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: May, 2014

Self Builder petition- BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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We received this email from Amanda Gallagher, self-builder on Friday 30th May 2014. 

Hi All,

I want to take this opportunity to thank most sincerely all who have signed my petition to have the S.I. 9 revoked and to have self building restored to its rightful position in the construction sector.  We have now reached 301 signatures along with some very interesting comments for Minister Hogan to ponder!

At times, the petition has been slow, although I tweet it about 4 times a day! I would just like to ask all those who read this post and have not yet signed it, to please consider doing so.  The S.I. 9 is a terrible, unjust outcome to two years of talks on Building Control Regulations by seemingly intelligent, professional people – they really need to sit down again and discuss the effect this legislation is having on self builders and professionals alike. Please take 5 minutes to read the following and sign our petition, and retweet and forward on to others.

Please sign here:  petition self-build rights ireland

When I reach 500 signatures, I am lodging the petition with the Oireachtas Petitions Committee and I hope that a Dail Debate will ensue.

Once again, thank you for all who have signed and thanks also to the Bregs Team for posting this appeal!

Regards,

Amanda Gallagher

 

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologist and certification

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following opinion piece was submitted by an Architectural Technologist on Wednesday 28th May 2014.

I am hugely concerned that as a result of the debate around the exclusion of architectural technologists from the Amended Building Control Regulations, that the scope of liability of technologists who WILL choose to provide Ancillary Certification has not been discussed at all. While I personally don’t believe this role to adequately reflect the skill set of AT’s, there are many specialist service providers who will sooner or later find themselves required to provide these certificates, and due caution is as necessary here as with any Certificate.

While the added responsibilities and liabilities being piled onto architects, engineers and surveyors has been discussed ad nauseum over the past two years, there has been absolutely no discussion or debate over the scope, legal status and level of liability attached to Ancillary Certification. There needs to be separate guidance on insurances, level and numbers of inspections and Scope of Service agreements, and all other matters in relation to the Ancillary Certifier role, and it needs to be given the same level of legal scrutiny as has been attached to the Assigned Certifier Role and the primary Statutory Certificates.

There has been confirmation from the Law Society that solicitors will not check Ancillary Certificates as part of conveyancing, but rather that they will rely on the Assigned Certifier having done so. This obviously does not preclude independent legal action by that Assigned Certifier against an Ancillary Certifier in the case of a failure leading to a claim.

Neither does it preclude such action where there is no conveyancing involved, but where there is simply a failure in a building which is covered under the scope of such Certification.

WIth recent posts suggesting that Assigned Certifiers might seek authority from the Client to alter or independently word the recently published ancillary certificates this is all the more relevant.

I would urge any Architectural Technologist who provides ancillary services to Assigned Certifiers to ensure that they have

a) A thorough Scope of Service Agreement with the prior approval of the Assigned Certifier

b) Written Appointment from the Client on the basis of this Agreement

c) Adequate and appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance (and runoff cover when appropriate)

d) Prior knowledge and written agreement of the proposed wording of any certificates required and

e) PII Provider approval for that wording

f) Adequate record keeping and backup of same to provide evidence in case of an issue.

There is also a necessity for the development of particular insurance schemes to cover the specialist role that the Ancillary Certifier will fill, based purely on the scope of the services to be provided. Insurance Providers in the Irish market also now need to develop Professional Indemnity Insurance Proposal Forms specifically for architectural technologists. It is unacceptable that AT’s should be required to fill out proposal forms which have been designed for architects (or others), and to strike out the inappropriate terms, (as is the case to date) Insurance providers please take note. It is an offence under the Building Control Act for someone who is not registered as an architect to declare themselves one. If an Architect’s proposal form is filled out by a technologist, even striking out the term ‘Architect’, does this constitute a breach of the terms of the proposal, and give the insurance company an ‘out’ ? I’d rather have that information before any claim became an issue rather than after.

There is no clarity on any of the above to date. I would urge AT’s who are specialist service providers NOT to sign Ancillary Certificates without having sought assurances or clarifications on all of the above issues from the relevant authority (professional body or insurance provider) All of the same misgivings held by other professions regarding the primary certificates might also apply here. They are ‘Certificates’. They have to be relied upon by someone, and if they are inadequate there will be consequences. Read the Assigned Certifer posts on the blog and you will understand.

Independent certification will be a new experience for many architectural technologists, and it should be treated with the appropriate level of diligence. This is a huge step up from carrying out inspections for an employer, and having them sign the Certificate. In the case of multiple ancillary services (e.g. technical design packages for other consultants) where multiple Ancillary Certificates might be required, the liability is ramped up proportionally. These contractual arrangements exist, and have worked to date, where technologists take sketch designs to Planning, Tender and Working Drawing Stages, but there is no clarity as to how this would work in terms of SI9. Who is liable in terms of a failure ? The person who prepared the sketch, or the person who worked it up ?

There needs to be guidance from the  professional organisations in this regard.

Other posts on this topic:

Thoughts on a Register for Architectural Technologists click link here

Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9 – click link here

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here

Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010  – click link here

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD – click link here

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

 

Is anyone checking Certifiers are registered?

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Is anyone checking that Certifiers are registered?

building register may 14th 2014.pdf

We have looked at a random selection of Certifiers listed on VALIDATED Commencement Notices since 1 March 2014. Under S.I.9 a Certifier must be either a registered building surveyor, registered engineer or registered architect. There are already concerns about the lack of security in the BCMS system (click post here) which allows anyone to identify them-self as an architect, engineer or surveyor without any checks.

So the checks fall back on individual Building Control Officers in the 34 Local Authorities. They are the ones who have to validate the Commencement Notices and Completion Certs. Our recent Building Control Officer Survey (click post here) indicates that systems are not yet in place to do this. Building Control Departments have not been allocated additional resources to undertake these new duties.

The only information available to them are the website listings of the professions- all three registered professional links are included at the end of the post. This is totally inadequate – Patrick Murphy might be Pat, Paddy or Padraig. He might even be Joseph P. on the Register or J.P.  O’ Murchú.

As an example there is a Joe Hogan listed as owner, builder and Certifier on one valid notice. (ref: Clare Co Co). This is a common name in Ireland and there are several variations listed on the architects and engineers register. The local authority have obviously identified which one, but this is another administrative burden on individuals with limited resources.

More importantly, if you are an architect, engineer or surveyor with a name that is similar to another registered professional how do you make sure that YOU are not red-flagged on BCMS because of their history?

Building Surveyors register: click link here

Engineers register: click link here

Architects register: click link here

Other posts of interest:

Building Control Officers: Survey – click link here

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

BCMS: Are we getting what it said on the label?  – click link here

The BCMS System – A Quickstart Guide… – click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link here

 

 

 

 

 

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks

by bregs blog admin team

2422009-damage-to-housing-estates-13-390x285 The following guidance was issued to RIAI practices on May 29th 2014 regarding the recent warnings from the ACEI concerning pyrite in some concrete blocks.

Here is an extract from the recent RIAI Practice guide:

____________

URGENT RIAI ALERT TO MEMBERS – PYRITE DISCOVERED IN CONCRETE BLOCKS

A number of RIAI Practices have brought to the attention of the RIAI problems encountered on projects in the Leinster region with concrete blocks that contain pyrite. The problem, as identified, where concrete blocks containing pyrite are used structurally, is likely that the structural integrity of the block-work will need to be investigated, in particular where it is in contact with moisture/water.

RIAI Practices or Members, who have specified concrete block-work in recent months, and have used it in construction on site, may need to be prudent and establish the identification of sources of masonry and specific testing that has been carried on them. If a Consulting Structural Engineer was involved, they should be consulted, together with the main contractor. It is early days as yet for more complete information to be made available, however, the RIAI will be seeking to consult with various bodies to ascertain a better picture, and advise on how to deal with the problem.

ACEI have produced an alert for its members and the text is published below.

For link to ACEI advice click here

___________________

Extract as follows:

ACEI – Interim Advice Note RE: Masonry Blocks and Apparent Pyrite Content

Attention all members!

The Association of Consulting Engineers Ireland have published an Interim Advice Note RE: Masonry Blocks and Apparent Pyrite Content.

“It has come to the attention of the Association of Consulting Engineers that there have been recent instances of apparent pyrite content in concrete blocks provided by block manufacturers. In cases reported the affected blocks were noted to have a brown discoloration. The physical strength characteristics diminished over short period of time, particularly when exposed to moisture.

The ACEI are concerned about these occurrences and recommend all member firms request assurance from suppliers that materials are free of deleterious materials and that a representative sample of blocks be tested for pyrite content by chemical analysis. We will endeavour to keep members informed and would appreciate any feedback on members experience in relation to this matter.”

The Interim Advice Note, as published by the ACEI is available here:

ACEI – Pyrite in Concrete Blocks Advice Note 2014-05-13

.jpeg version of ACEI advice note:

ACEI-Pyrite-in-Concrete-Blocks-Advice-Note-2014053

 

Other posts on this topic:

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel- click link here

€10m Pyrite compensation pack agreed – Will anything change under the new regulations?- click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

 

Building Control Officers: Survey

by Bregs Blog admin team

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BRegs Blog: Snapshot Survey – Building Control Officers

The BRegs Blog conducted a snapshot survey of Building Control Officers at some of Ireland’s 34 Building Control Authorities in relation to their experience of the operation of the Building Control Management System. The survey was carried out over a three day period up to Friday 23rd May 2014. Approximately 90% of the respondents had processed and validated between 5 and 20 Commencement Notices each.

In order to maintain confidentiality it was agreed that the number of Building Control Authorities approached and the number of actual respondents would not be published. It is worth noting that the response rate would accord with industry standards for surveys of this nature. Furthermore the consistency in the responses to the questions asked and the comments provided would indicate that the results are an accurate reflection of the attitudes of Ireland’s Building Control Officers to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R S.I. 9.

The good news is that 76% of the Building Control Officers surveyed believe that BC(A)R S.I.9 will improve overall compliance with Building Regulations on Ireland’s building sites. However 45 % do support and a further one third might support an alternative system to BC(A)R S.I.9 involving independent inspections by properly resourced Building Control Officers and/or independent approved inspectors. Only 22% were against such an alternative system.

The biggest concerns that the Building Control Officers had were as follows:

  • Only 10% of Building Control Authorities appear to have defined what constitutes a valid Commencement Notice submission
  • Only 12 % of Building Control Authorities appear to have defined what constitutes an inspection plan for building site visits by Building Control Officers
  • 80 % of respondents were continuing to experience I.T. problems with the system
  • 89% of Building Control Officers felt that the training received was inadequate

Sample comments:

“Building Control Officers in many Local Authorities have other responsibilities e.g. planning enforcement or fire safety certificates. There is not enough time to carry out all of the assigned duties and site inspections without additional resources”

“There are many problems with the BCMS: no way to upload completion documentation, inspection reports, diary planning, notification of further information request, email sent records, commencement notices for retention or partially completed developments”

“It is probably too late, as no training was provided. Everyone had to try and figure it out for them self by trial and error. A user manual would be useful.”

The Blog admin team would like to thank all the Building Control Officers who took the time to complete the survey and also the informative comments and observations forwarded on to us here. Individual questions are listed along with percentage replies on the following infographics:

Q1R2Q2R2Q3Q4Q5Q6Q7Q8Q9Q10

Other posts of interest:

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Building Control Officer issues: Conference April 2014- click link here

Invalid “short form” commencement notices: BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

BCMS: Are we getting what it said on the label? – click link here

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

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

The BCMS System – A Quickstart Guide…- click link here

Dáil: Proactive vs Reactive Building Control? BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

 

Opinion piece: RIAI need to stop ‘passing the ball’.

by Bregs Blog admin team

Letter-007

The following letter to the representative body for architects (RIAI) was posted on 29th May 2014 by Amanda Gallagher, Self-builder. For original link see here. This is the latest in a  series of letters to the RIAI, one of the three representative bodies for the professionals that can undertake certifier duties under the new building regulations. We will be posting responses from the other two representative bodies shortly.

Opinion piece: RIAI need to stop ‘passing the ball’.

“The declaration as it currently stands relates to a Director or a Principal of a Building Company, which obviously self builders may well not be – we would welcome clarification from the Department as to what exactly the role of a self builders is..” – Mr Robin Mandal, President, RIAI on the SixOne News (Feb 28th 2014)

Dear Robin,

I was full of hope yesterday when your letter arrived, but I am dismayed at your totally inadequate response to most serious issues.

If you take a look at your words above that you spoke on Friday, February 28th on the Six One News, and compare them to your letter (attached), you will soon realise why I am so dismayed. It seems that, like senior officials in the DOECLG, the pressure to tell the truth is so great that you renege on previous statements, lose all credibility and treat the self builders of Ireland as if we have the memory of a goldfish or worse still, biofoam in our heads instead of brains – the insult to our intelligence is shameful.

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Yes, you are correct when you say that I should seek answers from the DOECLG – I have on many occasions done this, but to date have been met with deplorable treatment – they have proved how incompetent they are by their ridiculous misinformation. I naively thought that the RIAI would be professional enough to tell the truth to self builders, as self builders and architects have always had an excellent working relationship, and I, for one, have the utmost admiration and respect for the talents of an architect – in light of your letter, my sympathy for the honest RIAI members has just increased tenfold.

The statement that most confounded me in your letter was that ‘The RIAI sees no prohibition for self building in S.I.9′ – Robin, one does not need binoculars to see the prohibition in S.I.9 that outlaws self building – as you well know – the prohibition is that to build a home one must be a principal or director of a building company only. This signatory issue is hardly a needle in a haystack.

I am shocked that at this stage the RIAI have not sought legal opinion on the major self build issue – can I ask you why you have not sought legal advice yet? – It really would be a good idea if you sought advice at your earliest convenience as this issue will not be going away any time soon. The Law Society advice that I spoke of is here:

law society guidance note on bcar si 9

you will note that they advise all construction professionals not to take on the role of certifier for self builders as it would be too risky. Maybe you have not yet seen that advice, but I can assure you many of your members have seen it and are taking it on board.

I believe some self builds have commenced under SI 9, only due to a grey area. The grey area is that the DOECLG will turn a ‘blind eye’ on self builders who sign themselves off as principals or directors of a building company only, however, this blind eye will only be in operation until March 1st, 2015, when CIRI is put on a statutory footing. To myself and my husband, there is no grey area at all, the area is as black as black could be – self building is illegal and we will not commence an illegal build, no matter who encourages us to do so. When we leave this earth, we want to leave a legal home to our beautiful children, a home that if they wish, they can sell on. Anyone who has commenced a self build since March 1st needs to question themselves, but more importantly their Assigned Certifiers need to be questioned by their representative bodies.

I know that the RIAI supports this CIRI Register of Builders – I have explained to you reasons why, in the past, that self builders most definitely do not support such a Register – we do support the idea of a Register of Tradesmen, Project Managers etc.. This would be most fitting for a fair and transparent construction sector. So, I ask you, what advice you will give your members on the issue of self builds where the owner is not an experienced builder from March 1st, 2015.

You also say that the RIAI supports the principle of self building – this is all good and well – I support the principle of Formula 1 racing, and would love to race you down the M50 Motorway, but as it would be illegal to do so I have to make do with watching it on TV. This is the same now for self building, you and I both know well that it is now illegal to self build in Ireland, so as much as the RIAI and myself support the principle of self building, we can now only watch it on TV, on shows like Grand Designs – how intolerable for anyone who intended to build a home for their family. Every day I question the rationale of the members of the DOECLG, CIF, RIAI, SCSI & ACEI, who sat down and drew up such hideous building control regulations.

I note an article in todays Irish Independent in which you state: ‘We need enough buildings for an extra one million people in 25 years’ – It is sad to think that not one of the one million buildings will be self built. This is extraordinary and it beggars belief that the RIAI would have ever signed legislation that would wipe out the self build sector overnight.

I know that there is a meeting of RIAI members today, so I will forward this letter to the Council also and hopefully they get to read it in time. I would like the self build issue discussed at this meeting, as a matter of fact I feel it is a most urgent issue to be dealt with by the RIAI. If the members come to the same conclusion as you during this meeting that self building can indeed continue as before under S.I. 9, then I request a list of all RIAI members who are willing to take on the role of certifier for self builds. If, however, the honest members of the RIAI come to the conclusion that I am right in my concerns that self building is now, in fact, banned in Ireland, then I request a statement of same.

The RIAI were at the table at the now infamous ‘secret’ talks on the S.I.9, so it is only right and just, that now the RIAI give an unambiguous statement to the Nation on the true stance of self building – Robin, as President of the RIAI, you must not shirk the responsibility of telling the truth – there is already widespread condemnation of all the professional bodies (key stakeholders) and the DOECLG, and the way in which you all ‘pass the ball’ in this ‘game of truth’. This ‘game’ is tensing up day by day and will reach a penalty shoot out very soon, and I am most confidant that the self builders of Ireland will win and the professional bodies will come under intense criticism for the way in which you all handled the ‘ball’, in fact, by your letter yesterday, you scored an ‘own goal’ for the RIAI. It beggars belief that building control legislation is causing such distress to so many people.

I do hope this serious self build issue can be discussed at today’s meeting of the RIAI, as it is not only an issue for self builders, it is a major issue for your members also. The SI9 must be revoked, our Government and indeed, construction professionals must stop acting like teenagers, and we must all get back to our normal, everyday lives.

Regards to you at this most difficult time in the construction sector,

Amanda Gallagher

Other Posts of interest:

(Robin mandal) RTÉ TV: Six-One news 27th February 2014: RIAI on BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents Collins + O’Cofaigh- click link here

Radio Clip: Senator Mooney- BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Radio Clip: Joe Duffy “what government in their right mind would make people unemployed?” BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

Radio Clip- O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer – click link here

RIAI confirm self-building not possible after 1st March 2014: BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

Self builders escalate to Law Society: BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

Self builders appeal to Priory Hall residents: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

(Robin mandal) RTÉ Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

 

 

Press- RIAI: High-rise buildings and quality developments the way forward

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Press Piece: RIAI: High-rise buildings and quality developments the way forward

In today’s Irish Independent article on 29th May 2014 current president of the representative body for architects (RIAI) Robin Mandal discusses some of the issues affecting the construction industry at present. Mr Mandal is quoted as saying that high rise buildings and quality developments are the way forward.

General issues are discussed in the press piece however there is no mention of the recent Dáil debate called by Mick Wallace TD on 27th May 2014. This was requested to discuss the continued exclusion of Architectural Technologists from the RIAI register of competent persons to undertake new duties under new building regulations introduced in March 1st 2014. However it is possible this interview was conducted before the debate last Tuesday 27th May.

This debate has generated considerable interest in the industry with this blog receiving a record 3,000+ views on this issue in the past two days.

Listen to an audio clip of the Dáil debate here.

Mr Mandal appears to use incorrect Department figures for commencement notices lodged since 1st March 2014: we previously noted the discrepancy between figures noted by the Minister and Department and the actual levels recorded by Government in previous posts here. The confirmed lower level of commencement notices was the subject of an article by Frank McDonald in the Irish Times later objected to by Minister Hogan in a letter to the editor on 23rd May the previous week. Links to these are provided at the end of the blog piece.

Previous comments by Minister Hogan in the Dáil and Seanad regarding exploitative practices by professionals under the new regulations have not been commented on by the RIAI. Recent statements by the Minister admonishing the behavior of professional bodies (engineers, surveyors and architects) acting as a “cartel” to charge high fees for new duties and roles under SI.9 similarly has not received any commentary by any of the representative bodies.

Quote (Minister Hogan): “ I am concerned about the fees that are being quoted by some existing members of the statutory bodies…It seems they have developed into a cartel, particularly in rural areas where they are actually talking to each other about the level of fees…

RIAI members have been offered an opportunity of an audience with the RIAI President, at the Merrion Square H.Q. at 5 p.m. this evening Thursday 29th May 2014. Attendance is by invitation only with prior submission and approval of questions and topics to be discussed.

If any BReg Blog followers are in attendance the Blog would like to hear about what matters are discussed.

Here is a link to the Independent article- click here

Extract from article to follow:

____________

High-rise buildings and quality developments the way forward, says Mandal – Independent.ie

PAUL MCNEIVE – PUBLISHED 29 MAY 2014 02:30 AM

RAISED in Calcutta by an Indian father and Irish mother, Robin Mandal had an early introduction to a variety of architecture and cultures.

Latterly schooled in Ireland, the president of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) availed of many opportunities to visit cities across Europe and Asia as his father worked in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. His experience of world cities and a passion for buildings will stand him in good stead as he leads a profession devastated by recession.

But Robin Mandal says “the tide is turning for Irish architects and the opportunity now is to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past”.

It was a pleasure to chat with the charismatic President at the RIAI headquarters on Merrion Square. The RIAI has approximately 2,700 architects practicing in Ireland and the profession has had to adapt fast to survive.

It was interesting to learn that about 28pc of Irish-based architects’ work is now overseas, with commissions arising in Europe, the Middle-East, China and Africa in that order. There has also been a structural change in the profession as there are now less than 10 firms with over 20 employees and the vast majority of practices are two or three people.

Mandal stresses that Ireland’s next phase of development “must be driven by an agreed vision of what we want our country to look like rather than the cyclical nature of the market”. He refers to projections about our increasing population.

“We need enough buildings for an extra one million people in 25 years, and that’s not just houses – it is offices, factories, schools and hospitals,” he said.

The RIAI president stresses the need for “quality” in the next phase of development. “We have an opportunity now to develop a vision of free-thinking, mixed use, sustainable development that offers long-term value to society. The opportunity is not to repeat the mistakes of the past. This time we must get the right buildings, in the right places at the right cost.”

Mandal believes that three factors must be in place in order to produce a high quality environment; a robust development system, finance, and a deep understanding of the needs of the end-user. It is this latter point, an understanding of the home dweller, the office worker or the patient, which he feels has been forgotten in the past.

He points to Dublin‘s docklands as an example of good urban planning and design. “It’s seamless development with very good public spaces and integration of social and affordable housing. It shows what we can do with the right planning, architecture and vision.”

That said, he agrees with my suggestion that the docklands skyline is too low. “Instinctively my personal view is that the buildings are too low. Many of the three storey buildings should be eight storeys high. A normal height in a city should be the treeline, which is higher than people think at about six storeys.”

Mandal welcomes the newly announced Special Development Zone for the docklands, designed to speed up the development process. His only reservation is that the public space provisions that now apply under the Dublin City Development Plan are lower than those successfully utilised under the original Dublin Docklands Development Authority plan.

He walked into the eye of a storm with the advent from March 1 of the new Building Control Regulations. The RIAI supports better building and has “consistently asked for adequate inspection and enforcement measures”. The Department of the Environment says that 800 “Commencement Notices” have already been served under the new system, which relies on “assigned certifiers” to inspect works, rather than the local authority. Mandal feels that the biggest weakness is a lack of an insurance system for “latent defects”. He adds: “If the only solution for a consumer is to go through the courts, then the system is flawed.”

Whilst fee levels are “barely sustainable”, business is improving for architects and most firms expect to employ more people in 2014. Mandal believes that the vision of architects will be crucial to developing this next phase of “where we want to live”.

Indo Business

Other posts of interest

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started– click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9– click link here

(Robin Mandal) RTÉ TV: Six-One news 27th February 2014: RIAI on BC(A)R SI.9– click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad– click link here

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

Thoughts on a Register for Architectural Technologists– click link here

Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9 – click link here

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here

Letter 4- Reply to Minister’s Irish Times Letter

by Bregs Blog admin team

Letter from the Editor photo courtesy of Scttishbooktrust.com

The following letter was submitted to the Irish Times on Monday 26th May 2014 by Joseph Little in response to Minister Phil Hogan’s Letter to the Editor on May 23rd 2014. Links to relevant letters and posts are included at the bottom of the following piece. 

________

Dear Editor,

Please include the following letter.

Minister Hogan continues to adopt a hectoring approach in all discussions about the new Building Control system. Based on my own experience as a practising architect and many conversations with other engineers and architects, I consider Frank McDonald’s article (“Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started”, Home News, May 19th) a more accurate and fair reflection of what is happening than that of the Minister. Furthermore for him to suggest that Mr. McDonald may not be interested in raising standard of construction and proper building control is highly disingenuous: it is well accepted that no journalist in Ireland has promoted higher construction standards than he.

What is extraordinary about the Minister’s contention about 840 commencement notices since March 1st is that it contradicts the statistics uploaded by the Local Government Management Agency on the Building Control Management System (BCMS – the web-based database serving the new Building Control system). Only 327 commencement notices were lodged in all of March and April, 53% of them for house extensions under 40 sqm which are not the focus of the new regulations. Even more worrying only fifty commencement notices of any kind were lodged in the first two weeks of May. This suggests a building industry markedly slowing down compared to last year’s activity. The Bregs Blog gives links to the government documents downloaded from BCMS.

Like many other architects I have set up a user account on BCMS however I am very, very reluctant to make use of it to become an Assigned or Design Certifier. I’m aware this may mean losing clients or delaying projects but this is a safer and saner prospect than pursing a path strongly advised against by senior counsel. To use the words of Mr. Damien Keogh of Matheson Solicitors where he quoted Denis McDonald SC (in a letter of 12th December 2013), ‘the amended language is “extraordinarly loose and vague” and this will undoubtedly lead to significant problems in terms of professional indemnity insurance cover and the cost of same’. He strongly advised architects, engineers and surveyors acting as Assigned or Design Certifiers in any circumstances.

Professional indemnity insurance comes under civil law, however failure to provide necessary clarification of compliance of a particular item under the new regulation can lead to criminal prosecution for which the insurance provides no cover. Furthermore if professional indemnity insurance becomes unaffordable or its payment lapses the whole system falls apart with no protection for consumer.  It appears the Minister has created an unfair and unbalanced ‘house of cards’. Ireland clearly needs better building and stricter controls to ensure consumer protection but this should be based on a significant increase in the number of building control officers, legal registration of all builders, and latent defects insurance for all relevant projects. The Minister should look to the more robust and fair systems implemented in most West European countries.

I have heard from many sources that local authority building control officers are complaining about the legislation and the lack of training on how to implement the system. There are still no lists, for instance, stating what documents must be uploaded for a school compared to a new build house. Lastly I have been told that the completion section of the new electronic system is not available yet. In this context how does one prove compliance, against what and where do you send it?

A system should only have been implemented when all stakeholders had been actively engaged with and listened to, and when all systems and training were in place. Minister, please revise the regulations.

Regards,

Joseph Little

BArch, MRIAI, MSc Archit. AEES

Other posts on this topic:

Letter 3 – Reply to Minister’s Irish Times Letter – click link here

Letter 1+ 2- Reply to Minister’s Irish Times Letter – click link here

Link to Minister Hogan’s letter to the editor- click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article  –  click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started –  click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9 –  click link here

Thoughts on a Register for Architectural Technologists

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following opinion piece was submitted by Barry Lyons Dip Arch Tech, Dip Proj Man, on 28th May 2014.

A few thoughts on the establishment of a Register of Architectural Technologists

Let me begin by stating a few things. I’m taking from reading posts on this forum that most people on here agree on the following;

 1.      The current building control system is no better for the consumer than the old system and should be scrapped.

But now that we’re stuck with the system…

2.      The exclusion of Architectural Technologists from acting in the role of the Assigned Certifier is baffling and a serious oversight and should be corrected immediately.

3.      A register of Architectural Technologists should be established to ensure competence.

If we accept that a register needs to happen, and it seems even Minister Hogan is leaning that way, then serious consideration needs to be given now as to how this is established and who maintains the register. To try and get the Minister’s Department to rectify two of his mistakes could be a lifetime’s work.

As far as I see it there are three options (four if you include do nothing, which let’s face isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility)

Option 1: Establish an Independent Registration Body.

I think we can safely assume this will take months of talking as to how to best establish such a body and probably wouldn’t happen within the lifetime of this Government or mine.

Let’s call that the Nuclear option.

Option 2: Ask the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists CIAT to establish and manage the register of Architectural Technologists in Ireland.

The CIAT is already establishing a “CIAT-operated Register” in the Republic of Ireland for Architectural Technologists competent in certification of design and compliance. This will be open to all professionals who can demonstrate competence and would not be restricted to CIAT members.

The CIAT is the UK’s Competent Authority for Chartered Architectural Technologists and already has systems in place to determine competency levels in the same way the RIAI and SCSI did for their Registers and has many Irish Members already. Cost and time for this option are negligible.

Full disclosure, I’m currently going through the process of becoming a Member myself.

Option 3: Let the RIAI establish a second Register in accordance with their policy statement below, reissued only this week:

At the 7th March 2014, the RIAI Council voted to support in principle the following policy in relation to Architectural Technologists:

1.RIAI will set up an RIAI Register of Architectural Technologists immediately.

2.RIAI acknowledges and will support the need for a Statutory Register of Architectural Technologists.

3.RIAI will promote such a statutory Registered Architectural Technologist as a competent person to:

(a) Carry out Performance Calculation & Technical Design in accordance with
Building Regulations
(b) Certify Performance Calculation and Technical Design carried out in accordance in
Building Regulations
(c) Inspect the construction of buildings as required to certify compliance with
Building Regulations

4.The RIAI will support the development and establishment of an Architectural Technologist Register Admissions Examination (ATRAE) for purposes of entry to the Statutory Register of Architectural Technologists. The examination should be at a level which recognises the education, experience and skills of the Architectural Technologist.

5.RIAI will develop and establish an RIAI Code of Conduct and a Professional Conduct Committee for professional practice as a Registered Architectural Technologist.

As a reluctant Technician Member of the RIAI (a condition of my PI Insurance cover) I have serious reservations about allowing the RIAI establish and maintain this register.

In my time as a Technician Member of the RIAI (c. 5 years) I can honestly say I don’t remember a single thing that the RIAI have done specifically for Technologists. We pay our fees, still have to do the 40 hours of CPD and yet are barred from even signing the RIAI certs of compliance with Planning and Building Regulations on projects we’ve designed and supervised ourselves. To be fair, I do get a nice sticker for my letter head though.

In relation to certifying I’d draw your attention point 3(c) in the above policy statement.

…RIAI will promote such a statutory Registered Architectural Technologist as a competent person to … Inspect the construction of buildings as required to certify compliance with Building Regulations.

Did you see it… Inspect, but not actually certify themselves.

In case you’re thinking this is a wilfully dishonest reading of the wording check out point 3(b) where they specifically state “Certify Performance Calculation and Technical Design carried out in accordance in Regulations”

This is the worry.

The RIAI are there to protect their members, Architects. As a Technologist I’m not convinced this aim wouldn’t be best served by restricting the ability of Technologists to act in the role of Assigned certifier. And we haven’t even started on the time it’ll take to establish their register, put the systems in place to determine competency levels, etc etc. Actually let’s call this the Nuclear Option.

I’m speaking in a personal capacity here and not on behalf of the CIAT or any other technologist but as a Technologist, should Registration ever happen, I’d like it to be handled by an authority who has a proven track record in acting for Architectural Technologists, has the capacity and resources to establish the Register without delay and most importantly is willing to do so.

The CIAT is the only logical option.

 

Other posts on this topic:

Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9 – click link here

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here

Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010  – click link here

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD – click link here

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

Collins & O Cofaigh- A BETTER way: BC(A)R SI.9 Solutions – click link here

 

 

 

RIAI: FAQ on Part deferral BC(A)R SI.105

by Bregs Blog admin team

FAQ

The following guidance was issued to RIAI practices on May 19th 2014 regarding the workings of the part-deferral SI105, introduced within one week after SI9 and applicable only to qualifying school and healthcare government buildings. As far as we are aware at time of writing no part-deferrals have successfully been granted under SI.105. Here is an extract from the recent RIAI Practice guide:

____________

MEMBERS QUERIES ABOUT THE WORKINGS OF SI 105 of 2014.
These Regulations provide for alternative but equivalent means of complying with the requirements under the Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2014 to assign a person to inspect and certify the works (the Assigned Certifier) in line with a plan lodged at commencement and implemented during construction.
The alternative but equivalent means of compliance applies to a limited range of public and privately owned buildings classified as first, second or third level places of education; hospitals or primary care services.
The alternative means of compliance applies only to projects subject to each of the following circumstances:
(i) planning permission, where applicable, has been obtained before the 1st March 2014; and
(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.

What type of Building does S.I. 105 of 2014 apply?
(I) Buildings intended for use as places of first, second or third level education
(II) Buildings intended for use as hospitals and primary care centres.

What other Requirements apply?
For the duration of the transitional arrangements for (i), (ii) and (iii) above, these requirements may be fulfilled by the lodgement of Such Inspection plan, inspection records and certificates as may be deemed appropriate and necessary by the Oversight Group in order to demonstrate that compliance with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations has been achieved for the building or works concerned.

What is the “Oversight Group?”
The “Oversight Group” means a group appointed by the Minister of not less than 6 and not more than 8 persons who are eligible for inclusion on a register of construction professionals established pursuant to the Building Control Act 2007 or the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (Chartered Amendment) Act 1969.
We understand that the Oversight Group have had one meeting to review the applications for the alternative means of compliance under SI 105 of 2014. We are given to understand that even if approval is granted by the Oversight Group that there is still an obligation to comply with SI 9 of 2104; and provide a Preliminary Inspection Plan, etc.

Members who are working on school projects, or are about to work on school projects, have queried if they can avail of these transitional arrangements.  In reality the application process, the uncertainty of the outcome of whether approval will be granted, the time involved in the decision process, and the need for compliance with SI 9 of 2014, all indicate that it would be better to advise their clients that it would be quicker and better to proceed under SI 9 of 2014 and not apply to proceed under SI 105 of 2014.

To view S.I. 105 of 2014 click here

Letter 3- Reply to Minister’s Irish Times Letter

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following letter was submitted to the Irish Times on Monday 26th May 2014 by Michael Finan in response to Minister Phil Hogan’s Letter to the Editor on May 23rd 2014. Links to relevant letters and posts are included at the bottom of the following piece. 

________

Sir,-

An insult thrown at a journalist and author like Frank McDonald who has published numerous works dealing with poor building control and another one thrown at the open debating online BRegs blog who are providing very important unbiased information to the people of this country without any cost is implausible.

The claim that architects, engineers and surveyors are reluctant to take on the role of signed certifiers should be taken very seriously. Imagine the cost of having a registered representative on site full-time while building work is being carried out, without which any of these professions would be compromising their professional practices. By signing-off to the local authority the regulation is a legal time-bomb requiring unlimited warranty to the Government, not the home owner, on future building projects. The home owner pays the piper but does not get to call the tune. The majority of past building projects were not carried out using sloppy practices and sloppy building practices will not be stopped by the new regulations.

The minister on the side of the home owner and better protection for the consumer can take some responsibility for the bleeding austerity burdens people are experiencing. This building control regulation is adding considerable unnecessary costs to new home owners. Perhaps this sharp instrument at the home owners and consumers side will soon be removed.

Michael Finan

Other posts on this topic:

Letter 1+ 2- Reply to Minister’s Irish Times Letter – click link here

Link to Minister Hogan’s letter to the editor- click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article  –  click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started –  click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9 –  click link here

 

 

Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9

In case anyone missed the Dáil debate yesterday 27th May 2014 at 4pm on Architectural Technologists and the new regulations here is an audio clip of the debate: Click link to listen to audio clip here (duration of clip approx. 13.12).

For transcript of Dail debate: click here. Extract as follows:

___________

Topical Issue Debate Tuesday 27th May 2014

Building Regulations Qualifications

Mick Wallace TD:

As the Minister will be aware, I have some serious reservations about the new regulations introduced in March this year. Before I deal with the issue of architectural technologists, however, I want to say that I still believe the Government is missing the point and that independent supervision by people working for the State is the best way forward. I still insist that it cannot possibly work to have members of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland, RIAI, signing off on projects unless they have somebody present on the site. At the moment, those allowed to practise as assigned certifiers are persons registered with the RIAI, chartered engineers registered with Engineers Ireland, and persons registered with the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, SCSI. The Minister is telling me that a quantity surveyor who comes under the SCSI is more qualified to sign off on work than an architectural technologist. This beggars belief. I spent 35 years in the industry. I can tell the Minister that while there are plenty of architects who are familiar with the technological dimension of putting schemes together, there are also many architects who are not.

An architect’s primary job is to design. The job of an architectural technologist is to make sure that the building is put together properly and will stay up. However, these are the people the Minister is omitting from consideration as assigned certifiers. It does not stack up. The Minister said he is worried about situations similar to Priory Hall, which happened to be signed off by an RIAI member, although that is irrelevant at this stage. For the people who are most technically capable and most technically involved, this is their bread and butter. The architect, who is the designer, is actually employing these people to make sure the building will be constructed properly, will meet building regulations and will stand the test of time.

I do not understand the Government’s thinking in omitting these people from the list of assigned certifiers. I cannot help but feel the Minister is being dictated to by the RIAI, which can be a bit of a club. He is protecting a protected profession at the expense of an awful lot of people who work day in, day out, and who are responsible for making sure things are done right. It does not stack up.

As I heard just before I came to the House, there is now an online petition asking the Minister to prepare a register in order that architectural technologists can be included. While I do not know what sort of information the Minister is getting, my experience is that I have employed design architects to do work for me, and there were times when I also had to get an architectural technologist to make sure all the building regulations were met. Architects are wonderful at design, and this country has some wonderful architects, but guaranteeing that the building is going to stay up and meet building regulations is a different game. These are the people the Minister is excluding. He needs to have a re-think on this issue.

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Minister Phil Hogan):

I thank Deputy Wallace for raising this important matter. The Deputy knows the Building Control Act 2007 is not working satisfactorily for the people we are all trying to help, namely, the person who is going to be the owner of the property and the consumer. There are hundreds of problems around the country arising from the implementation of the present building control regulations, although, of course, Deputy Wallace chose to ignore that.

The statutory certificates of compliance prescribed under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 must be signed by a registered professional. At present, this is a person who is included on the statutory registers of architects, building surveyors or engineers, as the Deputy mentioned. Neither I nor my Department have a role in the assessment or validation of professional qualifications. That is a matter for professional bodies in their roles as registration bodies under the Acts and as competent authorities for the purposes of the mutual recognition of professional qualifications in line with EU and national law.

The statutory registers prescribe and maintain the standard of competence that is required for each of the professional groupings subject to the protection of title. Inclusion on the registers is not restricted, however, to members of the professional bodies recognised in law as a registration body.

(Speaker Continuing)

[Minister Phil Hogan:  ] Depending on their personal circumstances, it is open to architectural technologists who possess the requisite experience and competence in the design and survey of buildings to seek inclusion on one of the statutory registers. It has been difficult to do this up to now. Architectural technologists who consider that they possess the requisite competence in the design and survey of construction works should identify the route to registration most suited to their own individual circumstances.

There is no question of persons who are not included on the statutory registers being permitted to sign the statutory certificates of compliance. The services of architectural technologists will, of course, continue to be in demand. Currently, architectural technologists who do not pursue inclusion on the statutory registers may continue to provide services in support of the role of an architect or other professional bodies and sign off on their work by way of ancillary certificate.

It should be noted that due to my concern, as outlined by Deputy Wallace, that it was difficult for people who had been involved in work as draughtsmen or architectural technologists to get recognition from statutory bodies, I commissioned an independent review. Upon publication of the report, I confirmed that I intended to implement the 20 recommendations in full. I am glad to say that a number have already been progressed to improve the technical assessment route to ensure that people are registered in the particular prescribed body. A number of recommendations will require legislative change, which will be effected as soon as possible. I will try to do so in this session.

I should also mention that my Department has engaged with the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, CIAT, in respect of its desire for recognition of its chartered members. My Department has outlined a number of options open to CIAT that will observe the Building Control Act 2007, but it is also open to some of the suggestions that have been made by CIAT. This engagement has led to CIAT presenting separate cases for recognition of its chartered members under both the surveyor and the architect registers based on benchmarking the competence of its chartered members against the existing routes to registration.

As indicated earlier, neither I nor my Department has any role in the assessment or the validation of professional qualifications, and I cannot pre-empt the outcome in either case. However, I assure him that I am very conscious of what he is saying and that I have an open mind in respect of the correspondence and submissions that were made by CIAT last week where it indicated that it now wishes to see instead a stand-alone statutory register of architectural technologists instead of a situation in which architectural technologists apply to become members of existing professional bodies. I am examining this at the moment and have an open mind in respect of whether this possibility can be pursued in order to ensure we have competition in the marketplace for the assigned certifier role while also catering for the many people who have built up much experience and competence over the years, as outlined by the Deputy.

Mick Wallace TD:

There is no doubt that unless a structure is formed whereby architectural technologists can constitute a statutory registered body on their own, architectural technologists will be second-class citizens. The Minister’s new regulations insist on the submission of working drawings before work begins. I would have no problem with that. I always waited too long to get them from architects. It is not a bad idea. It is the architectural technologists who actually do the working drawings, but they are not allowed to sign off on them. Architectural technologists carry out the site visits but they are still not allowed to sign off on them. These people are being put in an inferior position compared to that of the architect. This is unfair and does not stack up on the ground.

The people who work in the industry know who does what. The architectural technologist is vital to guarantee that buildings are designed properly and meet fire safety and building regulations and that things are done the way they should be done. As the principal individual driving how the building is designed, the architect has a different role. One might as well have a hairdresser service one’s car. It is completely different. This is not an insult to any architect, because his or her role relates more to design than to making sure building regulations are complied with. The architectural technologist has a far stronger involvement and link with the chartered engineer who designs the building to ensure it does not fall.

Aside from competition and rising costs, from the perspective of the health of industry, the Minister must have a rethink. I am very concerned that he is being fed the wrong information by some leading institutions. If one talks to the people on the ground, one finds that the architectural technologist is vital to a healthy industry in the years ahead.

Minister Phil Hogan:

I thought I gave a reasonable and positive response to the Deputy. I said I was prepared to examine these issues. I am concerned about the fees that are being quoted by some existing members of the statutory bodies, particularly for self-build projects. It seems they have developed into a cartel, particularly in rural areas where they are actually talking to each other about the level of fees, which are 10% of the cost of the project in many cases.

Deputy Mick Wallace:

And 12%.

Minister Phil Hogan:

I am surprised that these professional bodies have done that, because all we are trying to do here is protect the consumer from some of the practices the Deputy knows about, which I have dealt with in many cases. The building regulations will ensure that these issues will not arise again insofar as I have anything to do with it. I am dissatisfied with the level of fees being quoted. I am certainly conscious of the competitive issues and am also conscious of the good people out there who can provide themselves with the work about which the Deputy is speaking if they pursue the route to registration with the changes I have made in recent times. However, sometimes people do not like to take that route. They feel that the existing statutory bodies and their representatives are not exactly generous in respect of the level of competence they have built up over the years through the individuals mentioned by the Deputy.

I am keeping this matter under review and looking at the submission that has been made recently by CIAT. I will make a decision very shortly about whether architectural technologists will be recognised. They are recognised through the UK process and it would be no difficulty for both of us to agree that we can have an Irish solution to a British problem, or the other way around

 

Other posts of interest:

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here

Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010  – click link here

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD – click link here

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

Collins & O Cofaigh- A BETTER way: BC(A)R SI.9 Solutions – click link here

 

Letter 1+ 2- Replies to Minister’s Irish Times Letter

by Bregs Blog admin team

letter writing skills

The following letters were published in the Irish Times on Saturday 24th May 2014 by Barry Kelly and Michael Duffy in response to Minister Phil Hogan’s Letter to the Editor on May 23rd 2014. Links to relevant letters and posts are included at the bottom of the following piece. 

Building control regulations – Letters | The Irish Times – Sat, May 24, 2014

For link to letters click here

Extract from letters in The Irish Times:

_________

Sir, – I note the irony that our Minister for the Environment is once again throwing out much heat but very little light (March 23rd). His statistics on commencement notices do not take account of those validated – surely the only proper and correct criteria for such a comparison.

The statistics prepared by his own department in this respect are those quoted by Frank McDonald. The Minister is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts and the actual facts speak far more loudly than his rhetoric. – Yours, etc,

BARRY KELLY,

Carew Kelly Architects,

21/22 Grafton Street,

Dublin 2.

_________

Sir, – Notwithstanding the interest and participation of the public in your “Letters to the Editor”, is it my imagination or is there now a concept of government via Letters to the Editor? Why did Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan not clearly state that which he now communicates in his letter to you (May 23rd) when the amended building control regulations came into effect on March 1st?

As a chartered civil engineer, I can tell you that for the month of March I advertised my availability to act as a certifying engineer with respect to these new amended regulations. I had two inquiries; no work, just two inquiries.

This amendment has increased the cost of construction of an average rural home by approximately €8,500 over prior costs. This is principally as a result of the new compulsory inspection and certification regime and the implications for professional indemnity insurance. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL DUFFY,

Kilfenora,

Co Clare.

Other posts on this topic:

Link to Minister Hogan’s letter to the editor- click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article  –  click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started –  click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9 –  click link here

 

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register

by Bregs Blog admin team

RIAIPresident_RobinMandal.1

The following new alert from of the representative body for architects (RIAI) to members was sent on Monday 26th May 2014. President of the RIAI Robin Mandal pictured.

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register

At the 7th March 2014, the RIAI Council voted to support in principle the following policy in relation to Architectural Technologists:

1.RIAI will set up an RIAI Register of Architectural Technologists immediately.

2.RIAI acknowledges and will support the need for a Statutory Register of Architectural Technologists.

3.RIAI will promote such a statutory Registered Architectural Technologist as a competent person to:

(a) Carry out Performance Calculation & Technical Design in accordance with Building Regulations
(b) Certify Performance Calculation and Technical Design carried out in accordance in Building Regulations
(c) Inspect the construction of buildings as required to certify compliance with Building Regulations

4.The RIAI will support the development and establishment of an Architectural Technologist Register Admissions Examination (ATRAE) for purposes of entry to the Statutory Register of Architectural Technologists. The examination should be at a level which recognises the education, experience and skills of the Architectural Technologist.

5.RIAI will develop and establish an RIAI Code of Conduct and a Professional Conduct Committee for professional practice as a Registered Architectural Technologist.

This is an important time for architectural technologists and the adoption of the policy in principle, underscores the Institute’s commitment to Architectural Technologist Members. There are a number of issues to be considered in setting up the voluntary RIAI Register so as to give the best possible effect and to future actions in this area.

Architectural Technologists are fully involved in this process and a series of meetings are being and will be held to develop the next steps and appropriate mechanisms for consultation.

As President I will work to ensure the best possible outcome for Architectural Technologists at this time.

Robin Mandal

RIAI President

Other posts of interest:

Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here

Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010  – click link here

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD – click link here

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

An Architectural Technologist’s 6 questions to employer – click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link Blog

Eoin O Cofaigh: The architectural technologist and BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologists and the register: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Collins & O Cofaigh- A BETTER way: BC(A)R SI.9 Solutions – click link here

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following email was submitted to the Blog on Monday 26th May 2014. Pictured is Mick Wallace T.D. who invited submissions from Architectural Technologists in advance of a Dáil debate on 27th May 2014 concerning the role of Architectural Technologists and the new building regulations.

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists

Ciao All,

Having read so many emails, from 12 different counties, I do understand your concerns. I worked in the construction industry for over 35 years and I realise that Architectural Technologists know a lot more about how a building should be put together, and built to stand the test of time, weather, movement and use than many who will be allowed sign off on completed work. I will make your case as well as I can in the 6 minutes I’m allowed with Phil Hogan on Tuesday. At the moment, the Topical Issue debate is scheduled for 5.06pm Tuesday evening.

Ciao,

Mick

__________________________________
Mick Wallace, TD

WEXFORD

mick.wallace@oireachtas.ie

www.mickwallace.net

Dáil Eireann

Leinster House

Kildare Street

Dublin 2

Ph: 01 6183287

Other posts on this topic:

Architectural Technologists’ Petition – click link here

Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010  – click link here

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD – click link here

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

An Architectural Technologist’s 6 questions to employer – click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link Blog

Eoin O Cofaigh: The architectural technologist and BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologists and the register: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Collins & O Cofaigh- A BETTER way: BC(A)R SI.9 Solutions – click link here

CIRI Register is live!

by Bregs Blog admin team

construction-worker-site

CIRI Register is live!

Here is a link to the CIRI register run by the Construction Industry Federation which has gone live:

https://www.ciri.ie/register/

NOTE: The details below are provided for information purposes only. The BRegs Blog do not endorse or recommend any information, claims, interpretations or assertions from the CIRI website. Readers should use their own professional judgment and carry out their own due diligence on any contracting firm.

 Extract from the CIRI website:

______

ABOUT CIRI

Welcome to the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) – a new resource to help all those who wish to engage competent construction companies, practitioners and builders.

This is the only register of construction companies, sole traders and builders that are vetted by Government nominees and industry professionals.

CIRI has been set up to help members of the public find competent, experienced construction practitioners.

CIRI sets standards for those listed.  To be on CIRI competent construction companies, sole traders and builders must comply with the building regulations and an industry code of ethics, they must prove their tax compliance and they must meet the health and safety regulations relating to the construction industry.  Prior to the establishment of CIRI there was no way for the Irish public to distinguish construction companies, sole traders and builders who meet these standards from those who don’t.

Construction companies, contractors, sub contractors, specialist contractors and builders listed on CIRI have a track record of competence and experience.

To apply to join the Construction Industry Register Ireland click here.

The Construction Industry Register Ireland is being set up by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) in consultation with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. To find out more about the Construction Industry Federation click here.

If you wish to contact the Construction Industry Register Ireland click here.

Architectural Technologists’ Petition

by Bregs Blog admin team

petitions

 

Dear Bregs Blog

Could you post this piece seeking support for signatures to an online petition seeking”A Statutory Register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland. Its important we get this up asap to lend weight to the Dail debate on Tuesday 27th May 2014.

Regards,

Malachy

____________

Minister Hogan, on the 26th Feb 2008 in the Dail, you asked the then Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his proposals to give formal statutory or legal recognition to the qualifications of Architectural Technologists and to bring to his attention the important role that these professions play in the planning, development and construction of buildings.

In signing the BC(A)A 2014 into legislation you have effectively ostracised Irish Architectural Technologists. You have nullified their academic qualifications and belittled the experience of those who you described as being professional and important. Architectural Technologists want to remain Architectural Technologists and not be forced to become Architects, Engineers or Building Surveyors to be legitimately recognised for the valuable contribution they make to the Irish design and construction industry and so we call on you to;

“Instruct the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the civil servants whose responsibility this will be, to setup a register along the lines of the CIF register of builders so that when the legislation is opened to admit the builders on a statutory register it will also admit the architectural technologists on a statutory register?”

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/a-statutory-register-for-architectural-technology

_____________

The above ipetition piece was submitted by Malachy Matthews on Sunday 26th may 2014.

Link to Dáil debate mentioned above from 26th February 2008 – click here

Other posts of interest:

Phil Hogan TD to Minister Gormley on “premature” and “market distortion effects” of register in 2010  – click link here

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD – click link here

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

An Architectural Technologist’s 6 questions to employer – click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link Blog

Eoin O Cofaigh: The architectural technologist and BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologists and the register: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Collins & O Cofaigh- A BETTER way: BC(A)R SI.9 Solutions – click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article

by Bregs Blog admin team

phil-hogan-de

The following letter  from Minister Phil Hogan to the Editor and published in the Irish Times on May 23rd 2014 strongly rejects the findings of a previous article “Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started” by Frank McDonald on Monday (19th May 2014 – click link here). The Minister takes issue with some of the statistics for commencement notices noted by Mr McDonald.

Mr McDonald’s source figures do not actually come from this blog (thanks for the mention though!) – we cannot take credit for these as they are from Government sources. We noted in an earlier post “Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9” (click link here) the  level of commencement notices lodged to the Department of the Environment’s building Control Management System (BCMS) has decreased by -74% for April & May, year on year, a worrying statistic. The origin of the figures in Mr McDonald’s article are as follows:

2013 Commencement Notice Figures (last year)

2013 commencement notice numbers come from a presentation made by Bernadette McArdle at the Institute of Building Control in Ireland (IBCI) Conference in April 2014. The total number of commencement notices (for all building types) lodged nationwide for 2013 was 7,456, or an average of 143 per week (620 per month) not 100 per week as suggested by the Minister. Senior Department figures were in attendance at this conference.

A PDF of the IBCI Conference presentation downloaded from the IBCI website is attached.

2014  Commencement Notice Figures (current)

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) have reported that a total of 327 commencement notices (including  7-day notices) were validated for March and April. This figure is the total for the whole of Ireland and includes all buildings types. This averages around 164 per month.

The figures quoted in the Minister’s letter suggest advisors have unwittingly counted all the test sample applications that many users entered to find out what questions they are asked on the new system. There may be some confusion as many registered professionals have noted that once you start tinkering around with the BCMS it will register even if you never complete the submission.

In other words, trial runs by professionals of the BCMS system may result in “false positives”.

A PDF of the document downloaded from the LGMA website is attached.

Professionals reluctant to take on the assigned certifier role

Only 180 individual professionals have submitted commencement notices as Assigned Certifiers, not the 2000 as implied by the Minister in his letter. Setting up a User Account is quite a different process to actually lodging a Commencement Notice. Many contributors to the blog here have set up a User Account as a test but do not intend to take on the role of assigned certifier.

The BCMS system has a number of “teething issues”. One in particular would be the inability to lodge completion documentation. We will be looking at these in more detail. Previous posts as to technical problems such as lack of password protection, verification of information and illegal commencement notice formats are included at the bottom of this post.

Issues associated with the current difficulties of self-building have been posted upon in this blog and elsewhere: we suggest a visit to the representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) for up-to-date information (website link: http://www.iaosb.com/). The IAOSB have requested clarification on the issue from the Attorney General (See link here) and have also requested an independent inquiry into statements made by Minister Hogan in the Seanad.

Link to Minister Hogan’s letter to the editor- click here

Extract from Letter to the Editor from Minister Hogan to follow

____________

Building control regulations

Sir, – I strongly reject the assertions in the article by Frank McDonald suggesting that recent amendments to the building control regulations are leading to a decline in building activity. The only source used appears to be an online blog with a clear vested interest to discredit the new regulations (“Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started”, Home News, May 19th). There has been no attempt to provide balance or at the very least check the accuracy of the assertions of the blog. The article is disingenuous with respect to the decline in the construction sector, inferring that the new regulations have further contributed to that decline.

The fact is, as noted in the Construction 2020 Strategy published last week, commencement notices have been falling year on year from about 1,450 per week at the peak of the building boom in 2006 to about 100 per week last year. Around 840 commencement notices have been validated or are at various stages of lodgement in the 10 weeks since the new regulations were introduced. That is about 80 notices per week, which does not constitute a dramatic fall in building starts.

Claims that architects, surveyors and chartered engineers are reluctant to take on the assigned certifier role are completely unsubstantiated. The fact is that over 2,000 registered construction professionals have set up user accounts on the Building Control Management System (BCMS) to date. And the BCMS, far from creating an avalanche of paperwork, has streamlined the administration involved, providing local authorities with easy access to the information they need. Indeed, I am aware that building control staff are already using the BCMS to intervene in a number of projects currently under way in relation to compliance matters that may previously have gone unnoticed.

Furthermore, the new regulations do not prevent self-build or building by direct labour. They do not require the appointment of a main contractor. Self-build projects are known to have been lodged on the BCMS, so the new regulations are clearly workable in such scenarios.

Perhaps Mr McDonald is against providing better building regulations and would prefer to continue with the same sloppy practices that led to the terrible outcomes, such as the disastrous living conditions experienced by the residents of Priory Hall? I am on the side of the home owner and better protection for the consumer. – Yours, etc,

PHIL HOGAN, TD

Minister for

the Environment,

Custom House, Dublin 1.

_________

Source documents referred to in introduction:

PDF of IBCI presentation: BCO_Perspective_on_BCMS- Bernadette_McArdle

PDF of BCMS information: BuildingRegisterMay14th2014

Other posts on this topic:

BCMS: Are we getting what it said on the label? – click link here

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

The BCMS System – A Quickstart Guide… – click link here

Iaosb letter to Minister Hogan following his replies in the Seanad – click link here

More Architectural Technologist Dáil letters

by Bregs Blog admin team

dgsplit-app

More Architectural Technologist Dáil letters

The following letter was submitted by an Architectural Technologist to Mick Wallace TD in advance of a Dáil debate scheduled for May 27th 2014 on Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (SI.9 of 2014).  In an earlier post we noted Mr Wallace’s invitation for submissions and have posted up some qestions already submitted by Architectural Technologists (click to view post here). The name of the Dublin based Architectural Technologist has been removed at the author’s request.

_________

Dear Mr. Wallace

Why would any prospective student want to go into an Architectural Technology course that has no legitimacy in the profession and no standing in society.  Architectural Technologists do the work for which they are academically qualified and with experience competent to do, BUT with no statutory legitimacy to do it. Architectural Technologists have been neglected by the RIAI who have let this mess fester for years despite repeated calls for action from their AT members.

A statutory register with the competencies of  Technical Design (and certification of same) for building regulations, Performance calculation (DEAP, U Value calculation, Thermal bridging etc), certification of same for building regulations and Inspection on site for compliance with design for building regulations (and certification of same) is a start and will establish the “technical professional” that is so necessary for the design and construction industry in Ireland today.

This is why I asked you Mick Wallace to ask the Minister:

“Will he instruct the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the civil servants whose responsibility this will be, to setup a register along the lines of the CIF register of builders so that when the legislation is opened to admit the builders on a statutory register is will also admit the architectural technologists on a statutory register?”

Regards

an Architectural Technologist

___________

Other posts of interest:

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

An Architectural Technologist’s 6 questions to employer – click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link Blog

Eoin O Cofaigh: The architectural technologist and BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologists and the register: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

 

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read

by Bregs Blog admin team

Magnificent-7

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read

Here is a series of posts submitted over the past two weeks (week ending 23rd May 2014) by a registered architect concerning recent draft documentation issued by the representative body for architects (RIAI) for members. The comments are made by an architect who has advised Professional Indemnity insurers on defending claims against other architects and who wishes to help colleagues protect themselves. As these are an opinion pieces, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or duties in this post. We suggest professionals contact their respective professional bodies with concerns or queries.

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) – click link here

Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts – click link here

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) – click link here

Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect) – click link here

We hope this information may be useful to professionals implementing the new building regulations. If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing these issues also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. We suggest professionals contact their respective professional bodies with concerns or queries.

Press: New laws shatter family’s dream home plans

by Bregs Blog admin team

iPadbuilds

Raymond and Amanda Gallagher with the model of their new dream home – which will now never exist due to restrictive building control laws.

In the following newspaper article from the Irish Mirror by Alana Fearon published on May 22nd 2014 “New laws shatter family’s dream home plans” a Mum-of-five’s plans ruined following a ban on people building their own homes.

Link to article click here

Extract from article to follow:

____________

“New laws shatter family’s dream home plans”

A heartbroken mum-of-five’s plans for her dream home lie in ruins following a ban on people building their own homes.

Amanda Gallagher and her husband Raymond, both 38, ploughed thousands of their hard-earned cash into designing the perfect family home on Raymond’s dad’s farm in the beautiful Sligo countryside.

Working to a strict budget, stay-at-home mum Amanda and electrician Raymond planned to build their four-bed bungalow in rural Geevagh themselves.

They spent €3,000 on site tests and planning in the belief that, like 60% of one-off homes here, they would be able to self-build and stick to their €150,000 budget.

But they were devastated in December when their architect told them laws which came into force on March 1 mean only contractors can build homes and extensions.

These new regulations would see the cost of the Gallagher’s bungalow triple – because contractors charge roughly €125 for every square foot.

The couple claim they will now be stuck living in a council house as they cannot afford the higher costs.

Heartbroken Amanda told the Irish Mirror: “Devastated is an understatement, this was our dream home in the countryside that we spent our hard-earned cash designing and planning only to be told a few months before the foundations were due to go in that self-builds are actually now banned.

“We didn’t plan to build our own home on a whim.

“We were doing it out of necessity because we can’t afford builder’s rates and because Raymond is an electrician and good at carpentry and things, we knew we’d only need to pay bricklayers and that would have saved us tens of thousands.

“How can this be allowed? I mean these new building regulations were never even brought to our attention until December when we had already spent several thousand.

“We were basically just waiting on the foundations to go in this summer but now all that’s up in smoke and we’ll never have our new home unless this unjust law is repealed.”

Amanda, Raymond and their five kids – aged from eight months to 13 – are crammed into a three-bed council house in Ballisodare.

Amanda added: “Even paying a certifier to sign off on our plans would set us back up to €20,000 and that sort of money would have fitted out the entire interior of our home.

“I have written to Environment Minister Phil Hogan and to the Taoiseach and am currently being fed this line that self-builds aren’t banned but I have studied the law inside out and spoken to builders, architects, surveyors, engineers, lawyers and barristers who have all agreed that self-building is now illegal here.”

A Law Society of Ireland task force appointed by the Dail Conveyancing Committee to advise solicitors on the new regulations said in a letter to the Irish Association of Self-Builders that “self builders with no experience acting as a builder might have difficulties getting an architect, engineer or surveyor who is willing to undertake the task of acting as an assigned certifier”.

A spokesman for the Irish Association of Self Builders said: “We welcome the idea of tougher rules to police the construction industry.

“But self-building has been a major sector of all the houses built in Ireland in the past decade and in most cases the quality and the workmanship have exceeded the constructions done by major developers.

“As long as they have complied with the Building regulations and Health & Safety, this right should not be taken away from them.

A spokesman for the Environment Department said last night it was “incorrect to assert that self-build is banned in Ireland”.

He added: “Neither do the regulations require the signatory of any statutory to companies – it is only when the assigned builder is a company that limitations apply.”

____________

Topics and information noted in article:

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents Collins + O’Cofaigh – click link here

Letter to Minister Hogan: CIF & SI.9 – click link here

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

Law Society response to self-builders  – click link here

Competition Authority complaint: CIF & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Law Society of Ireland Update on BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? – click link here

 

 

RTÉ Radio- CIF: professionals to Guarantee under BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

parlon-tom-cif

RTÉ Radio- CIF: professionals to Guarantee building works under BC(A)R SI.9

In this RTÉ interview on Morning Ireland on 21st May 2014, Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Director Tom Parlon discusses lobbying of government in the midst of the current political storm over homelessness. He notes the additional costs of new building regulations and discusses how professional certifiers will now be giving a guarantee of contractor’s work under the new regulations.

RTÉ Radio Morning Ireland Wednesday May 21st: click here

Other posts on legal aspects:

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Alarming Legal opinion: BC(A)R SI.9 –  click link here

Difficult Senior Council Opinions: BC(A)R SI.9 –  click link here

Law Society of Ireland Update on BC(A)R SI.9 –  click link here

New Law Society Guidance Note on BC(A)R SI.9 –  click link here

BC(A)R SI.9 and Law Society of Ireland? –  click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? – click link here

Self-Builders escalate to Europe: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

 

 

Why S.I. 9 of 2014 has failed – Choice

by Bregs Blog admin team

sff-success-failure

Why S.I. No.9 of 2014 has failed – Choice

An opinion piece by Chartered/Registered Architect and Certified Passive House Designer Mark Stephens CPHD RIBA MRIAI

I can understand the motives behind the Building Regulations amendments that concluded in S.I. No.9 of 2014; that is the attempted prevention of fails such as Priory Hall and the improvement of construction standards in Ireland. But as we have seen in the numerous posts on this web site, it is unlikely that this will be the case; the exact opposite could occur that there is nothing effectively stopping a Developer employing his own Assigned Certifier and registering as a builder on the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) register.

This post however explains what I believe is the biggest failure; the lack of choice the consumer now has in his construction project.

Any person now wanting to construct his own house or an extension over 40 sqm can only employ a restricted number of personnel for the project; the ‘Designer’ and Assigned Certifier can only be a  Registered Architect, Chartered Engineer or Chartered Building Surveyor. The builder can only be a construction company registered with the Construction Industry Federation (from 2015). Where is the consumer choice in this?

You may ask why a person who is one of the chosen professionals is raising such an issue? Firstly a large percentage of my clients were self builders; under the new regulations they are now forbidden from constructing their house or extension, Amanda Gallagher (in a previous post) pointed out was something even North Korea allowed! Secondly, I believe in customer choice; a person should be able to decide whether they want the cheapest, or the most expensive, a building that is architecturally designed or straightforward but built well. I’m not saying which profession equates with each characteristic; there are plenty of well designed buildings not designed by architects and there are plenty of well engineered buildings that don’t look well. What I am saying however is that the consumer should have a choice and at the moment they do not. I am well aware that my fees are not the cheapest in the market; anyone that can afford an architect over a ‘draughtsman’ will still be able to afford an architect; what is important however is that the consumer should be able to choose which person will design and construct his house and again, at the moment they cannot.

But surely the construction standard would drop if anyone can design and certify? The problem is that the entire self-certification system in Ireland is wrong; you should be able to have anyone design and construct your house as long as you meet all the planning and Building Regulations requirements. This is the system in the UK, the consumer has a much greater level of choice, they can choose from draughtsman to architect, from Architectural Technologist (whose lack of inclusion  as Designers/Assigned Certifiers is a criminal injustice) to Chartered Engineer. So how do we ensure that the Building Regulations are met in a new construction without self-certification? The answer is in the full deployment of Building Control Officers inspecting all the drawings and regular site visits on all construction projects to ensure that all aspects of the construction are compliant with Building Regulations – exactly as they do in the UK.

In conclusion the failure of S.I No. 9 of 2014 lies in the Government implementing legislation that reduces consumer choice and as we have seen in previous posts offers no better consumer protection.

Mark

4 tips for Design Certifiers…

by Bregs Blog admin team

hand-and-fingers-4-642232-m

The following short posts were submitted by a registered architect to help others negotiate through the difficult implementation issues associated with BC(A)R SI.9

4 tips for Design Certifiers:

1. Don’t write the Inspection a Plan if you are not the Assigned Certifier. If there is a problem later the AC (or their PI insurer) could try to make you liable for not including something.

2. Get the Assigned Certifier to confirm that your design and specification are compliant before they lodge the Commencement Notice. Get it in writing with a copy of all the documents attached and signed off.

3. Copy any design changes during the site stage to the Assigned Certifier. Make it their responsibility to tell you in writing within 1 week if anything is not compliant. This will save you from any disputes at completion when it is too late.

4. Tell every other designer (design team, sub-contractors and specialists) that it is their responsibility to get design changes signed off for technical compliance by the Assigned Certifier before the drawings are issued.

Other posts of interest:

4 things I am putting in my fee agreements– click link here

 

 

RIAI: time needed for schools- BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

clock

The following guidance was issued to RIAI practices on May 19th 2014 regarding time required for a range of typical school projects. Although school projects are not typical and make up only a small percentage of construction output the time needed  may be useful for calculations of more mainstream project types. Here is an extract from the recent RIAI Practice guide:

__________

RIAI GUIDANCE FOR THE PROVISION OF A SERVICE FOR SCHOOL PROJECTS UNDER BC(A)R 2014

Over the past months an RIAI expert group with substantial experience in school buildings,  has discussed Transitional Arrangements with the DES for the application of BC(A)R to existing school commissions already entered into by the DES with RIAI registered architects.

These discussions were focused on establishing a shared understanding of the breadth and scope of work that would be necessary for practices to comply with SI 9, the Code of Practice and the emerging interpretation of the new protocol and to provide a basis for a full discussion of the relevant cost of the service for each individual project.

It should be noted that these discussions with the Department related only to transitional work, projects where there is a service agreement in place.  It is the Department’s intention to provide commissions for future work on a competitive basis and to include the AC role as part of the architect’s remit.  It will be open to the practice to provide the service from within the practice or have it covered by an external consultant.

In the discussions it was assumed that:

  • the architect was already providing the  full service prescribed by the DES for architectural projects, was acting as Employers Representative(ER), and had already agreed fees for the project which do not refer to  the new regulations
  • the architect would act as Assigned Certifier and as Design Certifier for the relevant elements of the works
  • there was a design team in place and that the other members of the team would be separately commissioned to contribute fully to achieving compliance under SI 9 and the Code of Practice, and collaborate fully with the Architect /ER in taking on the duties of DC and AC, complete Risk Assessments, contribute to the preparation of the PIP and INF, inspect the works at appropriate times, gather the specialist certificates and tests relevant to their discipline, certify as Ancillary or Statutory Certifiers and provide appropriate documentation for uploading at commencement, during the project and at completion.
  • the work that could be usefully assessed ranged from 1.5m to 10+m Euro.  Below this value it was not possible to estimate the scope of service needed as the variety of the works likely to occur and the specific circumstances encountered in small works made it impossible to evaluate the time that might be required.

SI 9, the full suite of Guidance Material, BC(A)R Certificates and Pro-forma Documentation on BC(A)R that is available to Registered Members of the RIAI, the understanding of the new responsibilities and duties developed by the RIAI Working Parties, and the presentations made at CPD Sessions were the background to the consultation with the DES.

The result of the discussions is attached in the Charts of Estimated Hours for projects from 1 to 15 million Euro.  These are also summarised in graphical form (see links at end of this item).

In the development of each table some familiarity with the new system on the part of the Architect is assumed, the project size is given and a distance from the Architect’s office is stated.  The number of days necessary to complete each task is estimated and it is assumed that the project is without particular complexity. The suggested days relate to the upper end of each cost band.

The time estimates for each project size should be seen only as guidance for practices in estimating the fee necessary to complete a particular project and it should be borne in mind that the AC and the Building Owner have a specific duty to ensure that all the resources necessary are available to carry out the duties imposed by the new legislation. The actual hourly rate per day charge is a matter for practice to decide.

Areas that need to be fully taken into account in agreeing a Time/Fee proposal with the DES would include:

  • the size and complexity of the project, the characteristics of the site and the particular materials and methods of construction included in  the design.  These will particularly impact on the amount of time needed to audit the design for compliance with the individual parts of the Regulations and the number of additional site inspections needed to reasonably monitor and latterly certify compliance by the builder.
  • the competence of the members of the team and the builder (if appointed) to carry out the tasks imposed by the new legislation.
  • the distance of the project from your office.  Additional or less time may be needed to cover necessary travel.
  • the time needed to cover each task that you consider necessary to comply with the new legislation
  • consideration of items marked ‘Provisional’ in the time
  • the extension of PI insurance Policy wording to cover the AC/DC roles
  • co-ordination of Ancillary Certification at Design and Completion Stages.

It is likely that existing commissions include hourly rates for various personnel.  Practices should assess the relevance of the rates to each particular project and consider their relevance to the new work needed for compliance.

jpeg of days plotted against value chart

jpeg of days plotted against value chart

 

jpeg of BC(A)R – Time Input Requirements: €1 – 2.5m | 30km from office | 11 month program

p13p23p33

 

jpeg of BC(A)R – Time Input Requirements: €2.5 – 5m School | 40km from office | 15 month program

p21p22p23

 

jpeg of BC(A)R – Time Input Requirements: €5 – 10m School |  50km from office | 15 month program

p31p32p33

 

jpeg of BC(A)R – Time Input Requirements: €10m+  School | 60km from office |  18 month program

p1p2p3

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

7552798980_7d47c0f79e_z

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9

Confusion over Housing Development

I am a registered architect who is doing a feasibility study for a residential development site. I recently called in to my Local Authority to ask if anyone could help me with phasing queries and BC(A)R SI.9. The building control officer was not in a position to answer these but kindly provided the current draft building control guidelines, noting that these were draft only and would be finalised by September 2014.

This is a link to draft “Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Works” here:

CodeforInspectingCertifyingBuildingWorksBuildingControlRegulations.pdf

These are attached and an extract off the relevant section dealing with phased developments follows:

Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Works (extract):

8.4 Phased Completion For buildings that are completed on a phased basis for occupation, for example houses or apartment blocks, it is appropriate that certificates of completion for each phase may be submitted. Where it is in order, the Building Control Authority should accept the certificate for the particular phase and place it on the register. On completion of the entire project a final complete certificate of compliance on completion should be provided

This seems to cover the usual situation where housing in an estate or an apartment block can be completed and sold as they are built. My queries are:

  • Do I submit a Commencement Notice for each house on an estate or do I do one per group or phase of houses?
  • If I do one for the full development, can the houses that are finished first be sold before the ‘final’ Completion Certificate?
  • What is a “final completion certificate”?
  • If I do one per house, does there have to a separate appointment of Certifiers, Assignment of Builder, Inspection Plan etc. for each house. In that case it seems like there will be a lot of duplication.
  • If it is a block of apartments and the Completion Certificate for Apartment 1(a) is validated, can this apartment then be sold, even though the “final” certificate for the building, including the fire-stopping in the roof is not yet lodged with the local authority?
  • If one apartment can be sold with the other areas still incomplete, where is the protection for the homebuyer?
  • How will phasing or partial completion affect conveyancing? Will buyers be affected by new validation procedures?
  • Will all common areas, landscaping and access etc. need to be completed and validated with local authority in advance of building phases? If so this will increase my client’s upfront financing costs.

Unfortunately I am none the wiser for reading the code of practice. Help?

____________

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 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 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. 

 

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to TD

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following letter was sent into the blog on 21st May 2014, a copy of correspondence sent to Mick Wallace TD earlier in the week. The letter is presented without comment.

Architectural Technologist’s personal letter to Mick Wallace TD

I’m attaching my email to Mick Wallace which I sent at the weekend. Ive been in contact with the IATGN & have collected 250+ email address of AT’s via my circle of college friends, also a message I put up on Linkedin.

I’m like so many others are off out on my own, sitting in my home office working hard trying to get by.  These AT’s need repesentation, by nature AT’s keep their head down & work very hard in silence with nobody to repesent them as a united group of hard working well educated competent professionals.

I emailed Mick Wallace my personal position im in & how I ended up here. I didn’t going into the greater detail of Architectural Technology & the after shocks of SI 9. As he will be well aware of what this has done to our profession. I want to let him know that I had no other choice put to set up & fend for myself.

Mr Hogan doesnt care about me or the many other like me. I part time employ 3 people & always look for fellow AT’s as I want to give to them what I would like myself, a chance.

_______________

Hi Mick

I’m writing to you regarding your up coming Dáil Debate regarding SI 9 & the omission of Architectural Technologist from it.

I will keep this as short as possible as you will be well aware where Architectural Technologist have been left from the many other emails you will have received.

I personally qualified in 2002 from DIT with an upper merit & worked for Engineering & Architectural firm until 20011 when I was laid off from the company that I had worked for the previous 7.5 years. At the same time my wife & I had our twin boys Rían & Rhys which were born 8 weeks early. Rhys contracted meningitis when he was 8 days old & a brain bleed was also noticed. The boys spent 4 weeks in hospital. When they got home I took 2 weeks off to help take care of them, on my return to work I was made redundant. I received social welfare for 12 months but was not entitled to any further benefits after that as my wife works. My only option was to become self employed. To-date I am 2 years in operation, The current regulations regarding SI 9 has left me in a very volatile situation causing me to question why I have spent half my life (17 years) within & studying a profession that has been virtually erased with a stroke of Mr. Hogan’s pen.

I do this because I love what I do, I have to provide for my wife & twin boys. All my clients are friends, family & local rural people.

I look forward to hearing from you & I would like to thank you for what you are doing,

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate in contacting me.

Regards

Barry Dip. Arch. Tech.

_______

Other posts of interest:

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter – click link here

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

An Architectural Technologist’s 6 questions to employer – click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link Blog

Eoin O Cofaigh: The architectural technologist and BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologists and the register: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Radio: Election Debate: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Radio: Election Debate: BC(A)R SI.9

Here is a recent Radio debate segment between election candidates on Ocean FM on Tuesday 20th may 2014. The segment deals with self-building, BC(A)R SI.9, increased costs, legal issues and consumer rights under the new building regulations. A range of contributors discuss the adverse effects of the regulations from the perspective of consumer, public representative and also informed professional viewpoints.

Link to North West Today, Tues, 20th May by OceanFM:

https://soundcloud.com/oceanfm/north-west-today-tues-20th-may

Relevant section of the debate goes from minute 45.25 to 1.00.00

Amanda Gallagher, self-builder, challenges Hubert Keaney (FG) on the Fine Gael policy of banning of self-building under the new building regulations introduced in March 2014.

Mr Keaney (FG) states that new building control regulations place no restriction on any person to undertake self-builds. He suggests this has been clarified by RIAI (representative body for architects), the Minister in Dail and questions why there still are people coming out and stating that this is not the case. “People can build their own homes…An accountant has started his own building last week.”

Mrs Gallagher noted in a Joe Duffy Radio interview earlier in the week two RIAI past presidents have confirmed, nothwithstanding statements to contrary by the Minister and the Department, the Law is the Law, and self-building has in effect, been banned by the new legislation.

Mr Keaney (FG) suggests stipulation on the builder’s completion Cert is to give responsibility back to the person that owns company not employee.

Donal Gilroy (FF), who inspects and signs off on part L of the regulations as part of his employment, confirms what Amanda Gallagher has stated and notes that act says what is says: it precludes self-building. If the Act is wrong simply let the Minister change it. He notes these issues were confirmed at a previous public meeting he held. He confirmed that the new building control Act means that you must have an assigned certifier and contractor, and he questioned the credentials of the professional working as assigned certifier on the accountants self-built house mentioned by Mr Keaney (FG). His experience suggested that no professionals were willing to work on self-builds, their professional indemnity insurance will not stand for this situation.

Thomas Collery (FG)- “we are told registered contractor and engineer can control and build any houses”. Amanda Gallagher notes self-builders do not use contractors and nationally commencement notices have “fell off a cliff”. She confirms that surveyors, architects, engineers, politicians, senators and lawyers all agree self-building not possible; how can Fine Gael reasonably suggest everyone else is wrong?

Francis Cadden (Ind) notes he built his own house built in the 1990’s to the best standard. The new building regulations seemed to be “Money for the boys”.

Thomas Healy (SF) suggested owners can build their own house, at a price. He compared SI9 to a “stealth tax”. He asks if 60% of owners can self-build, why cant local authorities sign off? “Let’s get employment for self-builds… not developers for profit”

Amanda Gallagher suggested Fine Gael are “…a disgrace…For politicians I think there should be a 3 month training course… one month homeless, one month hungry and one month poor.”

Mel Casserly, a chartered engineer, agreed with the self-builder comments. He notes that current Engineer’s Ireland and Professional Insurer’s direction is not to touch self-build as professionals. He confirmed that Fine Gael are incorrect in stating owners can sign off; due to vague and inaccurate wording of SI.9 this will need to be established in the courts. He also noted as mandatory registration of building contractors was due to be introduced on a statutory footing in March 2015 the current grey area,  i.e. whether owners could be builders, would end in 9 months and self-building would officially be banned. He felt there were major issues for rural ireland.

In his experience all self-builds had been completed to an exemplary standard- the poor quality building had occurred in the  in speculative building sector.

________

Other related posts:

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents Collins + O’Cofaigh – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started – click link here

Radio: architect on commencements & SI9 – click link here

Radio Clip- O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer – click link here

Law Society response to self-builders – click link here

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

 

 

 

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following opinion piece was submitted on 21st May 2014 by a registered architect. Issues mentioned in this opinion piece may affect any one of the registered professions qualified to undertake the role of Assigned Certifier. As this is an opinion piece, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or duties in this post.

ASSIGNED CERTIFIERS FACING JAIL

Discussion around the new duties on those architects and others acting as “Assigned Certifier” under BC(A)R 2014 has focussed on civil liability to clients, tenants, purchasers etc.. This paper draws attention to the criminal liability involved in not providing the building control authority with documentation they require to validate a Certificate of Completion.

S.I.9 – Part IIIC – Certificate of Compliance on Completion, article 20F(5) says:-

“Where the building control authority considers that a Certificate of Compliance on Completion may not be valid … they may within 21 days of receipt of the certificate, write to the person who submitted the certificate and … (ii) require the person submitting the certificate to submit such revised certificate or such additional documentation as may be deemed necessary by the building control authority to accompany the certificate for the purposes of paragraphs (3) and (4).”

Article 6A of S.I. 9 of 2014 says:-

Failure to comply with any requirement under Parts II, III, IIIA, IIIB or IIIC shall be an offence to which section 17(2) of the Act of 1990 applies.”

So if the BCA require additional documentation, and if the Assigned Certifier does not comply, the Certifier commits an offence to which s.17(2) of the Act applies.

Section 17(2) of the Building Control Act of 1990 says:-

17 (2) A person guilty of an offence …. shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £800, or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both the fine and the imprisonment and, if the offence is carried on after conviction, such person shall be guilty of a further offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £150 per day in respect of each day on which the offence is continued, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding £10,000 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both the fine and the imprisonment.

RIAI advice in relation to the criminal liability of the Assigned Certifier

The RIAI has advised that “Insurers have confirmed PII cover will be available for Assigned Certifiers”.

PII policies cover the insured person in respect of civil liability. It is not possible to obtain insurance cover in respect of a criminal act. It follows that PII cover will be no help if the BCA require you to provide documents and you will not or cannot do so.

The RIAI circulated the detailed “Opinion of Counsel” dated 4 September 2013, where Mr. Gavin Ralston SC considers the question of liability under the headings of:- liability in contract, liability in tort, and liability for others. He does not mention criminal liability. He also says “As I have observed at the outset, the onus of complying with the amended Building Regulations falls upon the “owner”.”

From this, he appears not to have considered that the failure of an Assigned Certifier to comply with a requirement of the BCA to provide information in connection with a Certificate of Completion would be a criminal offence.

Criminal liability of an employee acting as Assigned Certifier

It has been said that an Employer’s PII covers an employee signing a Certificate of Completion or otherwise acting as Assigned Certifier. The problem is that PII does not cover criminal liability. At this moment, it is unclear whether the employer would have a vicarious criminal liability in respect of an employee who failed to comply with a BCA requirement for information with a Completion certificate.

It is difficult to see how an employee who signs a Certificate of Completion can avoid personal criminal liability if she or he is unable to provide information required by a BCA.

Was this criminalization of the Assigned Certifier deliberate?

Presumably. Introducing the new regulations, the Minister said:- “If anyone signs a statutory certificate for a building which subsequently proves to be non-compliant, they can be held legally liable for the consequences”.

So let’s all hope together as follows:-

Let’s all hope the BCA never requires Completion Certificate documents which the AC cannot provide. What documents might those be?

  • Test reports for impact glazing, and the glass came from …. where, and no test reports are available?
  • CE papers to show fitness for purpose of the OSB in the floor, which came from … where? (They make a lot of inexpensive OSB in China)
  • Test reports on the aggregate, from an excavation subcontractor who might have gone into liquidation (There is no pyrite in the aggregate, is there?)
  • Documents from the main contractor, but who busy preparing a disruption claim, arising out of the architect’s failure to certify Practical Completion because the BCA won’t validate the Completion Certificate, and because the contractor needs or just wants to make a few bob

And let’s all hope that when you explain to the BCA that you tried really really hard, but cannot get the documents, they tell you That’s All Right Then. We don’t need them. We were only joking. And the fact that you promised when you signed the Assignment Form to give them to us – that doesn’t matter either.

Relax! These things never happen in Real Life!

Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Practical Post 18- material alterations: Creche  

My client runs a creche in an extension to her home. Her domestic kitchen was upgraded five years ago to serve the creche. She is now planning to reconfigure the ground floor and to add a separate servery, utility room and new toilet to the creche.

The works needed a Fire Cert, which was received last year. The Fire Cert is for all of the house (there are changes to fire separation and the escape route from the bedrooms).

It was planned to shut the creche for 4 weeks in the summer and my client had notified parents at Christmas when I told her about the new regulations.

I have now had to tell her that she needs to move out of her home too because the new regulations do not allow the building to be ‘opened, occupied or operated’ until the Completion Certificate is validated by the local authority.

She cannot understand why she can’t stay at home during the building works, as she did the last time. If the work was to a house it would be exempt from a Fire Cert and she could legally stay in occupation.

Having discussed this with her insurance company, she is afraid to risk staying and is now planning to rent another house and move out for up to 7 weeks. As I am unsure of when the Completion Cert will be validated, she has also told the parents that the creche may now be closed for even longer than planned.

After setting out to make a small investment in her business, she now tells me that paying for a Certifier, renting temporary living accommodation and her loss of earnings will cost her more than the building works.

____________

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 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 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. 

Invalid “short form” commencement notices: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following submission by a registered architect was received  in reply to our post on the RIAI alert not to use short form Commencement Notices on 20th May 2014 (see post here). The following references may be useful for professionals and Building Control Officers alike.

Invalid “short form” commencement notices: BC(A)R SI.9

The following Department (DECLG) presentation was given at the IBCI conference in Sligo in early April 2014, one month after they started operating the new building regulation law SI.9. PDF of  Martin Vaughan’s presentation at IBCI conference:

Validation and Issues Martin Vaughan

It’s Building Control Authority responsibility to ensure that the correct form is used & signed by the owner!!

And the ‘correct form’ wasn’t even available at that time. It took more than 2 months for Building Control Management System (BCMS- the Elodgement system) to catch up.

Remember they said, at the same event, that the Building Control Management System would expand to take the short Commencement Notices as part of the ‘continuous development’. The short Commencement Notice on BCMS was not available in March or even April, so everyone had to use the paper (old format Commencement Notice) that the Building Control Authorities handed out and left on their websites.

‘Done is better than perfect’-  PDF of Rhoda Kerins’ presentation at IBCI conference:

Building Control Management Systems Rhoda Kerins

It’s on schedule for delivery in September 2014

kildarestreet.com/BCMS#g1068.r

So what other legal problems are yet to be realised? And when the first problem with conveyancing arises who will sue the Building Control Authority?

Will we now have a new regulation issued to ‘regularise’ the invalid Commencement Notices that the Building Control Officers accepted because the system was not available? And more all summer as they build the system to catch up with the law?

This is very alarming as this is the most simple part of the process- lodgment of a notice to commence building work. This was, and should still be, a simple and straight-forward process. Imagine the complexity and confusion at completion stage, invalidations being posted back to owners: tenants waiting to move-in and start trading, families ready to leave rental accommodation etc.

What will we tell a large multinational company- ready to start production in their new multi million production/warehouse building when their design team’s completion documentation comes back invalid from the local Building Control Officer due to lack of resources and inadequate and contradictory Departmental guidance ?

How will this new self-certification system of building control  help in Ireland’s recovery, competitiveness and be a generator for employment? Where will our World bank rankings be in 2015?

Posts of interest:

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started – Click link here

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Building Control Officer issues: Conference April 2014 – Click link here

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE- Local Authority advice – Click link here

Irish Building Control Institute today: BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9 – Click link here

World bank rankings & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

An Architectural Technologist Dáil letter

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following letter was submitted by an Architectural Technologist to Mick Wallace TD in advance of a Dáil debate scheduled for May 27th 2014 on Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (SI.9 of 2014).  In an earlier post  have noted Mr Wallace’s invitation for submissions and have posted up some qestions already submitted by Architectural Technologists (click to view post here). The name of the non-Dublin based Architectural Technologist has been removed at the author’s request.

_________

Dear Mr. Wallace

Thank you for taking an interest in this issue and hopefully you will get a chance to put our case forward on the 27th May.

My own situation is as follows:

I have an honours degree in Architectural Technology and am a Technologist member of the RIAI and a member of the CIOB. I have been working as a Technologist for 23 years with experience in design, project management, certification, building regulations etc. I have been self employed for the last 7 years.

Architectural Technologists have been totally excluded from the role of assigned certifiers and because of this I find myself in the position of having to tell both existing and potential clients that I can no longer supervise or sign off on their projects. I am already loosing work because of this.

The regulations refer to competent persons carrying out these roles and I would consider myself very competent and experienced and have been undertaking these duties throughout my career to date. The new regulations have taken this from me and so taken my career basically. A self employed Technologist cannot rely on another Architect or Engineer to carry out these roles as the client will simply go to those for the entire project.

In a recent Seanad debate Minister Hogan referred to the regulations excluding non-professionals and thereby inferring that Architectural Technologists are unqualified. This is extremely disrespectful to my profession and I see it as at best a lack of knowledge on his part.

The RIAI are also to blame in that they have not pushed for us to be included as assigned certifiers. They state that we can be ancillary certifiers, which basically puts us on a similar level as window suppliers, electricians, plumbers etc.

An obvious solution would be to create a register of professionals who could act as certifiers and that this be based on qualifications and experience, not just a blanket restriction on anyone outside the Architect, Engineer or Surveyor headings.

I appreciate your time and interest on this matter.

 I look forward to following the debate on the 27th.

Regards

an Architectural Technologist

___________

Other posts of interest:

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil QUESTIONS – click link here

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

An Architectural Technologist’s 6 questions to employer – click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link Blog

Eoin O Cofaigh: The architectural technologist and BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologists and the register: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect)

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following final blog post in the series of 7 was submitted on 19th May 2014 by a registered architect concerning recent draft documentation issued by the representative body for architects (RIAI) for members. As this is an opinion piece, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or duties in this post.

_______________

Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect)

“S.I.9 IMPLEMENTATION PAPERS” ISSUED BY RIAI, APRIL 2014

Some comments by an architect who has advised PII insurers on defending claims against other architects and who wishes to help colleagues protect themselves.

AGREEMENT BETWEEN BUILDING OWNER AND ARCHITECT FOR APPOINTMENT AS ASSIGNED CERTIFIER REV (H). Draft guidance. To be used with professional judgement

The Building Owner shall …. 

  1. Take out adequate Defects Liability Insurance on the whole building or works in the sum of €… The idea is good but without detailed explanation, few building owners would understand that this is “Latent Defects Insurance”. Unless this is clarified at the very outset, you may find it difficult to have the Building Owner pay later for LDI. So you might consider going into more detail in this regard.
  2. Maintain records. Another good idea but you might consider going into considerably more detail. What records? For how long? You will presumably want to have access to the records unless they are to be used purely against yourself. The Assigned Certifier undertakes ….
  3. to certify the building or works on completion. This is the Assigned Certifier’s statutory duty when accepting the commission, but the problem (or one of the problems) is: what if the building or works don’t actually comply with the regulations on completion? By undertaking this, you have to certify! Presumably as you have agreed to act as AC you are aware that you are taking on this liability. But here, you might insert a get-out clause such as “but only to the extent that the building or works do in fact comply with the building regulations and only to the extent that the Assigned Certifier receives all Ancillary Certificates, test reports and other material which he considers necessary.” The extent to which inserting such a clause will help you is debatable, but I don’t see that it will do you any harm. The Assigned Certifier should ….
  4. … identify all Ancillary Certificates required and obtain them. The word “should” is ambiguous: does it mean “shall” – a duty, or does it mean “should” – it would be a good idea”? It is difficult to see how the AC can undertake to obtain the certificates: what happens if the Ancillary Certifier refuses to hand them over? Where does that leave the Assigned Certifier? You might re-word to say “and request them”.
  5. … maintain records of inspection. You might consider setting down a period of time (say: six years after validation by the BCA of the certificate of Completion), as otherwise somebody might say you undertook to maintain everything for ever!
  6. Charge and Costs: You might be very careful indeed about agreeing to a fixed fee for this work, especially given your presumed wish to maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance, no matter what it costs, for years to come. You might consider using a document with no reference to a fixed fee, so that the client doesn’t get any such ideas; and insert a set of clauses to allow you charge extra fees at an hourly rate for dealing with non-compliant work, for pursuing contractors or others who fail to deliver the necessary certificates, and for dealing with consultants and others who you wish to reword their certificates.

One final word. Make sure you have the authority from your client to word the ancillary certificates in the wordings you want, and force the consultants, contractor, suppliers and others to use your wordings. Otherwise, you will be the meat in the sandwich, caught between an ancillary certifier who will not sign what you want them to, and your own undertaking that you will certify the building or works upon completion.

So why would you act as Assigned Certifier under S.I. 9? What’s in it for you?

Attached .jpeg forms mentioned above:

p1.pdf [Converted]p2.pdf [Converted]p3.pdf [Converted]p4.pdf [Converted]p5.pdf [Converted]p6.pdf [Converted]p7.pdf [Converted]p8.pdf [Converted]

_______________

NOTE: This series of  posts are 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 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 this information that may be useful to professional implementers working within these new and difficult regulations. 

If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing from them also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. We suggest professionals contact their respective professional bodies with concerns or queries.

Other Posts in the series:

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) – click link here

Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts – click link here

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) – click link here

Radio: architect on commencements & SI9

by Bregs Blog admin team

tips-for-giviing-a-great-talk-radio-interview

Here is a link to a radio interview on Kildare Fm with a rural-based registered architect Vivian Cummins. The interview explores the catastrophic effect of BC(A)R SI.9 and the recently recorded -74% fall-off in commencement notices nationwide. The radio piece is less than 10 minutes long but is a very clear summary of “where we are” at the moment- recommended listening. We commented on this in a previous post (click here) and this was also the subject of an Irish Times article on Monday 19th May also.

Link to radio interview here: KFM radio interview: Vivian Cummins

Posts of interest: “Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started” – Click link here

Architect’s Overview of Regulations for a Dwelling

by bregs blog admin team

Overview-sul-Gruppo_billboard

The following opinion piece was submitted on 13th May 2014 by Zeno Winkens architect MRIAI of Winkens Architecture, Wexford www.winkens.ie.

Blog comment: The extraordinary “blizzard of red tape” that applies to even a once-off house is simply illustrated in this informative and useful summary document. At last count there were over 91 Statutory Instruments that currently affect buildings- an extraordinary number that add to complexity and cost of procuring projects in the state.

In contrast to the new building regulations in Ireland, countries like the UK (which have an effective independent inspection system for buildings) are currently trying to simplify and streamline the statutory permissions process, to reduce cost, time, generate additional jobs and also increase international competitiveness. 

Opinion Piece: architect’s overview of Regulations for a Dwelling

Since the 1st of March a new order is in place for most construction projects. As an architect who can be an assigned certifier as one of the 3 chosen professional groups I found it difficult to find a comprehensive guide outlining the new regulation in context of the workflow of a typical Dwelling. Information / guidance is still conflicting, inconsistent and lacking for the consumer (building owner) and professional alike.  That’s why I did the Overview of regulations for an average dwelling myself. Link to pdf here:

http://www.winkens.ie/overview dwelling .pdf

Design certifier and assigned certifier can be the same person and must be either a registered architect, registered engineer or registered building surveyor. The working relationship between assigned certifier and builder is increasingly becoming important for a smooth build. Gathering ancillary certificates from all trades is very important for the Certificate of compliance.

But one must not forget there is a lot more to Building a House than following regulations and filling out forms and I am afraid that with all this new red tape, good design will be lost.

After all anybody can still submit a planning application and get permission. The proposed building should be in accordance with the building regulations, but permission may be given to non-compliant designs. Come construction time and submitting a commencement notice, that’s when the client will need to employ a design certifier to certify that the design is up to regulations,(on paper) and then an assigned certifier that must ensure that the building is constructed in accordance with the building regulations and the planning permission.

I can see problems that permitted buildings applied for by non professionals may be not certifiable without revisions that may need a further planning application.

Unfortunately this problem was not addressed at all with S.I.9.

.Jpeg of Overview of Regulations for a Dwelling here overview reg ave dwelling v2

Caution: RIAI warn “short form” commencement notices invalid?

by Bregs Blog admin team

clarification

The following guidance was issued to RIAI practices on May 19th 2014 regarding commencement notices for projects where SI9 does not apply, correcting previous guidance issued. We are not sure whether this indicates “short form” commencement notices lodged since March 1st 2014 up to this point will be deemed invalid.

We noted in a previous post that “…174 of the 327 commencement notices appear to be the short form for small works“. The listing of BCMS Commencement Notices (where Certifier appointments are do not apply- see link here) indicates that a significant number of these notices have been validated (seemingly in error) by building control authorities throughout the country.

If this RIAI clarification is correct it would appear that incorrect short form notices are still available on the following County Councils: Carlow, South dublin, Waterford City and Mayo (selection checked- pdf’s attached).

Here is an extract from the recent RIAI Practice guide:

___________

BC(A)R 2014 – CLARIFICATION ON THE USE OF A COMMENCEMENT NOTICE WHEN BC(A)R DOES NOT APPLY.
The RIAI understood that there would be a “short” form of Commencement Notice (S.I. 494 of 1997) for use after the 1st March 2014, where the building project did not come under the remit of S.I. 9 of 2014.

That form of Commencement Notice has been superseded.  Page 13 of SI 9 of 2014 states:
“Amendment of Second Schedule to the Principal Regulations 15. The Principal Regulations are amended by substituting for the Second Schedule the following.”

Therefore the Statutory Certificates detailed within the Second Schedule of SI  496 of 1997 are substituted by the Statutory Certificates detailed in the Second Schedule of SI 9 of 2014.

There is now a new single Commencement Notice form. This form must be used for all Commencement Notices, whether they are under the remit of BC(A)R 2104, or not.

We are advised that the old form of Commencement Notice cannot be used anymore, and if used will be deemed to be invalid.

FAQ revised text:
5. Q.: If planning permission is obtained for an extension to the side of an existing dwelling and is less than 40 sq. metres, does BC(A)R 2104 apply?

A.: Because planning permission was obtained it is necessary to issue a Commencement Notice. In such circumstances the Commencement Notice must be in accordance with the “Form of Commencement Notice” as per Article 15 of SI 9 of 2014. Only the relevant parts of the “Commencement Notice for Development” need be completed.

The new Commencement Notice must be signed by the Building Owner.

Currently the BCMS system does not have the functionality to electronically submit Commencement Notices only, but at the moment a downloaded version of the Commencement Notice only is available through the BCMS site, accessed through Localgov.ie before you log into the system.

_________

Links to a selection of “Short Form” commencement notices in use:

PDF Carlow County  Council “short form” (LINK HERE): Carlow short form

PDF Mayo County  Council “short form” (LINK HERE): mayo short form

PDF Waterford City  Council “short form” (LINK HERE): waterford city commencement notice

PDF South Dublin County Council “short form” (LINK HERE): sdcc short form

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect)

by Bregs Blog admin team

businessman_jumping_off_cliff_while_co-workers_watch_BLD079368

The following blog post was submitted on 19th May 2014 by a registered architect concerning recent draft documentation issued by the representative body for architects (RIAI) for members. As this is an opinion piece, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or duties in this post.

_______________

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect)

“S.I.9 IMPLEMENTATION PAPERS” ISSUED BY RIAI, APRIL 2014

Some comments by an architect who has advised PII insurers on defending claims against other architects and who wishes to help colleagues protect themselves.

Draft RIAI Agreement between Client and Architect for the provision of Architectural Services Draft guidance. To be used with professional judgement

This is of course not a completely new document but a modification of a document in use since around 2000. You may have your own “Standard Form” in your own office. There are many points you might consider: here are six.

  1. General approach. If you are hungry or – some would say – crazy enough to act as Assigned Certifier, you’ll have another agreement in that regard: next item. So you are unlikely to be able to charge a lot more money under this agreement that you would otherwise have been able to do. So you might feel that the most important things are to limit your liability as far as you can, and limit the inevitable extra work as far as you can also.
  2. Inception and general services. Your client might welcome advice on project cost. Where do they get this.
  3. Detail Design: “Consult with Building Control Authority.” You should consider omitting this clause, as otherwise if you don’t consult and there’s a subsequent problem you’ll be at fault.
  4. Detail Design: “Advise client on the need to engage suitable consultants, builder, specialists …. to act as Ancillary certifier.” You might consider that this is the job of the Assigned Certifier, in which case you might consider striking out this piece of work. See the next section!
  5. Lodge Commencement Notice under Building Regulations .. Where article 9(1)(b) of the Building Regulations 1997-2009 does not apply. You might consider changing 2009 to 2014 as it is under the 2014 regulations that all the certification business arises.
  6. Project Planning: Schedule and obtain Ancillary Certificates from other consultants. You might consider that this is the job of the Assigned Certifier and that if you do it, it might become your responsibility if there are defects in the schedule or if you fail to obtain the certificates, in which case you might consider striking out this piece of work. See the next section!

Attached .jpeg forms mentioned above:

p1.pdf [Converted] p2.pdf [Converted] p3.pdf [Converted] p4.pdf [Converted] p5.pdf [Converted] p6.pdf [Converted] p7.pdf [Converted] p8.pdf [Converted] p9.pdf [Converted] p10.pdf [Converted] p11.pdf [Converted] p12.pdf [Converted] p13.pdf [Converted] p14.pdf [Converted] p15.pdf [Converted] p16.pdf [Converted] p17.pdf [Converted]

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NOTE: This series of  posts are 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 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 this information that may be useful to professional implementers working within these new and difficult regulations. 

If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing from them also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. We suggest professionals contact their respective professional bodies with concerns or queries.

Other Posts in the series:

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) – click link here

Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts – click link here

Practical Post 17: Off Licence fit-out

by Bregs Blog admin team

il_fullxfull.330038739

Practical Post 17: Off licence fit-out

I’m looking at a fit out project for an off-licence in a local shopping unit. The work will be straight forward, some structural work, all new shop fittings and and an extension of the retail space into a service yard at the back.

Unfortunately there is just enough work to need a Fire Cert, landlord approval, new Liquor Licence, the lot.

The retailer and the unit landlord now both want me to give them an outline programme for the work. The retailer wants minimum disruption to trade and the owner wants to do some work on the car park at the same time.

Can anyone tell me if this project will now need a Completion Certificate before they can get the new Liquor Licence? If this is the case, how do I programme the works, the certification, the validation of the Cert and then the Circuit Court date for a licence hearing?

This retailer has other stores and he had planned to phase the work at night with a one week shut down to complete the fit-out (with a temporary partition on the unlicensed extension until the new licence was granted). He has never closed a store for an extended period before and he is very reluctant to shut down for this job. It will mean forcing his staff to all take holidays out of season, removing stock from the premises and losing weeks of trade.

I can’t see a solution other than a shut-down for the entire building works with another uncertain month at the end trying to get the paperwork in order.

Any advice?

____________

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 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 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. 

 

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started

by Bregs Blog admin team

image-2

In the following Irish Times Article “Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started” by Frank McDonald on Monday 19th May 2014, the effect of the introduction of the  new building regulations on construction activity since March 1st is discussed. In an earlier post “Commencement notices fall: BCAR SI.9” (click here) we noted the -74% nationwide decline in commencement notices as recorded by the Local Authorities Building Control Management System.

Extract to follow from today’s Irish Times Article- Link to article here

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“Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started” by Frank McDonald | Environmental News | The Irish Times – Mon, May 19, 2014 

Decline in new building numbers blamed on red tape linked to amended regulations. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has been urged to defer introducing the amended Building Regulations. Photograph: Alan Betson

Bureaucracy associated with the amended Building Regulations has led to a fall of almost three-quarters in the number of “commencement notices” for new building projects since they came into force on March 1st, it has been revealed.

A total of 327 commencement notices were validated on the Building Control Management System during March and April, compared to an average of 1,242 on average for two months last year – indicating a 74 per cent drop in recorded building activity.

The figures, compiled by the building regulations forum (BRegsBlog) on Twitter, come in the midst of a housing crisis and in the immediate aftermath of last week’s launch of the Government’s multipronged strategy to boost the construction industry.

BRegsBlog, which has been closely monitoring implementation of the regulations, said preliminary numbers for the first half of May – with only 50 commencement notices validated by local authoriities – “suggest that this worrying trend will continue”.

Deadline

It conceded that there was a rush to beat the March 1st deadline, with the number of commencement notices in January and February equating to 70 per cent of the total for last year, and said this “may possibly” explain the latest figures.

But it said “discrepancies are beginning to emerge” due to differing interpretations of what constitutes a valid commencement notice submission between the 34 local authorities and there was “little evidence” that this was being policed.

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland urged Minister for the EnvironmentPhil Hogan to defer introducing the amended Building Regulations until it could be shown local authorities were properly geared up, but he declined the request.

BRegsBlog complained that questions about how the system is now operating were “not being responded to” by the Building Control Management System, the Local Government Management Agency and the Department of the Environment. It noted a continuing “lack of clarity” over the status of the self-build housing sector, with “overwhelming evidence from the legal profession” that assigned certifiers such as architects or structural engineers were avoiding this area.

Certifier roles

This derived from “the reluctance of the three approved professional groups to take on the roles of assigned certifier on projects where they were not responsible for the preparation of the pre-construction designs, drawings and documentation”.

Carlow-based architect Vivian Cummins said the figures showed the construction industry “is in crisis as a result of the recently introduced Building Control (Amendment) Regulations” and had been dealt a “potentially fatal knockout blow”.

Mr Cummins blamed the department’s “sledgehammer” approach to sorting out previous problems in the industry with a raft of “speculative housing and apartment developments undertaken by cowboy contractors and developers”.

He said: “This affects everyone from self-builders who can no longer build their own homes to the completely under-resourced building control officers in our local authorities who are now expected to process an avalanche of paperwork.”

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil Questions

by Bregs Blog admin team

Questions

Architectural Technologists’ Dáil Questions for debate

Recently we asked architectural technologists to get involved and submit questions, on the invitation of Mick Wallace TD, to a debate in Dáil scheduled for 27th may 2014. These are the comments we received this week from the Blog and from talking to Architectural Technologists: please feel free to copy, paste and send to Dáil TD’s or use as basis for your own submission. We would be interested in adding to this list for anyone who has already made submissions. Contact details are below:

Mick Wallace, Dáil Eireann, Leinster House,, Kildare Street,, Dublin 2;

Tel: 01 6183287, +353 (0)1 6183287

Email: mick.wallace@oireachtas.ie;

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wallacemick;

Twitter: www.twitter.com/wallacemick

_________

Bullet Points for Consideration – Mick Wallace TD Questions

  1. I am an experienced architectural technologist working in an architectural practice. I am the expert technical professional in my office, both in terms of preparation of design packages, and coordination of other consultants work such as structural, civil and mech / elec. I am also the person who usually carries out compliance checks on site. The office therefore depends on me for all matters relating to Building Regulations. I will essentially still be preparing Building Regulations compliant design solutions for all of our projects, and ensuring that these meet the specifications outlined in the original packages, but then presenting the Certificates to my employer for signing. Considering my experience and my duties, how can I be excluded from the provisions of SI9 ?
  2. I am a self employed architectural technologist, operating independently for over 10 years. The Minister says these regulations will stop people ‘passing themselves off as professionals’, but I am now told that I must formally declare myself to be a Building Surveyor or an Architect in order to continue in practice, and that I must be assessed on that basis. I am deeply uncomfortable with this situation, given that I am not qualified in either profession. In addition, neither Registration Body feels that my portfolio quite fits the requirements for their Registration criteria. There is no facility for me to fill any gaps identified in my knowledge or experience, and I am facing closure of my practice without registration. I am in my late forties with a family and can’t afford to return to education. What should I do to overcome these issues.
  3. I am a qualified architectural technologist , and a member of two professional organisations, CIAT and RIAI. Both demand that I carry out Continuing Professional Development yearly to maintain my skills. One specifies Regulation and Professionalism among my core competences, while the other demands that I adhere to a strict Code of Conduct and maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance, and this is rigorously enforced. Both memberships focus on the technical and regulatory side of architecture and construction, and my CPD is targeted accordingly.Why is none of this recognised under the legislation ?
  4. I am an architectural technologist with a career spanning 25 years on a wide variety of construction projects. In excluding me from the primary certifier roles, these regulations now imply that a graduate in one of the regulated professions with the minimum post grad experience needed to get through the required professional registration is now more competent in Building Regulations than I am, despite my training and hands-on experience. Could the Minister explain to me how this is possible or realistic, or how it serves to ensure better building standards ? Does my experience count for nothing ?
  5. As an experienced architectural technologist, I provide specialist design services to architects, engineers and building surveyors in terms of tender and working drawing packages, and also provide follow up site inspection services. I regularly prepare Fire Cert, Disability Access Certificate and Part L compliance packages for projects, often providing all three for the same building. I will now be required to provide Ancillary Certification to others for this technical design, despite the fact that I am often entirely responsible for Building Regulations compliance on such projects.How many Ancillary Certificates like this does it take before the main certificate is deemed worthless? How does this system protect the consumer, essentially adding an additional tier into the process in terms of redress in the case of a problem ?
  6. I am a lecturer in architectural technology in one of the third level Institutes of Technology. I have 30 students finishing third year exams next week. Many of them are well capable of progressing to Honours Degree Level, but I feel that they should be aware of the limitations of such a choice at this stage. The regulatory environment has now changed completely since they enrolled on their courses. What should I advise them to do ? Should I advise them to progress in architectural technology or transfer to one of the already recognised construction professions ?
  7. I am a second year architectural technology student, just finished my exams which I think went well. I had intended progressing to third year, and perhaps onto 4th year, but I’m not sure now on the basis of what I’m hearing about Building Regulations, and how I won’t be recognised as competent when I graduate. Should I jump ship to architecture now ?
  8. I am a graduate architectural technologist with 3 years experience. Work was in short supply when I graduated, so I and many of my class mates emigrated. It was always my intention to return, and I hear that the economy is beginning to grow once more back home. However, I’m told that new regulations recently adopted take no account of my qualification or technically focused skillset. I’m working as a technologist in the country I emigrated to, but there is a defined progression route here to professional level, whereby my skills are recognised. Should I stay away, and complete that route ? If I return home will I be funded to return to education ?
  9. The titles ‘architectural technologist’ and ‘architectural technician’ are among a small group of proscribed titles under Part 3 of the Building Control Act. CIAT has lobbied vigorously for the inclusion of its Chartered Members under the new legislation. The RIAI has recently published new policy on architectural technologists supporting the need for a Statutory Register. Architectural Technologists lobbied vigorously during the public consultation around these regulations. You yourself Minister have spoken extensively on the topic while you were in opposition, and most recently have referred to architects, engineers and building surveyors being the construction professionals ‘most commonly’ involved in construction projects, suggesting that there are also others involved. All of these facts allude to the existence of architectural technologists in the construction industry and the issues faced by them in light of the adoption of SI9, and yet we remain excluded. How can you limit those ordained under this legislation to just three professions when you are aware that there are more involved than that. More importantly Minister, why do you continue to ignore the issues presented to you on this matter ?

Other posts of interest:

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed! – click link here

An Architectural Technologist’s 6 questions to employer – click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link Blog

Eoin O Cofaigh: The architectural technologist and BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologists and the register: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

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

Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts

by Bregs Blog admin team

Writing_An_Addendum

The following blog post was submitted on 16th May 2014 by a registered architect concerning recent draft documentation issued by the representative body for architects (RIAI) for members. As far as we are aware only the representative body for engineers (ACEI) have issued ancillary certifier documentation. As this is an opinion piece, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or duties in this post.

Other comment received on this post indicates that the Assigned Certifier/ Designer has no authority under the contract and there should be not mention of the Assigned Certifier or Design team? (remove all references); also that the Extension of Time clauses need to be amended.

_______________

Post 5: Addendum to RIAI Forms of Contract

“S.I.9 IMPLEMENTATION PAPERS” ISSUED BY RIAI, APRIL 2014

Some comments by an architect who has advised PII insurers on defending claims against other architects and who wishes to help colleagues protect themselves.

ADDENDUM TO RIAI FORMS OF CONTRACT

Six points to consider, if you are thinking of using this draft document

  1. Design. The addendum sets out to make the contractor responsible for some of the design. No RIAI building contract has ever done this before. If you want to do this, you might want to think about the standard of design you seek and specify this. Otherwise, the contractor may claim for more money later, on the grounds that you didn’t tell him what standard (Building regs compliance? Appearance? Compliance with the brief?) you wanted. If operating S.I. 9, maybe you should change the contract to deal with this and protect yourself.
  2. Insurance. Contractor’s normal insurance policies exclude liability for design! So if you want the contractor to insure his design, you need to tell him that before he signs the contract. Otherwise, he may claim more money from your client. If operating S.I. 9, maybe you should change the contract to deal with this and protect yourself.
  3. Practical Completion. The architect certifies Practical Completion when, in the architect’s opinion, the building or works are ready to be taken over and used for their intended purpose. But what if the local authority rejects the new S.I. 9 Certificate of Completion? In that case, the building is ready but your client cannot occupy it. Who will pay for that? Not the builder, because he is entitled to be paid. Not the client – it wasn’t his fault. You? If operating S.I. 9, maybe you should change the contract to deal with this and protect yourself.
  4. Stage payments. To avoid having dozens or hundreds of test certificates to collect within five weeks of the building being ready, amend the contract to require these along the way before interim payment stages. Otherwise it will take you weeks to collect everything at the end and you will be caught between your client and the contractor.
  5. Training in life safety systems as required by law. If you specify this, be sure you know what it might cover. One way to approach it would be to specify the systems you mean – FDA, EL, Fire shutters, fall-arrest. But as not all of these require training by law, perhaps you should widen the Amendment document to say something like “Demonstration and training for the employer in life safety and personal protection systems as required by law and as scheduled in the tender documents”… or some such. Otherwise you may find that the contractor’s obligations may not amount to much.
  6. Different forms of contract. “Practical Completion” in the private sector documents is not the same as the “Substantial Completion” in the GCCC forms. You might want to reword the addendum in the appropriate terms.

Attached .jpeg forms mentioned above:

Draft Addendum to RIAI Forms of Contract Rev A

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NOTE: This series of  posts are 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 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 this information that may be useful to professional implementers working within these new and difficult regulations. 

If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing from them also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. We suggest professionals contact their respective professional bodies with concerns or queries.

Other Posts in the series:

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) – click link here

Bregs Blog: 75,000+ views!

by Bregs Blog admin team

75000_Option3_answer_2_xlarge-1

75,000 Views! Another milestone

Only a few weeks ago on 29th March 2014 we reached what we thought was the incredible milestone of 50,000 views (see post here). As of Sunday 18th May at 18:00 hours we stand at 75,103 views. The appetite for information and news regarding the unfolding implications of the new building regulations is growing every week- 5,000 views last week, one day with well over 1,000 views.

With over 280 individual factual posts in 21 categories we continue to provide unbiased, factual information for the construction industry about the new regulations. As only 100 of the most recent posts are visible on the Blog so we will start making the archive of earlier posts available to readers next week. Thanks to all the team (twitter, facebook and blog), contributors but most importantly to you, our readers.

See you tomorrow at 6am for post no 1 as usual!

We are followed by members of key stakeholders SCSI, ACEI, RIAI, CIF, the Department (DECLG) and other numerous stakeholder and consumer groups. We are also seeing posts quoted in the public domain in both the Seanad and Dáil. We hope to continue to deliver factual based posts and opinion pieces and continue the debate. Huge thanks to all of our valued contributors and Social Media team for continued efforts to progress and inform the public. To celebrate we are giving the team the rest of the day off! (blog team only- twitter still 24/7)

4 things I am putting in my fee agreements

by Bregs Blog admin team

Man-holding-up-four-fingers

The following opinion piece was submitted by a registered architect to the Blog on 14th May 2014.

Following on from our three widely-read Q+ A posts from a specialist certifiers (a registered engineer, architect and building surveyor) we received this contribution on 15th May 2014 from a registered architect regarding fee proposals to clients. The following points may be of interest to other registered professionals undertaking fee proposals under the new regulations at present. If readers have other standard appointment conditions they feel are of interest please send in to us here on blog.

We recently invited submissions from surveyors, engineers and architects who intend (or not) to provide specialist certifier services for SI.9 to the construction industry. We think these posts are very practical information for practitioners and consumers alike regarding  anticipated duties and timescales, and consequent costs to design teams and clients of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014).

As this is an opinion piece, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or duties in this post. Many thanks to the registered architect who submitted this information.

Registered Architect: 4 things I am putting in my fee agreements:

  1. I currently have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI) and I intend to maintain PI. However, if PI becomes too expensive; or if it is not available to me because of changes in the market or because of some future claim, I may not have cover in the future. You need to be aware that PI insurance is to protect my practice if I make a mistake. It is NOT a guarantee on the building or a fund to fix defective work done by the builder.
  2. The RIAI issue standard forms and guidance to architect members. The new Inspection Plan for members is not finalised. I may have to charge fees for additional site visits if this plan requires me to do more inspections, more paperwork or to hire in specialists to do testing.
  3. The new regulations say that I have to certify the work of other specialists. Specialists (structural engineer, fire consultant, plumber, BER assessor etc) are needed because I am NOT competent in these areas and I will be relying entirely on their expertise in writing my certificates. You will need to have separate fee agreements with them and to make sure that they also have PI.
  4. This system is new. I do not yet know how the local authority will operate this. If there are delays because the local authority ask for changes to the building or if are problems in administration, this is outside my control. This may result in additional costs to you for more building work or for more fees (if I have to do more work or spend time resolving these issues). I regret very much that I cannot give you more information and that this makes it difficult for you to budget the project. I will keep you informed and use my best endeavours to minimise any additional cost or delay.
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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. 

other posts on this topic:

Specialist Certifier 4- COMPANY: Questions and Answers – click here

Specialist Certifier 3- SURVEYOR: Questions and Answers – click here

Specialist Certifier 2- ARCHITECT: Questions and Answers – click here

Specialist Certifier 1- ENGINEER: questions and Answers – click link here

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Plan (post 1 of 2) – click here

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Form (post 2 of 2) click here

Certifiers call for help! – click here

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

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

O’Cofaigh: Competitiveness issues & BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

The Engineers Journal: how BC(A)R SI.9 works in practice | BRegs Blog- click link here

Complaint to Minister: Fee fixing & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

TOP 10 for the week ending 17th May 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

What-are-the-Top-10-Fazcebook-Pages

TOP 10 most-read posts for the week ending 17th May 2014

In case you missed them here are a few of the most popular posts from the past week. “Commencement notices fall” is essential reading for contractors and members of CIF in particular. This current alarming fall of -75% in commencement notices will indicate a significant hole in tenders approaching in the next 3-4 months. The first 4 posts (post 1, 2 & 3 etc) in our series comment upon recent draft BC(A)R documentation issued by both the RIAI and ACEI- very legible and clear analysis of the issues relevant to each position from the perspective of a registered architect. The Law Society update is essential reading, and will be the subject of a number of posts looking into individual aspects of this legal information. If you have 50 minutes free over the weekend put on the radio clip from the Joe Duffy show to listen to two past presidents of the RIAI discuss BC(A)R SI.9.

Many thanks to readers- we are approaching a new milestone of 75,000 views!

TOP 10– click on title to access post:

Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed!

Commencement notices fall: BC(A)R SI.9

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion)

RIAI advice to Practices on BC(A)R SI.9

Specialist Certifier 3- SURVEYOR: Questions and Answers

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents Collins + O’Cofaigh

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection)

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others)

Law Society of Ireland Update on BC(A)R SI.9

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE- Local Authority advice

 

 

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier?

by Bregs Blog admin team

invisible-man

The following opinion piece was submitted by a registered architect to the Blog on 15th May 2014.

Opinion Piece: MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier?

A contributor on Twitter pointed out on 14th May 2014 that the new SCSI Owners Guide makes no reference to the Design Certifier– 

(Link here: SCSI guide bcar si9

We went looking. First, on the LGMA (Local Government Management Agency) BCMA website

(Link here: localgov.ie bcms)

” Building Control Management System (BCMS).  The BCMS will allow building owners to nominate an Assigned Certifier and Builder for the development works”

AND

“…additional requirements include:

1. The nomination of a competent ‘Assigned Certifier’ to inspect and certify the works

2. The assignment of a competent builder to carry out the works

3. The submission of Certificates of Compliance on completion”

NO DESIGN CERTIFIER?

So, we looked at the Guide issued by the 34 Local Authorities-

(Link here: BuildingControl Guide to BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014.pdf )

“The BCMS will allow building owners nominate an Assigned Certifier, and a Builder for the development works. The BCMS will also allow the Owner, Assigned Certifier, and the Builder to fill out the required Notices and Certificates online. Each party must be registered with the BCMS to fill in or sign their respective parts”

NO DESIGN CERTIFIER?

The issues of concern with the role of Design Certifier have been noted in previous blog post:

“alarming issues with role of design certifier-bcar si9/

Press- Architectural Technologist: “Building Regulations ‘catastrophic'”

by Bregs Blog admin team

press-article

In this letter from an Architectural Technologist to the Leinster Express on 22/04/14 (attached) the adverse effects of BC(A)R SI.9 are noted. Previously we asked architectural technologists to get involved and submit questions, on the invitation of Mick Wallace TD, to a debate in Dáil scheduled for 27th may 2014 – see post “Dáil Debate 27th May on Architectural Technologists: help needed!” – click link here. We have posted previous letters to the press from Architectural Technologists complaining about the Minister’s statements in the Seanad also. The representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) have written a strongly worded letter of complaint to Minister Hogan and have called for an independent inquiry into statements made by him in the same Seanad debate: see post here.

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press article

Other posts of interest:

An Architectural Technologist’s 6 questions to employer – click link here

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT – click link here

Architectural Technologist: Minister “disrespectful and misleading” in Seanad – click link Blog

Eoin O Cofaigh: The architectural technologist and BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologists and the register: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

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

Specialist Certifier 4- COMPANY: Questions and Answers

by Bregs Blog admin team

myers_slide_02-961x365

Following on from our three widely-read Q+ A posts from a specialist certifiers (a registered engineer, architect and building surveyor) we received this contribution from a company who will be providing certifier services. As with previous posts these standard questions are the ones a client or design team would ask of any potential specialist Certifier. We recently invited submissions from surveyors, engineers and architects who intend to provide specialist certifier services for SI.9 to the construction industry. We think these four posts are very practical information for practitioners and consumers alike regarding  anticipated duties and timescales, and consequent costs to design teams and clients of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014).

As this is an opinion piece, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or duties in this post. Many thanks to Eóin Leonard of i3PT Certification for submitting this post

(email:Eoin@i3pt.ieW: www.i3pt.ie : www.i3pt.co.uk)

Specialist Certifier 3- COMPANY: Questions and Answers

What are your qualifications? BEng, CEng, MIE, MIFireE, MIEI, PMP, CDCDP : i3PT Certification are a multidisciplinary certification body with engineers and chartered engineers from M&E, Fire, Structural and Civil engineering backgrounds working on our team. We also hold Project Management, Data Centre-specific and other specialist qualifications within our team. While one individual signs as Assigned Certifier, our clients get the benefit of the full team.

Do you require a full design team to be appointed to projects for which you assume certifier roles? Yes, always. I3PT Certification are not a design team and as such remain fully impartial as Assigned Certifiers.

Do you have Professional Indemnity insurance, and if so to what level? Yes, insured to €20,000,000.00 for PII and can offer extended reporting periods for larger, higher consequence class projects.

Will you undertake roles of assigned and design certifier on projects? Yes, but demand has primarily been for Assigned Certification. i3PT Certification conducts design review against TGD Part B related systems irrespective of whether or not we are appointed as Design Certifier. We also sometimes require Peer Review or 3rd Party design review for critical building elements to ensure robustness.

What are your charges- is it lump sum or %? Charges are specific to each project, based on scale, complexity and risk. A lower value apartment block for example might be more onerous and time- consuming than a higher value industrial build. As such, percentages are difficult to rely on.

For typical house (120 sqm value €180k) what would a “normal” certifier service and charge be for design and assigned certifier role? I3PT Certification are not engaged in the one-off residential sector but we can offer quotations once applications are made via www.i3pt.ie

For typical house what level of inspection  would you anticipate? Again, this would vary depending upon speed of build, complexity, materials used and the presence of qualified professionals in the team. It is important however to note that a good deal of the Assigned Certifiers work will take place off-site also and inspections only make up a percentage of the ultimate costs.

Do you have a breakdown for a typical house inspections vs administration? It would be close to 60:40 but I know of a project we have engaged in where it is 75:25. The greater the scale and complexity, the greater the number of inspections. The larger the team, the more coordination is involved. There are no set ratios.

What forms of appointment do you use? We have a tailored contract for Assigned Certifier appointments. It has been drafted specifically to cover the SI 9 requirements and offer optimal protection for our clients.

What level of information do you require from other professionals involved in projects? E.g. as-built drawings on completion etc? Our Quality Management System is quite detailed but as a minimum we require detailed drawings, specifications, program of works, inspection reports and ultimately Ancillary Certificates from all consultants and specialists.

Do you provide certification services for self-builders, owners without 3 years relevant contracting experience, or will you certify only CIRI registered contractors? We are not engaged in the one-off residential sector but we would be very unlikely to accept a self-build project if we were. A competent, experienced builder is central to the efficacy of BCAR.

Will you provide certification services for developers in the build for sale sector (i.e. employed by developer)? No.

Can you provide fire safety certificate and disabled access certificate services also? While we have the in-house expertise necessary and therefore could offer this, it would constitute a design service and as such would present a potential conflict of interest for a certification body. As such, this is not a service we currently offer.

Will you undertake certifier duties for self-builds? where the owner is not an established contractor, a building company or someone with 3 years relevant building experience? No

Can you undertake BER certificates? Not at this point in time.

Other information: i3PT Certification specialise in larger projects such as industrial, commercial, healthcare, education and large office builds. As a certification body we are 100% independent, as we do not offer design services and we are particularly well insured to deliver compliance on higher consequence class projects. We have our own proprietary cloud-based software for logging and tracking evidence of inspection during the construction project, CertCentral. Visit us at www.i3pt.ie

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other posts on this topic:

Specialist Certifier 3- SURVEYOR: Questions and Answers – click here

Specialist Certifier 2- ARCHITECT: Questions and Answers – click here

Specialist Certifier 1- ENGINEER: questions and Answers – click link here

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Plan (post 1 of 2) – click here

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Form (post 2 of 2) click here

Certifiers call for help! – click here

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

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

O’Cofaigh: Competitiveness issues & BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

The Engineers Journal: how BC(A)R SI.9 works in practice | BRegs Blog- click link here

Complaint to Minister: Fee fixing & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion (by others)

by Bregs Blog admin team

helping-others-post-it-note

The following blog post was submitted on 12th May 2014 by a registered architect concerning recent draft documentation issued by the representative body for architects (RIAI) for members. As far as we are aware only the representative body for engineers (ACEI) have issued ancillary certifier documentation. As this is an opinion piece, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or duties in this post. 

_______________

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others)

“S.I.9 IMPLEMENTATION PAPERS” ISSUED BY RIAI, APRIL 2014

Some comments by an architect who has advised PII insurers on defending claims against other architects and who wishes to help colleagues protect themselves.

ANCILLARY CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE: DESIGN (COMMENCEMENT / 7 DAY NOTICE) – To be completed by a specialist or unregistered consultant – April 10th (Blue top)

and

ANCILLARY CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE: DESIGN (COMPLETION) – To be completed by a specialist nor unregistered consultant – April 10th (Purple top)

Six points to consider, if you are acting (some people might say if you are crazy or hungry enough to be acting) as Assigned Certifier, and if you are thinking of getting your consultant to sign this document. To protect yourself, you want to stitch up your consultants as hard as you can. Here are a few suggestions which do not appear in the documents.

  1. We confirm that we have been commissioned to design, in conjunction with others …. No. Spell out what they are to do in detail and then remove the words “in conjunction with others”. Say “the design of all structural and civil engineering works” and remove the words “in conjunction with others” which now make no sense. If you leave those words in, you are more likely to be sucked into any action!
  2. We confirm that we have the Professional Indemnity Insurance required in our appointment …. To protect yourself, rewrite this to say “we confirm that we have and will continue to renew ….” It may not stop you being sucked into the legal actions against the engineers. But it might.
  3. Our certification is contingent … on design by others. This is a great let-out for the “specialist or unregistered consultant”! Consider taking it out. Your client has engaged this person to do their design, so, make them responsible for it. Otherwise they may be able to point the finger back at your design!
  4. our design of those elements of the works for which we are responsible to the owner … No! Consider taking out the words “for which we are responsible to the owner”, because otherwise this may give the specialist or unregistered consultant an “out” by saying they were responsible to the contractor! Or to the architect! Make sure to pin the responsibility where it should lie, because otherwise it is likely to fall back on yourself.
  5. Company name and address”. This certificate is being signed by a company and not by a person. So if the company is liquidated six months after the job finishes, where are you and your client left? To limit comeback against yourself, consider getting personal signatures as well as company signatures to bring in personal liability, otherwise your client might have a go at you for signing up a man of straw for his certificates….
  6. (Company stamp) If you want their liability to extend to 12 years, consider getting the company seal affixed in the presence of two directors and the company secretary. This may in the end make no difference, but a “company stamp” is not understood.

Attached .jpeg forms mentioned above:

Ancillary_Design_Cert_commencement

Ancillary Completion Cert Design completion

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NOTE: This series of “Registered Architect considerations” posts are 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 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 this information that may be useful to professional implementers working within these new and difficult regulations. 

If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing from them also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. We suggest professionals contact their respective professional bodies with concerns or queries.

Other Posts in the series:

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

 

 

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification?

by Bregs Blog admin team

 image-1

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification?

From back in 2012, I have been bothered by statements from the government that ‘there will be no more pyrites’ under the new Building Control ( Amendment) Regulations. I cannot see how I, as an engineer, can possibly know if pyritic material is delivered to the site. The only way to catch pyrite in stone would be to track back every delivery of to the quarry supplier and to test every batch.

We are a long way off from a ‘farm to fork’ DNA tracking like the meat business.  There will never be a label on bulk material and I have no control over the supply chain to the site.

I don’t know how I can certify this but if government are to be believed the buck will stop with me.

Currently I have been asked to get involved with a material alteration to a retail unit, in an area affected by pyrite. Although this building does not appear to have been affected, we cannot be sure and the owner intends to do minor alterations internally in the existing shop and extend a new structure to the rear. Due to the way SI.9 has been worded it will be extremely difficult for me to exclude existing parts of the building from any certificate at the end. My only recourse seems to be to recommend very invasive and costly investigations, or resign from the project. I cannot see my client paying for remedial work that may not be required.

Please note if you need to find out more on pyrite, please click in following link:

https://www.facebook.com/PyriteAction

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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 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 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. 

Law Society of Ireland Update on BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

law-society-390x285

In case readers missed it here’s the Update on Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 from the Law Society of Ireland from 4th April 2014-

to view original page click pdf: Gazette_Law_Society__BCAR

Extract  as follows:

__________

Update on Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 04.04.2014

Conveyancing

New building regulations – the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI no 9 of 2014) – were signed by the Minister for the Environment on 15 January and came into operation on 1 March 2014. The regulations apply to any development where a commencement notice is filed after 1 March 2014. They were followed by the Building Control (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2014 (SI no 105 of 2014), signed on 28 February 2014. The latter are of limited application, relating only to buildings intended for use in first, second, or third-level education or hospitals or primary care centres. All the following refers to SI no 9 of 2014.

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (SI no 80 of 2013) have been revoked, partly because they contained an error, but also because changes were negotiated by the architects’, engineers’ and builders’ representative bodies to the forms of certificate that have been incorporated into the 2014 regulations. The 2013 regulations should be disregarded.

The regulations will apply to:

The design and construction of a new dwelling,

To any extension to a dwelling involving a floor area of more than 40 square metres, and

Works where a fire safety certificate is involved (this means virtually any type of commercial building, including retail, industrial, office, and so on).

Compliance with the provisions of the new regulations will be of great importance for building owners, purchasers, or prospective tenants because the regulations prohibit the opening, occupation or use of a building until a Certificate of Compliance on Completion has been filed and registered by the building control authority.

The principal changes introduced by the new regulations are as follows:

1. There is a new form of Commencement Notice, which must be filed electronically on the Building Control Management System and must be accompanied by a substantial amount of documentation. The documents required include all plans, drawings, and calculations, which will demonstrate that the building will comply with the standards imposed by the Building Regulations. In addition, completed certificates in a specified form, whereby the building owner appoints the builder, the designer certifies the design, and the builder undertakes to build in accordance with the regulations, must be filed. More importantly, an inspection plan must be filed, setting out the program of inspections that the assigned certifier (who must be an architect, a chartered engineer or a building surveyor) will carry out for the purpose of monitoring key aspects of the construction. It is intended that the public will have access to the website containing this documentation, subject to certain restrictions to protect the copyright of the professional designers.

2. The form of Commencement Notice sets out:

The name of the building owner and his contact details,

The project particulars,

The builder and his contact details,

The designer and his contact details, and

A schedule of all the documents.

The notice must be signed by the building owner.

3. The Certificate of Compliance (Design) is a certificate confirming that the documentation included in the schedule of the Commencement Notice complies with the Building Regulations. The form provides for (where appropriate) the certifier relying on certificates from parties who designed specialist areas of the building and is based on the certifier having used reasonable skill, care and diligence.

4. The form of Notice of Assignment of Person to Inspect and Certify Works (Assigned Certifier) is a form to be signed by the building owner, nominating to the building control authority the person who is going to carry out the inspections in the course of the work and certify compliance on completion. There is a significant provision where the building owner states that he is satisfied, having regard to the Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works, that the person so assigned is competent to inspect the building or works and to coordinate the inspection work undertaken by others and to certify the works for compliance with the requirements of the second schedule of the Building Regulations, insofar as they apply to the building or works concerned. While the architects, engineers, surveyors and builders all engaged with the Department of the Environment on the forms, it is not clear whether there was anyone representing owners who might commission the construction of a building.

5. The form of Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Assigned Certifier) contains an undertaking to use reasonable skill, care and diligence to inspect the building or works and to coordinate the inspection work of others and, following the implementation of the inspection plan by himself and others, to certify on completion compliance with the requirements of the second schedule of the Building Regulations, insofar as they apply to the building or works.

6. The Notice of Assignment of Builder is the form to be signed by the building owner, giving notice to the building control authority of the person he has appointed to undertake the building work, and again includes a statement that he is satisfied that the person appointed is competent to undertake the work on his behalf and gives details of the person so appointed.

7. It would appear that the intention of the department is that only registered builders will, in future, be able to undertake building works, and it seems reasonable to assume that only persons with some know-how in relation to building technology and/or actual experience as a builder will be permitted to register as builders. The CIF is compiling a register at the moment, which will operate on a voluntary basis, with the intention that the department will put it on a statutory footing in 2015.

8. The Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Builder) includes a confirmation that he is commissioned by the building owner to undertake the works and confirms that he is competent to do so and to ensure that any persons employed or engaged by him to undertake any of the works will be competent to undertake such works. It then goes on to give an undertaking to construct the building or works in accordance with the plans, calculations, specifications, and so on., listed in the schedule of the Commencement Notice or as subsequently issued and certified and submitted to the building control authority. It also goes on to include an undertaking to cooperate with the inspection schedule set out in the inspection plan prepared by the assigned certifier and to take all reasonable steps to ensure that he would be able to certify that the building or works are in compliance with the requirements of the second schedule to the Building Regulations.

9. A code of practice in relation to the operation of the new regulations has been published by the department after lengthy consultation with the RIAI, the EI and the SCSI.

10. When a building is completed, a two-part Certificate of Compliance on Completion must be completed – Part A by the builder and Part B by the assigned certifier. These certificates must be submitted to the building control authority, which is obliged to keep a register of such certificates. The Certificate of Compliance on Completion must be accompanied by the inspection plan as implemented by the assigned certifier in accordance with the code of practice and any documentation necessary arising out of changes in the building. The building control authority will record the date of receipt of the certificate and has 21 days to query it, failing which it must register it.

11. Solicitors for purchasers of new houses or apartments will require a copy of the Certificate of Compliance on Completion. Solicitors are likely to be satisfied to accept a copy of the Certificate of Compliance on Completion as signed and registered, together with proof of its registration as sufficient compliance of the building with the Building Regulations, so long as it clearly applies to the property being acquired. It is anticipated that, in a housing estate, individual certificates will be lodged in relation to individual houses. Solicitors for purchasers are likely to be concerned to ensure that the individual unit that they are concerned with is properly identified on the certificate and, if not, the assigned certifier/architect will be required to certify that it applies to the subject property. The purchasers or tenants of more substantial retail/office/industrial buildings may require additional certification. Certificates of compliance with planning permission will, of course, continue to be required in relation to planning matters, but all references to compliance with the Building Regulations such as appeared in the old forms of certificates will, in future, be omitted.

12. No provision has been made for a situation where, for whatever reason, the final Certificates of Compliance on Completion are not registered. The regulations prohibit the opening, occupation or use of a building until a Certificate of Compliance on Completion has been filed and registered by the building control authority. Murphy’s Law dictates that this will happen sooner or later and probably in circumstances that no one has yet foreseen. In such a situation, the occupation or use of the building will be a breach of the regulations.

13. All documentation filed with the building control authority will be retained for at least six years.

What are the likely results from the new regulations?

It will no longer be possible for spec builders or persons building their home by direct labour to build without an architect, chartered engineer, or building surveyor designing the structure, monitoring it being built in accordance with the inspection plan submitted with the Commencement Notice, and certifying on completion that the building complies with the Building Regulations.

This should result in better buildings, albeit at an extra cost.

The new regulations should have less effect on the construction of commercial property, because they are invariably designed and built with the aid of a full design team who also monitor the works from time to time.

Self-building

The department, in a press release announcing the new regulations, has said that there was nothing new in the regulations that would prevent people building their homes with direct labour. It went on to say that the people who engage in direct labour or self-build will be able to continue to do so, because there has been no change in the act or in the statutory obligations under the Building Control Act 1990. The department pointed out that it was expecting a professional to sign off on the work, to the effect that it is actually done in accordance with the papers that are lodged and that it is up to a high standard, and that this would cost something between €1,000 and €2,000. The department indicated that this was a small cost to make sure that things are done right for a home that might cost €100,000 or €150,000.

This statement needs to be considered in the light of the new regulations. It is certainly correct to say that a competent professional needs to be involved and needs to certify the design, monitor the building at specified stages, in accordance with the inspection plan submitted with the Commencement Notice, and also certify the completion of the building in accordance with the Building Regulations.

Under the Building Regulations, the building owner has to certify the appointment of a person as builder of the building and has to say that he is satisfied that they are competent to undertake the works so assigned on his behalf. He then has to provide the builder’s name, address and contact details, and the Construction Industry Register Ireland registration number (where applicable).

As mentioned above, there is as yet no Construction Industry Register. Until such a register is in place, it seems that an owner could nominate him/herself as the builder, provided that he/she is prepared to say that he/she is satisfied that he/she is competent to undertake the work. A self-build owner would then have to sign the form of undertaking by the builder, confirming to the building control authority that he/she was competent to undertake the work concerned, and further undertaking to ensure that any persons employed or engaged by him to undertake any of the works involved would be competent to undertake such works. It is unlikely that most of the people who self-build would be able to correctly say that they were competent to undertake the work. The main contribution they would be providing would be a lot of hard labour rather than expertise in building technology and, generally, they would rely on friends, neighbours and contacts with expertise, such as electricians, block-layers, plasterers, roofers, and so on, to provide the necessary expertise in these specialist areas.

As mentioned above, it seems clear that the intention of the department is that, in due course, it will only be possible for an owner to appoint a registered builder under these regulations. It therefore seems inevitable that, from the date the register of builders is put on a statutory basis, it will no longer be possible to self-build as we know it.

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.

The department’s statements need to be read in the context of what is required by the regulations.

The committee wishes to thank Mr Rory O’Donnell, solicitor, the main author of this practice note, which is endorsed by the committee.

.jpeg of gazette from law Society

LS update 1

LS update 2

Other posts of interest on this topic:

Law Society response to self-builders

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

New Law Society Guidance Note on BC(A)R SI.9

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

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9

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