self-builders directly from the Attorney General reference here. A satisfactory response has not been received. See reference here.

The Minister’s attempt to put an end to the uncertainty of self-build has failed & now has the following options:

Immediate clarification is provided by the Attorney General (or similar) regarding the best advice issued by the Law Society Gazette.

  • Unambiguous details on how S.I 9 permits self-build should be provided with clear instruction on how this is to occur.
  • The Completion Certificate which is to be signed by a Competent Builder must be revised or should include ‘signed by a Director or Principal of a Registered Building Company only or a Self Builder.
  • Publicly announce that self-build is now illegal.

8. Legislation implemented solely in the interest of the Local Authority

S.I 9 does nothing for a new house buyer except set up a paper trail to follow in the event of building failure.

It is certainly Legislation issued not in the interest of the consumer or in the best interest of the building industry as Latent Defects Liability has been ignored.  This legislation, instead, has been implemented solely in the interest of the Local Authority. It distances Local Authority building control inspectors from the practicalities of the entire process.

This is an Irish solution to an Irish problem:- “When there’s a problem with enforcing a law: change it.”

Measures should be immediately put in place at a minimum to ensure a Local Authority backed inspection of 100% of building sites.  If the Minister serious about preventing another Priory Hall he has no choice but to adopt this procedure.

9.Self Regulation & Self Certification

S.I.9 embraces Self Regulation & Self Certification – one of the core reasons for the Priory Hall disaster. S.I.9 allows a builder to employ an in-house Assigned Certifier. It has not even addressed a basic logical concept that the Certifier & Builder should be completely independent of each other.

It should be noted that In January the RIAI Council resolved unanimously “self-certification, such as in these regulations, does not adequately protect the consumer” and called on the Government to defer the implementation of S.I 9.  Please note that the RIAI was one of the anchor stakeholders who negotiated S.I 9.

The RIAI wrote to Minister Hogan & Bruton in January requesting deferral of the regulations.  I attach letters to ministers along with the Ministers subsequent refusal. To prevent Priory Halls in the future Self Regulation & Self Certification must end.  This will require the complete abandonment of S.I 9.

10.S.I.105 undermined any remaining confidence of S.I 9

Recently shortcomings & lack of foresight forced an amendment to S.I .9 through the introduction of S.I.105.

S.I.105 is a short but complex Statutory Instrument that defers for 12 months the implementation of key aspects of S.I. 9 for educational and healthcare projects. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has been at pains to explain that the S.I. did not “defer implementation of the BC(A)Rs” – but this is semantics on his part. “When is a deferral not a deferral?”

This amendment now has completely undermined any confidence of S.I 9 & most professionals are now expecting further amendments.

11.Bigger Picture

This entire matter has raised a bigger picture.  If a businessperson intended to open up a small business – such as a coffee shop, the following is required.

  • Planning Permission
  • Fire Cert
  • Disabled Access Certificate
  • Dispensation application for the DAC
  • A preliminary Health & Safety Plan
  • Hire a PSCP
  • Hire a PSCS
  • Apply for Building Control Approval

This is all required prior to the fit out.

Prior to the implementation of S.I.9 we were at a tipping point however the new Building Control Regulations will now choke the life out of Small Business.

This is bureaucratic madness and is complicating, an already complicated process. This entire approach to our industry requires an immediate debate regards a far more simplistic system & approach.  It should start with the simplification of S.I.9.

11. And the rest …….  

A recommended solution to resolve the problems with S.I.9.

Revoke S.I.9 

S.I. 9 should be immediately revoked and immediate consultations with stakeholders should recommence to provide a far more simple system.  It is incomprehensible why such a complicated bureaucratic and untried system was introduced in the first place.  This is required as S.I.9 impacts unnecessarily on all sectors of construction, as imposes unnecessary cost and complexity of paperwork, and achieves nothing useful except monopoly conferral on a small number of construction sector actors in return for unacceptable levels of liability.

Deferring S.I.9 for a year or two makes sense & can be deferred by introducing a new Statutory Instrument in the same manner as S.I.105 was introduced to deferred hospital and school projects from S.I.9. The industry is clearly not ready for S.I.9, as the Minister completely under-estimated the impact the legislation would have on how buildings are designed, procured and built.  A deferral will allow debate, development and the introduction of a better system, a system everybody will have confidence in & understand.

A proper system of independent third-party inspection

A proper system of independent third-party inspection, by experienced 4 tier professionals, independent to the developer & licensed by, answerable to, the local authority, would achieve better results. This would level the field for the self-builders, allow experienced competent technologists to participate and guarantee local authority-backed inspection of 100% of building sites.  To see such a system in operation and see how it succeeds, one need only to look to the UK.  The blueprint is already available within the “System of Independent Inspection” in operation in Northern Ireland, England and Wales.  Such system can and does work & it delivers better building.  This system can be carried out here at minimal or no costs by simply increasing the Commencement Notice fee.

The Assigned Certifier & Contractor should be separate. I cannot emphasise how important this is.  This clearly removes any conflict of Interest or any possibility of undue influence by an unscrupulous Building Contractor.

Introduce a Defect Liability period 

A Defect Liability period should be introduced (this is part of a standard building contract currently).  When a building is ready for occupation, the competent professional can issue a Certificate of Practical Completion & a sum of money is retained. This retention fund can be retained for the duration of the defects liability period, which would be a minimum of one year.  Any defects that manifest after the building is occupied can be rectified by the Contractor or if necessary by the retention fund.  After the Defect Liability period is complete, a Final (non qualified) Certificate of Compliance is issued.  This suggestion may sound complicated however this system is a lot less complicated than the 27 pages bureaucratic Code of Practice accompanying S.I.9, I assure you that.

Should deferral of S.I 9 be rejected ?

On a broader basis should the many calls made for the deferral of S.I.9 be rejected, it is a clear statement that the Ministers full intention to ensure Enforcement of the Building Control Regulations will be by Self-Certification and will be independent of the Local Authority.  Should a defect occur to the building, the sole resolution as every one knows now will be via the courts as a Latent Defect process will not be in place.

As professionals & builders cannot reply upon Ancillary Certification, I cannot see then where the bureaucracy of the Code of Practice & S.I.9 fits into all this.

I suggest a very simple solution.  Remove the entire bureaucratic process and request both the competent professional/ competent contractor to sign a non-qualified certificate of compliance.  Best advise should be issues that Ancillary Certification can be obtained privately by both the professional & builder should the choose so.  This certificate of compliance & ancillary certificate can be produced and agreed by the Attorney General and/or Law Society.

The end result is the exact same, as the certification signed by both the professionals and builder will protect the owner. The responsibility of who created the default can be scrapped out in court in the same manner as it will under the current S.I.9 system.

Our profession are sitting ducks anyway.  This suggested system will make a quick & simple death for us, however the current S.I.9 system makes a slow & painful one.

Should the deferral of S.I 9 be rejected the minimum legal clarification is required  

Restore Confidence in Self Building

At the very beginning it must be remembered that if all the stakeholders been given clear instructions to find a way to attempt or just to ban self-building, you can be sure most stakeholders would have left the negotiating table there & then. I believe we have lost sight of this.

At a minimum S.I.9 has destroyed any confidence in the legality of self build. Confidence needs to be restored to Self-build buy providing clarification from the Attorney General (or Law Society) on how exactly Self Building in Ireland can be re-established. Superficial  and contradictory statements from the Minister and the Department have not and will not restore this confidence.

Let the Attorney General provide clarification or Minister Hogan must announce the end of Self-build.

There is only one thing worse than knowing & that is not knowing.

Restore Confidence in Ancillary Certification 

Unless clarified by the Attorney General (or similar), the attempt to introduce Ancillary Certification to protect the Assigned Certifier has been ill thought out & has failed.  Assigned Certifiers are now clearly responsible and are unacceptably liable for 3rd party Ancillary Certifiers works. Professionals are now best advised not to act as an Ancillary Certifier until S.I 9 is amended.  The advice issued by many accomplished Legal professionals echoing the same has destroyed any confidence in the ability of ancillary certification under S.I.9 to provide protection to Assigned Certifiers.

To restore this confidence clarification by the Attorney General (or similar) that S.I 9 certification process adequately protects Assigned Certifiers as it is intended to do.

Provide working samples & guidelines

No professional knows how much work is required.  There are no working samples or guideline samples to reference to.  Only when working guidelines are published, can professionals & Minister Hogan, be in a competent position to issue guideline prices & visualize the works that are involved to provide a professional & competent.

Recommence immediate consultations

A commitment by Minister Hogan should be made to recommence immediate consultations with stakeholders to try & iron out as many faults in S.I.9 as possible & to make the system far more simplistic to match that of the €1,000 to €3,000 cost guidelines he envisaged.

 

The final word

A collapse or amendment of S.I 9 can only be imminent.  This can occur in an embarrassing fashion for the Minister, or he can announce it on his own terms. It is clear that the Minister has completely underestimated S.I.9 when he signed & implemented it.  This instrument has been amended once under S.I.105 & it would be a shambles to have it revised again. Many industry commentators expect further part-deferrals in the near future.

If the matters raised are not addressed eventually the Government will be forced sit down and consult properly with all the legitimate consumer groups stakeholders such as the National Consumer Association & the Competition Authority  to determine a better system.   If this occurs, confidence will further eroded in this Government and rest assured the Minister will be the one person missing from the negotiation table.

I thank you for taking the time out to read my letter.

You are free to make whatever use of it or parts of it as you judge in the public interest & I urge you to make strong representations to Minister Hogan on this matter.

Sincerely yours,

 

 

 

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following Letter was sent by an Architectural Technologist to the Editor of the Irish Times on Wednesday April 16th, 2014. The letter concerns statements made by Minister Phil Hogan in a Seanad debate on 10th April. Lister to debate here. This letter follows on from a similar complaint made by the representative body for self-builders, who have already made formal representations to the Minister on his Seanad address. The IAOSB have called for an independent inquiry into the Minister’s statements. See the letter of complaint hereWe are not aware of any formal complaints or statements from other representative professional groups representing engineers, surveyors or architects, the ACEI, SCSI and RIAI respectively.

Link to Irish Times letter here

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Extract from letter: 

New building regulations

Sir, – The comments made by Phil Hogan in a Seanad debate in relation to the impacts of the new building regulations (“New building regulations will exclude non-professionals”, April 11th) are frankly disrespectful and misleading.

I am an architectural technologist with 30 years’ experience in the UK and Ireland. I qualified from a three-year course at DIT Bolton Street in 1982 and after 10 years in practice as a graduate architectural technologist I applied for chartered membership of the professional representative body in the UK, the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) and following an interview by an admission panel was admitted. Subsequently I was admitted as an architectural technologist member of the RIAI in 2007, having met their entry criteria and served as the architectural technologist member on RIAI Council between 2009 and 2011. The RIAI represents approximately 230 architectural technologist members.

When the consultations on building control amendments with the Department of the Environment were being conducted with stakeholders, and in spite of a plea by the RIAI architectural technologist committee to RIAI council to support the inclusion of their members, we were refused the institute’s support. The CIAT, which represents approximately 100 chartered members in the Ireland branch, was excluded from access to the stakeholder representation process by Department of the Environment officials.

To be informed now by Mr Hogan that in spite of being deemed to be qualified and competent by the CIAT and the RIAI I am now a “draftsman” and that “the new building regulations will make it more difficult for unqualified people to pass themselves off as construction professionals” is offensive and potentially catastrophic to the livelihoods of many architectural technologists. Where does this leave us and the many students who are at various stages on three-and four-year full-time courses? Yours, etc

BRIAN MAHER MSc

MCIAT MCABE,

Ballacolla Road,

Abbeyleix,

Co Laois

 

Press piece: Co Council votes to scrap BC(A)R S.I. 9

by Bregs Blog admin team

real_stop_sign

Wicklow County Council are the first Local Authority to formally request that Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan T.D. should revoke SI.9 for one-off housing. Given that the Minister is the director of elections for Fine Gael it will be interesting to see if BC(A)R SI.9 becomes a live issue during the forthcoming Local Election campaign, particularly in rural areas, where it is being hotly debated at local and council level. The following article appeared in the Wicklow Times on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, and describes the successful motion passed, and comments of various councillors and local representatives. There was also a separate article on this in Wicklow People on 16th April 2014.

Extract from article below (party affiliations have been added by blog in brackets):

Councillors want one-off houses off the hook

Councillors have voted to write to Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government to request that one-off houses be exempt from the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

At last week’s meeting of Wicklow County Council, (Independent) Councillors James Ruttle and Christopher Fox put forward the motion on the belief that one-ff houses would be the least likely to have irregularities.

Councillors also voiced concerns that individuals building one-off houses would have to pay far more than the estimate €1,000 – €3,000 figure that’s been reported.

Cllr Pat Doran (Fianna Fail) seconded the proposal, and it was passed by 12 votes to 5, with councillors John Byrne (Labour), Mick Glyn (Fine Gael) , George Jones (Fine Gael) , Conal Kavanagh (Labour) and Derek Mitchell (Fine Gael)  voting against it.

“From what I’m being told the €1,000 – €3,000  is way off the mark,” Cllr Fox said.  People are already being quoted €10,000 and €12,000 an people have produced these quotes to me.” he added.

“If you take the one-off house, whereby someone is buidling it for themselves to live in, they are not going to build an inferior type house,” argue Cllr Fox.  “I think most here have no problem with large multi-house developments or apartment blocks having to go through the riggers of certification, but for a one-off house I think we are adding a layer of cost that is unnecessary .” he continued. “We have to decide whether we support people who build one-off houses or don’t,” said Cllr Ruttle, who described the figures of €1,000 to €3,00 as “immensely conservative” and said that costs were instead escalating towards 10% of the build cost.  Echoing Cllr Fox, he said “the people who build to the highest standard are those who build their own homes on their own land with their own efforts.”

Cllr Pat Casey, who claimed to have recently seen  a quotation for an extension to a community hall where the new building regulations put the cost of an assigned certifier at €5,500, said that “it might be €1,000 to €3,000 on a development of 100 houses, but definitely not in relation to one-off houses.”  Cllr Pat Doran added that he knew somebody “that had to pay €1,000 for somebody to draw a bit of a sketch for somebody to put a few trees around his house.”

“We’re just stopping people from building their own home. I think it has to be re-thought, and should be abandoned at this stage.” he added.  Cllr Jones, however, believes that proper standards are needed across the board to hold people responsible.  “We’re screaming at the Minister to bring in legislation about standards in building: you can’t have discrimination between 1,500 houses and one house,” he said. “I would certainly support amending the legislation if there is a flaw in it, but not abandoning it; that’s absolute madness,” he added.

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Link to page here: One off housing WTimes copy

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?

by Bregs Blog admin team

number-4-kirstyhall-2

Practical problems: What if the builder goes bust or walks off in the middle of the job?

Under the old system, this was a headache for you and your architect. Contracts had to be determined, surveys done on the half-completed work, a new builder found, prices negotiated. However, once the Commencement Notice has been lodged with the local authority at the very start, you had no issues to sort out with the local authority.

The new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations change all that.

Firstly, there is no Completion Cert for the works that are done so far and as a result the new builder is going to have to sign off on EVERYTHING (foundations, drains, wall insulation, roof structure, the lot). This is going to make it much harder to find a new builder and much more likely that any new builder will charge a premium for taking on the additional liability for someone else’s (defective) work.

Secondly, you are under time pressure as the new builder has to be notified to the local authority within 14 days. Otherwise you, as owner, can be prosecuted.

Which leads us to another unanticipated problem with the regulations: You might find a builder, negotiate the price and even sign a contract before you send a Commencement Notice to the local authority. What then if their new computer system ‘red flags’ your builder and immediately cracks down on your site? Where do you stand then.

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Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments– click link here

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers– click link here

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices – Click link here

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier – Click link here

Practical Post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles! – Click link here

Practical Post 7: Existing Shopping Centres – Click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections?: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?–  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection –  Click link here

Practical post 15: Code of conduct issues –  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  – Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

Press Piece: Fingal Councillors call to end BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

fch_12

In this press piece local TD’s and councillors in Fingal express reservations concerning BC(A)R SI.9, with particular reference to once-off housing. Quote from article:

Councillor Anne Devitt spoke to the North Co. Dublin newspaper, County Leader about her objections to the new regulations. “I feel they are not fit for purpose, where one-off rural housing is concerned. It is bringing in an unnecessary lair of bureaucracy. I absolutely support it for large housing schemes and developments. The purpose of this regulation is to improve building conditions all round, to make sure that we no longer have a Priory Hall, or a pyrite problem.”

She continued, “The requirements for one-off housing are overprotective and are prohibitive, which will make the price of housing far too expensive. I project managed two self builds and I had an architect, who supervised the whole thing, which was needed to ensure that everything was in order. I knew excellent people in the building industry that I was able to call on, as I needed them, which meant I was able to complete the projects, without having to be a building contractor,” she said.

The North County Leader is a north County Dublin newspaper. Link to article from 10th March:  Divided Opinion On New Building Regulations

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Extract from article:

Divided Opinion On New Building Regulations

The new Building Control Regulations, which came into force on Saturday, 1st March last, are set to divide opinion in the locality, as regards the need for them, particularly in the case of rural one-off housing.

The Building Control Amendment Regulations set out to prevent the future reoccurrence of poorly constructed dwellings, pyrite damage and structures breaching fire regulations left as a legacy of a poorly regulated housing boom. A case in point is the ill-fated Priory Hall development.

Environment Minister, Phil Hogan maintains that “this is about restoring consumer confidence in construction as an industry, which are a major step forward and will, for the first time, give homeowners clarity, traceability and accountability at all stages of the building process. They will provide consumers with the protection they deserve.”

What this effectively means for local builders is that Assigned Certifiers, who can be registered architects, engineers or building surveyors, will inspect building works at key stages during construction. The Assigned Certifier and the builders will both certify that a finished building complies with the requirements of the building regulations.

Owners/developers will now be required to assign a competent person (i.e. Assigned Certifier) to inspect and certify the works. Industry sources suggest this requirement will typically cost between €1,000 and €3,000 per housing unit, to the overall building costs, although in reality this cost will be decided by market forces. Many believe that this is a small price to pay for ensuring that all safety precautions have been adhered to.

The County Leader met with mixed reaction to the regulations locally, with opinions divided on them. Mark Stillman of Stillman Building Contractors, who plies his trade in the North County, had very definite opinions about the new regulations. He said, “This will now put pressure on builders, engineers and architects to make the whole business compliant. It’s a good thing, especially with Priory Hall and is a more watchful eye from engineers and architects. It’s more about making sure that work is being carried out in accordance with building regulations. Too much work was done in the past, without proper compliance with regulations,” he said.

However, there is not widespread approval of these regulation, and a local councillor is calling on the Minister to place an exemption, or special clause for the necessity for a certified contractor, in the case of rural one-off housing.

Councillor Anne Devitt spoke to the County Leader about her objections to the new regulations. “I feel they are not fit for purpose, where one-off rural housing is concerned. It is bringing in an unnecessary lair of bureaucracy. I absolutely support it for large housing schemes and developments. The purpose of this regulation is to improve building conditions all round, to make sure that we no longer have a Priory Hall, or a pyrite problem.”

She continued, “The requirements for one-off housing are overprotective and are prohibitive, which will make the price of housing far too expensive. I project managed two self builds and I had an architect, who supervised the whole thing, which was needed to ensure that everything was in order. I knew excellent people in the building industry that I was able to call on, as I needed them, which meant I was able to complete the projects, without having to be a building contractor,” she said.

“The part of the regulation that I object to, is that, in order to commence building your house, you, as the site owner, have to hand over responsibility for that to a qualified contractor. But what constitutes a qualified contractor, has not yet been defined. This may take six months to decide, so in the meantime, I have no qualifying contractor to contact, so I don’t know who to engage.” “I don’t think you will get a building contractor to undertake the liability of somebody else’s work that is not in his team. For one-off houses, I don’t believe that a certified contractor is necessary. Even if you have an electrician or plumber in the family, they can no longer work on your house, it’s crazy. This will drive up the cost of one-off rural housing and put this kind of development beyond the reach of families,” she said. Any Cooney, a construction project manager from Ballyboughal, agrees with Devitt’s assertions. She said,  “I grew up in the country and if I didn’t get my commencement notice in on Friday last, the last day before the new regulations came into law,  I would have had to employ a contractor. The extra cost of 20 per cent, would have meant I may not get a mortgage for the job.  I don’t agree that we have to bring in contractors. My line of work is in project management, which means I have various tradesmen, and I don’t need to be loyal to a particular electrician. I could have five or six plumbers or carpenters, and I use them accordingly.

“Any contractor that I have worked with insist on using their own tradesmen and their friends. There’s a clique there and they have their set prices, and I always found them to be the most expensive jobs. There’s a sort of monopoly going on and I think these new regulations will mean the big contractors will get bigger and the small, independent carpenter will have to come under the wing of the big contractor, to ensure work for himself,” she said.

 

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Practical posts: Change of Use

You might think that the new Building Control Regulations relate to building work only. Think again.

Many categories of ‘change of use’ of a building require a Fire Safety Certificate and as a result all of the requirements of the new regulations fall on the building owner.

So if you are planning to change the use of your building into a shop, office, home, residential accomodaton or many other categories you must obtain a Fire Safety Certificate and a Disabled Access Certificate. Under the new regulations this also means that you may have to now appoint a Design Certifier, an Assigned Certifier, a competent builder (even if there is no building work) and you must wait to have a Completion  Certificate validated by the local authority before you move in.

Owners of offices may now need to make up to four separate professional appointments just to get the statutory permissions they need in place to commence building. This is before any tender documentation, specification and construction drawings are commissioned, a contractor is appointed or works commence on site. A “blizzard of red tape” as one commentator noted, particularly for SME’s. A friend, owner of a restaurant, recently remarked that he abandoned plans to install a new canopy on his shop and put up a new shopfront, as the cost of the permissions and professional fees, to manage this bureaucracy, were quite a bit more than the works themselves.

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Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments– click link here

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers– click link here

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?– Click link here

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier – Click link here

Practical Post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles! – Click link here

Practical Post 7: Existing Shopping Centres – Click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections?: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?–  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection –  Click link here

Practical post 15: Code of conduct issues –  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  – Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

Press Piece- A “perfect storm” for certifiers: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

construction

We know from the Irish Building Control Officer’s conference in Sligo recently that Building Control Officers (BCO’s) have not been given any additional resources, are encountering difficulties with the BCMS system (electronic lodgment system for documents), and no Local Authority Code of Practice (COP) has been issued: one is expected perhaps in September. From the “Better Building” conference last week in Croke Park we were told all 20 commencement notices lodged with Cork County Council for March had problems.

No Local Authority COP may result in various local authorities having differing interpretations of documentation required at commencement and completion stages; while a lack of adequately trained staff may mean extended delays when BCO’s are forced to invalidate completion documentation, due to lack of resources to handle an extensive additonal workload. This, coupled with no forms of contract to reflect the new roles under SI9, may be the “perfect storm” for the industry. At this point we can expect delays on completion due to BC(A)R SI.9, for all project types, with no contractual mechanisms to limit or contain delays, costs and claims that may result. Headaches all round!

The Minister’s justification for not re-deploying 200 qualified building control officers (say suitably-qualified and experienced Irish Water staff) to manage a properly resourced independent local authority inspectorate with 100% inspections, was cost.

Minster’s quote from Dáil “A move to a full local authority approval system (even one which allowed for the involvement of private sector operators) along the lines of the England and Wales model or otherwise would involve significant increase in building control staffing and resourcing and would be difficult to contemplate in the present economic environment.“ See previous post here.

It is all the more extraordinary that a fully resourced independent system of local authority inspections, with 100% target rates is possible, at no extra cost and with little administrative or legislative change. This system was explored on a previous post in our previous post: “How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9?

Read Paul Melia’ article of 12th March 2014; Independent.ie: “Councils spend half a billion on projects they’re unable to afford

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Extract from article here:

Councils spend half a billion on projects they’re unable to afford

CITY and county councils have spent more than half a billion euro building houses and water treatment plants and buying land without having funding in place.

A report from the Department of the Environment says that almost €540m has been spent on capital projects without funding being available, and warns of the “deteriorating financial position” of a number of councils across the country.

Some 20 of the 34 local authorities are technically insolvent, and are relying on overdrafts and bank borrowings to meet day-to-day expenses.

In some cases, all discretionary spending has been “effectively eliminated”, with Sligo County Council warning that it is retaining services “at levels to ensure compliance with statutory obligations”.

The Local Government Audit Service Activity Report examines spending in 2012, the last year for which figures are available, and warns that the merging of city and county councils, abolition of town and borough councils and the transfer of water services to Irish Water will present “major challenges” for the sector.

“Management should have in place additional reporting/ oversight arrangements on the activities of the merging authorities as and from January to May 2014,” it says.

“The finance functions in local authorities must be adequately supported to deliver the significant demands in this area.”

The report also notes a sharp decline in spending among councils since the height of the boom, particularly on capital projects. Spending in this area has plummeted from €6.134bn in 2008, to €1.791bn in 2012.

Purchase of land and other assets has dropped from just over €1bn in 2008 to just €163m last year, and development contributions are down to €45m from €460m in six years ago.

Key concerns raised include the level of unpaid charges, including rates and rents, across the 34 local authorities, poor financial management and a failure to go to the market to seek the best price for services.

REVALUATION

Councils also owe some €2.3bn, some of which is only being repaid on an interest-only basis. In addition, people who secured mortgages through the local authorities owe €1.3bn, but arrears in this area are mounting.

Some council staff also enjoy “acting up allowances” for carrying out particular roles, without approval from the Department of the Environment, and assets are not being properly recorded.

There are also concerns about a lack of internal audit functions in some councils to oversee day-to-day spending. There is a “lack of oversight” in how scarce public funds are being spent in some cases, while Mayo County Council was criticised for “effectively disbanding” its internal audit unit in June 2011.

The report says a “major revaluation” of assets including land, buildings and houses will need to be undertaken “when market conditions allow”.

On the issue of unfunded balances for capital projects, council managers have indicated they will be funded from future development levies, sales of assets and grants from the department.

Among the reasons given for the deterioration in local authorities’ finances are the general economic collapse, reductions in funding from the Government, the cost of servicing loans and payment of retirement gratuities to departing staff.

The report says some €289m was spent in 2012 on pensions and gratuities.

The Department of the Environment said the overall spend in councils had reduced “considerably since 2008 as the amount available from central government has been pared back”.

Staff numbers had dropped by 26pc from 37,243 in June 2008 to 27,456 in December 2013, with deep cuts in payroll including overtime and allowances. Savings of €839m were made in the same period due to efficiencies and changes to work practices.

A spokesman said the merger of councils in Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford, coupled with the dissolution of town and borough councils, would save up to €45m a year.

Irish Independent

 

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers

by Bregs Blog admin team

number-2

Practical post 2: “We want to be in for Christmas” 

How many people planning work on their home or business have said this? Whether you are building a house, extending your shop or refurbishing your pub the work is disruptive and puts everyone under financial and commercial pressures. You want the work to be finished as soon as possible.

One of the unanticipated consequences of the new Building Control Regulations is a delay at completion on all projects. You cannot now ‘open, operate or occupy’ the building again until the Completion Certificate is validated by the local authority. This can take up to 3 weeks if the documents are in order, or longer if there is some problem with the paperwork. In the meantime, the building lies idle.

Those who consider that a blind eye will be turned locally (the authorities don’t have the resources to be out checking) are probably correct. However, problems are likely to arise in drawing down final funding payments and more importantly in arranging insurance cover. It is likely that your insurance company will not cover your completed job and will reject claims for any problems (whether a leak, a fire or personal injury) that happen during your ‘illegal’ occupation.

Considerable delays on completion of projects under the new building regulation system are expected by the industry, due to lack of industry readiness and lack of resources allocated to building control sections in local authorities. Read previous post on this here. Given that there are no revised forms of contract that incorporate the new certifier roles, delays at completion stage are widely expected. Contractual claims may result due to delayed possession of projects by owners, which may result in costly disputes.

In a letter to senators in advance of a Senate debate on 10th April 2014, past president of the representative body for architects (RIAI) Pádraig Murray discussed the difficulties of completion stage under the new regulations here. Quote: “The S.I. 9 Certificate of Compliance on Completion will supersede the Final Certificate required by the most used Building Contract Forms in Ireland those published by the RIAI in agreement with the Construction Industry. As a result the very successful end of contract procedures required by those forms will be replaced by the inadequate and over-bureaucratic procedures made mandatory by S.I. 9.”

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Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments– click link here

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices – Click link here

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?– Click link here

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier – Click link here

Practical Post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles! – Click link here

Practical Post 7: Existing Shopping Centres – Click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections?: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?–  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection –  Click link here

Practical post 15: Code of conduct issues –  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  – Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

Press piece: professionals “engaging in financial extortion” says Hogan

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Some comments from the Seanad Debate  last week are noted in the following Irish Times article from Friday April 11th 2014. Minister Hogan: Many professional bodies have made outlandish quotations in my constituency and around the country,’’ he added.I will not allow any professional body to view this as an easy way of engaging in financial extortion of people in rural Ireland who wish to build their own houses.’’ Listen to Seanad debate here. Self-builders have been very quick in challenging the Minister’s statements in the Seanad (see self-builder post here), while representative professional bodies (ACEI, SCSI and RIAI) appear reluctant to respond to comments like the above and previous similar statements made in the Dáil by the Minster (see similar Dáil comments here).

Link to article by Michael O’Riordan (Irish Times):

New building regulations will exclude non-professionals, says Hogan;

Extract from article:

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New building regulations will exclude non-professionals, says Hogan

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said that new building regulations will make it more difficult for unqualified people to pass themselves off as construction professionals.

He told the Seanad that the statutory certificates required for building-control purposes must now be provided by registered professionals. “The profession of architectural technologist is unregulated in Ireland, ’’ he said. “Any such person who possesses the requisite competence in design and construction may seek inclusion on the statutory register.’’

Mr Hogan, who represents Carlow-Kilkenny, said he was monitoring what implementing those regulations would cost in terms of self-builds and direct labour. “Many professional bodies have made outlandish quotations in my constituency and around the country,’’ he added. “I will not allow any professional body to view this as an easy way of engaging in financial extortion of people in rural Ireland who wish to build their own houses.’’

Earlier, Fianna Fáil Senator Paschal Mooney warned that the new regulations could create difficulties for people building houses in rural Ireland.

Property inspection

He said, allowing for the usual exemptions, anybody wishing to build would be required by law to employ a professional engineer, architect or surveyor to inspect the property.

Mr Mooney asked if Mr Hogan knew how many professionals in Leitrim could sign off on a building. “There are two, one of whom I know is reluctant to be involved in this area. That person has other business and does not want to get involved.’’

The regulations, he said, would “place a hefty and disproportionate financial burden on one-off housing in the countryside’’. He added that, while the increase in building costs had been recognised by the department, there had been no action.

Mr Mooney said there had been no public information campaign, leading to speculation about the consequences of changes which might harm the construction sector.

“The level of resources being provided to local authorities to handle the deluge of information and paperwork that will result from the new system is questionable,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, members from all sides of the House paid tribute to Seanad clerk assistant Jody Blake who is retiring after 23 years. Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke spoke of her expertise.

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments

by Bregs Blog admin team

red-number-1

In response to a number of comments in our recent BC(A)R SI.9 shapshot survey (see post here) we will be running a series of up to ten Practical posts, written by and aimed at the home/ business owners, SME’s, and professionals about the new regulations. We thought a useful starting point was extensions, given a large number of comments/ queries we have received relate to questions like “does this minor extension/ alteration qualify under BC(A)R SI.9?“.

One correspondent was about to commence a new shopfront with no additional floor area. After some discussion it transpired that this material alteration would end up qualifying under SI.9. Unfortunately a majority of non-residenial under 25 Sqm alterations will qualify and the following post attempts to address the quite false impression, that small non-residential extensions automatically are exempt from SI.9. Enough talk and on to the topic.

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Practical Post 1: Extensions and Refurbishments under the  new Building Control Regulations  

There has been much commentary on the changes to new-build projects under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations.

The Minister in the Seanad on Thursday 10 April said that “Contrary to what Senators might have been told, it just applies to new builds and does not apply to extensions under 400 square feet or refurbishments”. Link to Seanad Debate on Thursday 10 April 

Apart from the error in measurement (40sqm, not 400 sqft) the Minister does not seem to be aware that this 40msq limit applies to HOUSE EXTENSIONS ONLY.

Small extensions to other residential buildings and to almost every other commercial and institutional building do not have this exemption. With a deficit in information or guidance from the DECLG, how many unwary building owners will now undertake works without a BCMS  Conmencement Notice in a situation where there are NO REMEDIES to allow legal occupation of the extension in the future. This alone has the potential to cause legal and conveyancing problems.

More importantly, many refurbishment and alterations in existing buildings also fall under the new regulations, due to the requirement to obtain a Fire Safety Certificate where the works come under Part A (Structure) or Part B ( Fire Safety).

Works in Protected Structures present designers with particular challenges. Part A or Part B works might only include moving a door, changing linings, replacing floor joists, reconfiguring escape routes or changing the use. Again, there are risks that the unwary will be caught out.

Finally, the absolute requirement that the works cannot be ‘opened, occupied or operated’ means an end to shops, pubs, hotels, airports and hospitals doing building works around their day to day operations.

A public information campaign, called for by Senator Paschal Mooney, is long overdue.

http://www.kildarestreet.com/sendebates/?id=2014-04-10a.74&s=Information+campaign#g76

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Other Posts in this series:

Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers– click link here

Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices – Click link here

Practical post 4: What if the builder goes bust?– Click link here

Practical Post 5: Small retail extension- problem with certifier – Click link here

Practical Post 6: no one wants to do certifier roles! – Click link here

Practical Post 7: Existing Shopping Centres – Click link here

Practical Post 8: Employees won’t certify: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections?: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Practical Post 11: Phasing and BC(A)R SI.9? – Click link here

Practical Post 12: “architects only” club?–  Click link here

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical Post 14: Supervision vs Inspection –  Click link here

Practical post 15: Code of conduct issues –  Click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – Click link here

Practical Post 17: Off-License fit-out –  Click link here

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  – Click link here

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 –  Click link here

Practical post 20: Are builders off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the unenviable position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working within these new and difficult regulations. 

Complaint to Minister re Seanad Debate: BC(A)R SI.9 (SI.105)

by Bregs Blog admin team

2776.2L

The following is a letter sent to Minister Hogan by the representative body for self-builders, the IAOSB, following statements made by Minister Phil Hogan in a recent Seanad Debate on 1oth April 2014 . The debate concerned the current new building regulations and part-deferral SI.105; listen to the debate here. This letter of complaint is in marked contrast to the “deafening silence” of professional groups mentioned by the Minister in recent Dáil statements and in the Seanad. See previous comments concerning “exploitation by professionals” here.

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Iaosb letter to Minister Hogan following his replies in the Seanad. 11/4/14

Dear Minister Hogan,

I have just finished listening to your Seanad speech from April 10th on Building Control (amendment) Regulation (S.I.9 of 2014) and SI.105. I am astonished that you mention that self-builders, and our organisation, have been kept informed and participated in the formation of the regulation.

We were not part of any stakeholder group- please clarify who was part of this group and who suggests they speak on behalf of self-builders or the Irish Association of Self Builder’s of Ireland. As you are well aware the last consumer input into SI.9 (SI.80) occurred in May 2012 when, after a particular meeting which was very critical of SI.9 (SI80), the Building Regulation Advisory Body (BRAB) was disbanded. Following this in mid 2012 you formed a special key stakeholder group comprised of representatives form the construction industry federation (CIF), surveyors, engineers and architects representative organisations (SCSI, ACEI and RIAI) along with members of your office and Department only. No consumer representatives had input into the regulation up to and until implementation on 1st March.

The 504 submissions frequently referred to, along with the very brief regulatory impact assessment undertaken in 2012 (none in 2013), appear to have been pretty much ignored. One look at the pyrite panel recommendations, submissions by Priory Hall residents and National Consumer Agency: calls for an end to self-certification and the introduction for a proper independent local authority system of 100% inspections, confirm little or no heed taken by you of consumer concerns in the formation SI.9.

We, self-builders of Ireland, did not know anything about the new building regulation until last October. You are fully aware that all consumer groups were excluded from any key stakeholder meetings since mid 2012. We have not held any meetings with you or any of your representatives, despite numerous requests clarifications regarding the status of self-builders to your office. Details of all correspondence to and from your office is on our website.

Any statement to the contrary in the Seanad, is quite simply, misinformation.

We did not have any response from the DECLG until 25th of February and that was after we started our nationwide campaign to petition TD’s. It is no coincidence that our requests for information were ignored until grassroots politicians started to get phone calls from very angry self-builders all across the country. We are well aware of the practicalities of our democratic process, and only the loudest will get answers. Our political campaign will intensify coming into local elections. We are noting to our members what TD’s have responded to our concerns and who has not. The current government, both coalition partners, have not responded to our concerns.

The only responses we have had to our letters to your Department have been three very confusing and contradictory emails from Martin Vaughan, with the usual stock answers that are provided to these questions. Due to the contradictory and conflicting advice produced by the Department and your office we have requested definitive legal opinion from the Attorney General on the status of self-builders.

Anecdotally we have had a huge amount of correspondence from self-builders who are confused at the current situation, and anxious in advance of the formal cessation of self-building in March 2015 when CIRI, the construction industry federation’s privately owned and operated register of contractors becomes mandatory. As you are aware we have made a complaint to the european ombudsman on this aspect of the regulation. This also is on our website.

The extraordinary reduction in commencement notices noted by you for March last month confirms the information we are receiving from self-builders all over the country. Out of the 120 commencement notices you noted as lodged for March, 100 qualified under SI.9. We believe out of these 20 were the 7 day type, non residential, and out of the remainder approximately 70 were qualifying residential projects. 70 houses or large extensions for the entire country. Last year 320 residential commencement notices were lodged in March. According to the better building conference in dublin this week all 20 commencement notices in Cork had problems associated with them. Only 70 Commencement notices in March is a massive 80% reduction and if this trend continues well over 2,000 less individual houses will be not be built in the 12 month run-up to the mandatory CIF register. This is higher than our estimated number of 1,800 self-builds abandoned made at the start of the year, due to the massive costs of SI.9 on self-builds.

Your continued insistence of a €1000 to €3000, an average cost of €2000 for SI9 for professional fees is simply ridiculous. The RIAI have confirmed the time required to complete adequately the duties of certifier under the new regulation at between 156 and 200 hours. Your average hourly rate then suggested is a little over €11, including 23% vat. Pretty ambitious for highly qualified competent persons with overheads, office costs, insurance costs, 23% vat and travel costs. If only the same strict cost guidelines were followed for the consultants involved in setting up Irish Water. Our members have been quoted up to, and over €15,000 for professional fees for all this red tape. Red tape, which you yourself have confirmed, does not increase any technical performance of our houses. The technical performance requirements are the same under SI.9 as they were under the previous regulations. Extraordinary.

Why did you give architects, engineers and surveyors a monopoly on certifying and getting money for every new house and every house extension over 400 square feet? This is adding thousands to the cost of a self-build project. What trouble was there ever with house extensions that you had to do that?

I like the point raised by one of the senators that there are only two assign certifiers in his county and the other one shouting that you are just trying to make the chosen few richer. Meanwhile hundreds of practically qualified non-registered architects have seen their careers slip away, disadvantaged by a small elite of registered professionals endorsed by your government.

Your reluctance to acknowledge that there will not be extraordinary costs to employ registered contractors to manage self-builds is equally ridiculous. Between preliminary costs, builder’s attendance, main contractor’s profit the extra-over for a typical residential project is in the region of over 12% of the cost of the build- for a €180,000 house this would be over €22,000. Between the extra for additional professional certifier roles and a main contractor’s fees and profit we are at €40,000 and over. To continue to state the contrary is deliberately misinforming the Seanad and the public on the matter. Your continued insistence on a cost of between €1000 and €3000 has been represented to us, we feel correctly, by some professionals as distorting the market and promotion of below cost selling of professional services.

You are well aware of recent law society advice issued to professionals recommending them not to certify self-builds. To suggest self-building is still possible in advance of March 2015 is not correct, when legal advice to the contrary has been furnished to all three representative professional certifier bodies. In a recent Dail statement on 8th April you stated “While no legislative proposals for the statutory register have been devised as yet, it is not intended that any such proposals would confine or restrict either self- build or one-off housing.” This is in the context of the impending introduction of the private CIF register on a statutory (mandatory) footing in March 2015. How a mandatory register can be proposed, while allowing self-building to continue, is simply a fiction and a gross misrepresentation to fellow elected representatives in the Seanad.

You have stated your department is in discussion with us and we have not risen any objections. This is a grave misrepresentation of our organisation and the interests of all self-builders in the Seanad. We would support any independent inquiry into these statements.

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of Self Builders

www.iaosb.com

The above letter is posted courtesy of IAOSB from their website- link here

Press piece: Mayo homes crack and crumble

by Bregs Blog admin team

2780M-pyrite1

There a thousand reasons why something could go wrong in your new home. Maybe the quarry hit a bad batch, maybe the glass was made at the wrong temperature, maybe the boiler was dropped on the van, maybe the lads had a night out.

The new building control system thinks that one person can see everything and that you can sue them for negligence for any problem. This is not good enough. When you buy a new home, just as when you buy a new car, you should have consumer rights, legal protections and immediate solutions. These homeowners have none and the new system will give them no new rights (see previous post here)

In the following article from 18th March 2014, Edwin McGreal examines the problem of Pyrite in homes in Mayo.

Link to article: “Mayo homes crack and crumble

Extract from article:

Mayo homes crack and crumble: Edwin McGreal

‘SAVAGE’ is how Erris County Councillor Gerry Coyle has described some of the damage caused by pyrite to houses in his locality. He also told The Mayo News that blocks used to build some houses in the area are now crumbling ‘like Weetabix’.
A Belmullet Electoral Area meeting last week heard that two local-authority housing estates in the Erris area have developed structural problems due to the presence of the dangerous mineral pyrite in building blocks in the houses.
According to Cllr Coyle, one of these is the Carrowteige Estate. He says there is an issue with pyrite throughout the estate, but cannot be sure exactly how many houses are affected.
“The damage to houses is savage – there are huge cracks, the blocks are like Weetabix crumbling. Plaster knocked off. It’s very bad.
“I am aware of almost two dozen houses locally in Erris with the problem, and I do not think this problem is confined to the Erris area,” Cllr Coyle said.
The councillor added that he also knows which quarry the defective building material originated from. He stated that it was not a local quarry in the Belmullet area.
Mayo County Council Director of Services for the Belmullet Electoral Area, Martin Keating, said he believed the blocks came from outside the county.
“The most likely scenario is that the blocks were imported when local producers couldn’t keep up with the demand at the time. I imagine the material could have come from the same area as where the problem was evident elsewhere in the country,” he said.
Cllr Coyle also said that the affected houses appear to have been built between 1998 and 2008. “The biggest problem is that people will be left out of pocket and worse, without houses, as insurance companies may not pay for this,” he said.

National problem
The problem of ‘pyritic heave’, where the presence of the mineral pyrite has caused cracks in buildings, was believed to be limited to over 12,500 houses in the Dublin and the wider Leinster area, most famously in the condemned Priory Hall in Dublin. However, Mayo County Council has confirmed that two council housing developments in the Erris area appear to have a pyrite problem too.
Martin Keating confirmed that the council was keenly aware of the situation.
“There are two developments in this electoral area that have developed some structural problems. We have carried out fairly intensive analysis and initial estimates say that the pyrite issue is involved,” he said.
Cllr Coyle had raised the subject at the electoral area meeting, saying that at least one house in these two estates was now unfit for habitation.
“There is definitely one house which is unsafe to live in, the gable wall is so cracked. These all come from a certain batch of blocks [produced] from 1998 to 2003, but thankfully these blocks are not in the foundations, like they are in houses in Kildare and Meath,” he said.
Cllr Coyle told the meeting that a person can actually crumble affected  blocks in their own hand, they are so weak, and that homeowners only became aware of the severity of the problem in recent months.

State aid
A €10 million state-funded remediation programme was announced last month for homes affected by pyritic heave, but this only covers homes in Meath, Kildare, Offaly and Dublin. Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh asked where this left local-authority homes damaged in the Erris area.
“I’m concerned for people who will be looking at their walls and not sure about cracks,” she said. “Can Mayo County Council help them?”
Responding, Martin Keating said that he believed that social housing would be covered wherever there is damage, but that the situation was unclear when it came to damage to private housing in Mayo.
Mr Keating also said that in order to definitively know whether a building was affected by pyritic heave, a sample from an affected block needed to be sent for analysis.
He said that while the council did not have responsibility in relation to private houses, it could prepare a step-by-step guide for what people needed to do if they have concerns.

Irish Council of Civil Liberties: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

 civil rights banner

“Civil liberties are personal guarantees and freedoms that the government cannot abridge, either by law or by judicial interpretation. Though the scope of the term differs amongst various countries, some examples of civil liberties include the freedom from slavery and forced labor, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, freedom of consciencereligionexpressionpressassembly and associationspeech, the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment and due process and the right to a fair trial, as well as the right to life. Other civil liberties may also include the right to own property, the right to defend oneself, and the right to bodily integrity. Within the distinctions between civil liberties and other types of liberty, there are distinctions between positive liberty/positive rights and negative liberty/negative rights.”

The following letter was sent by Amanda Gallagher, Self-builder, on April 6th 2014 to the Irish Council of Civil Liberties.

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Dear Irish Council of Civil Liberties,

We are a Co. Sligo family with 5 young children. We were planning to build our new dream family home in the Summer – and when it was complete we would be handing the keys of our crrent council house back to the State to help another family in need.  We are totally devastated at the new Building Control laws that were implemented on March 1st.  Our story was covered on RTEs Liveline, Morning Ireland, the Morning Edition Show and Six One News on February 28th.  We had hoped our pleas for to Minister Hogan for a deferral of these regulations would be listened to – how naive we were!

The plan we had was that our new home would be ‘self built’ – my husband is a fine electrician, and he would manage the entire build, we would have employed some tradesmen also.  We had a modest budget – and were all set to realise our dream.  These new laws however have abruptly ended the days of self build / direct labour – the preferred method of building homes in Ireland for centuries. We now have the reputation as the only country in the world to ban self building – this is most shocking and is something our government should not be proud of.

Across the water in the UK – they reward, support and encourage self builders – they give incentives to people to get up and build their own family homes – i’m sure you have seen Grand Designs, Building the Dream etc..  most enjoyable TV shows following self builders.  Germany, Sweden, Austria, all of Europe in fact, also support self builders as do Australia, USA and every country in the world – even i the Third World men are allowed to provide a shelter for their families!

These new laws state that all construction must go through a main building contractor, and an Assigned Certifier must also be employed – the cost of a building contractor along with the extra professional fees that are incurred under this law actually triples the budget that we had – this is most unjust.  The Minister and his department issue statements that self build can continue as before but unless the certificates within these Statutory Instruments are amended to include the words ‘self builder’ well then whatever the Minister ‘says’ does not change the Law of the Land – and that Law only makes a provision for a: Principal or director of a building company only. In fact, for my husband, a PAYE worker to sign these documents would be fraud.

The Law Society have also advised Assigned Certifiers not to undertake the role of certifier for self builders so this in effect renders self building impossible in Ireland today. This is going to damage to economy of Ireland – most especially in rural areas – as most one off houses in the country are self builds – these simply will not go ahead now – and this is serious. This will impact dramatically on builders merchants, window & door suppliers, local tradesmen etc..

I would like to point out that that self builders and building contractors do exactly the same thing – we both study the plans, we both purchase materials, we both employ tradesmen, we both listen to the architects – there is one difference however – the building contractor gains a hefty profit and puts a lot less love into the build!  There is ‘no school for builders’ – it is actually the tradesmen who are the ‘builders’ of our homes. So, therefore the Government are ‘forcing’ us to hire someone who does absolutely nothing different to what we do!  It is totally irrational, unjust and against our rights.

On behalf of the self builders,the farming community, the tradesmen, the architectural technologists, the draughts-men and all the citizens of Ireland that this unjust law affects we now implore the help of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties in our plight.  We are all feeling let down, rejected, hopeless and downtrodden by the very people who we elected to give us some hope of a brighter future.

We all were beginning to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ of this recession we are in but Minister Hogan has drastically changed this – he has blocked up the light with the most unjust laws – and we need your help to break through another opening in the tunnel so that we may see the light again.

We anxiously await your reply to this most serious matter.

Regards,

Amanda Gallagher

Co Sligo

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Extract from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties website. 

Link:  http://www.iccl.ie/about-the-iccl-2.html

Who we are 
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is Ireland’s leading independent human rights watchdog, which monitors, educates and campaigns in order to secure full enjoyment of human rights for everyone.

The ICCL is an entirely independent organisation and does not rely on government support or funding.

Founded in 1976 by Mary Robinson and others, the ICCL has played a leading role in some of Ireland’s most successful human rights campaigns. These have included campaigns to establish an independent Garda Ombudsman Commission, legalise the right to divorce, secure more effective protection of children’s rights, decriminalise homosexuality and introduce enhanced equality legislation. Since 1976 the ICCL has tirelessly lobbied the State to ensure the full implementation in Ireland of international human rights standards.

Murray letter to Senators: BC(A)R SI.9 (SI.105)

by Bregs Blog admin team

padraig-murray

Previous president of the representative body for architects (RIAI) Pádraig Murray FRIAI sent the following letter to a selected number of Independent and Opposition Senators in advance of A Senate debate on SI.9 (SI.105) on 10th April 2014. You can listen to the audio clip of the Seanad debate here.

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Dear Senator Daly,

I note that you will introduce a motion to annul S.I.105 of 2014 on the 10th April.

It would be more appropriate to annul or adjourn S.I.9 of 2014.

  • S.I.9 will force unnecessary changes to the standard RIAI Building Contracts including changes to the very successful end of contract procedures described therein.
  • The S.I. 9 Certificate of Compliance on Completion will supersede the Final Certificate required by the most used Building Contract Forms in Ireland those published by the RIAI in agreement with the Construction Industry. As a result the very successful end of contract procedures required by those forms will be replaced by the inadequate and over-bureaucratic procedures made mandatory by S.I. 9.
  • S.I.9 for no good reason will greatly increase the exposure of an architect signing the proposed certificate.
  • The existing Final Certificate already imposes significant responsibilities on the architect.  This legislation creates further and unfair risks including criminalisation.
  • S.I.9 will not prevent another Priory Hall nor will it provide compensation for those who may suffer in a similar disaster.
  • No provision is made to compensate those purchasing a defective apartment or house and there is nothing to prevent a Developer disposing of same before latent defects become manifest.

Please read the attached memorandum for further explanation of the above statements.

Yours sincerely

Padraig Murray, FRIAI

Cc:       All members of the Seanad

Seanad Debate : Thursday 10th April 2014

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S.I. 9 MEMORANDUM

Unnecessary change for the building industry as a whole.

This legislation will impact significantly on two sectors of the building industry in Ireland which provide the buildings we use referred to in this Memorandum as:

The Contract Building Sector.

The Speculative Development Sector.

What is the difference between them?

The Contract Building Sector provides our institutional buildings, universities, schools, hospitals, clinics, our commercial buildings for use by our public companies and enterprises, offices, shops, factories, our religious buildings our sports arenas and so on, together with a small proportion of our housing, mainly one-off housing and public sector housing.  The buildings are procured with professional advice at all stages and are built by competent independent building contractors.

The Speculative Development Sector provides a significant proportion of our housing needs both in housing estates and in multi-story apartments and a small proportion of buildings for commercial use often in renovated existing structures.  Significantly, many (some say all) of the building disasters since the Second World War, for example Priory Hall, the Pyrite housing, the Stardust fire, have occurred in buildings provided by this sector. These buildings are often procured using a minimum of professional advice and are built by a Developer.

What is the difference in the way their two sectors have procured their buildings?

The Contract Building Sector procured it’s building prior to S.I.9 as follows.

The architect and other consultants design the buildings to meet the requirements of the Planning Acts.

The architect and other consultants develop the planning drawings to comply with the Building Regulations and to obtain tenders.

The building owner enters into a contract with an established building contractor and the architect administers that contract and inspects the site.  Supplementary information may be furnished from time to time during the contract.

When the building is ready for occupation, a Certificate of Practical Completion is issued by the architect, but a sum of money is retained, the “Retention Fund”, for the duration of the “Defects Liability Period”, normally one year from Practical Completion.  At that point the building is thoroughly examined, all defects, especially those that become manifest after the building is occupied, are rectified, using the retention fund, only then is the Final Certificate issued.

The Speculative Building Sector have procured their buildings as follows:

The buildings are usually but not always designed by an architect to meet the requirements of the Planning Acts.

The building owner often goes straight to site using the planning drawings for construction purposes and depends on the knowledge, experience and common sense of his building operatives to meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.

On completion, the building is sold.  There is no defects liability period, there is no retention fund, and there is no opportunity for defects to manifest themselves before the building changes hands.

These are the buildings that give trouble later.  All of the major building disasters since the Second World War came from this category of building.  The fact that relatively few disasters occurred is a tribute to the knowledge and good common sense of our building operatives. However these buildings when free of disaster are frequently plagued by defects of the kind rectified after a year in the Contract Building Sector.

The new Building Regulation S.I. 9 imposes a new bureaucratic and untried system on the whole industry for all types of building. This system is described in a Code of Practice that runs to 27 pages of bureaucratic requirements.  In my opinion, two items stood out.

There is no requirement that the Building Control Authority must inspect either the voluminous information to be lodged or the work on site.

The Certificate of Compliance must be validated and registered by the Building Control Authority BEFORE the building is “opened, used or occupied”.

There is no provision for a retention fund, there is no provision for a defects list and remedial works twelve months after practical completion, the sensible successful system developed over a period of almost 200 years that has served us well is abandoned in the case of the vast majority of buildings for a system that is uncommonly close to the discredited one used by speculative builders.  This is a retrograde step.

Increased exposure for architect signing new Certificate

In the Contract Building Sector architects have always signed a Final Certificate at the end of the Defects Liability Period.  That certificate is conclusive evidence that the works have been properly carried out and completed in accordance with the terms of a contract (the terms of contract automatically provide that the Building Regulations have been complied with).  The certificate specifically excludes fraud, dishonesty, fraudulent concealment, defects or omissions that a reasonable inspection would not have disclosed. In addition the architect may rely on the advice of the consultants.

The new certificate has none of those reasonable exclusions however it has a number of additional hazards for the architect some of which are listed below.

S.I. certificates hold the certifier to be solely responsible for all the works.

Legal opinion appears to be that S.I. 9 “ancillary” certificates, furnished by consultants and contractors, are not to be relied on.

S.I. 9 certificates do not exclude fraud, dishonesty etc. referred to above.

S.I. 9 certificates must be issued without provision for a defects liability period, a retention fund or continuing architect authority to deal with post completion problems.

S.I. 9 certificates are subject to the possibility of bureaucratic delay on the part of the local authority with the risk of financial sanctions being imposed on the developer for which the certifier will be held responsible.

S.I. 9 certificates are more likely to lead to third party (tort) actions.

Most serious of all a defective S.I. 9 certificate will criminalise the architect.

S.I. 9 will not prevent another disaster nor does it provide financial assistance for those who may suffer financial loss 

It should be possible to ensure that the Speculative Building Sector complies with the Building Regulations without subjecting the whole industry to the bureaucratic Code of Practice recently published by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

 

S.I. 9 creates a Code of Practice that must be adhered to by all.  The Code will simply tie up architects offices in red tape requiring that things be done in the faceless bureaucratic way described.

The new system of a Certificate of Compliance on Completion will replace the much superior system of a Final Certificate issued not less than 12 months after completion now current for buildings where the standard RIAI contract forms have been used.

However this Code will not prevent a Speculative Developer creating another priory hall

It will be possible for a Developer to establish a limited company; retain registered professional staff to comply with S.I. 9; sell the development and put the company into liquidation before any latent defects become manifest.  In those circumstances, the only person available to compensate new owners is the certifier who may be a person of straw.  Sending the certifier to jail will be no consolation to those who are faced with large rectification bills.

This scenario can only be avoided if every building is subjected to both professional inspection during the course of the works and Local Authority inspection at critical stages.

In short, S.I. 9 greatly complicates the building procurement process for all and at the same time, reduces the level of protection available for those who use buildings provided by Contract Building Sector without providing any real protection against economic loss for those who occupy or purchase a defective building provided by the Speculative Development Sector.

Unregistered architect’s letter to Senator: BC(A)R SI.105

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following personal letter was sent to Senators in advance of a Senate debate on SI.105 by an unregistered architect. The author is a practice-trained architect of 33 years standing in the State.  He is not registered with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (Limited). His livelihood has been undermined by Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014), as have the livelihoods of some 500 other self-employed professionals across the State.(This 500 figure is taken from an RIAI Ltd. letter to the Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas dated 18/11/2011.)

He has been self-employed for more than a quarter of a century and currently finds himself, as a result of BC(A)R SI.9, with limited career prospects. He has prepared a briefing note in regard to the Seanad debate (below and attached)

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Seanad Debate : Thursday 10th April 2014

The Objective must be for Better Regulations:-

•Regulations which answer the Priory Hall & Pyrites issues: where, and without the ‘benefit’ of S.I.9 regulations, accountability is not a mystery and not the problem.
We have learnt that when statutory Building Regulations are breached, the significant issue is not that of establishing culpability, it is the securing of redress.

•Regulations which can be readily implemented:
e.g. through the Minister’s powers to make relevant regulations – as with S.I.80/2013 superseded by S.I.9/2014 which was quickly amended by S.I.105/2014.

•Regulations which promote competition, diversity and innovation:
i.e. support self-building, small local builders and a broad professional base (as advocated by the European Commission – see MEMO-13-839_EN.doc).

•Regulations that make common sense, are robust, simply monitored and of appropriate cost: i.e. Fit-for-Purpose.

The Mechanism

should not be devised around sectional interests nor tend to the making of a Closed Shop (which are significant failings of S.I.9 and S.I.105):-

•Revoke S.I.105 which simply papers over some of the cracks in S.I.9.

•Revoke S.I.9 because S.I.105 shows it is not fit-for-purpose.

•Make a new S.I. founded on State-compliant, Mandatory Latent Defects Insurance – no-fault building insurance (see for info. alone www.c-r-l.com/).
Avoid further State prescription – regulate incisively.
Let the approved insurers be responsible for dictating and managing their own inspection regimes and deciding who is competent to act as their inspectors and certifiers.

•Apply (and thereby test) these new regulations in a controlled manner:
i.e. initially on apartments (Priory Hall) and housing estates (Pyrites).

The Beneficiaries

will include:-

•The householder who will enjoy protection through no-fault insurance.

•The State which will be buffered by the approved insurers.

•The self-builder who will not be destroyed through blanket legislation.

•The small/local builder who will not become victim to a privately owned, self-regulation board (the CIF/CIRI builders’ register).

•The established, practice-trained professional whose local reputation will continue to be the first and best measure of competence.

Individual citizens and the public will see an essential drawing-back from State promoted self-certification and self-regulation in the building industry, delivering better security and stronger competition at every level.

 

O’Cofaigh letter to Senators: BC(A)R SI.9 (SI.105)

by Bregs Blog admin team

irish_parliament

Previous president of the representative body for architects (RIAI) Eoin O Cofaigh, sent the following letter to a selected number of Independent and Opposition Senators in advance of the debate in the Seanad on 10 April 2014. You can listen to the audio clip of the Seanad debate here.

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Building Control (Amendment) (No.2) regulations 12014, S.I. 105 of 2014

Dear Senator,

Next Thursday the Seanad debates a motion proposed by Senator Daly and seconded by Senator O Brien, “That Seanad Éireann resolves that Statutory Instrument No.105 of 2014 Building Control (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2014 be annulled.”

This motion is of the utmost public importance. The ability of the second House of the Oireachtas to see beyond the politics of the day and identify key issues of longer-term public interest confirms last year’s referendum result. Thank you for deciding to debate it.

I am an architect in private practice, for over 30 years now. I was President of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (1998-1999); President of the Architects’ Council of Europe in 2000; I am an Honorary member of American, Russian and German architectural institutes; I was a member of the Government’s Building Regulations Advisory Body from 2001-2007; an RIAI Council member since last January. Since May 2012 I have been an opponent in public of the changes which the Minister for the Environment has been making to the building regulations. This letter is of course written in a personal capacity.

Perhaps you will find the following of some use.

1. Background to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013-2014

The building regulations were introduced in 1991 in response to the “Stardust disaster”, in which many people lost their lives, a tragedy never to be repeated. They were welcomed by the construction sector and did raise building standards. But the construction regulation in Ireland is always reactive; and already in 1992 and repeatedly in the years afterwards, architects – among others – called for better enforcement of the regulations. Despite promises from Ministers and the Department of the Environment, this never effectively happened.

(Not surprising that there was no enforcement. The £25 (€30.75) charged per house Building Regulations Commencement Notice fee charged in 1991 today stands at … €30. So how could the system ever have paid for itself?)

It took the pyrites and “Priory Hall” disasters to introduce the next round of changes. An Irish solution to an Irish problem:- “When there’s a problem with enforcing a law: change it.”

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013, as subsequently amended and re-introduced as S.I. 9 of 2014 and as further modified by the regulations you are considering annulling, seek to respond to pyrites and “Priory Hall”. The Minister’s intention was and remains good, even if non-enforcement was the problem; and even if the new system is a complete disaster and will not make matters better for house buyers.

2. What’s wrong with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations?

S.I.9 (which of course is not the subject of your motion):-

•Impacts on every significant building and interior fit-out project (not just on the speculative residential sector where the problems were caused);

•Confers a de facto monopoly on building design and inspection of construction on registered architects (also “registered surveyors”, but of whom there are only about 150 in Ireland compared with 2500 architects, and “chartered engineers”, but most of whom work entirely outside the construction sector);

•In return requires those architects to certify (not “give as their opinion”) that everything designed and built complies in every detail with the building regulations, and places the architect between the house buyer and the builder;

•Excludes experienced competent architectural technologists from earning a livelihood in this field any longer;

•By requiring a competent builder to be appointed, closes down the centuries old tradition of “self-build” in rural areas – a tradition still flourishing in well-regulated countries such as the United Kingdom and Sweden;

•Does nothing for a new house buyer except set up a paper trail for them to follow in the event of building failure;

•Distances the local authority building control inspectors from the practicalities of the entire process;

•Exposes valuable intellectual property to internet theft (Foreign Direct Investment projects);

•Introduces two key gateways to every project: a Commencement Certificate and a Completion Certificate, to be signed by the architect but which the local authority can reject as invalid, putting the opening of new projects at significant risk

.. and more.

The RIAI, which alongside other construction sector stakeholders negotiated in secret with the Government on these regulations (a negotiating process in which no non-construction sector interests such as the National Consumer Association, the Competition Authority or IDA Ireland participated, and with the results we now see) at first welcomed these regulations. Since then, last January, the RIAI Council resolved unanimously that “self-certification, such as in these regulations, does not adequately protect the consumer” and called on the Government to defer their implementation. But that resolution merely reflected our adoption in General Meeting last Autumn, by 500 votes to 8, of the same view.

3. So what should be done with S.I. 9?

S.I. 9 should be scrapped. It impacts unnecessarily on all sectors of construction, as imposes unnecessary cost and complexity of paperwork, and achieves nothing useful except monopoly conferral on a small number of construction sector actors in return for unacceptable levels of liability.

A proper system of independent third-party inspection, by experienced architects and engineers paid for by the developer but licensed by and answerable to the local authority, would achieve better results; would level the field for the self-builders; would allow experienced technologists to participate; would guarantee local authority-backed inspection of 100% of building sites; would solve the intellectual property issues; and could be done for €2m per year.

To see such a system in operation and hear how it succeeds, one need only take the train to Newry or the boat to Holyhead. Such system can and does work, deliver better building, and can cost the State a net nothing, the cost being paid for by the Developer and through increased Commencement Notice fees.

4. What about S.I. 105 and what should be done with it?

S.I. 105 is a short but complex Statutory Instrument. It defers for 12 months the implementation of key aspects of S.I. 9 for educational and healthcare projects. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has been at pains to explain that the S.I. did not “defer implementation of the BC(A)Rs” – but this is semantics on his part. “When is a deferral not a deferral?”

Deferring S.I. 9 for a year for educational and healthcare projects makes sense, because the working-out of the S.I. has huge implications for the actual construction contracts, design contracts, completion procedures for projects and more. The industry was not ready for SI. 9 because the Minister, as advised by a small group of stakeholders, completely under-estimated the impact the legislation would have on how buildings are designed, procured and built.

It is correct that the entire S.I. 9 should have been deferred. Not just for public sector projects – schools and hospitals, the State looking out for its own interests – but also for the hundreds of private sector projects, small and large alike: shopping centre fit-outs; house extensions over 40 square metres; new office buildings; factory extensions; and more. All these are impacted by S.I., and all are now at large as regards time and delay.

If, next Thursday, you resolve to annul S.I. 105 of 2014, it follows that S.I. 9 “kicks in immediately” for these school and hospital projects also. This may be the effect you intend, and if so, that’s fine. S.I. 9 is such bad law that by making it apply immediately and in full to all school and health care projects, the chances of its total collapse are increased. With the total collapse of S.I. 9, the Government will be forced to sit down again and consult properly with all the legitimate non-construction sector stakeholders listed above, and come up with a better system. This need not take long: the outline is already available.

(A “System of Independent Inspection” is precisely that “better system”. It can be seen in operation in Northern Ireland, and in England and Wales.)

Such a collapse should be seen, not as a defeat for the Government but as a victory for common sense and the democratic process. Indeed if the Minister had received better advice from his officials, none of us would be in this position today. The Minister is doing his best in an impossibly overcrowded agenda. The Seanad will have won that victory for the people.

Not all my colleagues agree that S.I. 105 should be annulled, thereby subjecting immediately all educational and healthcare projects to S.I. 9. Those colleagues say, and they are right, that to do this will cause extensive delay to those projects with effects on construction sector output and employment. (The same effect on schools and hospitals as S.I. 9 will have in coming weeks in all other sectors.) Those colleagues favour, reluctantly, going ahead with S.I. 105 and working to change S.I. 9 in the coming months.

Precisely the dilemma faces you on Thursday as you debate annulling S.I. 105.

5. So how might the Seanad now consider proceeding?

As you are now faced with this impossible choice, you might consider whether your motion might be amended to extend S.I. 105 to cover all categories of buildings except speculative residential.

I do not know whether for you to adopt such an amended resolution is within your power. I am not a lawyer and do not know what your procedures to do this might properly be. I do not know whether this requires a broad rewording of your resolution or a detailed redrafting of the S.I.. I take the liberty of offering both.

“That Seanad Éireann resolves that Statutory Instrument No.105 of 2014 Building Control (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2014 be annulled amended to apply to all construction projects except those in the speculative residential sector.”

In detail, this would be done by amending article 4(b) of the S.I.:-

(b) The provisions at paragraph (a) may apply to the following categories of buildings—

(i) buildings intended for use as places of first level, second level or third level education;

(ii) buildings intended for use as hospitals and primary care centres.

(i) all buildings except residential buildings intended for sale prior to first occupation.

6. For this “deferral” to be properly effective

S.I. 105 doesn’t apply to all educational or healthcare buildings – only to those which already have planning permission. A proper deferral would also indicate deletion of article 4(c):-

(c) The provisions at paragraph (a) shall only apply to buildings referred to at paragraph (b) where each of the following circumstances has been fulfilled—

(i) planning permission, where applicable, has been obtained before 1 March 2014;

(ii) contract documents have been signed before 1 November 2014; and

(iii) a valid commencement notice has been lodged with the building control authority no later than 1 March 2015.”

7. The consequences of amending S.I. 105 as herein

For you to adopt such an amended resolution would have the following consequences.

(1) All building design and construction work would remain fully subject to building regulations.

(2) It would bring the effect of S.I. 9 back to cover only those projects for which the Minister wished to achieve better protection for home buyers.

(3) It would remove the problems which the de-facto S.I. 9 certification monopoly creates for self-builders and architectural technologists.

(4) It would allow FDI projects and SME projects, large and small alike, continue under the old system of building regulation which has served those sectors reasonably well for the past 23 years.

(5) Above all, by deferring all projects and not just educational and healthcare, it would allow 12 months for the Minister to reconsider the effects of S.I. 9 and for all interested parties to debate, develop and introduce a better system.

Thank you. I am taking the liberty of sending a copy of this letter to a number of Senators, in .doc format for easy copying. You are free to make whatever use of it or parts of it as you judge in the public interest.

Sincerely yours,

Eoin O Cofaigh

Eoin O Cofaigh FRIAI

Listen to Seanad Debate: SI.9 (si.105)

by Bregs Blog admin team

Oireachtas  Web

A Motion proposed by Senator Mark Daly and seconded by Senator Darragh O’Brien was debated earlier in the Seanad this Thursday, 10th April 2014. The debate was directed at the the making of better construction regulations in response to the Priory Hall and Pyrites scandals. The motion was “That Seanad Eireann resolves that Statutory Instrument No 105 of 2014. Building Control (amendment) regulations 2014 be annulled.” In the following audio clip a number of senators voice concerns over the current system of self-regulation, the devastating impact on self-building, additional costs and the apparent anti-consumer bias of the new building regulations.

Link to podcasst of the Seanad debate from Thursday 10th April 2014:

Seanad SI.9 (SI.105) Motion Thursday 10th April

Link to debate here

We have noted in earlier posts the official RIAI requests to Minister Hogan and Bruton in January 2014, to defer the introduction of the new regulations here. Self-builders have objected to Europe at the anti-competitive practices enshrined in here new regulation- see previous post on this here. The lack of any new consumer rights or protections under the new regulations has been noted by construction industry legal experts also (here).

Some extracts from Seanad Debate below,

Senator Norris 10/04/2014

“If the government introduces regulation and then exempts some of its own operations from those regulations there is something very fishy going on”

“The certificate does not contemplate fraud, concealment

set up an artificial paper trail … self certification does not work

“no requirement for the building control to check design or the work”

“the architect used to be able to rely on the advise of consultants, now the architect is solely responsible. We’re actually going to criminalise architects…an honest architect can be trapped by dishonesty and he can still become a criminal…500 to 8 voted that this was a dangerous proposal”

“ancillary certificates cannot be relied upon, so offer no protection for the architect…the certificates do not have let out clauses for fraud, dishonesty or concealment”

“I am very very worried about what the impact of the introduction of these regulations will be”

“this won’t protect the consumer”

 

Minister Phil Hogan 10/04/2014

“I am ensuring… the route to becoming a member of a professional body is becoming easier

…quoting Garrett Fennell  “recommendations to make is easier to become registered with the registered bodies”

professional bodies making outlandish quotationsnot allow any body to think this will be an easy way to financial extortion, make easy money

“open up the professional bodies more to people who have experience over the past number of years.. especially the Celtic tiger years”

“There is a not a majority of architects against  these proposals,the majority are in favour of these proposals… in fact the former president of the RIAI, Michelle Fagan is on the oversight group that is monitoring all of these regulations and has come out in support of these regulations”

I’m not making any apologies to anyone.. the customer comes first and its about time

“in the past.. professionals, particularly architects.. signed off on buildings without even seeing them”

“I make no apologies to the professional bodies for doing this”

Nonsense about €40,000

“people should be able to do this for a modest amount of money.. an average of €3000 in rural areas”

I’m coming from the point of view of the consumer

 

 

Caveat emptor: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

House-with-magnifying-glass-

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Caveat emptor /ˌkæviːɑːt ˈɛmptɔr/ is Latin for “Let the buyer beware”[1] (from caveat, “may he beware”, the subjunctive of cavere, “to beware” + emptor, “buyer”).

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Dear architects, engineers and surveyors,

You might be delighted to see new opportunities under BCARs or maybe you are lying awake worrying about the implications for your small practice.

In either case, take 5 minutes to think about this.

If you buy a car or a washing machine or a new pair of socks today you have rights. As a consumer, you have laws to protect you from defective goods and shady operators. If the wipers don’t work or the elastic fails, you can go back. You have consumer rights to repair, replacement or a refund. There are laws to protect you, courts for small claims and a Consumer Agency to advise you.

If you buy an apartment today the vendor is home-free. You have very few rights and only Joe Duffy to hear your case. You could engage a solicitor, agree fees, make a list of possible targets and see if you can make a case for negligence against someone. It will take time. It’s high cost and high risk.

In the Seanad this week a bill is being debated that would extend the statute of limitations on pyrite homes to 5 years ‘after’ the discovery of the defects. This is well meaning, as these homeowners have virtually no rights and many have no other means of redress. They will have longer to trek through the courts, but no new rights.

Maybe we should be asking why? Other countries build in protections for homebuyers through consumer law and insurance policies. They don’t target the person who had no financial interest in cutting corners before they cut and run.

So, are you still wondering what you are buying into under BCARs? Caveat emptor.

The above opinion piece was submitted by a registered professional on April 10th 2014

 

Warning to Unions: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

Jim-Larkin-on-OConnell-Street-1923-MY-LOCKOUT

The following letter was sent by Amanda Gallagher, Self-builder, on April 6th 2014 to the following unions:  OPATSI (Plasterers Union of Ireland), TEEU (Electrical), ICTU, UNITE, SIPTU, IWU (Independent Workers Union), UCATT (Construction Allied Trades & Technicians), APHCI (Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors Ireland)

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Dear Unions –

Please forward this letter to your Members that are involved in any way to the Construction Sector,

I write to you regarding the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – (SI 9).  My name is Amanda Gallagher from Co. Sligo.  Myself and my husband were planning a ‘self build’ this summer.  Our story was featured on RTE Radio & TV Shows and also the Six One News on Friday, Feb. 28th last – we hoped our pleas for a deferral of these new Building Control laws to the Minister would be listened to – how naive of us!

I am concerned for the Tradesmen (& women) of Ireland – my own husband is an electrician.  The SI 9 state that all construction in Ireland must now go through a main Building Contractor – gone are days of direct labour / self build.  This is very grim.  The CIF (a private company) have introduced CIRI (Construction Industry Register of Ireland) on a voluntary basis but from March 1st 2015 it will be put on a Statutory footing – however the Certificates within the Statutory Instruments relating to Building Control have made a provision for the Building Contractor to enter his CIRI number – this is bewildering – that a private company is ‘advertised’ within Irelands’ legal documents and they haven’t even been made Statutory yet!

The CIF along with Minister Hogan present CIRI as some new invention in the Construction Sector. I have pointed out to them that Ireland already had a register of Builders & Tradesmen – The National Guild of Master Craftsmen – these men have been forgotten.

My concern for you guys is that as a main building contractor must be employed by any home owner who wishes to build a home or an extension above 40msq – it puts Tradesmen in a situation whereby unless that Building Contractor chooses you off the CIRI you have absolutely no chance of employment.  That main Building Contractor will without doubt always bring his ‘usual crew’ to a job.  The General Public can no longer choose their preferred tradesmen. 

The cost to register with CIRI is 738 euro (annually)plus 50 euro induction course.  ‘This may go up or may go down depending on how many join’said the CIF at a meeting I attended recently.  The cost to register with the National Guild is 295 euro initially and then 195 euro per year after.  I have written to Minister Hogan to talk to the CIF about their pricing structure.

I was at a Building Control Conference last week and the CIF were presenting CIRI – the only concern they had was if te person joining CIRI is Tax compliant. I pointed out to them that it astonishes me to hear the only concern of the CIF was if the builder had a certificate of Tax compliance and not a mention of a certificate of qualification.   As we all know there is no ‘school for builders’ – there is absolutely no way a building contractor can ‘prove’ he is ‘competent’ as he cannot show me a qualification.  Also, there will be people on the CIRI with absolutely no qualification – this is most unfair on the people on the same register with a Qualification – does this mean we don’t bother with Apprenticeships anymore? When all we have to do is be tax compliant and give a 3 references of past projects – this is utter nonsense and we must all work together to get a fair system in place.

We, as self builders, have set up a petition in order to get enough support to have a Dail debate on these unjust laws, we are also calling for a Register of Qualified Tradesmen, project managers etc..to be available at each local authority so that the general public can choose their local registered tradesmen in a fair and transparent manner – why should the CIF – a private company hold a dominant position in the Construction Sector of Ireland?

Petition Link: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/self-build-rights-ireland 

By the way, I wondered at how Regulations as ‘unjust’ as the SI 9 were ever signed into Law.  I now know that the Tradesmen of Ireland, the self builders, the farmers, the Architectural Technologists and the ordinary men and women of Ireland were totally ignored and disregarded in the talks – astounding – the very people that these laws affect were never consulted.  Well, if we all stick together they WILL have to talk to us now….

If you want further information on SI 9 there are some good resources on google: bregs forum, si9.ie and the Irish Association of Self Builders (IAOSB).

Regards to you all,

Amanda Gallagher

 

 

 

Breg Snapshot Survey: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

customer_survey

BRegs Blog: Snapshot Survey of registered architects

A huge thanks to the 40% of our mailing list who responded to our Snapshot Survey on the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, conducted over a 24-hour period on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (8th and 9th April 2014). The survey was geared towards our registered architect/MRIAI followers. We may carry out some broader surveys in the future. As promised we are getting some preliminary results back to you within 24 hours of the poll closing.

The biggest surprise to us was the huge number of you who took the time to add constructive comments to elaborate on your answers. These will provide very useful guidance to us in determining future blog subjects.

Our respondents were almost entirely Dublin based and in private practice. Maybe we need to do some work around reaching out to our country brethren and those in education, industry and the public sector.

The most worrying result we got is that 78% of you are not satisfied with the advice you have received, from all sources, in order to undertake the roles of Assigned, Design and Ancillary Certifier. The most common comment was “Help!” and that is what we intend to go on doing.

Only 3% of you have submitted a valid Commencement Notice although 30% of you had prepared fee proposals for some or all of the Assigned, Design and Ancillary Certifier roles.

A very clear majority of you (80%) would like to see an alternative system of regulations or that the existing ones were deferred and that policy should be debated in public at a gathering of registered architects. Watch this space!

Sample comments:

“I may as well be unemployed as I have so little work”

“I have major concerns about liability and fee structure”

“Focus needed on practical guidance not pointing out the deficiencies of the RIAI”

“Usable documents and directions needed now!”

“The BRegs Forum Blog has clearly developed into a biased spokes mouth for the anti-BC(A)R lobby with little or no balanced opinion”

“Guidance is haphazard and confusing from all parties”

“Too much has been left for individual interpretation”

“More satire please to lighten the mood”

 

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

Photoxpress_6283368

Some of the more troubling issues to emerge from the Building Control Officer’s conference in Sligo last week was the apparent complete lack of guidance or additional resources allocated to Building Control Sections to implement Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) by the Minister and his Department. The Department had not formally issued the code of practice directly to local authorities, rather they left it up to Building Control Officers to find it on the web.

The Department officials undertook to rectify this. The Department have started  to prepare a separate code of practice for Building Control Authorities, but this may not be ready till September 2014, six months after they are expected to operate the system. The officials promised to issue a draft of the code to the relevant officers soon. There appears to be no Building Control or Fire Officer on the advisory panel which is drawing up the code.

Unfortunately this may result in differing interpretations of the requirements of BC(A)R and the usual confusion as to whether officials should follow “draft” codes or not where there are different views on numerous matters. For example differing views on the standard and content of information required at commencement and completion stages.

There was also a high degree of uncertainty about the conflicts that will inevitably arise where a Completion Certificate is issued in relation to a building which has varied from a building for which a Fire Safety Certificate has been issued. It also suggests significant delays may occur due to inadequate resourcing at completion/ validation stages for projects.

One of the guidance documents issued to Local Authorities however is “Guidance Note 1.1.1.” issued by the Office of Government Procurement on the role of the certifier (Design and Assigned). Specifically this relates to works in the public sector.

There are some major technical issues of concern to registered professionals about to undertake the role of design certifier. Recent experience from one large Architectural practice confirms that attempting to apply these guidelines to current public works would appear to be not possible. Issues noted may warrant serious discussion and debate by members of each of the registered representative bodies, SCSI, ACEI and RIAI. Copy of this guidance is attached here: GN 1.1.1 060314. This document also details the role of Assigned Certifier- difficulties associated with this role have already been well documented in this blog.

This large and well-respected firm appeared to have tried to work through this guidance note for SI.9 on a current public project. However it appears the industry simply is not ready for BC(A)R SI.9. How do we fit the square peg in the round hole? Is it possible to apply these guidelines without a design certifier assuming intolerable liability?

The following piece was submitted by a Director of a large Architectural practice on 8th April 2014. Fortunately this project preceded SI 9 – if it had not the practice would have declined the role of Design Certifier as the potential liability is too great and the practice cannot accept responsibility for an uninsured and unregulated construction sector.

______________

With regard to the role of the Design Certifier as defined by Si 9 and as interpreted by the Office of Government Procurement Ref  guidance note to Local Authorities  ref GN 1.1.1.issued  on the 6/3/2014.

We note the following  is stated :-

  1. The Design Certifier will be for the majority of projects the Design Team Leader and the fee for completion of the Design Certificate will be part of his overall fee.-
  2. The Design Certifier will perform their role as set out in the Code of Practice for Inspecting and certifying buildings and works.
  3. The role of the Design Certifer does not end on submission of the Commencement Notice as they are responsible for submitting the ancillary certification for elements that are not designed at commencement stage and are designed by the supply chain such as lift , mechanical curtain walling etc
  4. The scope of Services for the Design Certifier particularly notes that the Design Certifer is required to provide a Design Certificate and co-ordinate any ancillary Certificates mentioned in the Certificates mentioned in the Commencement Notice.
  5. Suggested levels of Professional Indemnity for Professional are to be found in GN 1.6.3
  6. The Guidance note under 3.2 goes on to recognize that while Contractors should carry Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI) to cover their liability under Regulations  most contractors tendering in the mid and lower tender bands do not. Indeed the Guidance is that in the medium term PI should only be sought for project in excess of €20 million !!!!!– other than obviously Design Build Contractors who logically  must carry PI.
  7. It is acknowledged that PI is not currently held by many specialist works contractors and, in the interim, contracting authorities are asked to consider Section 4.2 of this guidance note before setting out PII requirements for ancillary design certificates sought from specialist works contractors. However Clause 4.2 refers us to the Purpose of the Inspection Plan – which suggests oversight will address?
  8. Clause 2.1.7 Ancillary Design Certs  for Specialist Works Contractors   states that In the Design Certificate the Design Certifier may rely on ancillary design certificates for elements of the building from specialists contractors and or suppliers such as curtain walling lifts heating ventilation equipment etc with specialist design input. The Design Certifer should satisfy themselves as to the certification provided by such specialists.

Pre-qualification may appear an obvious answer however we have recently tried to prequalify specialist based on limited terms but including, requirement for a Designer with PI, H&S third party accreditation, previous  experience / projects etc.

Declarations were duly received, however the validation process confirmed a Specialist supply chain which generally operates without insurance and qualified designers.

The situation is further exacerbated by the harmonised EU standards and requirement for Certificates of Performance/ CWCT for systems etc.

Given the onerous duties imposed by the Design Certificate it would appear ridiculous to expect an Architect to act as the insurance back stop having relied on the Specialist Ancillary Cert.

This is an impossible position and a further reason for declining the role of Design Certifier. 

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders?

by Bregs Blog admin team

968full-stop-making-sense-screenshot.jpg

We saw this recent Irish Independent article from the 5th April regarding recent government plans to help developers construct more houses to meet current demand. The “build for sale” or speculative housing sector is the one that was specifically targeted by the Minister in the new building regulations, BC(A)R SI.9. One of the unintended consequences of SI.9 has been the stalling of many self-build dwellings all across the country due to the requirement in the regulation to use a “competent” of established builder to complete all qualifying projects. Despite sometimes conflicting advice to the contrary from the Department and the Minister, many self-builders have put plans to build their own dwellings on hold until they get definitive advice from the Attorney General as to whether it is still within the law to self-build or not. See post here “Self builders write to Attorney General

The representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) have complained about the new regulations to the European Ombudsman, stating that the requirement to employ a CIF registered contractor is restrictive and will result in 1,800 self-builds being abandoned in a 12 month period alone. See post here

In contrast to the situation in Ireland, recently in the UK incentives were introduced to encourage self-building and increase the supply of housing to the market. The UK system of 100% independent inspections accomodates alternative methods of procurement such as self-building. Introduction of a system similar to that in operation in the UK, at no cost to the consumer, was proposed by past presidents of the RIAI Michael Collins and Eoin O’Cofaigh in our post “How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9“.

All this, and Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) gives no additional consumer protection (see post here).

We find ourselves in the remarkable situation while on one hand the tradition of self-build has being ended abruptly by the Minister, then on the other the Government are introducing incentives and supports to encourage the speculative housing sector, the one sector responsible for systems failures like Priory Hall. Minister Hogan recently confirmed that only 100 commencement notices were lodged under SI.9 for the month of March for the entire country. Of this approximately 70 were qualifying residential projects. This is an 80% drop on March 2013 levels. If the “BC(A)R SI.9 effect” does not reverse itself soon, and this pattern becomes established, we could see over 2,000 once-off houses abandoned in the next 12 months. Remarkably similar to the IAOSB forecast. Commencements appear to have “fallen off a cliff”.

We wonder which lobby group made the most impact during the formation of BC(A)R SI.9? With consumer groups excluded from detailed stakeholder negotiations with the Department since mid 2012 one does not have to look far to see who wins and who looses under the new regulations.

Link to Irish Independent article here

Extract:

________________________

PETER FLANAGAN – PUBLISHED 05 APRIL 2014 02:30 AM

IT has to happen eventually, but that doesn’t mean everyone will be happy about it. The Government’s plans to ease the cashflow to builders in an effort to get construction moving again will be deeply, deeply unpopular in some circles.

Rightly, people who have seen their lives destroyed by the crash will be asking why developers should get a leg-up when they cannot afford to build houses themselves.

Unfortunately, that argument misses the point.

House construction has basically stopped for the past five years to the point where there is a shortage in Dublin. Prices are now rising by as much as 25pc a year in parts of the capital because supply is so tight, and there is a very real danger that a new housing bubble is starting.

Yesterday, a report from the Housing Agency estimated 80,000 houses need to be built in cities over the next five years.

Where is that building going to come from? At the moment there are very, very, few new housing developments taking place.

By one estimate, there will be only 750 new homes built in Dublin this year.

The problem for builders is simple. They can’t get the finance together to build new homes, or else they can’t sell new homes at a price that justifies building them.

We can’t have it both ways. We can’t complain about rising house prices and the shortage of family homes on one hand, but prevent new houses being built on the other.

The devil will be in the detail but on the face of it, the Government’s plan makes sense. We may not like them, but we need developers to get out and build new homes – and in some parts of the country, we need it very quickly

Difficult Senior Council Opinions: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

india-and-legal-practice

During last week’s Irish Building Control Institute  conference in Sligo, Barrett Chapman, Partner, Contruction Department, McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors, made a presentation on the alarming legal and liability implications for professionals in Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). This presentation reiterated a similar talk he made at a recent CPD in Dun Laoghaire on 26th March 2014 (see previous post here).

Barrett Chapman’s advice on BC(A)R SI.9 from 26th March CPD gives a very bleak appraisal of the 2013 certificate wording amendments…Despite additions of ‘based on the above’ and ‘using reasonable skill care & diligence’, the “absolute wording is still there“……Regarding advice to assigned certifiers in light of his presentation, whether to act in the new certifier roles, Barrett offered this advice: Don’t“.  This analysis of the wording of the certificates is shared by other eminent lawyers, notably Fiona Forde BL and Denis McDonald SC.

Kevin Sheridan, senior representative of the Building Surveyor’s representative body (SCSI) disputed the presentation in the subsequent debate saying that the representative bodies for architects and engineers (RIAI and ACEI respectively) had recent opinions from senior counsel that concluded the opposite.   Neither the RIAI nor the ACEI have published any such opinions since the SI.9 came into effect. It appears that the ACEI have not published an updated opinion since September 2013.

In summary one thing is very clear- the liabilities are at best very uncertain and may well be uninsurable within a short time for professionals undertaking the new certifier roles under BC(A)R SI.9. This is a law where one person’s share of responsibility is disproportionate- one person cannot carry the liability for an entire team of designers, builder, subcontractors and suppliers- which is what is now required by the law.

For clarity we re-attach previously circulated senior council advice. Opinions commissioned by the RIAI (Ralston opinion with Hayes letter), ACEI (Nolan opinion), and consolidated McDonald opinion (commissioned by 7 past presidents of the RIAI). The most recent is the consolidated opinion from McDonald. We believe a revised and updated Ralston opinion is due to be released shortly also form the RIAI.  In reverse chronological order:

Consolidated McDonald Opinion (7 Past presidents RIAI)

DMcDonald SC 3-2-1 140304

Gavin Ralston SC Advice (RIAI)

SCGavinRalston_Comments_on_Revised_BC_A_R_6Dec2013

Hayes Solicitors Statement:

Statement_by_Hayes_Solicitors_on_the_Amended_Completion_Certificate

ACEI senior council opinion (ACEI)

David Nolan Sept2013

 

CONGRATULATIONS +51,000 VIEWS

by Bregs Blog admin team

DownloadedFile-2

CONGRATULATIONS to the two winners Liam Boyce and Mary-Anne Parsons of our a short quiz (quiz here). The two prizes are book signed by contributors, Michael Collins and Eoin O’Cofaigh: “Iggy Peck, Architect” and “A day with the animal builders”. Both recommended reading, along with DOELG guidance, for anyone contemplating certifying under the new regulations. As of today we have over 51,200 views so many thanks to all who contribute and read our blog.

a-day-with-the-animal-builders

If you recall in our quiz we quoted an extract from a Law Reform Commission working paper and asked the year that this paper dates from. Hard to believe it’s 1977.

Details of the scheme have not yet been worked out but its main features have been described by a statement from the Government Information Services in the following language:

“Broadly, the agreed scheme provides for the establishment of a body by the Construction Industry Federation for a registration of house builders who are competent, technically and financially, to undertake house building. The purchaser of a house built by a registered house builder will receive a six year guarantee from the builder, which will be backed by the registering body. Every guaranteed house will be inspected by technical officers of the Department of Local Government (or, where appropriate, of Roinn na Gaeltachta) on at least three occasions (foundation, roofing and completion stages) and registered builders will be required to remedy any structural defects then observed. If a builder fails to remedy the defects, his name may be removed from the register and the purchaser will be compensated. A system of conciliation and arbitration will be established to resolve any disputes arising under the scheme. Two observers from the Department of Local Government will attend meetings of the guaranteeing body and the expenses of that body will be met by a small levy (about 1/4 of 1% of the purchase price of the guaranteed house). It is intended to enable builders who are not members of the Federation to be associated with the guarantee scheme.”

Answer: 1977

 

Opinion Piece: THE GAME IS OVER- BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

monopoly

The above opinion piece was submitted on 7th April 2014 by Amanda Gallagher, self-builder.

‘This place is a joke – we play games in here’ – these were the words spoken by Independent TD Mick Wallace during his recent emotional rant to Minister Shatter.  Some may say a political manoeuvre by Wallace. I, myself, say there must be some truth in his statement. The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 9) have to be the most contradictory, unjust piece of legislation ever to land on the laps of the Citizens of this country.  They are a joke – and they seem to me to be based on the popular board game Monopoly!

I cannot understand how legislation so ridiculous as the SI 9 could have taken two years to put together – one can only imagine that most of the time Minister Hogan, his officials in the Department and the Big Boys of the C.I.F were, in fact, playing games – Monopoly to be precise.

I would say there were many a day sat at the boardroom table in the Department – I wonder who took on the role of ‘Banker’?, I’m sure they were all excited to be handed their initial pile of money – and their excitement escalated as their portfolios grew to the point where the houses they accumulated meant that they could build hotels – all eyes were on Minister Hogan as he accrued enough dosh to purchase two utilities – ‘Electric Ireland’ and ‘Irish Water’ and one can only imagine the squeals of delight as the domination of the market by a single entity was finally achieved by the C.I.F – the clear Winners – driving all their opponents into Bankruptcy!

The BRAB (Building Regulations Advisory Board) were told to go home before the games began, Self Builders were not invited to these games and Architectural Technicians were shunned also. The other key stakeholders were put in ‘jail’, not listened too and never got the chance to throw the dice and pick a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

The above re-enactment bears an uncanny resemblance to what is happening today in our beautiful country – If it weren’t so serious, we could all fall about laughing until our eyes filled with tears – but the effects of the SI 9 are most serious.

No oversight from Oireachtas Committee, no Regulatory Inpact, no costing of changes to the economy.

Away from the shenanigans at the Dail, we have to try to wade through the muddy waters of the SI 9 to find some little piece of clarity.  The Guidelines that were given to us from the Building Control Authority are the most laughable thing I have ever read.  Points 11 and 12 are total contradictions – one said a self builder can build themselves, the next said you must employ a building contractor! This is more than a ‘typo’ – it is pure nonsense.

Self builders, architectural technicians, the Farming Community and every Citizen in Ireland needs a Government who protects them, who gives them and their children  some hope of a brighter future, who doesn’t intentionally rob them of their livelihoods, their dreams or weigh them down with unnecessary debt. They need the Minister, his officials and the C.I.F. to put away the Monopoly Board because for the past three weeks they’ve thrown away the rule book and instead of pushing tokens around the board they are pushing REAL PEOPLE – real peoples’ money, real peoples’ houses, real peoples’ livelihoods and real peoples’ hopes and dreams – the Game is over Boys!

 

 

 

Opinion Piece: To Be or not to BC(A)R

by Bregs Blog admin team

image001

The following opinion piece was submitted by a rural-based registered architect to the blog on 7th April 2014.

The more I found out about the potential pitfalls of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R) in relation to intolerable levels of professional liability the more I thought that you would want to be mad to take on the role of an Assigned Certifier on any building project. After the first month’s operation of BC(A)R it appears that the mental health of the three approved professional groups (registered architects, chartered engineers and building surveyors) is quite good as new start-ups on building projects and the submission of Commencement Notices have all but dried up.

This can be partially explained by the ‘mad’ rush to lodge Commencement Notices before the 28th February deadline. Some County Councils reported having received more of these notices in the last three weeks of February, as they had received for the previous six months. This has created an artificial BC(A)R honeymoon period in the construction industry as Assigned Certifier Denial Condition (ACDC)takes hold.

Like most registered architects / small practitioners I feel as if I am caught between a rock and a hard place with regard to implementing the new regulations. Whether it is serendipity or my good planning I have the luxury of not having to decide to take on the roles of Ancillary, Design or Assigned Certifier just yet. But how long can I hold out? Is this a dangerous waiting game that the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) and supporters of the new regime are playing with the professional livelihoods of architects, engineers and building surveyors employed in the private sector?

The government needs the construction sector to grow from approximately 6% towards 9% of GDP if they are to meet economic targets and minimise tax increases in the October budget. This target is not going to be met if the derisory level of Commencement Notice submissions, as experienced last month, continues. This seems likely as the self-build house market has all but collapsed. Residential work was the main game in town (and in rural areas).

Virtually no approved professional is willing to take on the onerous liabilities of being an Assigned Certifier on self-build house projects at this time. The impact of this on jobs for sub-contractors and building material suppliers, just as things had begun to pick up, is dire.

However, if the approved professionals continue to hold their ranks, their Commencement Notices and whatever else they can hold onto it until the BC(A)R storm blows out, it seems likely that the DECLG may have to start finding reasons to exempt even more building types than the derogations already issued for all educational and health buildings. Maybe then, they will end up with just speculative housing on their list which is where the problem actually was.

Don’t hold your breath!

 

FAQ: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Here is a link to the representative organisation for self-builders (IAOSB) frequently asked questions section for Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014):

Questions_and_answers_on_building_control_(amendment)_regulation_s.i.9_of_2014

Extract from IAOSB website (with permission):

______________

Questions and Answers on Building Control (Amendment) S.I.9 of 2014

What is Building Control (Amendment) S.I.9 of 2014?

According to Minister Phil Hogan, “the new Building Control Amendment Regulations which came into operation on 1 March 2014 will greatly strengthen the arrangements currently in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgment of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates.The new regulations are necessary following the widespread instances of failure by owners, designers and builders to comply with their statutory obligations under the Building Control Act 1990 to design and construct buildings in accordance with the building regulations. These obligations apply to all sectors of the housing market, including the self-build sector.” The Minister is referring to Priory Hall and Pyrite situation in which self builders had no involvement with and was caused mainly by developers and dodgy building contractors.

Will it effect self builders?

Yes, this Amendment will cause severe restrictions on self builders and extra costs which could be as high as 10% of the overall cost of the build.

What is different for self builders now and prior to 1st of March 2014?

As a self builder you now have to nominate:

• A competent Design professional to design the house in accordance the Building Regulations.

• A competent Builder to construct the house in accordance the Building Regulations.

• A competent Assigned Certifier who will inspect and certify the build from start to finish. You as the building owner also have to make sure that all the certifications are done according to the Building Regulations.

 Can the Architect be nominated as the Builder?

No

Can the Design Certifier also be the Assign Certifier?

Yes

Can you nominate yourself as the Builder?

According to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government “yes”. However, there are still legal question that have got to be clarified as far as the signature on the undertaking by the builder form. More….

 Is it legal for you to sign as the builder?

According to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government “yes”. However, we are still waiting for clarification on this matter from Attorney General. More….

Can you self build using Direct Labour?

According to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government “yes”. However, as the building owner you have to be satisfied that the contractors you have chosen are competent. More….

Do builders have to be registered?

There is a voluntary registration of the building contractors through the website CIRI.ie until 1st of March 2015 when it becomes compulsory.

What is the definition of “competent” as far as this Amendment?

According to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, “the Building Control Authority has no role in checking or verifying the builder’s competence – it is the owner’s responsibility.” However, under the Code of Practice a competent person is; “a person is deemed to be a competent person where, having regard to the task he or she is required to perform and taking account of the size and/or complexity of the building or works, the person possesses sufficient training, experience and knowledge appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken” . More….

Would Assign Certifiers sign off a project done by self builders?

You have to shop around as there are a lot of professionals who are not happy with the way this Amendment will hold them responsible should something go wrong.

Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I.9 of 2014, is it going to cost you more than before 1st of March 2014?

According to Minister Hogan, as a self builder you will find an increase cost of between €1000 to €3000. It is not clear where this figure came from and what methodology minister is using. Industry estimates an additional 190 hours needed by professionals to certify under si9. This would suggest a cost of €15k per typical house but may vary. Should you wish to use a Building Contractor, you need to add an extra 10% to cover the cost. So on a €180,000 house, a contractor would charge around €18000.

 Is the country ready for this Amendment?

No. There are a lot of issues that need to be clarified for both the self builders and professionals. Through our own experience, the local Building Control Authorities themselves are still in the dark regarding this Regulation. The Minister has even rejected letters from RIAI President, Mr Robin Mandal asking for the deferment . More….

Are we happy as an Association about the introduction of Amendment S.I.9?

No. While we welcome a tougher policing of the building industry, we believe that this Amendment will cause a lot of hardship on most self builders to the point that they will not be able to go ahead with their build. We also object to the system of registration of builders being set up by CIF. This system forces you to choose your contractors from a selected group who have been registered through CIRI by 1st of March 2015.

 

For more information contact us or visit BREG BLOG.

Self-builder’s Letter to ISME & SFA: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

dt_signing-generic_729_20120427152531327529-420x0

Dear ISME & SFA –  Please forward this letter to all your Members:

I write to you regarding the new Building Control Regulations that came into effect on Saturday, March 1st.  I am trying to alert as many people as I can who I think may be affected by these new laws.  We must help each other in this difficult economic climate and we must be extra vigilant to issues that pose a threat to us financially.

We are self builders and my husband was hoping to construct our new family home on the family farm.  Our story was featured on Liveline, Morning Ireland and the Morning Edition TV Show on RTE. We hoped that Minister Hogan would defer the implementation of these regulations.  I have never come across a piece of legislation to cause so much confusion as these.

These new Building Control Laws (known as SI9) are extremely restrictive and will impose an extortionate amount of money onto the cost of an extension or new house build.  All construction must go through a Main Building Contractor –  (the days of hiring your own carpenter, plumber etc. are now gone under this legislation) an Assigned Certifier and a Project Supervisor must also be employed.

The Small & Medium Enterprise sector are the lifeblood of our towns and villages.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your determination and perseverance in providing the citizens of Ireland with essential services over the past few difficult years when at times I am sure some of you felt like ‘throwing in the towel’!  None of us need our Government to intentionally make life financially harder for us – but these laws do precisely that.

These new Building Control laws come in to play even for extensions over 40 msq. I know that many of you are probably thinking of renovating or extending your businesses in the near future (if the Banks will lend!!) so for this reason I feel that this issue concerns you.

Unbelievably, one week after these regulations were implemented, the Department published an amendment to them exempting Schools and Hospitals from them. One can only assume that the other Departments in our Government refuse to comply with such a strict and unjust regime of building control.

Self builders, have now set up an online petition, in the hope that we can have a Dail Debate on these unjust Building Control laws.  We need your help to do this by signing the petition and forwarding the Link to as many people as you think will be affected by these laws.

The Link to the Petition is Here

I would like to thank you in advance for your help.  This matter concerns all the Citizens of Ireland and I think we cannot let the centuries old tradition of building a home for one’s family disappear before our very eyes. These laws effectively mean that building a home in Ireland or extending your business premises will only be for the privileged few.

Regards to you all,

Amanda Gallagher

Co. Sligo

 

A copy of the  above letter was submitted to Breg Blog on 2nd April 2014

Opinion Piece: Using Collaborative Technology’s to drive BC(A)R SI 9

by Bregs Blog admin team

BIM_Operations_Facility_Management_01

I accept that BC(A)R SI 9 is a flawed piece of legislation design to “rectify” the mistakes of the PAST. The legislation is flawed for me because it fails to look forward and address the future of design and construction. However in a paradoxical way by not being aware of the immense changes taking place in design and construction there are opportunities to take advantage of the framework laid down by SI 9.—  I have been immersed in the industrial data revolution that is BIM, Building Information Modelling for 10 years now. I have developed the BIM programmes at undergraduate level and post graduate level in the College of Engineering and Built Environment at the Dublin institute of Technology. I have been delivering these programmes for the last 6 years. I have attended and presented at many BIM conferences across the globe and been published in Journals and trade magazines.

I had an idea some time ago and but it was not until recently that i was able to connect the separate dots of data. These dots of data have connected to form a triangulated whole and the geneses of an idea. This abstract being a proposal and draft summary of the idea.— The three sides of this triangulation were the imposition of BC(A)R SI 9, the rise of BIM Technologies and need for Collaboration in the design and construction industry.

BC(A)R SI 9

BIM Technologies                                             Collaboration

To solve a problem there are many ways to go about it, but most follow a similar pattern,

  • Identify the problem
  • Describe the result you want
  • Develop solutions
  • Select the best solution
  • Implement the best solution
  • Evaluate the results and make changes if necessary
  • Repeat the cycle.

In order

1/ Our traditional design and construction process is what has got us into this situation in the first place. The technologies we use lead to miscommunication necessitating legal cover all to protect oneself from inevitable error in the process. It is fraught with silo located professionals who at best cooperate. Definition of co-op-er-ation in design and construction is to “work with others to achieve your own goal”

2/ To describe what we really want from design and construction it would be limiting to examine it through each domain. So we need to look above that and look at the needs of society and it is by those needs that we can measure what is required.

3/ The existing solutions don’t work. The arrival of BIM process supported by technologies which provide a visual experience of the design intent and a detailed visual explanation of the construction detail to achieve the design intent is a revolutionary solution. The added value is the ability to measure the performance of the building design.

4/ Lets think outside the box now and look at the best solution. We need to understand and implement the most startling, sophisticated, complex solution for design and construction…..Its called collaboration, co-lab-or-ation; to “work with others to achieve a common shared goal”

BIM technologies and process provide a robust platform for design and construction collaboration. One of its big advantages is that it can effectively eliminate miscommunication of design intent and detail construction. The digital model can solve the problems before they get to site. Already there are systems that use the model to check code compliance, In Singapore the “Corenet” planning application system is now mandating BIM models as the planning application.

From 1 July 2013, all architectural plans, starting with first DC submission to URA, for new building projects with gross floor area (GFA) of 20,000 sq. m. and above are to be submitted in BIM format for regulatory approval;  – From 1 July 2014, all engineering plans, starting with first submission of the project, for new building projects with gross floor area (GFA) of 20,000 sq. m. and above are to be submitted in BIM format for regulatory approval; 

– From 1 July 2015, all plans, starting with first submission of the project, for new building projects with gross floor area (GFA) of 5,000 sq. m. and above are to be submitted in BIM format for regulatory approval.

The advantages of this are enormous to both the applicant and the planning authority.

There are 3rd party applications to check code compliance like “Linear Thermal Bridge”. You can already within BIM technology, do an area rentable/gross/usable take off, a material take off complete with thermal properties and provide grand total cost estimates as you are building the 3d digital elements of the building. You can schedule and calculate the carbon cost of selected building materials, you can connect directly into manufacturers catalogue libraries and use their validated u value calculations and on and on.

5/ Using a Tablet or iPad cost 175 to 450 euro, contractors / builders can connect to your server, access your BIM model to review the weeks / month ahead construction programme with your details visualised. They can extract the data on the u value resistance of the proposed insulation, access the builders suppliers catalogue from within the digital model and order on line a specific insulation or the specified breather membrane. They can follow the manufactures instructions on line to install it on the correct side of the timber frame, use the correct tape (ordered on line) to seal the joint and … record it all on video and email it to you and the local authority as record of the construction. All this is done through Google Apps where they can

a/ access your BIM model using a viewer so they don’t have to invest in the software application.

b/ access your data on the digital model, for specification, for visual confirmation, for ordering and costing, to check code compliance, to show sub contractors what is designed etc

c/ use Google apps to share documents, to you the assigned certifier / scanned receipts of building materials for compliance. RECI Certs, Ancillary certs, checklists, programme updates, Videos of construction progress. From you, daily update checklists, inspection dates, information on specified materials, manufacturer instructions and more and more

d/Instead of lodging “dumb” PDFs with the local authority you can upload an open source IFC or DWF or an agreed format digital model that is a complete record of the proposal and smart data that can be used by the council in its GIS applications etc etc.

6/ All of the technology for this solution is currently available, it could be piloted as an addendum to the current BC(A)R SI 9.  7/ Learn from the pilot programme, makes changes and repeat on a larger area.

Performance driven architecture and construction is the future. If you cannot measure buildings then a design is just an ascetic and worse when built becomes an inefficient energy consumer and the designer will find themselves on the wrong side of current EU legislation.— The SI 9 with all its flaws is interesting because it brings a new dynamic to the design and construction industry. Gone are the B.C. 1 March 2014 hierarchies. To make a building work you now must measure its performance. To do this you will need to master a new tool set. For this you need a new breed of designer. To measure the performance you need to digitally construct the building, to do this you need to master digital building applications so you have a starting point.

What SI 9 will do, is grow organically a new dynamic of assigned certifier (the new master builder?) supported by ancillary certifiers (technical professionals) which will be a collaboration of design architects, technical architects (architectural technologists), mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, structural engineers as a core design group. While it is not mentioned anywhere in the BC(A)R legislation, it is for me jumping off the page that collaboration is the way forward. Collaboration supported by robust BIM technologies and process. In DIT we are supporting this revolution by providing BIM and Energy programmes to design and construction professionals.

The train left the station on the 1st March 2014, leave the past behind. Its time to get on board. We should take BC(A)R as an opportunity to make Ireland a world leader in BIM + Energy analysis for performance driven architecture adding to our countries already phenomenal information technology record.

The above opinion piece was submitted on 31st March 2014 by Malachy Mathews

Alarming Legal opinion: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

Simpsons_couch-1-

At a recent CPD event organised by Commercial Media Group (CMG) Events and chaired by RIAI Council member Toal O’Muire in DunLaoghaire on Wednesday 26th March 2014, some very alarming legal opinions were made on professional liability and professional indemnity insurance for certifiers under Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). Link to event information: Building Control 260214. A summary with main points quoted to follow. Presentations are included as attachments.

Barrett Chapman, Partner, Contruction Department, McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors:

Certificates “…should have said ‘I am of the opinion…If you certify and the building doesn’t comply, you are liable. There is no doubt about that…” Barrett Chapman stated that the DECLG need to review the word “certify” as it is “an absolute“.

He gave a very bleak appraisal of the 2013 certificate wording amendments. He said that a professional could certify “based on last night’s episode of the Simpsons” and it wouldn’t change the fact, that certifiers are offering an absolute (i.e. a guarantee) that a building complies. Despite additions of ‘based on the above’ and ‘using reasonable skill care & diligence’, the “absolute wording is still there“.

If a professional certifies that a building complies with building regulations, and later the building does not comply, the professional has made a “negligent misstatement”. While professionals may be able to avail of a cap for liability under a contract, a contract wording cannot change tort liability to 3rd parties.

Question from from the floor: ‘What is the difference between ‘opinion of substantial compliance’ and ‘certificate of compliance’?

Answer: “Tort of negligent misstatement cannot kick you where you offer an opinion of substantial compliance using reasonable skill care and diligence”

He suggested that certifiers should make sure they have professional indemnity insurance. Regarding advice is to assigned certifiers in light of his presentation, whether to act in the new certifier roles, Barrett offered this advice: “Don’t“.

Link to Barrett Chapman presentation Barrett Chapman CPD presentation

Fiona Forde, Barrister-at-law, Law Library:

Fiona Forde confirmed Barrett’s bleak assessment. Quote: “Assigned Certifiers will not be able to rely upon ancillary certificates. The courts have already proven this…Joint & Several liability is held on sacredly by the courts…(People will be) unable to put up much of a fight as ancillary or assigned certifiers.” She suggested architects’ P.I. Insurance would continue to be a target.

Link to Fiona Forde presentation Fiona Forde CPD presentation

Graeme Tinny, Director, Griffiths & Armour Professional Risks:

Graeme Tinney hoped that BC(A)R would improve standards and reduce the number of claims. However P.I. Insurers operate on the basis of “reaction rather than anticipation.” “As PII is claims made, insurers can wait and see and walk away at any stage. He suggested LDI as an alternative. Quotes from presentation:

” The minister’s statements* may have a negative effect as he says the certifier is offering a guarantee.  Employees will be exposed where they sign certificates and the firm they work for folds…PII is a terrible way to manage construction risk…Its costly because you end up in court”.

Link to Graeme Tinney presentation Graeme Tinney CPD presentation

* Minister Hogan, RTE Radio 1, 28th February 2014:  “What they (self-builders) will require, for the first time in addition is a professional person that will have to sign off that the work is done and that will cost somewhere between one and two thousand euro and that’s a small cost to pay for making sure that things are done right for a home that might cost €100,000 or €150,000

* Minister Hogan, The Last Word, 10th December 2012″…some of the professional bodies are totally opposed to what I am trying to do, most of those professional bodies were equally culpable to developers and builders of the shoddy workmanship. They must take responsibility for that. I’m empowering those professionals now to sign their name in a mandatory way and certify that the works are done to a high standard, that they stand over what they are signing

 

Other BREG blog Links on legal aspects: 

Legal Firms Advice: BC(A)R SI.9

Reddy Charlton: Building control amendment regulations 2014

William Fry: Building Control Amendment Regulations 2014

McDowell Purcell: Impact of the building control amendment regulations 2014

Arthur Cox: second time lucky building control amendment regulations 2014

Dillon Eustace: The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014.pdf