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.

Pyrite News roundup- week ending 13th June

by Bregs Blog admin team


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 from 2012



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


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


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.


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