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

by Mark Stephens

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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 .

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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.

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