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.

Public sector projects- is SI.9 necessary?

by Bregs Blog admin team

if-door-does-not-open

The following opinion piece was submitted by a registered architect on Sunday 25th May 2014.

Public sector projects- is SI.9 necessary?

The Minister’s stated intention for the new Building Regulations is laudable. Something DOES need to be done about speculative housing and creating a paper trail is one part of the solution. My concern is not that some of the other essential elements have been left to ‘catch up’, it is the cost of the paper trail to the exchequer on public projects.

This year, Minister Ruairi Quinn’s Department of Education and Skills has a budget of €470m.

(Link to Minister Quinn’s press release concerning 70 major school projects here)

The additional cost of SI9  is clear; it goes in new administration, for ensuring those who do the work are competent, for keeping records of the designers and builders, for making a file of inspections and certificates, for insurance against defects. Minister Phil Hogan has said that the costs will be justified in improved standards.

But here’s the thing- the Department of Education & Skill already have ALL OF THIS INFORMATION. They pick the design teams and builders. They pay the bills. They already have contracts in place to fix defective work.

So why is up to  €10M  (over 2%) of the 2014 School Building Programme now to be spent of needless administration & paper-chasing when all evidence shows that in school building there is NO PROBLEM to fix? (Link to RIAI guidance to members on additional time for schools required for SIP here).

Surely this considerable sum of tax payers money would be better spent in actually fixing and extending more schools? Another €10m could go a long way.

Minister Quinn now needs to ensure that S.I.105, (the temporary derogation for school and healthcare projects) is made permanent.

Posts of interest:

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

RIAI: FAQ on Part deferral BC(A)R SI.105 – click link here

FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) Projects & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

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

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

 

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CIF Construction Confidence Survey

by Bregs Blog admin team

TOM_PARLON_CIF250

The following Survey undertaken in May 2014 by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) into market sentiment was published recently: CIF Construction Confidence Index (click link here)

Below is an extract from the site

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IS CONFIDENCE RETURNING TO THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR?

By Tom Parlon, CIF Director General

Earlier this week, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) released our latest Construction Confidence Index.  This was the results of a survey conducted amongst our membership, with 393 members participating.

There were some very positive results in that survey.  For example more than half of those who completed the survey expect their business to grow during the course of 2014.  This is good news and marks a substantial shift in the mood within the construction industry.

What is also noticeable however was that 26% do not expect to see their business grow.  That’s a substantial segment of the audience and illustrates that more than one in four are not expecting growth this year.

Another of the survey questions also illustrated this point.  In this question we asked our members whether their company’s level of activity had grown compared to this time last year.  Almost 43% were able to provide a positive response.  But the number of people who said their business activity had decreased over the course of the last 12 months was very high.  When you see almost 3 out of 10 respondents say that business activity had dropped then that is deeply concerning.

Similar figures were returned in the question for tenders.  Again there were a large number who have seen an increase in tendering activity.  However for more than one in four the number of tenders has dropped.  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.  This tallies with the word on the ground.  There are several members who have actively expressed their view that there is no sign of a recovery in their local area.  This seems to be the case in many of the less urban areas around the country.

The problem is not just on a regional basis though. Several sectors across the industry are yet to see any real bump in activity. Take civil engineering for example. We have seen civil engineering activity fall dramatically over recent years in correlation with the drop in capital spending.

All this emphasises the importance of the Government’s new strategy document for the construction sector, Construction 2020. We need to ensure that all the industry starts to grow again – across all regions and all sectors.  Only when steps are taken to ensure that the sector returns to growth across the board, will we be able to return to a sustainable level of construction activity. A level that is good for the industry and good for the wider economy.

PDF of survey:

CIFConstructionConfidenceIndexMay2014

Other posts of interest:

Building Control Officers: Survey – click link here

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

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

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