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.

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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 Draft guidance.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]

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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

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

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