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: June, 2014

What does pyrite do?

by Bregs Blog admin team

Take 2 minutes out and have a look a this video- it was posted on twitter on 30th June 2014 by the owner of a pyrite affected house in Mayo: “My house in Ballycastle, Co Mayo”

For more information on Pyrite and consumers visit the pyrite action group on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/PyriteAction

Other posts of interest:

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now? – click link here

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite – click linkhere

Dáil : Pyrite Remediation Programme: 10th June 2014 – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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CIF: “extend inspections to stamp out shadow economy”

by Bregs Blog admin team

ShadowEconomy

The following article was published on the Construction Industry Federation’s (CIF) website on 27th June 2014. In this article the CIF call for increased inspections on building sites, not for building control but by the Revenue Commissioners. We assume any and all cases of builders not operating within the tax net have and will be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Link to article here

Extract from article:

_________

EXTEND INSPECTIONS TO STAMP OUT SHADOW ECONOMY AND PROTECT CONTRACTORS – POST 27 JUNE 2014

Inspections should include sub contractors, specialist contractors and main contractors

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has called on the Government and Revenue to help stamp out shadow economy activity on State contracts by extending inspections to all contractors operating on all public projects.  The CIF said such a change in approach would prevent this work going to those misusing the system and ensure that legitimate operators were awarded work.

“Most people will be aware that there is a shadow economy problem in the Irish construction sector still,” said CIF Director General Tom Parlon.  “So we were not surprised when the latest reports arose in the Dáil of this type of activity as we receive reports of this nature regularly from our members.  There are still a substantial number of contractors operating outside the law in this country – not paying their taxes, not meeting their employment obligations and using social welfare to help subsidise wages.

“This is hitting the legitimate contractors, specialist contractors and sub contractors who are missing out on projects because they are being undercut when tendering for work. That is not what the economy needs and it is not in the interests of the State.  It is particularly galling when these problems occur on public projects – as was recently highlighted in the Dáil.  The only way to stamp out this activity is to change the inspections regime and ensure that all contractors are being monitored.  We also need to extend the inspections to all public projects.

“Currently where inspections do take place they are usually limited to the main contractor.  However we believe that all contractors – specialist contractors, sub contractors and main contractors should be subject to these inspections.  We also believe that the inspection process needs to be widened to ensure that all public projects are covered.  If these steps were taken then we would eliminate black economy activity on public projects very quickly.

“No one in the legitimate industry likes seeing reports appearing that shadow economy workers are being employed on public projects while also receiving the dole.  It undermines the legitimate contractors throughout the industry – those who pay their taxes, pay PRSI and meet their other employment obligations.

“On a wider basis we also believe that the Government needs to look at the way public construction contracts are awarded as part of the review of public procurement.  If you award on a lowest price principle, as is currently the case, then you encourage abnormally low tenders.  Abnormally low tenders involve corners being cut somewhere along the line – usually in the form of shadow economy activity of some description.

“If the Government were to move to a best value principle in awarding public contracts this would dramatically help stamp out shadow economy activity in this country.

“We would encourage anyone who is aware of shadow economy activity in the construction sector to report it.  If more people were prepared to highlight cases it would certainly help the more legitimate companies operating in the construction industry.  We would remind all our members and everyone involved in the construction industry that they can make anonymous reports to the Revenue via the ‘Good Citizen’s Report’.  The process involved for this can be found at –http://cif.ie/goodcitizens.html

Construction Industry Federation – Good Citizen’s Report Form (PDF and Jpeg):

GoodCitizensReport Form

GoodCitizensReport Form

 

Other posts of interest:

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland – click link here

Is CIRI the only register of contractors? BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey  – click link here

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

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?  – click link here

The Engineers Journal- CIF’s new register of builders  – click link here

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)  – click link here

CIF suggest self-building no longer possible after March 1st 2014 – click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? 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

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9?

by Bregs Blog admin team

tc-cinderella-delia-matthews-clock-stars-poster_1000

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9?

We noted in an earlier post (see post here) that the Design Certifier (DC) seems to have disappeared from a lot of government guidance.

  • The list of Commencement Notices published from the BCMS  lists only the ‘Designer’ (who is not required to be a registered professional) and the ‘Certifier’ (clearly meaning the Assigned Certifier). See pdf list: Building Register 17th June 2014.
  • The Law Society Practice Note (see link) advises solicitors to use the Completion Certificate only. The Design Certificate will not be used in conveying property.

It is clear then, that the Design Certifier has become the “Cinderella” of Building Control and that this role has been minimised to an ‘outline’ compliance certificate that does not even appear on the public record. For most projects the Assigned Certifier (AC) will take on the job before tendering and will audit the design before the start and as the projects goes along on site.

This is a sensible solution; it reduces the workload at commencement and is readily workable on all types on contracts. The Assigned Certifier’s role is clear and there is a second pair of eyes on all design work, both the professionals or subcontractors throughout (only if the DC and AC are different people).

SI.9 has evolved, since its implementation, into being a paper trail with a single point of responsibility- the Assigned Certifier. The disappearing role of the Design Certifier is reflected in the Department’s own Code of Practice.

For most projects it is likely that there will be no extra fees for the role of Design Certifier. Unless practitioners have specifically negotiated these, it is reasonable to assume the responsibilities associated with the role should be minimised also.

Other posts of interest:

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.  – click link here

RIAI: time needed for schools- BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

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

4 tips for Design Certifiers… – click link here

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

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

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

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

 

 

BREGS Blog Archive 2- DECEMBER 2013

by Bregs Blog admin team

historical-archive_2_large

Don’t forget our archives!

At time of writing on 29th June 2014 we have over 1,030 daily subscribers to Bregs Blog that have access to over 400 posts. For many recent readers our December 2013 posts will be a new source of information and background on the new regulations.

Click on the following link and scroll through the second month’s posts we published- many of these highlight some of the issues we are currently experiencing.

Click title: BREGS Blog Archive 2- DECEMBER 2013

Following on from a formal policy adopted by the representative body for architects (RIAI) in October 2013 at the largest ever EGM, on December 16th a petition was submitted to Minister Hogan signed by over 500 members of the RIAI requesting deferral of the new building regulations in the interests of consumer protection and industry readiness. This number represented over 25% of all registered architects in the Ireland. See PDF of letter here: 500 petition letter to Minister.

Given the recent re-occurrence of pyrite in the construction industry it would appear little has happened to regulate and stop this problem. In the post “The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel” we listed key recommendations of the pyrite panel report, a report commissioned and endorsed by the Government, that were disregarded in the formation of the new regulations. See post here.

In this month we posted:

  • Priory Hall resident spokesman Graham Usher noted “As a former resident of Priory Hall, I read the proposed changes to the Draft Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012 with interest…After reading, I cannot help but feel Environment and Local Government Minister Phil Hogan and his department have failed utterly to learn the lessons of Priory Hall.” He added “…Incredibly, it would appear there will still be no inspections by the local authorities...In my opinion the aim of the proposed amendments is to ensure that the State succeeds in absolving itself of having to take any responsibility for potentially dangerous defects to peoples homes despite the funds they have and will continue to receive through large levies & stamp duty.” (see post here)
  • Deirdre Lennon architect and current council member of the representative body for architects (RIAI) in a personal opinion piece added to the widespread calls for comprehensive local authority bulding control inspections (see post here): “If the Minister is really serious about strengthening the Building Control System he can task the Building Control authorities to carry out independent inspection and review protocols similar to that operated in the UK. This system has been tried and tested and following review in 2012 has been confirmed to be the most cost effective solution for protecting the quality of the built environment. We would welcome it.”
  • In another opinion piece (see post here) the Irish system of Building Control was shown to be unique internationally. The Department of the Environment target of only one site visit to 12-15% of buildings was compared to 100% inspection rates of all dwellings in the USA and in much of Europe.
  • In a letter to the editor of the Irish Times 7 past presidents of the RIAI asked the question “New or same old building regulations?” (see link here)
  • Past president of the RIAI Joan O’Connor discussed the obligations of the State and consumer rights in a personal opinion piece. She concluded with a question Dare we look aim for a radical overhaul of the system to simplify the administrative aspects of building control to focus on essentials such as education, inspection and insurance?” Read post here.
  • In Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 (see link here) we noted the multitude of recommendations and reports disregarded (like the pyrite report) in the design of SI9 (SI80).
  • The very cursory regulatory impact assessment (RIA) for the new regulations from 2012 was noted (see post here) in contrast to similar RIA undertaken in the UK in 2012. In the UK the comprehensive study was set to examine how to streamline the UK’s system of approved inspectors. We noted that “The UK report included the Irish system as a option: light-touch, low-cost (to local authorities), self-certification, but discounted this early on due to cost to the consumer and to the wider industry.
  • We also posted the first of many posts on the problems of self-builders: “Self-builders to be phased out under S.I.80” (click post here)

Previous Archive posts (click title):

BREGS Blog Archive 1- NOVEMBER 2013

Other popular “top read” posts:

Home page comments moved to post and get involved on Twitter!

by Mark Stephens

conversation

 

You are invited to participate via Twitter in the widget below- get involved in the many aspects of BC(A)R SI.9 that are discussed every day on Twitter. Join the hundreds of Twitter followers who are chatting about the new building regulations and get the separate daily twitter feed of news, gossip and discussions.

The following comments have been moved from the home page to aid clarity .

______________

Ordinary_Member
November 27, 2013
Who are the BRegs group? Is it just the 7 Past Presidents or are there others involved? Why is there no information on this site, is it available elsewhere?

Reply:
Many thanks for your comment, which is well made. We’ve added the description below to our About page. The names listed here are not exhaustive, we’ll add more as people give us their permission to do so:

The BRegs Forum was established to debate the 2013 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, which will affect all new buildings due to start on site from 1st March 2014. The forum grew out of the 2012 public consultation which resulted in over 500 submissions to the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government from a wide body of stakeholders including architects, engineers, surveyors, government agencies, property holders, builders and consumer interest groups.

The purpose of the forum is to investigate the implications of the BC(A)R, to rigorously test the proposals and to propose workable, cost-effective solutions which will be in the greatest long-term benefit to the Irish Public.

The BReg Forum is not a representative body.

Contributors include: Padraig Murray, Michael Collins, Peter Hanna, Joan O’Connor, Eoin O’Cofaigh, Arthur Hickey, Sean O Laoire, Sean Carew, Orla Hegarty, Joe Kennedy, Claire McManus, Mel Reynolds, Mark Stephens, Vivian Cummins, Caomhan Murphy, John O’Keeffe, Colin Jennings. Paddy O’Toole, Eoin O’Morain, Martin Murray, Deirdre Lennon, Gerry Egan and Jimmy Delahunty

Dermot Kearns
November 22, 2013
Over the last three years I have contacted Government many times clearly identifying serious and life threatening issues in relation to thermal,acoustic and fire safety in both domestic and commercial buildings. I sent images clearly identifying breaches in building regulations and health and safety. Not one senior minister has agreed to meet with me to discuss any of these issues. Why? In my honest opinion they simply do not care. Building control is a useful tool only when building inspectors are educated in what they should be inspecting. Most of the problems I see on a regular basis stem from poor quality design and specification of the building project. Inadequate communication between the Client/Developer, Architect, Builder and Sub contractors.
It is this simple, where a building is found not to be in compliance with the building regulations the purchaser must be entitled to a full refund if the works cannot be rectified in an agreed period of time. Our laws favor the rich and powerful (friends of government) not the general public.
We are now beginning to build again in this country and the same crock of S–t is on offer to the general public as so called quality buildings.
Where the thermal insulation is wrong you can bet your life the fire stopping is wrong.
Thermal, acoustic, fire safety, ventilation and radon protection are inextricably linked and require clarity at the design stage of every building project. Equal or approved should never be written on a building specification and should be replaced with equal or better. The insulation, ventilation and fire specification should be clearly identified by the architect and the design team.

To insulate is to protect Dermot Kearns November 2013

Reply:

In response to recent high-profile building failures a new more comprehensive building control regime being introduced. The current system was inherited. This intervention, SI80, is well-intentioned and is being done in the face of serious public-sector cutbacks and financial constraints. ” Do more with less” etc.

I am sure a number of instances of failures due to the current flawed system self-certification system have surfaced in the last few years like the one you outlined. Everyone involved will dive for cover and hope it will go away.

Really we should have a building control section with the same powers as, say the Health & Safety inspectors. They visit sites unannounced and if signage and site is not in accordance with strict guidelines the site is closed down. In the example you quoted above that site should have been shut as soon as it was opened.

In other countries developers are obliged to carry building control approved drawings and permits to build on site. When a building control inspector calls if these documents are not there the site is closed. This is not rocket-science. Currently Irish local authorities have roving inspectors that visit all road works undertaken by contractors around the country, and if not in accordance with safety plans lodged in the local authority in advance the works are stopped. Its not that complicated, and a lot more usable, cost-effective and transparent than SI80. And it protects the consumer.

Redcloud
November 21, 2013
How can the Government expect a new regulation to be enforced without offering a proper system of policing. If you look at fire or health and safety there is a proper inspectorate system with powers that we strive to comply with. We need the government to empower building control to have a full inspectorate role. As a nation we have a very poor record of obeying rules that are not policed. The consumer will lose out again- minister Hogan has made a brave move but needs to back it up with an inspectorate and latent insurance system.

Joe Kennedy
November 21, 2013
This is one of the most serious issues facing the construction industry and home owners. The Regulations as currently drafted will fail to protect consumers, will make scapegoats out of a few Certifiers and will not lead to the standard of building construction badly needed.

Maoiliosa Reynolds

November 29, 2013

In the Irish Independent article today: “.. The new regulations do not and cannot change the legal responsibilities set out in the Act of 1990. They merely activate a provision in the Act of 1990 enabling certificates of compliance as a means by which those responsible can demonstrate how their statutory obligations have been fulfilled.”
I agree entirely that this is the home truth. The current defective system of self-certification introduced in 1990 remains. We will have more paper, not better buildings. Rogue developer-builders can rest easy. Under SI80 unregistered builder-developers can now assume total control of the building process with no third party inspections as of March 2014. Have we learnt nothing from Priory Hall, the pyrite scandal? Has anyone in the construction industry seen what is happening again in Meath this week? How many Priory Halls must be unearthed before stakeholders start acting in the interests of the consumer and not in the narrow interests of members that they represent? Collectively all stakeholders must come forward now and act in the interests of the consumer and call for postponement and amendment of SI80. The industry is completely unprepared for this deluge of paper and bureaucracy. We will have a serious hiatus in the construction industry in 2014 and still be left with a dysfunctional, unregulated, light-touch system eith no third-party independent inspections and no local authority enforcement. The courts held that the local authority was responsible for rehousing residents of priory hall. Government resistance in facing up to their established legal responsibilities will continue to cost the taxpayer and consumer dearly for years to come.

Patrick Doherty

December 14, 2013

Ireland is full of regulations for everything, but as the banking crisis and the hundreds if not thousands of priory halls out there prove, you can have all the regulations you want, they are all completely worthless without having regular inspections, and above all ENFORCEMENT.
Also anyone in Ireland is allowed to call themselves a ‘building contractor’ and construct property worth hundreds of thousands of Euro without any type of technical training, or knowledge, or any care for even the most basic building regs. No contractors licence of any type is necessary. Yet you can’t even own a dog here without having a licence.
How long will Ireland continue being an international joke ?

michael quirke

February 28, 2014

this amendment wont work without building control inspections.
by work i mean ensure a substantial improvement in compliance/quality of workmanship.
in England you cant get final certification without the building control officers having inspected the works at least once during the build.
The minister can say what he likes but this amendment in practice has more to do with a)taxation than certification, the “registered builder” can now be easily traced to projects he has signed off to check up on his tax liabilities.
and b) insurance liabilities. the government/state doesn’t want to be paying for any more priory halls. Insurance liabilities / that’ll be for YOU the certifier. Take a close look at SI 224/2013 regarding CE markings and certification and associated dept of environment guidance documents. It seems that where CE certification is available for a particular product and such a CE certified product is used in the building works the main ASSIGNED CERTIFER will be required to ensure and keep a record of his/her methodology in this process . That process will not be time consuming for say a gas boiler, there will probably only 1 CE marking on it and the suppliers/installers certificate will be required but for a host of other construction elements this will be a huge task if you the certifier are to do the job right. eg each rafter/truss on will have to be checked by YOU individually for a CE mark. A letter/statement from the builder wont do, and you would be wise to be careful of builders statements. You better bring a packed lunch with you on site inspections from now on , and by the way im an Architectural Technologist just recently excluded from certification by the minister , my qualification along with 30 years of experience counting for nothing in the ministers view.
michael quirke

Bregs Blog admin team

February 28, 2014

Thanks michael you are correct as CPR 2013 has been rolled into Part D of the regulations the Assigned certifier has to keep a record of all materials and components used on site. This includes CE marks and declarations of performance also. Our take is that this record is not the responsibility of an ancillary certifier, builder, but is the responsibility of the assigned certifier. This will need to be digitised and submitted as part of completion documentation also. As assigned certifier is not part of supply chain it is hard to understand how this will work in practice. As you say this is a huge additional amount of work which up to now has not really been identified or discussed.

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now?

by Bregs Blog admin team

pyrite-report-390x285

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now?

Recent publicity regarding the discovery of pyrite in block work in Leinster has focused on the resultant demolition of the buildings concerned and the potential liabilities for the suppliers, contractors and professionals involved. There has been less discussion of the implications of such a pyrite discovery on an Assigned Certifier, involved on similar projects, following the introduction of S.I. 9.

Under the new Building Control Regulations the Assigned Certifier (AC) – who may be an Engineer, Surveyor or Architect – will have obtained a ‘Declaration of Performance’ i.e. a self-declaration from the supplier of the blockwork. The AC could easily have missed the fact that a Declaration was incorrect, no matter how often the AC inspected the site or no matter how thorough the inspection. The unfortunate reality is the fact that there is no on-site testing equipment for detecting pyrite. If the self-declaration by a blockwork or precast concrete manufacturer is incorrect there is no means for an AC to discover this. The Pyrite Panel in their 2012 report to the Minister for the Environment commented that even if everyone on-site was doing their job correctly they would not be able to detect pyrites in building materials.

So no one, including the AC, could be aware of the defective pyrite-affected component until the building was well-advanced or even completed and an obvious defect appeared. In such a scenario can the AC be held liable for making a serious professional error? Responsibility is unclear from the legislation. We will need to see what transpires in the Courts when cases come to be heard. However the following situations are likely:

  • The building owner or their AC cannot rely on any Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) policy to cover this situation. Policy holders should read the small print of their PII. It doesn’t cover certifying materials!
  • Buildings and contractors’ insurers (as they have done in the past) saying, “we don’t pay-out for pyrite, we told you that the last time”.
  • Global concrete product manufacturing companies, like the one alleged to have supplied pyrite affected blockwork, may look around and consider the Irish market to be too problematic and too tiny a part of their market and retreat to larger markets thereby abandoning the Irish consumer
  • Builders operating with too tight margins and faced with processing a pyrite claim will be tipped over into insolvency
  • Professional design teams, currently on bottom-feeder fees, will be financially exhausted by a pyrite claim alone

The recent cases in Leinster cases seem to involve a school and social housing so the tax payer will be paying for this. THIS TIME. It’s been reported that the builder and supplier have sorted it out between them THIS TIME. That might be negotiated for a relatively small project, but what if it’s a multi-million Euro development? What if the building is occupied? How long before limited companies owning quarries and contracting firms are voluntarily liquidated to limit potential liability?

We strongly recommend checking with your insurer regarding situations where defective materials are used and for projects that may be affected by this problem.

READ THE SMALL PRINT: Many professional indemnity insurance policies exclude pyrite.

The above opinion piece was written by Breg Blog Team on Saturday 28th June 2014.

Other posts of interest:

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite – click link here

Dáil : Pyrite Remediation Programme: 10th June 2014 – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates

by Bregs Blog admin team

stateofireland-home2013

Today 27th June 2014 Engineers Ireland posted current draft building regulation certificates on their website. These include new drafts written and issued recently by the Construction Industry Federation for their members.

Professionals should consider carefully how these certificates tie into contractual obligations and ensure that the ‘one size fits all’ certificates drafted by the professional bodies are appropriate to the particulars of your job. In all cases it is important to explain these arrangements to your client, as he building owner is ultimately responsible. It is advisable to seek independent legal advice for complex contracts.

As these are draft documents and may be subject to revisions 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.

See link to Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates here.

Extract to follow:

________

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates

The suite of Ancillary Certificates have been developed in response to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, BC(A)R, published as S.I. No.9 and S.I. No 105, both of 2014 and complemented by the associated Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works.

The four organisations that represent the design professionals that can act as Assigned Certifier and Design Certifier under S.I. No. 9;

The Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI)

Engineers Ireland (EI)

The Royal Institution of Architects of Ireland (RIAI)

The Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI)

The Ancillary Certificates are required to be signed off by a Principal or Director of the company employing the individual who prepared the Ancillary Certificate. The selection of the person who signs off on the Ancillary Certificate is a matter for the company concerned in compliance with their own Professional Indemnity Insurance.

While these are not statutory documents, it is the recommendation of all four organisations that the wording and format of this suite of documents are not changed for individual project use. Milestone reviews of all the documentation generated by S.I. No.9 may initiate a review of the Ancillary Certificates at an agreed date in the future.

Ancillary Certificates for Engineers

The following Ancillary Certfiicates will be required to be signed off by the Engineer for their Design at the Design Stage and the Completion Stage. Note there are two certificates required at Completion Stage, one covering Design and the other covering Inspection.

ENGINEER_Design_ACEI-EI_BCR_1401

ENGINEER_DesignCompletion_ACEI-EI_BCR_1402

ENGINEER_Inspection_ACEI-EI_BCR_1403

Ancillary Certificates for Competent Persons or Specialists

It is proposed that the following Ancillary Certificates will be required to be signed off by competent persons or specialists (i.e. Facade Designer, Fire Systems Designer, Lift Specialist etc.) for their design at Design Stage and at Completion Stage. Note there are two certificates required at Completion Stage, one covering Design and the other covering Inspection.

SPECIALIST_Design_RIAI_ACD_02

SPECIALIST_DesignCompletion_RIAI_ACCD_02

SPECIALIST_Inspection_RIAI_ACI_02

Ancillary Certificates for Builders

It is proposed that the following Ancillary Certificates will be required to be signed off by competent persons or specialists (i.e. Facade Designer, Fire Systems Designer, Lift Specialist etc.) for their design at Design Stage and at Completion Stage. Note there are two certificates required at Completion Stage, one covering Design and the other covering Inspection.

CIF01_Ancillary_Certificate_of_Compliance_on_Completion__Sub-Contractor_Ma

CIF02_Ancillary_Completion_Certificate_Sub-Sub-Contractor_May-2014

Other posts of interest:

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

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

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

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

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

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

Senior Council advice on BC(A)R SI.9 –  click link here

“extraordinarily loose and vague”: Legal Implications of 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

 

Irish Residential Property Prices: May 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

HouseForSaleSign_large

The following piece was posted on 25/6/2014 by Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev, lecturer in Finance in Trinity College. Link to his Blog “True Economics” is here

Blog comment:

The following post is a follow-on from yesterday’s “‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis” which drilled down into some of the actual Central Statistics Office figures (and trends) coming out for planning permissions. While house prices are not directly relevant to building regulations, we feel they are an important component in painting the overall picture of where the construction industry is at and is going. Residual site values are directly related to sales prices etc. Given consumer lending is down significantly for mortgages from 2011 (see earlier True Economics post on this here) and prices are rising in Dublin, we may be looking at a localised investor-led recovery in parts of the capital.

The recent Construction Industry Federation (CIF) survey (see post here) suggested a patchy Dublin-centered recovery, primarily in the commercial sector. The drop-off in residential permissions (as noted in Mr Gurdgiev’s here) implies that a housing shortage for ordinary first-time buyers will not improve in the short to medium term. Certainly this diverse input suggests that the construction industry is undergoing a tentative recovery, one that should be carefully monitored. The effect of BC(A)R SI.9 is still to be felt due to the spike in commencements pre March. Early signals such as PMI data for later on in the summer should indicate whether tender activity will begin to tail-off as a result of the marked fall-off of commencement notices due to SI.9 since March.

CIF members will probably be the first to know if the industry is starting to slow again, and pretty soon.

True Economics: 25/6/2014: Irish Residential Property Prices: May 2014- see link here.

Extract as follows:

_______

25/6/2014: Irish Residential Property Prices: May 2014

CSO published Residential Property Price Index today for May 2014. Lots of various headlines reporting double digit gains in property prices and lauding general recovery in the market, as usual.

Let make some sense of the data as we have it:

Point 1: National house prices: Index was at 70.1 in April 2014 and this rose to 71.7 in May 2014. April reading was just a notch above 70.0 in December 2013. In other words, for all annual gains, we were just about back to the level prices were in December last year. In May, this rose above December 2013 levels, and closer to September-October 2011 average.

I would not call this a ‘recovery’, yet, especially since we have drawn another ‘u’ around December 2013-April 2014.

That said, relative to peak prices are down 45.1% and are up 11.9% on crisis period low. Cumulated gain over last 24 months is only 9.47% which equates to annual average growth in the ‘recovery’ period of just 4.63%. Again, given the depth of decline from the peak, this is not a ‘bubble’-type recovery.

3mo moving average was down through April 2014 at -0.23% compared to 3mo period through January 2014, but in May this moved into positive territory of +0.86% compared to 3mo average through February 2014.

Current national prices are 26.9% below Nama valuations (inclusive of LTEV and risk cushion) so for Nama to return profit on average acquired loan it will need ca 27.4% rise from here on. At current running 24 months growth rate, that will require roughly 6 years.

1

Point 2: National property prices ex-Dublin: the index reading is at 68.2 barely up on 68 in March 2014. Compared to crisis trough, the index is now only 3.2% up. Cumulated rate of growth over 24 moths through April 2014 is negative at -1.02%. 3mo MA through May 2014 is 1.02% below 3mo MA through February 2014. In other words, nationally (excluding Dublin) things are not getting better.

2

Point 3: Dublin properties, despite all the talk about ‘new bubble’ and ‘boom’ are only now in line with those nationally (chart above shows this much). In other words, Dublin ‘boom’ is a correction for much steeper decline in Dublin properties relative to the rest of the country.

3

Point 4: Dublin all properties index is now at 72.2 in May, which is up on 69.3 in April 2014, and is the highest reading since February 2011.

Relative to peak, Dublin properties are still down 46.3% although they are now 26% above the crisis trough. Cumulated gain in Dublin over 24 months through May 2014 is 23.6% which equates to roughly 11.2% annual rise – robust and clearly signalling recovery, in contrast to ex-Dublin markets.

But, 3mo MA through April 2014 was % below 3mo MA through January 2014, while 3mo AM through May 2014 is 2.66% up on 3mo MA through February 2014, which shows some volatility in the index and can be a sign of the rally regaining some momentum or seasonal effects combining with some improved economic news or simply volatility taking hold of the recent data. Simple answer – we have no idea what is going on.

Crucially, as chart above shows, apartments segment of Dublin market is showing weaker growth over the last 6 months than houses segment. This is surprising, given rapid rises in rents and reported shortages of accommodation.

So here you have it: for all the hoopla about ‘mini-bubble’ etc, things are still very much shaky:

•Growth in Dublin is strong, but so far consistent with the market catch up with more conservative price declines to trough in the rest of the country.

•Meanwhile, outside Dublin, things are solidly dead.

Other posts of interest:

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis – click link here

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop – click link here

Taoiseach: get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’- click link here

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – 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

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Dáil: response on Architectural Technologist Register in 7 days

by Bregs Blog admin team

Donnelly

In the following Dáil exchange on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 Stephen Donnelly TD asks Minister Phil Hogan when a decision will be made on a separate register of Architectural Technologists. Minister Hogan quote:

I have asked my Department to give immediate consideration to the proposals for separate voluntary registers of architectural technologists…My Department will respond formally to both professional bodies in the coming week.”

Written answers; Dáil: Tuesday, 24 June 2014- see link here

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

Building Regulations Amendments

Stephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Independent)

372. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government in view of his recent statement that he will make a decision very shortly about whether architectural technologists will be recognised on a list of assigned certifiers, if he will provide a date by which that decision will be made; if he will provide details of the data he is using to inform this decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26745/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

I refer to the reply to Question No. 76 of 5 June 2014 which deals comprehensively with the matter raised. As clearly indicated in that reply, I have asked my Department to give immediate consideration to the proposals for separate voluntary registers of architectural technologists, as put forward recently by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists and the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, and to engage with both professional bodies and other relevant stakeholders in relation to the matter shortly. My Department will respond formally to both professional bodies in the coming week.

Blog note: the Dáil question referred to above- Building Regulations Qualifications – Question No. 76 of 5 June 2014; click link here

Other posts of interest:

Dáil: Architectural Technologists back on the agenda  – click link here

Hot topic: Architectural Technologists and SI.9  – click link here

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

Who should be a Certifier- Part 3: Chartered Engineers + Building Surveyors? – click link here

Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9. – click link here

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here

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

 

 

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite

by Bregs Blog admin team

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In this report from RTÉ News (Wednesday 25th June) it appears that the remaining houses (except one) in a development in Co Louth will be demolished due to pyrite affected blockwork. Previously it had been reported demolition had commenced on a small portion of the development.

For RTÉ News report click here

Extract from article:

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite

An entire social housing development under construction in Co Louth will have to be demolished following confirmation that all but one of the homes is contaminated with pyrite.

The 25-unit housing scheme is a partnership between North and East Housing Association and Louth County Council.

The alert was raised in April when the housing association’s technical staff noticed cracks in the walls of six of the houses at Moneymore in Drogheda.

A detailed examination found that the cracks resulted from under floor filling containing pyrite, which caused the material to expand and cracked the block work.

The results of a second phase of tests have now confirmed that a further 18 units have been contaminated with the mineral.

Demolition has already begun on the first six homes.

Building contractor Andrews Construction and North and East Housing Association have now agreed to knock and rebuild all 25 units in the development.

The additional cost arising from the demolition and reconstruction will be borne by the builder and their supplier.

The need to demolish and rebuild the houses will mean a further nine-month delay for those on the council housing list hoping to secure one of the units.

Breege Dolan, acting CEO of North and East Housing Association, said: “We had hoped to deliver the 25 houses in November 2014 but it will now be August 2015 taking account of demolition and rebuild works.

“We are lucky that the houses were not fully constructed, when we identified the problem the houses were 60% complete.”

Related Stories

Dublin houses demolished after pyrite discovery

Local authorities investigating new pyrite reports

Scheme opens to repair pyrite-affected homes

Other posts of interest:

Dáil : Pyrite Remediation Programme: 10th June 2014 – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

 

Senator Paschal Mooney, Minister Hogan and Seanad debate

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following letter from the representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) to Senator Paschal Mooney takes issue with a reply the Senator received from Minister Phil Hogan. Senator Mooney had written to the Minister, on behalf of self builders, following a complaint made by the IAOSB regarding statements made in a Senate debate in April 2014. In the following letter it appears that the transcript of the Seanad debate was edited and omits specific references made by Minister Hogan concerning the IAOSB in the Seanad.

Extract off IAOSB website to follow, link here

___________

Iaosb’s reply to Senator Paschal Mooney regarding the response from Minister Hogan on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I.9 of 2014

Minister Hogan’s response to Senator Paschal Mooney regarding S.I.9 of 2014 3rd of June 2014

–—————————————————

Dear Senator Mooney,

Firstly I would like to express our thanks to you on behalf of all of our members for taking up the issues we raised directly with Minister Hogan. We are a voluntary body with scant resources to pursue these matters.

We remain astonished at the contradictory replies in the Seanad and now in Minister Hogan’s letter reply to you. We previously had tabled our concerns in a letter of 11th April directly to Minister Hogan also.
iaosb letter to minister hogan following his replies in the seanad

In the Seanad Minister Hogan clearly mention us, and that we had participated in the formation of SI.9. In his reply to you on 3rd June Minister Hogan goes on to contradict that. We repeat our request for an independent inquiry into the Minister’s misrepresentative comments and now contradictory statements concerning the IAOSB involvement in any stakeholder process.

Quote (3rd June letter): I made no reference to IAOSB having been kept informed or participated in the formation of the regulation

I would like to point out that on the transcript of the Seanad Debate on 10th of April, the Minister says “In respect of self-certification, people involved in self building have been consulted all along. The organisation that allegedly represents them certainly did not make any particularly strong submission to suggest that these regulations should not be introduced in the interests of the consumer” kildarestreet.com sendebates 2014-04-10a.74

However, if you would be kind enough to view the recording of the same debate (Minute 2.09.00), you will notice that the actual wording was “Association of Self build people have been consulted all along” but the words Association of self build have been omitted on the transcript above. oireachtas.ie DocID=25876&&CatID=129
We are outraged that an elected representative can clearly issue contradictory and misrepresentative comments concerning a voluntary organisation such as ourselves.
Due to conflicting Ministerial and Department statements concerning the status of self-builders and conflicting advice from local authorities, we have left it to the judgement of our members to read all relevant information for themselves and make decisions on whether or not to proceed with self-builds now post implementation of S.I.9. We have repeatedly asked for formal legal confirmation of the status of self-building now under the new regulations, both from the Minister and the Attorney General.

iaosb letter to attorney general, maire whelan sc from iaosb regarding s.i.9

We would urge the Minister if he has received this legal opinion to provide our members with this as we do not have the resources to commission a senior council opinion.

The Minister suggests we take responsibility for our involvement- on behalf of our members we have demonstrated this in the significant correspondence to his office listed on our website here www.iaosb.com

The matter of the register of professionals, the monopoly on the new roles in the building regulations, is not new. The Minister himself referred to “cartel” or monopoly practices in the Dáil in a recent debate called for by Mick Wallace, TD. He brought the exclusion of Architectural Technologists (in our opinion unfair exclusion) to the Dáil recently. Minister Hogan is well aware of this issue having taken Minister Gormley to task concerning Architectural Technologist exclusion from the register when in opposition some years ago.

debates oireachtas.ie dail 2010/02/18

The increase costs as outlined in our letter to Minister Hogan, up to and in excess €40,000 for a typical home are accurate and reflect the experience of a large number of our members. The costs range frequently stated by he Minister of between €1000 and €3000 is simply not correct.

In his reply to you the Minister reiterates that it is incorrect that a building owner may not assume the role of builder under SI.9. Has the Minister obtained clarification form the Attorney General that this is the case? Or is this just an opinion of his senior civil servants on this legal matter? We know, from a reply we received from the Law Society, that the Law Society, remarkably, was not consulted by the Minister or Department on SI.9.

iaosb letter_to_and_from_mr_mark_mcdermott,_law_society_of_ireland.html

We would have assumed that conveyancing and the multitude of consequences following on from SI.9 for the sale and refinance of a property, would dictate that the Law Society be a key stakeholder in the formation of any legislation? Apparently not.

As a result every self-builder that takes the Minister’s statement at face value and commences a self-build after 1st March is taking a huge risk that there may be conveyancing an re-financing issues down the line. In an R.T.E radio programme Joe Duffy asked the question will the Minister and his Department come down to the high court with self-builders to sort out these issues when they occur? These are the major concerns that are effecting our members.

In his reply the Minister seems to be putting the mandatory register of contractors on the long finger. This makes absolutely no sense as we now have a construction industry where everyone is “registered” except for one group that needs to be- contractors. The frequently quoted rationale of SI9 is to rid the industry of the cowboys. Unfortunately a statutory register of contractors, within a system of self-certification, will put the ban of self-building firmly on a statutory footing. Again a symptom of the flawed logic behind the new building regulations.

Regarding the UK system proposed, a system of independent local authority inspections, we are all aware that this probably will cost the consumer. No one including our members, professionals or others involved in construction object to reasonable costs for an improved system. What we do object to is vastly increased costs for a system that offers no additional consumer protections, just additional “red tape”. In the UK independent local authority inspections allow for self-building, and this is one sector of the residential market which has received significant stimulus funding.

The recent re-occurrence of pyrite in the construction sector is proof enough that the current system of self-certification, hands-off low cost limited local authority inspections and enforcement, simply does not work.

We disagree with the Minister’s interpretation of the Law Society Conveyancing Committee advice to professionals not to undertake certifier roles for self-builders: it’s pretty clear that is what they are saying in black and white (See attached). Our members can’t get professionals to certify self-builds where the owner isn’t an experienced construction professional or builder. This places self builders in the position that they have to use a building contractor or abandon the project completely.

Producing vague, undefined legislation in a premature fashion with no local authority additional resources to police, monitor or operate is not acceptable. Leaving up operation of new laws “…to the professional judgement..” of professionals and builders with clear vested interests is not acceptable. These representative bodies and organisations, when asked by the IAOSB, refer us back to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. In fairness to the C.I.F they have been the one organisation with clear unambiguous advice to self builders – that it is no longer possible under S.I.9. Passing the buck must stop.

The Minister must take responsibility himself for the mess he has created and start cleaning it up, starting with the self-builders.

Once again I thank you for all your help and assistance regarding this very important matter.

Kind Regards

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of Self Builders

www.iaosb.com

Gazzett of Law Society

Other posts of interest:

Senator Mooney letter to Minister Phil Hogan – click link here

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

Listen to Seanad Debate: SI.9 (si.105) – click link here

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

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

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

Minister Hogan concerned at exploitation by professionals: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

by Bregs Blog admin team

5690690936_d1e2281081_z The following piece was posted on 24/6/2014 by Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev, lecturer in Finance in Trinity College, Dublin and in the Smurfit School of Business, UCD. He has served as the Head of Research and Partner with St Columbanus AG, Head of Macroeconomics (Institute for Business Value, IBM), Director of Research (NCB Stockbrokers), Adviser to the Irish Exporters Association; Group Editor and Director (Business and Finance Publications). He also served as non-executive member on the Investment Committee of Goldcore. Link to his Blog “True Economics” is here. Interesting analysis of Dublin property prices also this week.

Extract from blog “True Economics:

Planning Permissions in Ireland: the ‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

There are many drivers for planning permissions applications in Ireland, including traditional ones (economic fundamentals, demand, credit supply availability etc) and idiosyncratic (changes in planning regime etc). Not to comment on either of these, here are the latest stats (through Q1 2014) on the subject. Q1 2014 registered an uplift in total number of planning permissions granted, which rose y/y by 17.0%. This sounds like a large number, except the problem is – it comes off such a low base that Q1 2013 actually was an absolute historical low for planning permissions for any quarter since Q1 1975. In real terms, as the chart below clearly shows, since Q1 2011 through Q1 2014, maximum number of planning permissions granted barely reaches previous historical low in Q1 1988. That’s right: the worst of the 1970s-1980s is the best of 2011-present range. In fact, Q1 2014 ‘improved’ activity in terms of planning permissions is 11.7% lower (that’s right – lower) than 1975-1999 lowest point. pp total 2 Dwellings permissions are currently sitting 38.9% below their absolute low of 1975-1999 period, although these did rise 3.36% year on year. pp dwellings 3 In terms of total square meters relating to permissions granted, things are no better. Year-on-year volume of permission granted by square meters is down 20% for all applications. From Q1 2011 through Q1 2014, total square meters of permissions granted have been trending basically in line with the lowest levels reached in the 1980s. 4pp granted I am not sure if anyone can tell with any degree of confidence as to what the effect of new regulatory regimes is on these numbers, but one thing is very clear – the recovery is not to be seen anywhere in the above numbers, yet. Despite some reports in the media and from the industry suggesting that things are getting better and better.

Other posts of interest:

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop – click link here

Taoiseach: get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’- click link here

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – 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

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Practical Post Series 1-20

by Bregs Blog admin team

practical-tools-small-business-social-media

In response to a number of comments to the Blog and queries in our two recent surveys (see posts here and here) we ran a series of twenty Practical Posts, written by and aimed at the home/ business owners, SME’s, and professionals about the new regulations.

Our starting point was extensions, given a large number of comments/ queries we have received relate to questions like “does this minor extension/ alteration qualify under BC(A)R SI.9?“.

Posts cover a multitude of aspects of the new regulations and are a useful place to start if you have any initial queries. Posts are intended to be short and to the point and most headings are dealt with elsewhere in the Blog at greater length. Issues discussed affect end-users such as vitners, offices, employees of larger professional firms and insurance issues, lack of retrospective compliances, off-license and creche fit-out issues, phased completion and contractor issues.

Many new subscribers may not have seen some of these so we have consolidated into one post here for ease of access. Given the range of questions received we will continue this series for another ten posts.

____________

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 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: “architects only” club? –  Click link here

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

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

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

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

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

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves 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 list in one area is useful, 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. 

Dáil : Pyrite Remediation Programme: 10th June 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following exchange took place in the Dáil this week on 10th June concerning the Pyrite Remediation Programme

Pyrite Remediation Programme- written Dáil answers 10th June 2014. (click link here)

Clare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)

403. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the services being provided by HomeBond to thepyrite board. [24689/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

Discussions have been on-going for some time between the Pyrite Resolution Board and HomeBond on services to be provided byHomeBond in connection with the implementation of the pyrite remediation scheme. The discussions have recently concluded and my Department understands that an agreement has now been reached under which HomeBond has agreed to contribute technical and project management services to the value of €2million, and such services will include assisting in the auditing of Building Condition Assessments, organising and managing the testing of dwellings and project management of remediation contracts. HomeBond has also agreed to make available to the Pyrite Resolution Board/ Housing Agency the results of testing undertaken by it prior to the operation of the scheme.

All services will be provided under the direction and supervision of the Pyrite Resolution Board and/or the Housing Agency and in this context it should be noted that HomeBond staff will not be making decisions on the eligibility of applicants under the scheme. In addition, while working on the pyrite remediation process, staff from HomeBond will not be acting as agents of the Pyrite Resolution Board/Housing Agency to whom they will be answerable.

Clare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)

404. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government his views on the number of building condition assessments reporting damage condition rating 2; and if this is less than, in line with, or greater than the estimates made of the numbers of houses potentially requiring remedial works in the estates concerned by the pyrite board. [24690/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

It is a condition of eligibility under the scheme that an application to the Pyrite Resolution Board must be accompanied by a Building Condition Assessment with a Damage Condition Rating of 2. To date the Pyrite Resolution Board has received approximately 500 applications, almost all of which are accompanied by Building Condition Assessments with a Damage Condition Rating of 2.

The level of applications under the scheme is broadly in line with the expectations of my Department and the Pyrite Resolution Board. It was anticipated that volumes would be high initially and would then level off and continue at a steadier rate; this has been the experience under the scheme and applications are now averaging 10 per week. This would suggest that the total number is likely to be within the figure of some 1,000 derived from the figures of the report of the independent Pyrite Panel and substantially less than some of the speculative figures which have been publicly quoted.

Other posts of interest:

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

 

Building Inspector view of BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

the-building-inspector-is-coming-20090515112244_625x352

The following opinion piece was received on 17th June 2014 from a building inspector for the insurance industry.

Building Inspector view of BC(A)R SI.9

What is clear from any assessment of BC(A)R SI.9 is that the result of the ‘new’ system of Building Regulation compliance/enforcement has not improved consumer protection.

The consumer has been afforded no greater protection under the new requirements than what previously existed. However, the cost to the consumer of achieving the same result will no doubt be greater due to the clear and auditable paper trail now required of the professionals involved.

BC(A)R SI.9 has in effect just created a paper trail to support the previous system of building regulation ‘sign off’.

The same professionals are still going to ‘sign off’ projects, albeit with a differing cap on i.e Design Certifier, Assigned Certifier etc. The Local Authority Building Control officials (BCO’s) will still maintain a ‘hands off’ approach to the inspection of the works i.e a 10-15% target of commencement notices rather than a 100% inspection requirement. Responsibility for building regulation compliance will still ultimately rest with the consumer. Should the consumer require redress for any building regulation non compliance issues that may result in a structural defect, moisture ingress, a risk to life etc. then redress (if possible) will only be achieved through the courts where the consumer will have to prove professional negligence against the professionals involved.

The ongoing regulation of the professionals providing services in this arena appears to be completely overlooked. In the absence of an independent system of ongoing monitoring and evaluating the professionals involved, it is difficult to ensure the integrity of the system of Building Control. The professionals involved need to demonstrate that building regulation compliance will (at design stage) and has (at construction stage) been achieved. There would appear to be an inherent conflict of interest when the Design Certifier may also be the Assigned Certifier. It is only logical that the Assigned Certifier is ‘independent’ of the Design Certifier, i.e. the assigned certifier has no other financial interest in the project other than their involvement as AC.

However, what is done is done. What is the best way to address the issue of consumer protection?

Mandatory Latent Defects Insurance (LDI) may be one solution.

LDI could provide protection to the consumer and in effect provide independent ‘regulation’ of the professionals involved. LDI is not a panacea for the flaws in BC(A)R SI.9. However, as the insurers will only issue unendorsed warranties on projects that present a normal/ acceptable risk, to achieve this, the insurers will monitor the risk stages of a project through independent plan check assessment (design) and onsite inspections (construction) of the relevant risk stages of a project. LDI will not police the professionals per se, however, if any building regulation non conformities are not addressed during the life of the construction process then an unendorsed warranty would not be issued.

The recent RIAI calls for mandatory LDI on projects are laudable. It is only a pity that this was not called for when we were building 90,000 housing units a year.  A note of caution to the professional bodies, be careful what you wish for as you might just get it!

Other posts of interest:

Building Control Officers: Survey  – click link here

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

What is Latent Defects Insurance and how much does it cost? – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better”   – click link here

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

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland

by Bregs Blog admin team

residential-home-construction-builder-on-rooftop-nki

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland

The Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) was launched earlier this year in consultation with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DECLG). It is promoted as the only register of construction companies, sole traders and builders that are vetted by Government nominees and industry professionals. It is intended that it will become the Statutory Register for registered building contractors as part of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations S.I. 9. CIRI is a private register and is owned and operated by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). Link to website here: ciri.ie

The uptake to date to join CIRI, by construction companies, has been slow. On the 21st June 2014 only 196 companies had registered with CIRI. This figure may be compared with the existing 1500 + existing members of the CIF (who own and manage CIRI) and the 7500+ members of the National Guild of Master Craftsmen (see link to Guild website here). It is worth noting that Homebond have another (unconnected) register: homebond register.ie. Dublin city and county have the largest CIRI listing with 51 companies whereas Co. Longford has none.

The poor uptake for CIRI may possibly be explained by the following:

  • The register has not been placed on a statutory footing so there is no mandatory requirement (yet) to be registered. Recent Dáil statements suggest the March 2015 date for placing CIRI on a statutory footing may be delayed.
  • The cost of being listed on CIRI (€600 excluding VAT) may be a deterrent to small firms. There would appear to be no scale of charges i.e. a sole trader pays the same fee as the largest construction company in the country.
  • While the status of self-builders and the need to use a registered contractor remains ambiguous under the S.I. 9 legislation, there seems to be no advantage for a contractor to be on CIRI. Contrary to the CIF the Minister and Department have stated on a number of occasions that self-builders, owners without relevant construction experience, can still undertake the role of builder under the new building regulations. This suggests that membership of CIRI is unnecessary at present.
  • Many construction professionals remain sceptical of the qualitative assessments for inclusion on CIRI. No data has been issued yet by the CIF so it is not possible to know how many applications were refused or are under appeal or pending.

It is difficult to see how this register will be put on a statutory footing in 2015, as there are bound to be issues in trying to merge the other registers into CIRI.

Other posts of interest:

Is CIRI the only register of contractors? BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey  – click link here

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

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?  – click link here

The Engineers Journal- CIF’s new register of builders  – click link here

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)  – click link here

CIF suggest self-building no longer possible after March 1st 2014 – click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? 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

 

 

 

 

Dáil: Gerry Adams TD and Minister Phil Hogan- Pyrite

by Bregs Blog admin team

GerryAdamsWeb3001

In the following exchange Gerry Adams TD poses a number of questions to Minister Phil Hogan regarding recent pyrite affected projects. The Minister confirms that he was only made aware of this issue in April 2014 and believes it’s the responsibility of the local Authority to address the matter. Previously we posted that the issue of pyrite in blockwork actually made headlines in Donegal back in September 2013 (see post here).

Local authorities and in particular building control authorities are hopelessly understaffed at the moment. The Minister has stated that the reason he does not want to introduce more extensive building control inspections (and quite possibly quarry or material policing) is the cost of employing the necessary staff to provide this service to the public (see post here).

Dáil : Pyrite Incidence: 18 Jun 2014: Written answers- click link here

Extract off Dáil exchange to follow:

______________

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government- Pyrite Incidence

Gerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)

115. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he will report on the pyrite problem that has emerged in the construction of 25 homes at Moneymore, Drogheda, County Louth. [26308/14]

116. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the steps his Department is taking to ensure the problem of pyrite that has emerged in this instance is not repeated in other housing developments. [26309/14]Gerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)

117. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the discussions his Department has had with the North and East Housing Association Ltd. in respect of the pyrite discovered in houses it is constructing at Moneymore, Drogheda, County Louth. [26310/14]

118. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the measures his Department will take to ensure that the 25 new homes in the Moneymore, Drogheda, County Louth area are completed and available to citizens on the council housing list. [26311/14]

119. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if his Department is aware of any other new developments about which there is concern at the possible presence of pyrite. [26313/14]

120. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if, in respect of the discovery of pyrite and the planned demolition of newly constructed homes at the North and East Housing Association Ltd. development in Moneymore, Drogheda, any on-site inspections were carried out over the course of construction by planning control inspectors and-or engineers; under building regulations, if any inspections or tests are carried out regarding quality of building supplies-suppliers; and if there will be a cost to the public purse. [26314/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115 to 120, inclusive, together.

A potential problem concerning pyrite in concrete blocks was signalled to my Department in early April 2014 by the market surveillance authority (i.e. building control authority) in whose functional area the block manufacturer is located. Subsequently, some industry representatives have also contacted my Depart ment in relation to the issue. Under the European Union (Construction Products) Regulations 2013, building control authorities are designated as the principal market surveillance authorities for construction products that fall within the scope of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) andare responsible for the market surveillance of such products. Concrete blocks are covered by a harmonised European standard ( EN 771-3 -2011-Aggregate concrete masonry units (dense and light weight aggregates)and therefore come within the remit of the CPR.

The European Union (Construct ion Products) Regulations 2013 provide building control authorities with a wide rang e of powers to ensure that constructions products placed on the market comply with the requirements set out in the Construction Products Regulation. Such powers include the issuing of a notice to require corrective actions to be taken by an economic operator within a specified period of time and, in the event of a serious risk being identified, to request the nister to prohibit or restrict a construction product from being made available on the market, to withdraw it from the market or to recall it, or to make its use subject to special conditions as deemed appropriate.

On being advised of the problem the relevant market surveillance authority took immediate and appropriate action under the applicable legislation to deal with this issue. The authorised officer of the market surveillance authority involved visited the premises of the block manufacturer and requested detailed information as to the precise nature and extent of the problem including where the blocks had been supplied, the actions taken or being taken by the block manufacturer to deal with the problem as well as necessary documentation to demonstrate compliance with the harmonised European standard for blocks and with the requirements of the CPR.

It is understood that a small number of construction sites have been supplied with the affected blocks, that t he company is co-operating with the market surveillance authority and has supplied certain information on the extent of the problem, the actions being taken to provide for a resolution and compliance documentation. Additional information has been sought from the company to provide clarity o n a number of pertinent issues.

My Department has written to the building control/market surveillance authorities in whose functional areas the construction sites to which it is understood the blocks were supplied are located and advised them to visit the construction sites identified for the purposes of assessing whether the concrete blocks used in the construction works on these sites are “proper materials” within the meaning of Part D of the Building Regulations 1997, i.e. that they are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions in which they are to be used.

One of the developments involved is a social housing development of 25 dwellings commissioned by North and East Housing Association Ltd. in Moneymore, Drogheda, County Louth. As matters stand, it would appear that six houses in the development will have to be demolished due to the incorporation of defective blocks in the construction. Testing of the blocks on the six houses involved confirmed the presence of pyrite in the blocks and the solution is for demolition and rebuild. It is understood that the contractor and the concrete block manufacturer are co-operating in order to provide a resolution to the problem through the construction contracts. Further testing of the remaining 19 houses in the development is being carried out and these results are awaited to determine what, if any, remedial action will be needed in respect of the remaining houses. On completion of a satisfactory resolution to these matters, the 25 housing units in Moneymore will be made available for social housing purposes.

From the information available at this stage, it appears that testing has also been carried out in a small number of other developments identified as having been supplied with the affected blocks which has confirmed the presence of deleterious material (sulphates/pyrite) in the blocks. My Department understands that in each case the costs of resolution are being pursued, in the first instance, with the relevant contractors and suppliers through the construction contracts. The actions taken thus far by the relevant parties involved suggest that the regulatory system is functioning effectively and that an appropriate means of redress is being pursued through those responsible for the building failure.

My Department will continue to work closely with the building control/market surveillance authorities involved in dealing with this particular matter to monitor the situation. It will continue to provide whatever advice, guidance or clarifications as are required to ensure that the necessary actions are taken to resolve the problems identified and to safeguard against defective products being placed on the market.

Other posts of interest:

Pyrite News roundup- week ending 13th June – click link here

Pyrite blocks in Donegal- October 2013. – click link here

Dáil debates: Mick Wallace and Minister Hogan- Pyrite – click link here

Quick history of pyrite- press articles – click link here

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite – click link here

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

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

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

 

 

Architectural Technologist letter to Minister Hogan

by Bregs Blog admin team

Write-a-Letter-to-a-Friend-of-the-Opposite-Sex-Step-7

The following letter was written by an Architectural Technologist to Minister Phil Hogan on 20th June 2014. 

Dear Minister Hogan,

I am writing to you in relation to the issue of Architectural Technologists exclusion from the list of professionals allowed to provide design and assigned certification under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations SI 9 of 2014.

I am an Architectural Technologist with 16 years’ experience in the Architectural profession, a key role of my job function as an Architectural Technologist is the design, detailing, analysis and inspection of buildings to ensure they are in compliance with the Building Regulations. Ensuring compliance is something I do every day, I have been trained at third level to do it and I have spent the last 16 years doing so. It has been my experience that architects and engineers will seek my advice on building regulation compliance. These architects and engineers rely on my professional experience and knowledge to ensure that the buildings we produce are fully compliant with the Building Regulations.

At the moment, I am currently working on a project which has just been issued to tender and which will fall under the remit of SI 9 of 2014. I am the design team leader for the project; I have designed the architectural elements of the project, produced the architectural drawings & schedules and have written the architectural specification for the project. I have co-ordinated the design elements of the rest of the design team, worked with the project manager and the quantity surveyor to ensure that the design is within budget and can be delivered within programme.

While waiting on the tender return, I have started to compile all the necessary documentation for submittal of the commencement notice. I have already prepared a preliminary inspection plan as part of the tender documents, this will aid in the development of the Inspection Notification Framework to be submitted with the commencement notice. I am in the process of gathering Ancillary Certificates for design from the other consultants and I will be providing an Ancillary Certificate for design for the architectural elements. All of these documents I will then handover to my manager, a RIAI registered architect, who will sign the statutory Certificate of Compliance for Design. I can also foresee that I will be asked to register on the BCMS in my manager’s name and to go through the online commencement notice submission on his behalf, no doubt the process of Assigned Certifier will be similar.

My question to you Minister is this: how can it be fair that I am precluded by law to perform the roles of Design and Assigned Certifier, when I am already performing those roles by proxy?

I recently joined the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists as an Associate member and I am hoping to gain Chartered status with the institute before the year is out. I know that both CIAT and the RIAI have submitted proposals to your department for the establishment of a voluntary register of Architectural Technologists, and I would take this opportunity to urge you to please expedite your decision, allow for the establishment of a register and make that register a statutory register in relation to the Building Control Act. I am fortunate that I am employed in a practice and can perform these duties (even if by proxy) and earn a living, but a large number of my fellow technologists are self-employed and not in a position to secure work due to the implications of SI 9 of 2014.

I would also like to take this opportunity to lend my support to the CIAT submission, and ask you to please allow the CIAT to operate a register of architectural technologists in Ireland. The CIAT is an institute which has always supported architectural technologists and has done more for the architectural technology profession than the RIAI has ever done. Architectural Technologist members of the RIAI have minimal rights within that organisation and have one seat on the RIAI council. The RIAI is an institute run by architects for architects. CIAT is an institute run by Architectural Technologists for Architectural Technologists; members must adhere to a strict code of practice and meet continual CPD requirements.

I know you have previously stated that if Architectural Technologists want to gain entry to a register that they should apply for assessment for either the Register of Architects or the Register of Building Surveyors, but I personally have no wish to be a registered architect or a building surveyor, I am an architectural technologist and proud of the skills and knowledge that I have developed over the course of my career. I may remind you that while you were in opposition, you asked the then Minister of the Environment why Architectural Technologists where excluded from the lists of registered professionals under the incoming Building Control Act 2007, what has changed your opinion since then?

Other posts on this topic:

UPDATE: CIAT Register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland – click link here

Mick Wallace message to Architectural Technologists – click link here

Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9. – click link here

O’Cofaigh letter to Mick Wallace TD – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologist and certification – 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

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

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

 

 

BRegs Blog 100 Days | Assigned Certifier Survey

by Bregs Blog admin team

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BRegs Blog  100 Days | Assigned Certifier Survey

The BRegs Blog conducted a survey of our readers to attempt to record their responses to working as Assigned Surveyors over the first 100 days of the operation of the Building Control Management System (BCMS). The survey was carried out over a five day period up to Friday 13th June 2014. Unfortunately the number of those who responded to the survey who had actually submitted a ‘Long Form’ Commencement Notice was too low to get reliable indicators of attitudes and experiences to operating the new system. This is not surprising with so few actual ‘Long Form’ Commencement Notices being submitted nationwide (approximately 468 to 17th June 2014). However we are very grateful to all those who did respond and here are the survey results.

S1

The overwhelming majority of responses were from those who had not submitted a Commencement Notice under the BCMS and this was for a variety of reasons including 20% of responses coming from architectural technologists who are not permitted by the legislation to act as Assigned Certifiers. The remaining responses were from architects (50%), Surveyors (20%) and Engineers (10%) and seem to be more reflective of the make-up of our readership. The main reason given in the responses for not taking on the role of Assigned Certifier was “unwillingness to take on the increased liability (30%).

KEY RESULTS:

83% of respondents said that they would not be willing to be an Assigned Certifier on a self-build project.

S3

60% of respondents “did not feel more confident” or “remained unsure” (20%) about their ability to implement the Building Regulations 100 days after their introduction.

S2

Attitudes on whether the new system would improve compliance with Building Regulations on Irish building sites was evenly split between “yes” (52%) and “no” (29%) or “not sure” (19%).

86% of respondents supported the concept of an alternative system of independent inspections by properly resourced Building Control Officers and/or independent approved inspectors. This is almost identical to the result of our survey of Building Control Officers.

S4

SAMPLE COMMENTS:

“The system, procedures and documentation for being an Assigned Certifier are complicated, confused and ill-prepared”

“A change in mindset is needed to perform the role of assigned Certifier”

“The Assigned Certifier role is defective and carries unsustainable levels of liability”

“The only potential consumer advantage of S.I. 9 would be if there were separate appointments for designer certifier and assigned certifier to ensure some degree of peer review”

Thanks from

the BRegs Blog  Team.

Other Posts of interest:

BC(A)R FIRST 100 DAYS SURVEY – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey  – click here

Breg Snapshot Survey: BC(A)R SI.9 – click here

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pyrite News roundup- week ending 13th June

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The issue of pyrite resurfaced earlier this month natiowide with new cases in Drogheda, Mayo, schools in Balbriggan and now demolitions of housing in Shankill, Dublin. As there has been continuing Dáil, Seanad and media coverage we will be compiling a selection of reports of interest on this. The following consolidated post is for the week ending 13th June 2014.

Press article from Drogheda Life from 9th June here.

Extract from article:

Demolition of six new Drogheda homes starts after pyrite discovered

“Work began today on the demolition of six newly built homes in Moneymore estate in Drogheda because pyrite was discovered in some of the blocks used to build them.

Residents had been due to move into the 25-house scheme late last year but, since the Pyrite was discovered, the houses have remained empty pending analysis. It seems that the future of other houses in the scheme is also in doubt.

Pyrite is a natural occurring material which is found in stone, it becomes unstable when exposed to air or water. When used in building it causes cracking, splitting and buckling of walls, floors and ceilings.

Workmen were today removing windows, doors and other fittings prior to the houses being demolished.

Minister Fergus O’Dowd said he welcomed the decision to demolish the six “social housing units”.

He said: “While it is unfortunate that this course of action has to be taken, I am glad that this pernicious material has been discovered at this stage rather than when the buildings become family homes.

“I will be seeking definitive answers on all of the houses in the scheme so that we conclusively know that this important scheme can progress.”

Taoiseach in the asked Dáil question about pyrite on Tuesday 10th June- click link here

Extract from debate:

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent) “Is the Taoiseach aware that several houses were knocked yesterday as a result of the pyrite scandal? We have the Pyrite Resolution Act 2013. It is a shame that the industry has not been regulated or that the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has not taken action to show—–”

Seán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle) “When is the pyrite Bill due?”

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent) “There are a number of houses, a school in Balbriggan and many affected products on the market….It could have major consequences for the taxpayer.”

Seán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle) “. Every day I have to tell the Deputy that we cannot debate a particular issue.We are only asking about promised legislation.”

Mattie McGrath: “I am not debating the issue; I am simply asking about it.”

Enda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael): “As the Deputy is aware, the Pyrite Resolution Bill has been enacted. There is an issue for all builders, developers and quarry operators to determine whether pyrite is contained in the material they supply.”

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent) “Where are the regulations?”

Clare Daly TD and Minister Phil Hogan in Dáil on 10th June- click link here

Extract from Dáil:

Extract from article:Clare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)

403. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the services being provided by HomeBond to the pyrite board. [24689/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

Discussions have been on-going for some time between the Pyrite Resolution Board and HomeBond on services to be provided by HomeBond in connection with the implementation of the pyrite remediation scheme. The discussions have recently concluded and my Department understands that an agreement has now been reached under which HomeBond has agreed to contribute technical and project management services to the value of €2million, and such services will include assisting in the auditing of Building Condition Assessments, organising and managing the testing of dwellings and project management of remediation contracts. HomeBond has also agreed to make available to the Pyrite Resolution Board/ Housing Agency the results of testing undertaken by it prior to the operation of the scheme.

All services will be provided under the direction and supervision of the Pyrite Resolution Board and/or the Housing Agency and in this context it should be noted that HomeBond staff will not be making decisions on the eligibility of applicants under the scheme. In addition, while working on the pyrite remediation process, staff from HomeBond will not be acting as agents of the Pyrite Resolution Board/Housing Agency to whom they will be answerable.

Fergal Quinn on pyrite in Seanad, June 11th – click link here

Extract from Seanad:

Feargal Quinn (Independent): “ The problem of pyrite has cropped up again and a number of houses in Drogheda and elsewhere have had to be demolished as a result. Are the necessary building regulations being properly enforced, since pyrite continues to be a problem? I would like to think that something is being done in this respect. Can the Leader confirm that there are building regulations to stop this problem? Pyrite is not the fault of builders but rather the fault of suppliers. There is no cost to the State because, to the best of my knowledge, the supplier is probably insured. On that basis, therefore, the insurance company will pay for it. Building regulations are needed to ensure we can avoid pyrite related difficulties in future.”

Maurice Cummins (Fine Gael): “I will find out what is the position regarding pyrite for Senator Feargal Quinn. As Senators will be aware, the problem has raised its head again in Drogheda. I will check whether the building regulations apply in the case the Senator raises. I hope they do. The concept of paying doctors for patients whom they keep healthy is a good, albeit one which may not work.”

Drogheda Life, June 12th – click link here

Extracts from article:

“I have since got it confirmed that phase one, which consists of the first six houses are to be demolished and test results from the remaining 19 houses have yet to be confirmed.”

Cllr Munster said it is looking likely that if the blocks used on all the houses were from the same source then all of them will have to be knocked.

She said that this is “…the worst possible blow given that we have over 1,600 people on the housing list in Drogheda with many waiting over six years to be housed, and a government that is refusing to roll out a proper, substantial house building programme to tackle this housing crisis.”

Historic articles from Journal.ie from 2012

pyrite-there-are-legal-and-moral-responsibilities-532018-Jul2012

homebond-snub-over-pyrite-a-matter-of-serious-public-concern-committee-329297-Jan2012/

Other posts of interest:

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

Practical post 20: A word of caution

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Practical post 20: A word of caution

Negligence is a difficult word for professionals. It means that someone thinks that you didn’t do your job properly, that you were careless or even incompetent.

There has been much discussion about potential problems with defective buildings and inspection plans. A surveyor, engineer or architect could be negligent for not spotting a mistake or poor workmanship.

But what about the other ways that you could fail your client and be found negligent?

  • incomplete or inadequate paperwork;
  • poor contract documents exposing them to claims;
  • failure to advise them of risks;
  • lack of knowledge of the regulations;
  • mistaken or inaccurate advice.

Architects and engineers operating the new regulations and setting up contracts and new certification systems for their clients need to be very careful. Make sure that your advice is accurate, be informed and above all take the time to get your paperwork water-tight. In particular make sure all paperwork, CE marks and Statements of performance are assembled to ensure compliance under part D of the regulations- this is essential given the recent defective blocks discovered and re-occurrence of pyrite.

If in doubt contact your professional representative organisation, and in complex contractual arrangements it is advisable to get specialist legal and insurance 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 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

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. 

 

UPDATE- CIAT Register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following email was submitted on 20th June 2014 by a  Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) member to the Blog. The email is an update to CIAT members regarding a proposed separate register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland. The Minister has opened negotiations with both CIAT and the representative body for architects (RIAI) on a separate register for Architectural Technologists. We are not aware of details of proposals or submissions made by the representative body for architects (RIAI) at time of writing this post.

Subject: CIAT-Operated Register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland

Dear member,

Further to the recent debate in the Dail we can confirm that CIAT has put forward a proposal to the Minster to operate a voluntary register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland with a view to it becoming statutory subject to ministerial approval,  to allow those competent Architectural Technologists on the Register to act as both the Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier alongside registered Architects, Building Surveyors and Engineers.

The CIAT-Operated Register will be open for all Architectural Technologists to apply, and is not just for Chartered Architectural Technologists.  This is an important distinction to make, and important for the TDs, Minister and Department to understand that we are not operating a closed shop for our Members only.

The intention of the Register is to be open for all “competent” Architectural Technologists to apply for registration.  It has been established to be distinct and separate to CIAT, and will be run under an Irish Registered Company. Chartered Architectural Technologists will not have to demonstrate any additional requirements to gain registration, although they will have to apply to join the Register and pay the necessary fee.

Other Architectural Technologists can apply but will have to satisfy the Register’s requirements and demonstrate the required competences, give their undertaking to comply with the Register’s Code of Conduct and pay the necessary fee and annual subscription to remain on the Register.

RIAI Architectural Technologists will be eligible to apply for Registration. However as the underpinning knowledge level of the RIAI Architectural Technologist equates to level 7 on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland’s (QQI) national framework of qualifications rather than that of the Chartered Architectural Technologist which equates to knowledge level 8 they will not be given automatic Registration on application (and compliance with the application process).  Moreover, we are working on what exemptions may apply to such applicants.

The Executive Board approved the introduction of the Register and we are now preparing paperwork and detail on the application process ready for launch in July.

Regards

Francesca Berriman MBE

Chief Executive

Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists

_____

Other posts on this topic:

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

Mick Wallace message to Architectural Technologists – click link here

Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9. – click link here

O’Cofaigh letter to Mick Wallace TD – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologist and certification – 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

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

 

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Central Statistics Office: First Quarter (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop

The following information from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) was tweeted by Constantin Gurdgiev on 19th June 2014. See CSO link here.

This paints quite a different picture of the emerging trends in the construction industry, and for the supply of dwellings to the market in particular. We have concentrated on commencement notice falls since implementation of BC(A)R SI.9 in March. The following CSO figure suggests the depressed residential market may well suffer from a lack of supply later on in the year, also due to falling planning permissions. When read with the recent patchy contractor sentiment in a recent Construction Industry Survey, the government’s jobs strategy looks a little optimistic. Extract from CSO page to follow:

graph1

In the first quarter of 2014, planning permissions were granted for 1,604 dwelling units, compared with 2,308 units for the same period in 2013, a decrease of 30.5%.

graph 2a

The first quarter figures also show that:

  • Planning permissions were granted for 1,446 houses in the first quarter of 2014 and 1,860 in the first quarter of 2013, a decrease of 22.3%. See Table 4.
  • Planning permissions were granted for 158 apartment units, compared with 448 units for the same period in 2013, a decrease of 64.7%. See Table 4.
  • One-off houses accounted for 48.3% of all new dwelling units granted planning permission this quarter. See Table 4.
  • The total number of planning permissions granted for all developments was 3,833.  This compares with 3,275 in the first quarter of 2013, an increase of 17.0%. See Table 1.
  • Total floor area planned was 744 thousand square meters in the first quarter of 2014.  Of this, 45.0% was for new dwellings, 30.8% for other new construction and 24.2% for extensions.  The total floor area planned decreased by 20.0% in comparison with the same quarter in 2013. See Table 1.
  • Planning permissions for new buildings for Agriculture decreased to 93 this quarter.  This compares to 157 permissions in the same quarter of 2013. See Table 3(a).

annual pp

Other posts of interest:

Taoiseach: get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’- click link here

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – 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

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

The extraordinary cost of BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014 – click link here

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9?  – click link here

Pyrite blocks in Donegal- October 2013.

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following news article and radio interviews date from 7th November 2013. In “Donegal Homes Crumbling” Emma Cawley reported in pyrite in blockwork in a number of Donegal homes. Contrary to recent statements it appears pyrite on blockwork has been known for some time. According to the following article these cases first came to light on 17th October 2013.

Some members of the construction industry have been quite critical of the handling of this problem, fearing that defective blockwork should have been withdrawn from the market as soon as a problem was identified, and an alert issued immediately. Many fear the blockwork in question may have been used up to quite recently on projects.

The industry alert regarding on possible pyrite in blockwork was issued on May 29th 2014 by representative bodies for engineers and architects (ACEI & RIAI).

Extract to follow:

__________

Donegal Homes Crumbling – Thursday 7 November 2013

Everyone’s aware of pyrite and the misery and stress it’s caused, now Donegal could be facing a similar problem.

At this stage – everyone’s aware of pyrite and the misery and stress it’s caused for people.

Now there are fears that hundreds of Donegal homeowners could be facing a similar crisis.

Damien McKay is a chartered engineer based in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. He did an interview on Highland Radio on the 17th of October on the issue of pyrite. Very quickly, the station was swamped with callers- all describing similar structural problems in their homes. In the two days after the interview Damien was called out to inspect 200 affected buildings.

In most cases, structural problems become apparent four or five years after construction. At first, fine webbed cracks appear in the plaster of outer walls. These usually appear on gable walls as exposure to the elements accelerate the problem. As the problem progresses, cracks get wider and lateral displacement can be seen as the blocks underneath the plaster disintegrate.

Rather than a simple diagnosis of pyrite – defective building blocks seem to be at fault. These blocks appear to have been used in the construction of homes and buildings throughout the country. As yet, the exact problem within the blocks has not been established and testing is underway. It could be pyrite, but Damien says a number of factors could be at play – such as a low cement content in the blocks, fine stone or Muscovite Mica.

The potential scale of the problem is only just emerging, and Damien says many homeowners may not yet even be aware that their homes are at risk. The cost of repairs could run into the thousands, and with so many homeowners already struggling with their mortgages, the question remains how will the situation be resolved?

Emma Cawley went to Letterkenny, Co. Donegal to investigate…..(click link for audio clip here)

On Thursday we heard from another affected homeowner in Donegal, Garvan.  Garvan home is ten years old, but realised the extent of the problem about 6 years ago.  At that time he tried to plaster over cracks in the external walls of his home, only to find the blocks underneath crumbling away in his hands.

You can listen to what he had to say here.

Other posts of interest:

Dáil debates: Mick Wallace and Minister Hogan- Pyrite – click link here

Quick history of pyrite- press articles – click link here

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite – click link here

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

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

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

Senator Mooney letter to Minister Phil Hogan

by Bregs Blog admin team

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On 16th April after a Seanad Debate Senator Paschal Mooney wrote to Minister Phil Hogan on behalf of the Irish Association of Self Builders. The IAOSB separately had written a letter of complaint to the Minister and have requested a formal investigation into statements made in the Seanad (see post here).

In his letter Senator Mooney noted the following IAOSB issues to the Minister:

  • The IAOSB had written a letter of complaint to the Minister that they were not part of any stakeholder group and were, quote “ astonished that you (Minister) mention that self builders and our organisation have been kept informed and participated in the formation of the regulation”.
  • Why did the Minister give architects, engineers and surveyors a monopoly on certifying and getting money for every new house and every house extension over 40 Sqm.
  • The IAOSB noted that between preliminary costs, builder’s attendance, main contractor’s profit the extra-over for a typical residential project is in the region of over 12% of the cost of the build- for a typical house this would be over €22,000. Between the extra for additional professional certifier roles and a main contractor’s fees and profit costs could be in excess of €40,000.
  • How was it possible to have a mandatory contractor’s register while allowing self building to continue (by non-builder owners)?
  • Could the Minister amend the SI.9 to indicate the words “Building Owner” or “Self Builder”. The Minister  has included the words CIRI the Register of Builders of CIF in the SI.9 yet it is claimed it is not mandatory to enter this CIRI number. Why are they written into legal documents?
  • Would the Minister  now consider the UK system of a list of approved inspectors to be answerable to Building Control Authorities? This system would be low-cost to implement and would resolve controversial issues associated with SI.9 relating to self build.
  • The Law Society had suggested Assigned Certifiers not to take on the role of Certifier for Self Builders. Did the Minister have any solution to a potentially major problem?
  • Senator Mooney noted that SI.9  could lead to a significantly increased cost especially for those in rural Ireland where there is a tradition of self build. Those who build their own houses are more likely to ensure they are built to the highest standards and he was not aware of any complaints of sloppy building standards in this sector.

 Senator Mooney concluded by requesting the Minister to instigate an immediate review of SI.9 taking account of the issues relating to the self build sector.

Here is Minister Hogan’s response (3rd June) to Senator Paschal Mooney regarding S.I.9 of 2014 – Click here 

Other posts of interest:

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

Listen to Seanad Debate: SI.9 (si.105) – click link here

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

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

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

Minister Hogan concerned at exploitation by professionals: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

RTÉ News: Dublin houses demolished after pyrite discovery

by Bregs Blog admin team

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In this report from RTÉ News (Thursday 19th June) it appears that the problem of pyrite affected blockwork is more widespread than initially thought. Problem blockwork in a County Dublin residential development has been detected, with 4 houses so far requiring demolition. We are not aware if there are any further demolitions planned in this estate at this point, or if there are any other recent projects in Dublin affected.

For RTÉ News report click here

Extract from article to follow:

______________

Dublin houses demolished after pyrite discovery

RTE.ie- Thursday, 19 Jun 2014 17:05

Four south Dublin houses are in the process of being demolished following the discovery of pyrite in the blockwork.

The four and five bed units on Seaview Park in Shankill were being constructed by Orchid Homes but will have to be completely rebuilt because of the defective blocks.

It is believed to be the same issue that affected houses in an estate in Moneymore, Drogheda Co Louth and a school extension in Argillan, Balbriggan, Co Dublin due to material supplied by a quarry in the Leinster region.

The Shankill development consists of two detached five-bedroom houses and two semi-detached four-beds.

A spokesperson for Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council said “the demolition of the houses was the builder’s decision following consultation with the block supplier and Building Control engineers”.

“The site will continue to be monitored by Building Control engineers.”

Planning permission remains in place and it is expected that the houses will be rebuilt.

Other posts of interest:

Dáil debates: Mick Wallace and Minister Hogan- Pyrite – click link here

Quick history of pyrite- press articles – click link here

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite – click link here

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

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

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

 

 

What is the business case for BC(A)R?

by Bregs Blog admin team

Business-Plan

The following opinion piece was submitted on 17th June by a registered professional.

What is the business case for BC(A)R?

What is the cost to an architect of signing the first BC(A)R certificate of compliance?

Let’s examine the case of a 40.5sqm extension to a house in Dublin.

The statute of limitations is 6 years; let’s assume it can be relied upon to limit the architect’s professional indemnity (PI) insurance exposure. The main costs are therefore as follows:

  • PI insurance cover for 6 years (€1,800 x 6) €10,800
  • Membership of Register of Architects (€500 x 6) €3,000
  • 40hr p.a. CPD commitment (6 x 40 x €20average) €4,800

Total overhead for first certificate €18, 600

If the architect has 20 years of practice left before retirement and completes an average of four such projects per year the total exposure is as follows:

  • PI insurance cover for 26 years (€1800 x 26) €46,800
  • Membership of Register (€500 x 20) €10,000
  • 40hr p.a. CPD commitment (20 x 40 x €20) €16,000

Total €72,800

If the total cost is now distributed over the 80 projects the cost per certificate in overheads alone is €910.

If the influence of cyclical collapses in building activity is allowed for over the 20 year period it can be assumed that for at least 4 of those 20 years there will be no project income and no certificates issued but the overhead will continue.

  • PI insurance cover for 26 years (€1800 x 26) €46,800
  • Membership of Register (€500 x 20) €10,000
  • 40hr p.a. CPD commitment (20 x 40 x €20) €16,000

Total €72,800

The total cost is now distributed over the 64 projects the cost in overheads alone is €1,137.50 per certificate signed.

If the architect has 10 years to retirement the costs escalate further:

  • PI insurance cover for 16 years (€1800 x 16) €28,800
  • Membership of Register (€500 x 10) €5,000
  • 40hr p.a. CPD commitment (10 x 40 x €20) €8,000

Total €41,800

If the total cost is now distributed over the 32 projects which the architect will complete in those last 10 years of his working life, the cost to the architect is €1,306.25 per certificate signed.

The overhead alone exceeds the Minister’s proposed €1,000 fee for a BC(A)R certificate and that is before the cost of actually carrying out the administration and inspection work is accounted for.

The above figures do not account for the impact of income tax on the architect, especially in the retirement phase where the full cost of PI cover has to be funded from pension income (if any) for a period of at least six years.  The calculation assumes that the statute of limitations applies to the discovery of defects or mistakes from the time of certification, as opposed to from the time of discovery, which could be many years after the building is completed.  This important consideration has yet to reach a definitive conclusion in legal circles.

The above calculations assume no inflation, no currency depreciation and no cost for borrowed capital and are therefore of limited value.  The real overhead figures are likely to be significantly more costly.  Accountants will be able to advise on the NPV calculation required to assess the costs in real terms.

As PI cover is calculated on a claims basis, i.e. historically, it is impossible to predict the future cost of PI insurance cover, especially in a small peripheral economy like Ireland.  Appreciation in premiums can have a dramatic effect on the overhead costs to be borne by architects long into the future; we have all seen the impact of recent medial insurance premium increases which have now become unaffordable for many.

Blog Footnote: 

Many readers will say that Professional Indemnity cover will already be in place pre-March 1st for established practitioners and that we do not know how much (and when) any increase will be specific to duties associated with SI9. This is correct. This opinion piece is addressed at the professional who is considering setting up as an Assigned or Design Certifier service provider and leaving a practice to do so. Or setting up with a county enterprise board grant in a back to work self employment scheme. There are also, especially these days, a number of architects working in non traditional employments and who may be asked to sign certificates, eg working in development, engineering or interior design. In other words anyone who will soon be setting up as SI9 certifiers who need to understand the 6 year overhang on Professional Indemnity (PI). Many have never taken out PI before.

The piece also suggests that the Minister may be preventing the development of the market by setting the fees for certifiers so low as to be a barrier for new market entrants.

Other posts of interest:

Minister Hogan concerned at exploitation by professionals: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

What is PI Insurance? – click link here

What is Latent Defects Insurance and how much does it cost?  – click link here

8 Questions for Professional Insurer – click link here

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

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

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI. – click link here

Press- RIAI: High-rise buildings and quality developments the way forward – click link here

Dáil: Architectural Technologists back on the agenda

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Dáil: Architectural Technologists back on the agenda

Dáil : Written answers- Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government- Architectural Qualifications – click link here

Thomas Pringle (Donegal South West, Independent)

482. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he has received reports from the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and-or the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland in relation to the cases put forward by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists; if any determination has been made regarding the case put forward by the CIAT; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26090/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

My Department has recently received correspondence from the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) in relation to their proposal to set up a register for architectural technologists. A proposal has also been received from the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland in relation to this matter. My Department is currently considering both sets of proposals and expects to be in position to engage with both representative bodies and other relevant stakeholders in relation to this matter shortly. I have not received correspondence from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland in relation to this matter.

Other posts of interest:

Hot topic: Architectural Technologists and SI.9  – click link here

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

Who should be a Certifier- Part 3: Chartered Engineers + Building Surveyors? – click link here

Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9. – click link here

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register – click link here

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

 

Taoiseach: get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Taoiseach: Construction plan to get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’– Independent.ie

In the Independent article from 19th June 2014 Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated the Government’s new construction sector plan aimed at getting building back to “sensible, sustainable levels” and get jobs for unemployed workers. We had previously discussed some of the fugures in the government 2020 plan for jobs in a previous post here.

For Independent article by Fionnan Sheahan on 19th June 2014 Kenny: Construction plan to get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’ – click here

Industry sources suggest BC(A)R SI.9 could in fact do the reverse, cost the economy 30,000 construction jobs by 2020 (see post here). One of the worrying trends since implementation has been the fall-off in commencement notices compared to 2013 levels, a low point in construction activity. Recent figures published by the Local Government Management Agency suggest that the slow adoption of the new regulations has continued into June, with only 780 commencement notices lodged nationwide since March 1st implementation of the new regulations. This is an average of 52 per week compared to 143 per week in 2013.

Out of this figure only 468 qualified to come under si.9– i.e. were not minor extensions (over 40SqM residential or 25 SqM non-residential).

Some observers suggest levels may balance out. There was a significant “spike” in commencement notices in January and February and we may only be able to ascertain a more accurate pattern in August. Apparently 70% of the annual total of commencement notices was lodged in these two months, but we do not have accurate figures that also take into account subsequent invalidations that appear to be only now filtering through the system in some cases.

According to the following Dáil exchange between Peadar Tóibín (Meath West, Sinn Fein) and Paul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Wexford, Fine Gael) in the Dail on 17th June 2014 there are 87,850 currently unemployed  in the Construction, woodwork and metal and related industries

Link to Dáil exchange here

Breakdown as follows:

Construction, woodwork and metal and related industries 87,850

Civil engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, software engineer 3,890

Architect, surveyor, town planner 700

Draughtsman, draughtsperson, insurance surveyor, loss assessor, quantity surveyor 320

Blocklayer, bricklayer, builder, building contractor, dry liner, ganger, glazier, mason, painter (construction), plaster, stonemason, tiler 43,630

Fitter, goldsmith, machine tool setter, metal machinist, silversmith 2,580

Electrical trade, electrician, linesman/woman, radio service engineer, tv/video service engineer 3,590

Heating engineer, metal fabricator, metal former, plumber, sheet metal worker, steel fabricator, welder 2,400

Cabinet maker, carpenter, case and box maker, joiner, woodworker 5,830

Craft and related other occupation, foreman, glass cutter, horticultural worker, potter 4,910

Electroplater, furnace operator, heat treatment worker, metal treatment worker 110

Machine tool operator, metal polisher, metal process worker, sand blaster 280

Bus conductor, bus driver, bus inspector, delivery van driver, lorry driver, road transport worker, taxi driver, truck driver, van driver 5,980

Coalminer, mining/manufacturing other, plumber’s mate 170

Builder’s mate, carpenter’s mate, construction other occupation, labourer (on building site), maintenance worker, roadconstruction worker 13,470

This information and further detailed breakdowns are available online and are updated annually.

Other posts of interest:

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – 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

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

The extraordinary cost of BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014 – click link here

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9?  – click link here

 

 

 

Dáil debates: Mick Wallace and Minister Hogan- Pyrite

by Bregs Blog admin team

Mick-Wallace

Pyrite Issues: 17 Jun 2014: Dáil debates

In this recent Dáil debate concerning the new cases of pyrite discovered last month, Mick Wallace TD put this statement to Minister Phil Hogan:

“… the major problem is that all along, the Construction Industry Federation and not the State appears to determine what is happening… The Minister’s system of assigned certifiers will crack up within the next couple of years… Does the Minister honestly believe the architect will employ someone to be on site continuously to check that things are done right? As I have stated previously, if a load-bearing beam is being used for which a 32 mm steel bar is specified but where no such bar is on site and if the builder substitutes a 16 mm bar instead, how will the architect know what is in it, even though he will be signing off on it?”

Minister Hogan places the blame for current pyrite problems firmly at the door of Local Autorities:

“…We cannot be on every site but I have asked the local authorities to become more proactive about enforcement of regulations for quarries and the suppliers of these raw materials. We have inherited serious problems because of their inertia in the past and because they did not comply with European standard regulations for blocks and requirements under the construction products regulations.

For full text of Dáil debate click link here

Extract to follow:

_____________

Mick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)

64. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government his views on the recent interim advice note published by the Association of Consulting Engineers on the apparent discovery of pyrite in concrete blocks provided by block manufacturers; if he will outline the required testing standard and testing method for concrete blocks; his views on the implications for affected buildings and the way responsibility for same will be dealt with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25602/14]

Mick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)

The Minister is aware the Association of Consulting Engineers published an advice note on 15 May about cases of apparent pirate content in concrete blocks provided by block manufacturers. The Minister has been assuring us for a while that with the new regulations everything would be well but clearly everything is not well. How will the Minister address the latest problem?

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

The reason I introduced the new regulations is because everything was not well. I acknowledge the proactive approach of the Association of Consulting Engineers in highlighting this matter. It is entirely appropriate that all professional bodies involve themselves in disseminating such relevant information among their membership.

Under the construction products regulation, manufacturers are required to provide robust and reliable information in a consistent way for construction products which are covered by harmonised European standards or European technical assessments. Since 1 July 2013, manufacturers are required, when placing a construction product on the market, to make a declaration of performance and affix the CE mark to each product. The relevant harmonised European standard for concrete blocks is IS EN 771-3:2011 Specification for masonry units – Part 3: Aggregate concrete masonry units (dense and lightweight aggregates).

Harmonised European product standards provide the methods and criteria for assessing the performance of construction products in relation to their essential characteristics. The harmonised standard includes the technical data necessary for the implementation of a system of assessment and verification of constancy of performance including third party oversight. The National Standards Authority of Ireland has also produced additional guidance to some harmonised European product standards in the form of national annexes or standard recommendations which set out appropriate minimum performance levels for specific intended uses of certain products in Ireland.

The relevant building control authorities are taking appropriate actions under applicable legislation to deal with this issue and the Department, in conjunction with the building control authorities, will continue to monitor the situation. Testing has been carried out in a number of affected developments which has confirmed the presence of deleterious material in the concrete blocks, including pyrite and sulphate.

My Department understands that in each case, the costs of the resolution are being pursued, in the first instance, with the contractors and suppliers. The actions taken thus far by the relevant parties involved suggest the regulatory system is functioning effectively and that an appropriate means of redress is being pursued through those who were responsible for this building failure.

Mick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)

The Minister has stated the system is working well because the culprits are being chased. While he has told me about all the wonderful European legislation and regulations that are place, we must go back to the same chestnut. If pyrite has arrived in blocks, the threat is dangerous to any block that has additional sulphate and that gets moisture. Many blocks do, such as all the blocks under the ground, as do the blocks in the outer leaf even though they are plastered. The reason there is a cavity is because the outer leaf gets damp. There will be huge problems if this is widespread. The point is that were the system working properly, this would not have happened. Quarries are notregulated well enough and while they are regulated for dust and for movement of trucks in and out, there is no real quality regulation of standards. For example, in the case of quarries quarrying 1,000 tonnes and 20,000 tonnes, respectively, of stone per week, is there a stipulation as to how often they are tested? The big elephant in the room again is that while the Minister has stated there is a facility for third-party checks, the major problem is the local authority lacks the facility, the manpower and the money to be a serious third party that checks to ensure everyone is behaving well.

Michael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)

While I will come back to the Deputy, I call the Minister.

Mick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)

That is the major problem across the industry. Moreover, the Minister’s new building regulations will flounder unless he reinforces the local authorities with funds.

Michael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)

That was a very long question.

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

The issues raised by the Deputy have nothing to do with the new building regulations yet, as they have only been in operation since 1 March. However, standards have been in place for these concrete blocks going back to 1987. The problem is with enforcement and I completely agree with the Deputy that the building authority must do more to enforce the regulations that already are in place. The standards in place, which initially commenced in 1987, were revised in 2003. Consequently, I am conscious that there are people who are not observing what already is in regulation. Moreover, there probably is not sufficient enforcement or visits to sites, as the Deputy advocates, by the local authorities. I intend to take up this matter with the local authorities to ensure they actually engage in more enforcement. An opportunity has arisen in recent years, because of the revised manner in which staff operate in local authorities, particularly in planning sections, for them to have more time to carry out more enforcement works regarding these problems of pyrite and sulphate in concrete blocks. However, there are people in all these cases who have not gone into liquidation or receivership. There are people who certainly have decided they do not intend to observe the regulations and they will be pursued.

Michael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)

Deputy Wallace, in a final supplementary question.

Mick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)

It was obvious back in 2007, when the first regulation on checking for pyrite in stone was brought in, that theregulation in question was not as onerous as the British standard. I acknowledge this was changed in February 2013, which is welcome but the major problem is that all along, the Construction Industry Federation and not the State appears to determine what is happening. Public building control must be strengthened if these problems are to be addressed in the future. The Minister mentioned that what I am referring to has nothing to do with the new regulations which came in March but the principle is the same. The Minister’s system of assigned certifiers will crack up within the next couple of years. He should not ask me how they will deal with the insurance implications arising from trying to stand over absolutely everything without on-site checks. Does the Minister honestly believe the architect will employ someone to be on site continuously to check that things are done right? As I have stated previously, if a load-bearing beam is being used for which a 32 mm steel bar is specified but where no such bar is on site and if the builder substitutes a 16 mm bar instead, how will the architect know what is in it, even though he will be signing off on it?

Michael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)

The Minister, in a final reply.

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

Deputy Wallace is referring to a different regulation than the construction products regulation to which his question referred.

That regulation has been in place for years. Deputy Wallace will be very familiar from his previous working life outside the Oireachtas about what can happen if people want to cut corners. We have cut corners in the past on the building side and I inherited some of the problems which I am trying to sort out—–

Mick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)

The bigger the builders, the more corners they cut.

Michael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)

Please, Deputy Wallace.

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

The Deputy had his chance. In this specific case raised by the Deputy, the report from the Institute of Construction Professionals found that the relevant local authority did carry out a site inspection on 7 April 2014 in respect of the manufacture of the solid 100 mm concrete blocks which it was alleged were contaminated with pyrite and sulfates. Following a site inspection and a visit to the quarry or the block manufacturer concerned, the local authority requested detailed information as required under the legislation to establish the precise nature and extent of the problem, including where the blocks had been supplied, the actions taken or being taken by the supplier to deal with the problem as well as the necessary evidence to demonstrate compliance with the harmonised European standard. We have the procedures in place and they are being followed—–

Mick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)

The procedures are reactive, not proactive.

Michael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)

Please allow the Minister to conclude.

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

We cannot be on every site but I have asked the local authorities to become more proactive about enforcement of regulations for quarries and the suppliers of these raw materials. We have inherited serious problems because of their inertia in the past and because they did not comply with European standard regulations for blocks and requirements under the construction products regulations.

Other posts of interest:

Quick history of pyrite- press articles – click link here

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite – click link here

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

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

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

 

What is a “validated Commencement Notice”?

by Bregs Blog admin team

Go_Stop

When is a “validated Commencement Notice” not a valid Commencement Notice?

The significant number of Commencement Notices lodged in January & February have been discussed (see post here). There is anecdotal evidence that many owners, (on advice from surveyors, engineers and architects) lodged Commencement Notices in January and February to avoid the costs and uncertainty of the new Regulations.

In some cases a hole was dug, a hoarding was put up or a building demolished in early March. However, a Commencement Notice can ‘expire’ if works are not started within 28 days. Works are defined as- ‘‘works’’ includes any act or operation in connection with the construction, extension, alteration, repair or renewal of a building.

No demolition, no holes in the ground, no hoardings. So some of the premature Commencement Notices may now have expired and will have to be resubmitted under the terms of SI9.

Anecdotal evidence is beginning to emerge that some Building Control Authorities have begun to police this issue by carrying out inspections to ascertain if works have actually commenced. In some instances it is being claimed that Building Control Authorities are only writing to building owners now in relation to  inspections carried out last March and April.

In situations where the Building Control Authorities believe that works have not commenced they are writing to applicants informing them that they are required to submit a new Commencement Notice in accordance with the Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2014. For some scenarios it appears building owners may have commenced the works after the specified date in the Commencement Notice submitted before the 1st March 2014 and after the inspection carried out by the Building Control Authority.

As a result it would appear as if some building owners may have started unauthorised developments that cannot be regularised.

If works were legitimately carried out, owners should keep proof to make sure that owners don’t have legal problems with conveyancing and financing in the future.

Other posts of interest:

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey – click link here

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

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

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

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

Commencement notices- Building Register @ 17th June 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

Kennys+borough

Commencement notices continue to slide

Building Register: 17th June 2014: Building Control Management System 

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) published the second edition of the Building Register on Tuesday 17th June 2014. The Building Register records all of the validated Commencement Notices received in Ireland through the Building Control Management System (BCMS). The latest Building Register may be viewed here.

The Building Register now records a figure of 780 as the total number of Commencement Notices received since the introduction of the BCMS on 1st March 2014. This figure shows an increase of 271 Commencement over the three week period since the last Building Register was published on 26th May 2014. These figures equate with an overall average of approximately 52 Commencement Notices per week since the system was introduced. The total number of commencement notices lodged nationwide in 2013 was 7,456, or an average of 143 per week.

All 34 Building Control Authorities now appear on the Building Register. Co. Leitrim has the lowest number of submissions with only a single commencement notice validated in the first three months of the BCMS. As expected Dublin City Council, with a total of 152, has the highest number of validated Commencement Notices. Interestingly, the Dublin City Council figure seems to include a very high percentage of ‘Short Form’ notices (where an Assigned Certifier is not required). The Dublin City Council figure appears to include 104, or almost 70%, of the ‘Short Form’ type. Of the 780 Commencement Notices received nationwide, 312 (40%) appear to be ‘Short Form’ notices

The most recent LGMA data suggests that the official number of validations to 17th June has yet to reach the figure noted in the Minister Phil Hogan’s letter to the Editor of the Irish Times four weeks ago.

We have been unable to establish the frequency with which the BCMS intend to publish the Building Register statistics at this time.

Download PDF document is here: BuildingRegister17thJune2014.

Other posts of interest:

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – 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

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey – click link here

 

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?

by Bregs Blog admin team

off-the-hook

The following opinion piece was submitted on 12th June by a registered professional.

Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?

The biggest concern for contractos now, three months in, is not that they’ll have to sign Undertakings, not that they’ll have the Revenue Commissioners watching the lists, not even that they’ll have a Building Control Officer at the gate- it’s that there are no revised contracts to accommodate changes in the new building regulations.

There isn’t an Assigned Certifier in the country that knows 100% what they are doing as this is a new system. There’s no agreed Inspection Notification Framework, no new contracts, no rule book for how to sort a dispute between the Ancillary Certifier, the Owner, the architect and a sub-contractor, varying and changing methods for commencement notice lodgment, varying interpretations between local authorities as to information required, no way to lodge completion documentation online and no appeal process for completion invalidations.

It doesn’t even have to be the builders row for it to be the builders problem.

When margins are so tight, and green shots so tentative, even a minor dispute and a short delay can be the difference between profit and loss.

Contract claims for sorting this out are inevitable (and they may well stand up on paper) but owners, particularly in the public sector, are going to need a lot of convincing to pay for them.

We have heard a number of developers, owners of sites, are employing their own certifiers (registered professional employees) directly to minimise any administrative conflicts as projects start-up. Creating a project-specific shelf company and employing a registered professional directly as an employee is allowed under the new self-certification regulations, and there is no mandatory requirement for professional indemnity insurance (it is recommended however).

This arrangement in the build-for-sale sector, where a registered professional is a direct employee of a developer, will minimise the administrative burden of the new regulations on developers while allowing them to retain a separate design team on minimum service contracts as before, for the initial stages of a project only (and planning compliance).

For smaller contractors this arrangement may not be feasible. However we expect many may elect to employ design and assigned certifiers directly on a part time or contract basis.

As the Construction Industry Federation’s register of builders CIRI is not on a statutory footing at present there is no mandatory register for contractors presently under the new regulations.

____________

Other Posts of interest:

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

Minister-“Compliance matters that may go unnoticed…” – click link here

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

The Engineers Journal- CIF’s new register of builders – click link here

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

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

NOTE: 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). 

 

 

Is ‘drawing a house’ as straightforward as ‘delivering the post’?

by Bregs Blog admin team

POSTMANPAT

The following opinion piece was submitted on 11th June by Mícheál de Siún MRIAI of de Siún Scullion Architects (www.dssa.ie)

Greater onus is now placed on professionals to provide consumers with a more comprehensive service.

DECLG Press Release 04-04-14

It took me a long time to understand what my now wife does for a living. It’s not that her job is particularly complicated, vague or nefarious – it’s just that I have absolutely no familiarity with the world of specialist functions and skills that support large corporate structures and, indeed, medium sized enterprises. The subtleties and differences between; a business analyst, a systems implementation consultant, and an ERP specialist with an accounting background, eluded me completely. It’s akin to your second cousin who ‘works in finance’, or your friend of a friend who ‘is involved in IT’.

Having a professional title such as ‘Architect’ sweeps away all of this specialist ambiguity, describes succinctly what I do for a living, and lays bare my purpose in society – I design houses, right? Put like that, you can see the idea for what it is; a truly absurd notion. But in the course of a casual conversation, if you tell somebody that you’re an Architect, they think they know what you do, and worse again, you think you’ve told them.

This is a shorthand that we, as Architects, seem to buy into, and seem almost blissfully unaware of the wider implications of the title’s typecast. Obviously within the world of Architecture there are myriad different specialities – as there are in any field – and in architecture it’s particularly true today: Theory; law; technology; sustainability; building materials; building products; certification; regulation; design; urbanism; statutory permissions; development plans; house extensions; contract; procurement… to name but a few – All of the rules and norms of all of these examples are changing or have changed in the last 5 years – How can an Architect encapsulate this to a person who asks them to price for ‘a set of plans’? And this is before we go near the notion of the ‘Assigned Certifier’.

So, is ‘drawing a house’ as straightforward as ‘delivering the post’?

Why not: after all, we all played with lego as kids, and drawing is something you do for fun and relaxation anyway, isn’t it? At the end of the day, what you’re looking for is a proper set of plans that ‘a builder can price off’. The role of the Assigned Certifier* is ‘just’ making sure the Architect is responsible for his drawings, right? – Wrong!

And here’s the nub of it: Architects provide a service, not a product.

That may sound like word games, its not; it’s a really under-emphasised and misunderstood point. What an Architect does is provide professional advice on building, buildings and all things to do with the built environment. If an Architect produces a drawing, or a model, or a design, or a report, or a 3D model or high-definition computer rendered walk-through, it is as part of this service – it is not a product: And an architect has always been liable for the advice that he or she gives, regardless of what they sign.

It was, I suggest, the lack of understanding around this distinction that allowed the first draft and subsequent wording of SI 80 of 2013 to exist in the first place, and it is only by maintaining this misunderstanding that the Minister can characterise the role of the Assigned Certifier as a natural extension of responsibility that the Architect should always have had anyway. Take a look at the language of the press release from the DoECLG on 4th April this year;

Greater onus is now placed on professionals to provide consumers with a more comprehensive service”

Greater onus to provide more comprehensive service – these are relative terms, but relative to what? Was there less onus on professionals previously to provide a comprehensive service? Were professionals uniformly providing an incomplete service? Perhaps so, but if that were the case then a more honest (and less defamatory) statement would have been;

Greater onus is now placed on you, the consumer, to retain professionals to provide you with a more comprehensive service.”

But bashing the professions is just good politics.

_________

* Note: Do we really expect anyone not thoroughly versed in SI.9 to understand the differences between the assigned certifier and design certifier?

Other posts of interest:

Who should be a Certifier- Part 2: Architects? – click link here

Minister Hogan concerned at exploitation by professionals: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Architect complains to TD: 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

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

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

Newstalk: 3rd March 2014- BC(A)R SI.9 “is not a consumer protection measure” – click link here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge

by Bregs Blog admin team

up-or-down

In the following Irish Independent article from 16th June 2014 the increase in construction activity in Dublin is discussed. Independent Article: “Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge”–  see article here

We previously discussed the uneven recovery currently ongoing as noted in a recent Construction Industry Federation (CIF) survey of market sentiment completed in May. This survey would also suggest that Dublin (in particular the commercial sector as noted here) is the main focus of increased activity. See previous post here. Quote from post:

“Some commentators believe this uneven increase in construction activity is due to this “spike” in commencement notice levels in advance of implementation on 1st March 2014, owners trying to avoid the new system. Many believe a “tender hole” will be created towards the end of the summer when the lower levels of commencements feed through the system and tenders for new work will dry up.

The official number of valid commencement notices on the Local Government Management Agency’s Building Register website is shown at 509- this is for a 3 month period to May 26th (source document BuildingRegister26thMay (7)). The average number for 3 months in 2013 was 1,863.”

It remains to be seen whether the new regulations will, as some believe, continue to restrict new commencements once the initial spike in commencement notices from January/ February has passed through the procurement system by the end of the summer.

Extract from “Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge” to follow:

________

Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – Independent.ie-

CONSTRUCTION and property jobs have tripled in the last 12 months, according to one of the country’s biggest recruiters.

Hays found a three-fold increase in the number of jobs on offer within the sector in May 2014 in comparison to the same month last year.

Quantity surveyors, project managers, site engineers and property managers are particularly in demand. Property specialists, like surveyors and letting agents, are scarce on the ground, meaning they are in particularly high demand, the company said.

The findings add to a growing body of data that suggests employment in the construction sector is firmly in recovery mode. Ulster Bank’s Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index, an influential gauge of the industry’s health, reported that May data “re-affirms the recent view of a sector on the mend”.

“While we are still a very long way off the frantic activity of the pre-crash years, it is nonetheless encouraging to see positive signs of growth within construction and property,” said Mike McDonagh, Hays’ director of construction and property.

Commercial work is providing the bulk of jobs growth, the company said. But employment is also growing on the residential side, albeit at a slower rate.

In less positive news for the sector, a major hardware supplier has warned that the DIY tax incentive aimed at boosting residential builders and contractors is a Dublin-only phenomenon.

Hardware retailers outside of Dublin have been slow to benefit from the Government’s home renovation scheme, according to a survey by Associated Hardware, the Irish buying group, which supplies DIY outfitters like Woodies.

Four-fifths of its members said they did not believe that the tax incentive has impacted positively on trading within their businesses and the wider hardware sector.

“Although we welcome the scheme implemented by the Government, we do feel that it has a lot more to offer throughout the country, particularly outside of the greater Dublin region,” said Associated Hardware chief executive Paul Thompson.

“There is clear consensus that more needs to be done with the current scheme to stimulate greater uptake.”

Irish Independent

Other posts of interest:

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – 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

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey – click link here

Breg Snapshot Survey: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

 

Build in 8 hours, wait 3 weeks for a Completion Cert!

by Bregs Blog admin team

waiting-in-line-nyc

Build in 8 hours, wait 3 weeks for a Completion Cert!

As it it a milestone day (we’ve hit 100,000 views) we have decided to post our first video here on BRegs Blog.

For anyone who doesn’t believe a HH Passivhaus can be constructed in 8 hours – Please watch this …

Erection of a Hanse Haus passive house in just eight hours – YouTube

Unfortunately under the new regulations the owners of a house built with this technology in Ireland would need to wait 3 weeks to move in.

Other posts of interest:

Thank you- 100,000 views

Practical Post 2: completion- FAO Vintners & Retailers

Are Local Authorities ready? Industry concern for completion stage: BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better”

5 POPULAR MYTHS ABOUT BC(A)R SI.9

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

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read

Thank you- 100,000 views

by Bregs Blog admin team

THANK YOU

We now have 24,000 people outside the world cup stadium in Rio waiting to look in.

100k posts

Since November 21st 2013 to today, in 6 short months, you have viewed 370 posts on the Bregs blog over 100,000 times.

The passion, energy and commitment of our contributors now includes all members of the public- professionals, consumers, building control officers, civil servants, lawyers and indeed politicians. Our aim is to continue the debate on a proper working, fit-for-purpose regulatory environment for the construction industry that protects the consumer and gives us all better buildings. We hope to continue to provide unbiased, factual information on the construction industry to all of our readers.

Many thanks for your continued interest and informed contributions.  We have 1,000 subscribers.

We hope to give you many more posts over the next 6 months and stay relevant to all our readers.

“MORE PAPER DOES NOT MAKE BETTER BUILDINGS”

IBCI conference 2012

“SELF REGULATION IS NO REGULATION”

Priory Hall Residents

 

 

 

 

Who should be a Certifier- Part 3: Chartered Engineers + Building Surveyors?

by Mark Stephens

 

thumbs-up1

The following is an opinion piece submitted on 4th June 2014 by registered architect (UK and Ireland trained) Mark Stephens RIBA MRIAI.

Who should be a Certifier- Part 3: Engineers + Building Surveyors?

This post follows on from ‘Who should be a Certifier – Architectural Technologists’ and ‘Architects?’ and focuses on the training and skills that make Chartered Engineers and Chartered Surveyors suitable as Designers and Assigned Certifiers.

I say originally as I believe the current debate over who should be Designer and Assigned Certifier is a Red Herring (currently focussed on getting Architectural Technologists onto the ‘list’) and diverts attention away from what is the true problem and hence the solution to Building Regulations reform in Ireland.

As an architect I work closely with many Chartered Engineers and I have the upmost respect for the qualifications, skills and experience that they bring to projects.

However answering why Chartered Engineers or Chartered Surveyors should be classified as suitable to be Designers or Assigned Certifiers is a difficult question. You can become a Chartered Engineer through several routes. If you look at the list of Programmes and Courses that are accredited as suitable leading to Chartered status you’ll see a wide variety of engineering; including Civil, Computers, electrical, manufacturing, building services, civil, mechanical and structural (to name a few). So, in theory any of these Chartered Engineers could be Designers or Assigned Certifiers?

BC(A)R SI.9 does not preclude an electrical or computer engineer, if Chartered, from undertaking the roles of Design and Assigned Certifier under the new building regulations. However  the Engineers Ireland Code of Ethics states:

3.3 Members shall accept and perform only work for which they are qualified and competent to undertake and shall obtain whatever advice and assistance is necessary to discharge this responsibility.

So why does SI.9 automatically assume that registered Architects, Chartered Engineers and Chartered Building Surveyors are suitably qualified to be Designers and Assigned Certifiers under S.I. No.9 of 2014 ? And how have these ‘Chosen’ professions become accredited as suitable?

The answer may be three fold:

1. It is Minister Hogan’s view that it is these professions that are the professionals involved in the majority of construction projects:

“…the position is that these are the construction professions typically involved in the design of construction works in Ireland”,letter from Phil Hogan T.D to Senator Paschal Mooney.

2. The relevant professional institutions protected the interests of their members (not with standing the omission of the Architectural Technologists)

3. Historical basis:

  • Engineers were chartered by ICEI since at least 1877 but statutory since The ICEI Act, 1969
  • The Royal Institute of Architects was founded in 1839
  • The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors can trace its history back to 1792 when the Surveyors Club was formed.

But how do you, a consumer, actually know whether your architect, Chartered Engineer or Chartered Building Surveyor is competent to act as Designer and/or Assigned Certifier? The answer is that you don’t; you’re relying on the Professional Institutions to have good that that registered professional has the correct training and experience in order to fulfil the new certifier roles. It is the opinion of Malachy Mathews (Lecturer at DIT) that even a large percentage of registered Architects cannot adequately meet the technical requirement of Article 46 of  the European Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament

And as we have seen throughout our blog: self-regulation is no regulation.

In fact arguing over who should be ‘Designers’ and ‘Assigned Certifiers’ is a red-herring and diverts us away from the true crux of the problem: that we are still relying on professionals to self-certify and regulate a construction economy worth €10bn. Professional organisations are quite happy to continue a defective system of self-certification, trumpeting the benefits of the “new regulations: while knowing there is little additional consumer protections.

For the Department and Minister they get a political solution- something that sounds like a proper system, looks like a proper system, but is in fact the same thing with no additional resources.

Professionals effectively take up the slack by monitoring themselves (and additional fees + onerous liability) whilst the Local Authorities continue a dreadfully under-resourced building control system that effectively only enforces the law when lives become endangered through fire regulation breaches.

The answer as we’ve seen throughout this blog is for a full drawing and site inspection system along the lines of the UK system; and the consumer to have the choice over who should prepare his/her drawings in the knowledge that these drawings will be fully checked by a Local Authority Building Control Officer and the construction will also be checked at intervals during the construction. This system works perfectly well for planning, for disabled access certificates and for fire certification. These three areas involve applications made with drawings and documents which are assessed by local authorities.

I have written previously on this subject HERE about why S.I No.9 of 2014 has failed due to the consumer offered less choice with no better consumer protection.

Other Posts of interest:

Who should be a Certifier- Part 2: Architects? – click link here

Who should be a Certifier- Part 1: Architectural Technologists? – click link here

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

Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9. – click link here

O’Cofaigh letter to Mick Wallace TD – click link here

Opinion piece: Architectural Technologist and certification – 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

 

BREG Blog Archive 1- November 2013

by Bregs Blog admin team

In case you missed this at the weekend click on our archive for November and re-read some of the first papers we posted- still very relevant.

BRegs Blog

stacks

BREG Blog Archive 1- November 2013

Don’t forget our archives!

Over 360 posts since the BReg Blog commenced towards the end of November 2013. We now have almost 1,000 subscribers and many recent readers may not have seen earlier posts, which still remain very relevant and informative.

Click on the following link and read the first series of posts we published- many of these highlight some of the issues we have subsequently encountered this year- lack of industry preparedness, BCMS Elodgement issues, lack of additional resources allocated to Building Control Sections, vague and difficult legal implications on practitioners. We have one of our earliest posts prepared by 7 past presidents of the representative body for architects (RIAI). It was also in this month that an apartment complex was completely evacuated in Meath, similar to Priory Hall. Scroll through our earliest posts which are in reverse chronological order-

Click link: Archive posts from November 2013

  • Listen to RTE radio…

View original post 324 more words

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

32-3

Where to find everything PART 1? BC(A)R SI.9

Your essential Building Control ( Amendment) Regulation links. Don’t take our word for it go to source- here are all the source documents frequently referred to in any discussion about the regulations, including the regulations. Click on the link after each title to get to the site:

The Regulations: click link here

The Technical Guidance Documents (TGD): click link here

The BCMS ‘Building Control Management System’: click link here

The Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government: click link here

The Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Works: click link here

The 34 Building Control Authorities ( city and county councils): click link here

The SCSI Owners Guide: click link here

The local authority Building Control regulations leaflet: click link here

Cork County Council guidance for Commencement Notices: click link here

 

What is Latent Defects Insurance and how much does it cost?

by Bregs Blog admin team

insurance

The following opinion piece was submitted by a registered architect on 4th June 2014.

The representative body for architects (RIAI) President Robin Mandal recently said that “that the biggest weakness is a lack of an insurance system for “latent defects“. He added… “If the only solution for a consumer is to go through the courts, then the system is flawed.” (see link here). We have previously reported that RIAI Policy is that Latent Defect Insurance is an essential component of an effective Building Control system.

So what is Latent Defects Insurance and how much does it cost? 

CRL, one of the insurance providers in the Irish Market, says:

“Latent defects insurance is an insurance that covers against unexpected on non-visible defects, poor workmanship (wooden beams, interior bricks), inadequate materials or bad design in general. Usually the defects are not discovered until work completion.

These are generally defects that cannot be seen on close inspection and are usually hidden and would need to break through areas of the property in order to access and view the extent of damages.

What is covered under the latent defect insurance? That depends on the company, but usually damages caused by structural defects, , ingress of water land movement among other things. The policy covers the cost up to the maximum amount insured. Do speak to your provider for more information on what is covered in your policy.

Latent defects insurance (LDI) covers residential and commercial property, mixed use properties and it covers self-builds as well” (link here)

There are a least 4 Insurance companies offering structural warranties in Ireland, Global Home Warranties (see link here) , Build-Zone Structural warranties (see link here) and Core Warranty (see link here). The other insurance company offering structural defects insurance in Ireland is Homebond (see link here).

We have been kindly informed by a reader that although UK based, BuildZone and Self-Build Zone have been providing structural warranties in Ireland for over 5 years.

This article from Building Magazine explains LDI in the UK. (for article see here).

The cost of LDI is typically between 0.5- 1.5% of the construction cost of the building.

Other posts of interest:

What is PI Insurance? – click link here

8 Questions for Professional Insurer – click link here

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

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

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI. – click link here

Press- RIAI: High-rise buildings and quality developments the way forward – click link here

Edit: expanded list of LDI Insurance companies added.

 

BREGS Blog Archive 1- NOVEMBER 2013

by Bregs Blog admin team

stacks

Don’t forget our archives!

Over 360 posts since the BRegs Blog commenced towards the end of November 2013. We now have almost 1,000 subscribers and many recent readers may not have seen earlier posts, which still remain very relevant and informative.

Click on the following link and read the first series of posts we published- many of these highlight some of the issues we have subsequently encountered this year- lack of industry preparedness, BCMS Elodgement issues, lack of additional resources allocated to Building Control Sections, vague and difficult legal implications on practitioners. We have one of our earliest posts prepared by 7 past presidents of the representative body for architects (RIAI). It was also in this month that an apartment complex was completely evacuated in Meath, similar to Priory Hall. Scroll through our earliest posts which are in reverse chronological order-

Click link: BREGS Blog Archive 1- NOVEMBER 2013

  • Listen to RTE radio interview with Joan O’Connor, past president of the RIAI on the issues associated with the new regulations (listen here). In this interview the current fall in commencement notices since March 2014 was predicted.
  • Recently elected Ciaran Cuffe on the Right Hook radio programme commented: “Without a reasonable expectation that you will be inspected, there will be people out there who will avoid complying with the letter and the spirit of the law” advocating independent local authority inspections (listen here).
  • In a well-considered and prescient paper contributors Michael Collins, Orla Hegarty, Joe Kennedy and Eoin O Cofaigh discuss the anticipated implications of the building regulations after March 2014- in retrospect this was a very accurate assessment. See post here.
  • We discussed the pyrite issue and how the new regulations would not stop a re-occurrence from happening- again very relevant to recent events this week (see link here)
  • In our earliest post 7 past presidents  of the RIAI note a unanimously passed motion at the largest ever RIAI EGM in October 2013. This EGM motion remains the cornerstone of current RIAI policy in relation to the new regulations. Click here for post. Quote from the motion-

The meeting believes that the said S.I. 80 of 2013 will not achieve the objective for which it has been introduced, and that the consumer will be no better protected than was the case in the recent past because of shortcomings in the said Regulations”.

Other popular “top read” posts:

Quick history of pyrite- press articles

by Bregs Blog admin team

history_lesson+copy

For anyone interested in some background articles on the problems of pyrite please see a brief random selection of articles circa 2012 from the journal.ie. Not listed in chronological order.

___________

Pyrite: There are ‘legal and moral responsibilities’

What is the cost of repairing pyrite-damaged homes?

Over 10,000 homes could harbour unidentified pyrite problems

http://www.thejournal.ie/pyrite-house-ireland-claim-524922-Jul2012/

Read: Pyrite bill to be introduced next week 

Column: ‘We’re watching our first house crumble before our eyes’

HomeBond ‘snub’ over pyrite ‘a matter of serious public concern’ – Committee

 

 

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite

by Bregs Blog admin team

phil-hogan-fine-gael

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite

In the following Dáil  Written answers from Wednesday, 11th June 2014, Mattie McGrath TD poses some questions to Minister Phil Hogan regarding the recent re-occurence of pyrite in a number of recent developments which have come to light this week.

Pyrite Issues: 11 Jun 2014: Written answers (KildareStreet.com)- click link here

In answers to queries regarding the extent, responsibility for and regulations surrounding pyrite issues the Minister stated the following:

  • Department was made aware early April of a re-occurrence of Pyrite
  • Responsibility for policing for pyrite rests with Local Authorities (Building Control Departments)
  • Redress will either be directly from parties involved in projects (Insurance companies) or via courts
  • New NSAI standards have been issued

We have previously posted about the lack of additional resources allocated to Local Authority Building Control departments regarding SI.9 (see post here). Also the current regulations impost very onerous responsibilities on Certifiers due to CPR 2013 incorporation into Part D of the regulations (see post here). It is clear from the Minister’s answer that little or no additional resources have been allocated to market surveilance, spot-checking and enforcement of existing standards by Local Authority Building Control departments. Consumers would appear to still rely on self-certification by suppliers or manufacturers. Consumers, it would appear, will still be seeking redress through the courts in the event of a property being affected by Pyrite.

Even though the Department has known about this defective product for some time, industry commentators have been quite critical that there is no “early warning” system to alert the industry as to possible defective materials like pyrite-affected blockwork. It is quite possible that these defective products may have been specified and used on other projects in the intervening period between April 2014 (when the issue was first brought to the attention of the Department) and this week, when the story broke publicly.

Little change or comfort for consumers unfortunately.

Extract from Dáil to follow:

________

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)

106. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to 30 newly constructed houses that have already been identified to be demolished because of a new pyrite problem in the concrete blocks used in their construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24912/14]

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)

108. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he and his Department are aware of a new pyrite problem regarding concrete products and if so, if the companies involved have notified his officials and have they taken any action in that regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24914/14]

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)

109. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if the construction industry is going to be severely effected with the latest new pyrite problem; if payments to sub contractors and cash flow is going to be an issue for the contractors involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24915/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 106, 108 and 109 together.

A potential problem with concrete blocks in the Leinster region was signalled to my Department in early April 2014.

Concurrently the relevant market surveillance authority (local authority) in the jurisdiction where the concrete blocks were manufactured was also made aware of the matter.

Under Regulation (EU) No . 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC ( known as t he Construction Products Regulation or the “CPR”), manufacturers are required to provide robust and reliable information in a consistent way for construction products which are covered by harmonised European standard s or European Technical Assessment s . In broad terms, since 1 July 2013, manufacturers are required , when placing a construction product on the market, to make a Declaration of Performance and to affix the CE mark to each product . The relevant harmonised European standard for concrete blocks is I.S. EN 771-3:2011 Specification for masonry units – Part 3: Aggregate concrete masonry units (Dense and lightweight aggregates ).

Under the European Union (Construction Products) Regulations 2013 , building control authorities have been designated as the principal market surveillance authorities for construction products that fall within the remit of Construction Products Regulation. Under these Regulations, market surveillance authorities have significant powers to deal with situations where constructions products are placed on the market which do not comply with the requirements set out in the Construction Products Regulation.

From the information provided to date, it appears that a single manufacturer is involved in this particular case and that the relevant market surveillance authority took immediate and appropriate action to deal with the issue when it was brought to its attention. The relevant market surveillance authority has engaged with the manufacturer, in the first instance, to identify if there was a problem and thereafter to determine the precise nature and extent of the problem, the actions being taken by the manufacturer to deal with the problem; additional documentation is also being sought to demonstrate compliance with the manufacturer’s obligations under the Construction Products Regulation.

Responsibility for demonstrating a construction product’s compliance with the requirements of the Construction Products Regulation and the applicable harmonised European standard(s) rests with the manufacturer although obligations are also imposed on both the importers and distributors of such products. My Department understands that t he manufacturer appears to be co-operating with the market surveillance authority on this issue. While certain information has already been provided by the manufacturer, additional information is being sought to further clarify a number of issues, including more precise information on the extent of the problem and the distribution of the defective blocks.

A number of sites have been identified where it is alleged the defective blocks were supplied and the relevant building control authorities in those areas are also taking appropriate actions in relation to the relevant construction works to establish whether or not the requirements of the Building Regulations are being complied with. In general, building defects are matters for resolution between the contracting parties involved, i.e. the homeowner, the builder, the manufacturer, supplier, quarry owner and/or their respective insurers. In the event that the contracting parties cannot reach a settlement by negotiation the option of seeking redress in the Courts can be considered. It is understood that the contractual arrangements between the parties involved in the known cases are being used to address matters and are providing the mechanisms for resolution.

While I understand that resolution may require a number of the houses /buildings to be demolished as a consequence of the incorporation of defective blocks in the construction it is not possible at this point in time to say if all of the dwellings in the sites identified are affected and if this course of action will be required in all cases. In this regard, I am not in a position to identify what impact, if any, this problem will have on the cashflow of the contractors involved. These are matters typically governed by the terms and conditions set out in the contractual arrangements between the relevant parties to a construction project.

This is a serious matter and both my Department and the relevant building control authorities involved are working closely to ensure that the necessary actions are taken to resolve the problems identified and to guard against defective products being placed on the market.

Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)

107. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the reason his Department has not introduced new regulations on the quarries producers, the industry who caused the previous pyrite problem and now the same industry which are, in some cases, still supplying contaminated products three years later in the form of contaminated blocks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24913/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

The report of the independent Pyrite Panel (2012) recommended inter alia, that in light of the knowledge and experience gained since 2007 when the problem of pyrite was first brought to the attention of my Department, a more detailed and specific testing, certification and traceability regime should be put in place for hardcore material to be used in dwellings and buildings . Following receipt of the report and in light of the recommendations in the report, I asked the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) to undertake a review of Standard Recommendation (S.R.) 21:2004+A12 007 which provides specific guidance on reducing the risk of reactive forms of pyrite being present in hardcore material for use under concrete floors in dwellings and buildings. The review of S.R.21 was completed late last year and a revised standard, S.R.21:2014 , was published in March 2014 following a public consultation process.

Annex E of SR 21:2014 has been revised in line with the recommendations of the Report of the Pyrite Panel and gives recommendations for specifying material properties and recommendations for procedures for production of unbound granular fill (commonly known as hardcore) for use under concrete floors and footpaths. More explicit guidance is given on the geological and petrographic assessment to limit the risk of swelling due to the potential presence of a reactive form of pyrite. The minimum test frequencies under Factory Production Control (FPC) for some properties are increased in order to improve confidence within the supply chain. The system of attestation and verification of constancy of performance has changed from system 4 to system 2+ for this particular end use aggregate. This crucially creates the requirement of third party oversight by a notified body who, once satisfied, issue a certificate of conformity of the factory production control on the basis of initial inspection of the quarry and of the FPC as well as continuous surveillance, assessment and evaluation of FPC.

In addition, a Code of Practice for the procurement and use of unbound granular fill (hardcore) for use under concrete floors and footpaths is currently being prepared, again under the aegis of the NSAI.

The Code will provide best practice guidance on post manufacturing operations such as procurement, haulage, delivery and receipt, storage and handling, placing, record management with the aim of improving the chain of custody within the supply chain and ensuring the traceability of hardcore suitable for this particular end use. It is hoped that the Code of Practice will be published shortly.

The new specification for hardcore to be used under concrete floors in the construction of houses and other buildings , which includes a requirement for independent oversight, and the traceability provisions in the proposed Code of Practice will improve the specification, manufacture and traceability of hardcore from the quarry to use on building sites thus ensuring that there is full oversight of all stages in the supply chain.

In a broader sense, Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC ( known as t he Construction Products Regulation or the “CPR”) requires manufacturers to provide robust and reliable information in a consistent way for construction products which are covered by a harmonised standard or a European Technical Assessment. From 1 July 2013, manufacturers of construction products which are covered by harmonised European product standards are required, when placing a product on the market, to make a Declaration of Performance for the product, and to affix the CE mark. There are harmonised European standards which cover a range of quarry products e.g. aggregates, concrete blocks, precast concrete products.

Under the European Union (Construction Products) Regulations 2013 building control authorities have been designated as the principal market surveillance authorities for construction products that fall within the remit of the Construction Products Regulation. Under these Regulations, market surveillance authorities have significant powers to deal with situations where constructions products are placed on the market which do not comply with the requirements set out in the Construction Products Regulation. They can issue notices requiring corrective actions to be taken by an economic operator within a specified period of time, obtain warrants to enter and search premises and, in the event of a serious risk being identified, to request the Minister to prohibit or restrict a construction product from being made available on the market, to withdraw it from the market or to recall it, or to make its use subject to special conditions as deemed appropriate.

A person guilty of an offence under the Regulations is liable:

on summary conviction to a Class A fine (€5,000), or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or both, or

on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €500,000 or to imprisonment for a terms not exceeding 12 months or both.

Other posts of interest:

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

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

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

 

 

8 Questions for Professional Insurer

by Bregs Blog admin team

FourQuestions

The following opinion piece was submitted by a registered architect on 11th June 2014 in response to recent media reports of a re-occurrence of pyrite in a number of recently completed projects. We are currently asking some PI providers these questions and will be posting answers shortly.

8 Questions for your Professional Indemnity Insurer:

1. Please tell me any limitations on my policy under these new regulations? What does the small print mean for me?

2. Can I get a reduced policy if I’m not going to be an Assigned Certifier? What will it cost?

3. Is it possible to have a separate quote for Assigned Certifier role cover i.e. If there is a future problem it will not impact on my main policy for my role as an architect?

4. I’m not competent in all parts of the Building Regulations (structures or fire safety design, or energy calculations or whatever) and I’ll be relying on others. What is your advice?

5. Will my policy cover all of the Ancillary Certificates if the people who sign them don’t have their own Professional Indemnity Insurance- i.e. does my policy cover employees who act as Assigned Certifier in my company?

6. Will my policy cover continue for employees if they leave my employment? What happens the employee’s PII cover if I close my business and stop my policy?

7. Will premiums rise generally due to increased professional liability under BC(A)R SI.9?

8. Pyrite. If there is a failure due to pyrite am I covered?

Other posts of interest:

Alarming Legal Opinions: BC(A)R SI.9 – clock link here

Legal Firms ADVICE – click link here

Senior Council advice on BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

5 POPULAR MYTHS ABOUT BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

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

4 tips for assigned certifiers – click link here

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

4 tips for Design Certifiers…  – click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article – click link here

 

 

S.I. 9 and the 7-day notice

by Bregs Blog admin team

advice-ahead

The following opinion piece was submitted on 12th June 2014 by Ciarán Ferrie MRIAI.

S.I. 9 and the 7-day notice

The RIAI circulated a suite of standard Ancillary Certificates of Compliance this week which have been developed and agreed by the four organisations that represent the design professionals that can act as Assigned Certifier (ACEI, EI, RIAI & SCSI). The standard certificates include specific certificates to be issued at Commencement Notice stage in the case of a 7-day notice. These are to be completed by specialists or unregistered consultants which would include Fire Safety Consultants and Disabled Access Consultants. The Certificate requires the consultant tocertify…[that the] proposed design of those elements of the works for which we are responsible…is in compliance with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations“.

In the case of a 7-day notice this signed certificate will be required in advance of a decision on the Fire Safety Certificate and the Disability Access Certificate. Under current regulations, the statutory responsibility for certification of compliance with Parts B (Fire) & M (Disabled Access) lies with the Building Control Authority. The wording in the Ancillary Certificate is in direct conflict with this. The Ancillary Certifier (or Design Certifier) has no authority to certify compliance with Parts B & M in advance of the Building Control Authority granting the relevant certificate.

At best this is an anomaly in the system, at worst it is a fundamental flaw in the regulations. Either way it opens up the possibility whereby the Building Control Authority refuses a certificate for a building which has already been certified by the Design Certifier and/or Ancillary Certifier. This, of course, then exposes the Certifier and potentially makes him/her liable for abortive work on the project.

It would appear that the 7-day notice is no longer possible under the new building regulations and that this hasn’t been fully considered either by those preparing the legislation or those preparing the standard documents.

In that context, I will be advising clients that I am not in a position to sign Design Certificates in the case of a 7-day notice.

___________

.jpeg of the 7 day notice documents referred to below:

riai1riai2

Other posts of interest:

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

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite

by Bregs Blog admin team

BprUOZ3IEAAYUhv.jpg-large

In this LMFM radio piece from this week one of the Directors of the North and East Housing Association says the findings of a report due out in the coming days will determine the fate of the 19 remaining social and affordable houses in Moneymore in Drogheda.

The demolition process has started this week on six of the local authority homes that were near completion following the results of tests that confirmed the presence of pyrite. Tony Gilmore told LMFM News this week that when they have received the second report they will decide what to do with the other 19 homes.

Lister here: lmfm Local News Info

Other posts of interest:

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June

by Bregs Blog admin team

under-construction-icon

The following CPD event summary was submitted on 11th June 2014.

Engineers Ireland (South East) hosted a CPD lecture on Tuesday 10th June 2014 at the Carlow Institute of Technology on the subject of “Working with the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations: S.I. 9 2014”. The event was very well attended with approximately 60 engineers and architects present.

Presentations were made by Eoin O’ Dowd, Building Control Officer with Carlow County Council and Luke Goldsmith, a practicing fire safety consultant. Their presentations provided an overview of their experiences to date and focused on practical advice on interpretations of the regulations by the Building Control Authority and on undertaking the roles of design certifier and ancillary certifier with a specific regard to Fire Safety Certification.

The subsequent Q+A session was informative.

Mairéad Phelan, Senior Engineer at Fingal County Council who led the development of the Building Control Management System (BCMS) was in attendance. Ms. Phelan made the following comments in relation to the operation of the BCMS:

  • There are problems with online ‘Short Form’ Commencement Notices, 7-day notices and Completion Certificates, all of which must be submitted in hard copy.
  • There are 1300 or so Commencement Notices floating around in the BCMS. 800* of these have been validated and the remainder are mainly “absolute rubbish”.
  • The Department of the Environment’s S.I. 105 oversight committee meets weekly to assess possible derogations (exemptions) from S.I. 9 for education and health related projects.
  • Only one derogation has been granted under S.I. 105 to date for a school project in Co. Wicklow (since introduction of SI 105 on March 7th 2014).
  • The industry is on a steep learning curve as many participants [builders] are only beginning to wake up to the fact that there are Building Regulations in this country.
  • The BCMS hope to publish some examples of good Commencement Notice submissions as industry guides in the near future.
  • The BCMS acknowledges there have been problems in responding to requests for information and clarification. Ms. Phelan advised that the BCMS hope to rectify the email section the site shortly and invited those present to email her directly.
  • The BCMS website has experienced many teething problems since its introduction partly due to the fact that its developer’s first language was not English.

*Note: Bregs blog has requested clarification from the Department separately of this total: the documented number of validated commencement notices to May 26th is 509 on the Local Government Management Agency website here. Download excel document from website of BCMS-  register record: BuildingRegister26thMay (7)

Other posts of interest:

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey – click link here

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

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

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

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

Part Deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 (SI.105) – click link

 

 

Press piece: BC(A)R causes surge?

by Bregs Blog admin team

app+crane+house+build

In the following article in the Irish Independent from 29th April 2014 by Mark Keenan “New rules spark surge of construction activity“, the tidal wave of new commencement notices to hit local authorities in January/ February 2014 in advance of implementation of SI.9 is discussed. Many in the construction sector are feeling an upswing in activity as a result (Link to Irish Independent article here).

What was not mentioned is the consistent -73% drop off in commencement notices since March 1st, confirmed more recently by Frank McDonald in the Irish Times (see post here).

A recent survey of consumer sentiment undertaken by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) in May suggested an uneven uplift in activity (see survey post here). Quote:

“…All this highlights that not only is work on the ground not on the increase, but the potential for work is also falling away for certain portions of the industry…While everyone in the construction industry is delighted to see an increase in activity, what this survey highlights is that the growth is not being evenly felt across the board.

Some commentators believe this uneven increase in construction activity is due to this “spike” in commencement notice levels in advance of implementation on 1st March 2014, owners trying to avoid the new system. Many believe a “tender hole” will be created towards the end of the summer when the lower levels of commencements feed through the system and tenders for new work will dry up.

The official number of valid commencement notices on the Local Government Management Agency’s Building Register website is shown at 509- this is for a 3 month period to May 26th (source document BuildingRegister26thMay (7)). The average number for 3 months in 2013 was 1,863.

This trend seems has established itself over the past 3 months and when read alongside some of the concerns in the CIF survey, the new regulations would appear to be impeding a recovery in the construction industry and consequent job creation.

Extract from Irish Independent article:

__________

New rules spark surge of construction activity

A DEADLINE for stringent new building regulations helped spark a 200pc surge in residential construction activity in the first two months of the year.

Commencement notices for projects to local authorities jumped 192pc across the country in January and February compared with the same period last year.

Huge pent-up demand in the sector has been cited as one of the causes of the surge in activity.

But another reason was builders attempting to get going before a March deadline in order to avoid a slew of stiffer rules governing home construction.

The figures are contained in the National Housing Construction Index, compiled and issued today by the company Link2Plans, which monitors construction activity on behalf of businesses.

Danny O’Shea, managing director of Link2Plans, said: “What we have seen in January and February of this year with project commencements has been nothing short of staggering.

“Three key factors have all aligned to create this huge increase. The first being a pent-up demand in the sector, the second being increased confidence to start new residential projects, and thirdly the rush to lodge commencement notices before the March 1 deadline for the introduction of the new building regulations.

INCREASE

“What was regarded as purely a regulatory change appears to have had a seismic impact on residential construction activity, greater than any increase arising from changes in last October’s Budget.”

Planning applications were up 21pc in the same period with just 10 counties out of 26 showing a fall compared with the same period last year.

The data for the study is aggregated from real-time planning and project information in every local authority area.

Other posts of interest:

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – 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

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey – click link here

Breg Snapshot Survey: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

 

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following opinion piece was submitted on 9th June in response to recent media coverage and concern regarding the re-occurrence of pyrite in new construction. This post is a general opinion piece not a specific commentary on a number of projects currently identified as containing defective pyrite blockwork.

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER

Private housing and the pyrite issue – who will pay the next time?

by Bregs Blog admin team

Why did the Minister amend the Building Control Regulations?

The Minister for the Environment amended the building control regulations for two reasons. Those reasons were: (1) Priory Hall and (2) The pyrites problem. He felt that the designers and builders should be made fully responsible for what they do. The new regulations require an Assigned Certifier to sign off on the completed building.

Did anybody point out to the Department of the Environment that the new Building Control Regulations might not deal with the potential Pyrite problem before the legislation was introduced?

They did. The Pyrite Panel, appointed by the Minister to report on how to avoid a reoccurrence of the pyrite problem, said:- The system of independent inspections, carried out by the building control officers, should be strengthened. When S.I. 80 of 2013 and then S.I. 9 of 2014 ignored this recommendation, the writing was already on the wall for the next disaster.

What is likely to happen if the concrete blocks in a recently-built house are found to contain pyrite?

The house will have to be demolished and rebuilt. This will cost on average in the region of €200,000 each time, as well as the cost of relocating the home owner and their family for 1 year while the work is done.

Who will pay for this?

Under the new Building Control Regulations this remains to be seen. The house owner or their insurers will be unwilling to absorb the cost as they relied on getting a defect-free house. However they will need to chase all those involved through the courts to obtain redress.

And surely the Contractor would be liable?

Not if the Contractor has gone into liquidation, or just points out that he followed the architect’s specifications. Under the wording of the S.I. 9 Certificate of Completion, the builder certifies that the building or works as completed has been constructed in accordance with the plans, calculations, specifications, ancillary certificates and particulars as certified under the Design Certificate.

So if the builder builds per the engineer’s specifications, that will exonerate him.

But would the Engineer not be liable, as this is an engineering issue?

Presumably the Engineer signed an Ancillary Certificate. But it has been pointed out by the Law Society of Ireland that there is no need to look beyond the Assigned Certifier’s certificate of Completion. It would be very unwise of the Assigned Certifier to think that she or he can pass the responsibility down the line.

The wording of the Ancillary Design Certificate allows the engineer to rely on the certificates which the supplier gives him. This looks like the engineer’s let-out for the pyrite. If the blocks contain pyrite, they are not per the engineer’s specification, but that’s not the engineer’s fault.

Is the building material supplier who sold the concrete blocks not liable? Or if not, is the quarry where the material for the concrete blocks originated not liable?

Perhaps. But in order to “kick the liability this far down the line” the Assigned Certifier will need:-

  1. His own Certificate of Completion;
  2. His engineer’s ancillary certificate;
  3. A certificate from the building materials supplier (obtained through whom? The contractor, who gives it to the engineer, who gives it to the architect) that every load of concrete blocks he delivered was pyrite-free;
  4. A certificate from the quarry owner (obtained through whom? The building materials supplier, who gives it to the contractor, who gives it to the engineer, who gives it to the architect) from the quarry certifying that the aggregate was pyrite free;
  5. A certificate from the pyrite testing company (obtained through whom? The quarry, who give it to the building materials supplier, who gives it to the contractor, who gives it to the engineer, who gives it to the assigned certifier) that the blocks were tested and found ok.
  6. To be able to join the building materials supplier, the quarry owner, and the testing company into the proceedings. If these firms are in liquidation, the Assigned Certifier will likely pick up the tab under the legal doctrine of Joint and Several Liability.

Can the Assigned Certifier avoid paying for it?

It is difficult to see how the Assigned Certifier can avoid responsibility for the cost. Under the “Certificate of Completion” the Assigned Certifier has signed the following declaration:-

I now certify, having exercised reasonable skill, care and diligence, that the building or works is in compliance with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations, insofar as they apply to the building or works concerned.

The Second Schedule to the Building Regulations requires, at requirement D2:-

“All works to which these Regulations apply shall be carried out with proper materials and in a workmanlike manner.”

“Proper materials” means materials which are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions in which they are to be used, and includes materials which comply with an appropriate Irish Standard or Irish Agrément Certificate or with an alternative national technical specification of any State which is a contracting party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, which provides in use an equivalent level of safety and suitability.

As the materials are not “proper”, they are not fit for their intended purpose, the requirement has been breached. The Assigned Certifier has certified something which is untrue. He or she will be liable for that untrue certification.

But surely the Assigned Certifier can rely on the “reasonable skill and care” provisions negotiated by the RIAI in the improved S.I. 9?

No. The AC now knows that there is a new and spreading problem with pyrite. An expert witness for the prosecution will establish in five minutes that it would not be enough for the Assigned Certifier to just check that there was a specification.

 But won’t the Assigned Certifier have Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Anybody who imagines that after the Professional Indemnity Insurers people pay out once for pyrite, they will insure the same Assigned certifier each year for the same price, knows nothing about the laws of economics. Or as happened in some of the earlier pyrite instances, Insurers paid for the first one or two but when the Professional Indemnity policy came due the insurer refused to cover the following year. As Professional Indemnity Insurance is on a claims made basis you must have insurance when the claim is made and not when the problem is caused.

So how can an approved professional acting as an Assigned Certifier protect herself be protected in this situation?

By getting somebody else to act as Assigned Certifier at the start. Or consider timber-frame construction!

Would a system of independent inspection of design and construction have coped any better with recent pyrite issues?

It would- if it was integrated with a system which involved the Building Control Authorities actively monitoring building materials (already required under EU Directive) together with a system of feedback from the inspection system and most importantly, the statutory powers to enforce compliance on all suppliers. Assigned Certifiers under SI.9 have no such roles or powers.

What are the professional bodies such as the SCSI, ACEI and RIAI going to do to help their members who may be forced to act as Assigned certifier?

You had better ask them yourself.

 

Other posts of interest:

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80 – click link here

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click linkhere

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

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

The Blog was in contact with a registered professional who has advised Professional Indemnity insurers on defending claims against other construction professionals and who wishes to help colleagues protect themselves. We put a series of questions to ascertain likely implications from the potential pyrite problem (currently affecting Leinster) on the role of the Assigned and Design Certifiers under the recently amended Building Control Regulations. As this is 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.