Caveat emptor: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team



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”).


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