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

by Bregs Blog admin team


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).