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

by Bregs Blog admin team


The following RIAI advice on BC(A)R SI.9 was issued to RIAI Practices last week, dated May 8th 2014.

Extract to follow:



The answers given to the FAQs are based on our interpretation of the Regulations at present.

1)  Q.: What Legal Documents set out the requirements for BC(A)R 2014?

A.: Statutory Instrument 9 of 2014 and the Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings or Works – Building Control Regulations 2014 –published February 2014.

Both documents are available to be read or downloaded on the Building Standards section of the DECLG web site: www.environ.ie.

A second Statutory Instrument 105 of 2014 was published on the 28th February providing for a derogation for  schools and health buildings subject to certain conditions.

2.   Q.: What Building Types are covered by BC(A)R 2014?

A: The BC(A)R 2014 as stated in S.I. 9 of 2014, state:

(a)  The design and construction of a new dwelling

(b)  An extension to a dwelling involving a total floor area greater than 40 sq. metres

(c)  Works to which Part III applies

Part III relates to the requirement to obtain a Fire Safety Certificate and a DAC.

3.   Public Awareness of the Implications of BC(A)R 2014.

Q: The RIAI is aware of the obligation under BC(A)R 2104, but the public are not.

A: Local Authorities are supplying information on BC(A)R 2104 with planning decisions. If clients need more information you can also direct them to the BCMS page on www.localgov.ie as this sets out the obligations in detail.

4.    Q.: How is the no greater than 40 sq. m. floor area measured?

A.: The 40 sq. metres floor area exemption is measured from within the outer walls. A note of caution; An Bord Pleanála have ruled that the floor area of the portion of the back wall of the existing dwelling removed to permit access to the new 40 sq. metre extension, must be included in the 40 sq. metre calculation.

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 2014 apply?

A.: Because planning permission was obtained it is necessary to issue a Commencement Notice, however the Commencement Notice that is applicable is the “short” form under S.I. 494 of 1997 regulations, not the new Commencement form under BC(A)R 2014. NOTE: There is a requirement under SI 9 of 2014 for all Commencement Notices to be lodged electronically.

6.   Q.: The Building Owner changes their mind during construction and adds 10 sq. metres to the less than 40 sq. metres originally proposed?

A.: There is no retrospective process. The Building Owner will not be in compliance with the Regulations and it cannot be rectified. Consider the proposition carefully, accepting Building Regulations are not related to planning permission, nevertheless if the extension is over 40 sq.m. it will require planning and will come under SI9/2014.

7. Q.:  What is the Responsibility of the Building Owner under BC(A)R 2014?

A: The Building Owner must appoint a competent Design team, Assigned Certifier and Builder. The three statutory roles (Builder, Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier) must be appointed by the Building Owner, who must also ensure that adequate resources are available for these appointments, but does not have to make appointments directly – can be through a third party. It is the Building Owner’s obligation to ensure the building complies with the Building Regulations under the 1990 Act.

8.     Evaluation of Competence

Q.: Who is to judge competence; it is the Building Owner’s responsibility to appoint a competent design team, Assigned Certifier and Builder?

A.: The Architect could declare themselves competent. (NOTE: to be “Registered” does not automatically mean you are competent for the proposed work to be undertaken– each individual in the process must consider and evaluate their competence on the basis of the definition in the CoP).  Builders with CIRI registration or equivalent may be regarded as competent for projects consistent with their registration profile (Code of Practice 3.2(c) 2).

Assessment of members of Design Team relies on appropriate professional accreditation. Track record, previous experience and references by clients and architects may also be used.

9.   Q.: How is the competence of the Builder confirmed?

A.: Builders with CIRI registration or equivalent may be regarded as competent for projects consistent with their registration profile (Code of Practice 3.2(c) 2).

Is the Builder on the CIRI register? The CIRI register has a Code of Practice, determines the competence by experience of building types, and the Board for CIRI has a non- CIF majority.

10.  Q.:  It has been stated that the Builder can be the Assigned Certifier, is that correct?

A.: The Builder cannot be the Assigned Certifier unless he/she is one of the listed, regulated professions i.e. registered architect, chartered engineer, or registered building surveyor.

11.    Planning Permission obtained by someone who is not one of the Three Professions.

Q.: Where a planning permission is obtained by someone who is not one of the three professions and an Architect is requested by a client to become the Design Certifier, how does that work?

A.: The Architect will have to take responsibility for the compliance of the design by a due diligence process and assure themselves that the design is in compliance. The Design Certificate requires the Designer to confirm that he/she has designed the works in accordance with the Building Regulations.

12.   Q.: Can a Quantity Surveyor be a Designer under BC(A)R 2014.?

A.: No. They are not one of the three registered professions listed in S.I.9.

13.   Q.: When should the Assigned Certifier be appointed?

A.: As early as possible by the Building Owner, certainly in advance of the tender process, to enable the Assigned Certifier to prepare the Preliminary Inspection Plan in conjunction with the Design team.

14.    Q.: What happens when the Assigned Certifier resigns?

A.:  A re-appointment within 14 days must be made by the Building Owner. The Building Owner is required to inform the Building Control Authority of a re-appointment.

15.     Assigned Certifier’s Liability to Inspect?

A.: It is acknowledged in the Code of Practice that the Assigned Certifier cannot inspect everything. Careful review of the Code of Practice will provide a guide – particular attention is drawn to Code of Practice, Section 7.

16.    What will constitute an Inspection Plan in terms of inspections?

A.: It will be very much project specific; the RIAI Technical Work Groups (TWGs) latest thinking relates to initial risk assessment and  “milestone” inspections, where a number of inspections could be carried out on a number of elements to confirm the “ milestone” has been achieved.

17.     Does the Assigned Certifier carry out inspections?

A.: Yes, and they undertake to inspect, and certify this in the completion certificate.  The Assigned Certifier also co-ordinates the inspection of others in the Preliminary Inspection Plan and the Inspection Notification Plan. The Assigned Certifier may carry out particular inspections which will probably be random.

18.    If the Assigned certifier misses something on site, or fails to inspect, what should they do?

A.: They should note that an inspection did not take place in the implemented Inspection Plan at Completion stage.

19.    The Role of Assigned Certifier and Professional Indemnity Insurance.

Q.: Will the role of the Assigned Certifier be covered under the Professional Indemnity Insurer’s policy?

A.: RIAI Insurance Services/Marsh Ireland has negotiated with 5 underwriters who will extend P.I.I. cover to include the role of the Assigned Certifier and Design Certifier. The exact wording of the policy is being finalised currently.

20.     Professional Indemnity Insurance: What happens if I am insured with another insurer other than the 5 underwriters on the RIAI Insurance Services/Marsh Ireland Panel?

A.: Get your insurance broker to confirm that your underwriter will cover you for undertaking the role of Assigned Certifier and Design Certifier.

21.     Can an Employee of a Practice Sign a Completion Certificate?

Q.: If an Employee signs as an Assigned Certifier what are their liabilities and are they covered by the Practice P.I.I.?

A.: The employee will have personal liability if signing as an Assigned Certifier, but they will be covered by the Practice P.I.I. for that role, both as an employee and as a former employee, as long as P.I.I. is held by the Practice.

RIAI Insurance Services/Marsh Ireland are investigating how the employee can be protected if Practice P.I.I. cover lapses.

22.        How can I obtain a Commencement Notice and a 7 day Notice?

A.: The Commencement Notice can be up-loaded on the BCMS with a digital signature. The 7 day notice must be signed by hand at the BCA office and then may be up-loaded.

The web site is www.localgov.ie

23.        How will the Commencement Notice work for a Housing Estate of 100 Houses?

A.: One Commencement Notice to be issued, if all the houses are to be built together. If not then a number of Commencement Notices will have to be issued for each phase.

100 Completion Certificates will have to be issued; one for each house as completed, and then one for overall development/ external work.

24.      Lodgement of Completion Certificate.

Q.: How will the Prospective Certificate work?

A: 3-5 weeks in advance of “a nominated date for completion of the building” submit information so that the authority may consider the validity with a view to facilitate the inclusion of the details of the Certificate of Compliance on Completion on the statutory register on the nominated date, plus one day. (Ref Code of Practice section 8.3).

25.     Lodgement of Drawings at Commencement Stage.

Q.: What drawings are to be submitted at Commencement Notice stage?

A.: General Arrangement drawings only. (Ref Code of Practice, Section 6.1.)

26.      Completion Design Certificate.

Q.: Completion Certificate Design Only?

A.: The RIAI have developed an Ancillary Certificate for Design at Completion. The certificate as developed is anticipated for use in “Design Build” projects where the architect has provided a “Design Only” service.

27.     What happens if there are changes to the design requiring planning permission?

A.: Changes in design under BC(A)R 2014 can be up-loaded during the construction stage and confirmed at Completion. Planning and Building Regs. are separate and should not be mixed up together.

28.     Signing of Completion Certificate Part B with the Builder Part A.

Q.: Is it an individual who co-signs the Completion Certificate with the Builder?

A.: Yes it is an individual. Where the individual is an employee it is on behalf of the Practice.

RIAIIS/Marsh confirmed that under their standard P.I.I. policy the individual who is an employee who signs as Assigned Certifier is covered by the Practice policy, even if they leave the practice at a later stage. If the Practice ceases to hold P.I.I. in the future the individual is no longer covered. RIAIIS/Marsh is looking at proposals to cover this possible eventuality.

29.   Q.:  Submission of Drawings at Completion.

A.: All drawings covering changes during construction need to be complete at Completion, together with the implemented Inspection Plan, and all submitted.

30.  Q.:   Will a technical assessment be made by the BCA at Completion Stage?

A.: No provision for technical assessment at Completion; only the Completion statutory documents can be scrutinised for validity.

31.  Q.:   When can the Building be used?

A.: When the Building is placed on the BCA Register.

32.   Q.:  What is the Prospective Process for Demonstrating Compliance?       

A.: Prospective process:  Compliance information can be up-loaded using this method; notification within 3 -5 weeks prior to the specified Completion date with specified documentation un-signed. Then signed, and put on the Register within one day by the BCA.

33.   Q.:  At Completion stage, but the building is not put on the Register, what is to stop the owner/occupier, using the Building?

A.: It is likely that the Building may not be insured as this will be an insurance requirement that it is on the Register before use or occupancy. Also fines and penalties for Breach of Regulations.

34.    Q.: What happens if the Building Control Authority misses the date to put the building on the Register?

A.: The building will automatically be put on the register.