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.

RTÉ News: Dublin houses demolished after pyrite discovery

by Bregs Blog admin team


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 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


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


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


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


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

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