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.

Month: July, 2014

CIAT Architectural Technologists Register goes live today!

by Bregs Blog admin team

thumbs up

The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) recently sent the following email to members concerning the new separate register for Architectural Technologists for Ireland. This follows successful lobbying in Europe to get Architectural Technologists recognised as competent professionals under the new building regulations. For upcoming membership events in Ireland please check here.

The register is due to go live today, Thursday 31st July 2014.

________

Dear member,

As a Chartered Architectural Technologist, you are eligible to apply and join the voluntary Register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland for free.  The voluntary Register is distinct and separate to CIAT.

The Architectural Technologists’ Register represents those practising and studying the discipline within the Republic of Ireland.  It sets, assesses and monitors the competency standards for Architectural Technologist applicants.

The Register is currently voluntary, the formation of which is supported by the Department for Environment, Communities and Local Government (DECLG).  The objective of the voluntary Architectural Technologists’ Register is for it to attain Statutory status and for its Registrants to be accepted as competent to provide Design and Assigned Certifier services under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014.  This is a possibility as indicated by the DECLG at our meeting with them on 17 July 2014.   For this to be achieved primary legislation will be required and the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 will require amendment.

We urge you to join and support this initiative. To do so, please read the attached Code of Conduct and complete and return the attached Nomination Form which requires you to sign a declaration to comply with the Code and regulations of the Register.

All non-Chartered Members of CIAT or unregistered Architectural Technologists will need to demonstrate competence to join the Register and pay a €150 fee; the information for achieving this will be found on the Register’s website.

www.architecturaltechnologistsregister.ie will go live on 31 July 2014. The Register will be promoted accordingly via all methods and media in the coming days, please feel free to pass the website link to appropriate contacts.

Any queries, please do not hesitate to ask.

James Banks

Membership Director

Attached PDF’s: ATR Code of ConductNomination form AT Register

jPEG of nomination form

Nomination form AT Register

 

Other posts of interest:

Architectural Technologists: Are you on the right bus?

Dáil: CIAT & RIAI- 2 Architectural Technologist Registers

UPDATE- CIAT Register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT

 

Everything you wanted to know about the BCMS and now you can ask!

by Bregs Blog admin team

 

Questions

Everything you wanted to know about the BCMS and now you can ask!

The Building Control Management System (BCMS) will be entering into its sixth month of operation tomorrow, 1st August 2014. The BCMS has not been without its glitches, some of which might be expected following the introduction of a major piece of I.T. software and some, less so, which have been attributed to the fact that the website developer did not have English as a first language! The Local Government Management Agency have advised that it will take a further 18 months after 1st March to have the system fully functioning.

The main difficulties for those using the BCMS have been the fact that there is no user’s guide or sample Commencement Notice submission and questions to the BCMS Contact page have gone unanswered. Concerns also remain about security, copyright, speed and that the system is not fully online yet.  In fairness the Senior Manager involved with the BCMS, Mairéad Phelan of Fingal County Council, did undertake to try and deal with queries personally. However this is not the most efficient method for disseminating such information.

In the interests of efficiency the BRegs Blog now intends to submit an open letter with a series of questions to the BCMS to be answered on behalf of our readers. We will publish the response, if any, so that it may be shared collectively by a wider audience of potential BCMS users.

Please submit any questions that you may have about the BCMS  to bregsforum@gmail.com  on or before Friday 8th August 2014 at 5.00 pm. It is hoped we will be able to publish the response by the 1st September 2014 on the half year anniversary of the introduction of the BCMS.

Link to: BC(A)R S.I.9 – BCMS: “Must do Better!”

Link to: BCMS – Are we getting what it said on the label?

Link to Local Government Management Agency

RIAI Assigned Certifier Survey – Results?

by Bregs Blog admin team

Pie Chart

RIAI Assigned Certifier Survey – Results?

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) recently conducted a survey among its [practice] members to try and establish which, if any, architectural firms were willing to take on the new roles of Design Certifier (DC) and Assigned Certifier (AC) as defined in the Building Control (Amendments) Regulations, either for their own clients or for third parties. The survey was ostensibly in response to members of the public seeking this information from the RIAI. It is noted that the other two professional bodies, representing Building Surveyors and Chartered Engineers, do not provide this information to the public nor have they sought it from their members at this time.

It remains unclear as to why the survey was conducted among the 550 or so RIAI practices only and not among the entire 2500 members of the RIAI as the role of AC and/or DC must be undertaken by an individual and not by a business entity or company. Some of those surveyed have expressed reservations about the methods used to conduct the survey. These concerns include:

  1. The survey was not anonymous- each respondent was identifiable contrary to good practice;
  2. There was no opportunity to express dissent from the proposed concept of compiling a list of those collaborating with the new legislation;
  3. The simplistic yes/no response allowed for no possibility of a ‘maybe’ subject to further clarification/comment;
  4. Many practitioners felt a form of peer pressure to answer ‘yes’- as the saying goes “if you’re not in you can’t win”, and after 6 years of a prolonged recession many fear being omitted from any list would be detrimental to possible new business;
  5. Confusion as to why information on 3rd party certifiers was being sought;
  6. That the purpose of the survey was primarily to try and create the impression that there was a large uptake of those undertaking the AC and DC roles which might give some comfort to those in the Department of the Environment and the RIAI who have been actively promoting and endorsing the new regulations.

It remains to be seen if the results of the survey will provide such comfort.

At present the only means of establishing the extent of the uptake of the new AC and DC roles is to examine the Building Register on the Building Control Management System. This lists the name and company for each of those involved in submitting Commencement Notices since 1st March 2014. The BRegs Blog examined the listings on the latest Building Register dated 28th July 2014 for all 34 Local Authorities.

The only large or well known companies listed* were:

  • Arthur Gibney & Partners
  • Coady Partnership
  • O’Mahony & Pike
  • Oppermann Associates
  • Reddy Architecture
  • RKD Architects

It was noted that none of the following large or well known firms listed* have yet to appear as acting as Assigned Certifiers. There is anecdotal evidence appearing that many of the larger practices are looking to sub-contract the AC roles to third party specialist certification firms to try and minimise risk.

  • A & D Wejchert
  • A2 Architects
  • Burke Kennedy Doyle
  • Cathal O’ Neill & Associates
  • CCH Architecture
  • CJ Falconer
  • Conroy Crowe Kelly
  • Dublin City Council Architects
  • Fewer Harrington
  • Fitzgerald Kavanagh
  • Fionnuala Rogerson Architects
  • FKL Architects
  • Gilroy McMahon
  • Grafton Architects
  • Heneghan Peng
  • Henry J. Lyons
  • Michael Collins Associates
  • McCullough Mulvin
  • McHugh O’ Cofaigh Architects
  • MOLA Architecture
  • Moloney O’Beirne
  • Newenham Mulligan Architects
  • O’Connell Mahon
  • O’Donnell & Tuomey
  • Open Architects
  • OPW
  • Railway Procurement Agency
  • Robin Mandal Architects
  • Scott Tallon Walker
  • Shaffrey & Associates
  • Simon J. Kelly
  • Smith Kennedy
  • Wain Moorehead

*Note: the above lists are not intended to indicate the endorsement or  intentions of any of the firms listed in relation to acting as Assigned Certifiers or otherwise. If you would like to have your firm added to the list or to have your firm removed please do so in the comment box below or email: bregsforum@gmail.com

 Link to Building Register

 

Shrapnel and Spin – Caomhán Murphy MRIAI

by Bregs Blog admin team

Caomhan

The following opinion piece was submitted on July 28th 2014 by Caomhán Murphy, architect in private practice and Member of the Council of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.

‘Shrapnel and Spin’

The State and its servants seem to view the professional classes in Ireland for the most part with suspicion and mistrust. I’m not sure why this happens in Ireland, in particular, given the contribution professionals can make to genuinely raising the bar, holding the line, creating employment, providing creative and practical solutions and mostly advancing the common good – all aspirations that appear regularly on programs for government only to disappear later into the vacuum of what we have come to know in this country as government. Since when did we not want the best for our people?

It’s part of a professional’s training to act ethically, transparently and to give disinterested advice. We do this each day as we go about our work carefully. We are not amateurs and that is the point of being a professional. We are well positioned to know how our industries operate and how they can be honed and improved not only for ourselves but for the common good. We also know our shortcomings. These are skills that most professionals tend to have in abundance. They must have them to survive and to create their own employment in many cases.

That mistrust of professionals sits comfortably with a political cronyism and self-regard that is sadly all too familiar. It is an anti-intellectual standpoint that corrodes the multiple aspirations of our countries bright citizens each day as they engage their talents in a morass of poor laws, poor regulation and poor service.  As a citizen, a voter and a consumer I deserve better laws – laws that will genuinely protect me from the rogue elements of our society, who want to cut corners and don’t care a damn about the common good and ones that don’t seek to burden me as an individual and my hard won professional enterprise with an intolerable liability and a fabricated workload designed to achieve only political ends. A law that seeks to solve a problem by setting up an elaborate bureaucracy and paper trail to pin blame on the last man or woman standing is fundamentally flawed in a just society – no matter how it is dressed up and spun.

One of the most immature aspects of living in Ireland is our inability to know what it means to be a good citizen. It’s a disorder that is an unfortunate feature of much of Irish life.  Despite its importance we don’t learn much about our obligations to each other and to society at large during our formative years and without any structured form of civilian service we rarely learn it as young developing adults either. Very often we pick it up through living outside Ireland in more attuned democracies. Perhaps we mask our self-centered ways with our global renown for generosity and goodwill. They are probably two sides of the same coin. The energy from all that giving resulting in the flip side compulsion to look after ones own constituency at the expense of everyone else. I’m not a neurologist but it might explain it.

The new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (S.I.09) that became law on 1st March this year mark, in my personal view, a new low in passing the buck by our legislators.  The divisions it has caused in our profession alone are a measure of both the unbelievable crudeness of the legislation and the strength of feeling among concerned architects and citizens. That response should be viewed in a wider national context and desire for change and accountability. The ludicrous and crass boom years were supposed to give way to a more informed, balanced and equitable way of doing things. Some of us perhaps even anticipated much needed change in our political system and how we, as a country and a people carry on our business. That sentiment is surely shared by many public servants also but it requires political leadership not political trickery on such a grand scale. Many citizens thought post boom government might be a catalyst for change. The fact that a new law could be brought in to deal supposedly with the ‘Priory Hall’ issue and in its essence not actually protect the consumer one iota is worthy of something from our ludicrous years.

While there are many critical and significant peripheral issues and difficulties surrounding the debate and implementation of S.I.09, including:

  • the complete absence of any state information campaign or advice for consumers let alone professionals,
  • the fate of architectural technologists,
  • the mishandling of genuine self builders,
  • the questionable motivations of some in the construction industry,
  • the serious failure to adequately prepare or road test even basic scenarios,
  • the failure to include Latent Defects Insurance,
  • the ignoring of warning signals from professional bodies that the industry was not ready
  • the ignoring of consumer bodies advice,
  • the significant additional costs now associated with construction of buildings that previously had no failures at all,
  • the lack of real engagement with a wider group of stakeholders and so on and so on…the problems are only now coming to the fore and will, as the lawyers have advised, play out in the courts in the years to come.

Don’t let that cloud the fundamental truth in all this. The single most disappointing aspect of the entire cabal is that the State has managed in one fell swoop to singularly look after itself by washing its hands completely of any responsibility for ensuring better buildings through a simple system of independent inspections of building sites that could easily have been cost neutral for the State. Having someone to blame was politically more important than ensuring actual better construction standards.

That is a profound mistake and a legislative error that is not likely to be corrected until the next unfortunate Priory Hall.

Those who chose to substantially ignore the five hundred submissions received in response to the draft legislation have lost the opportunity for an improved building control system, which would have protected consumers.

This law should never have been allowed to proceed. Everything we are now dealing with as a result is shrapnel and spin. Business as usual @ireland.gov

Are Design and Assigned Certifiers risking professional suicide with Pyrite and S.I.9?

by Bregs Blog admin team

SI9 time bomb

 

The first piece of correspondence to be seen by the BRegs Blog that was sent by the new Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D., is not reassuring. In this potentially ‘explosive’ email his Private Secretary, Larry Kelly, clearly places the responsibility for identifying pyrite in building materials onto the Design and Assigned Certifiers. This must act as a serious warning to anyone taking on these roles after the recent discovery of Pyrite in concrete blockwork in the Leinster region.

Here is the correspondence (please note that the language used is quite complex and almost indecipherable but the final paragraph neatly sums up the position):

“I have been asked by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Alan Kelly, T.D., to refer further to your recent correspondence to his predecessor, Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D., in connection with pyrite in concrete blocks and the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

At the outset, I would like to clarify the position with regard to the recent allegations of pyrite in concrete blocks.  As you have indicated, there have been a number of reports in relation to pyrite in concrete blocks in the Leinster area.  In this context, the Department was made aware, in April of this year, of a potential problem with pyrite in concrete blocks by the market surveillance authority (i.e. building control authority) in whose functional area the block manufacturer is located.  This issue related to the manufacture of concrete blocks for distribution and use in a small number of construction sites in the Leinster area.  As you can appreciate, the overarching priorities in this instance was to ensure that all defective blocks were recalled as a matter of urgency and, preferably, before any affected buildings were sold, leased or occupied and that any corrective actions required by the manufacturer were satisfactorily addressed.

The issues concerning defective concrete blocks in Donegal and Mayo relate to legacy issues stemming back to dwellings built in the period 1997 to 2002 (in respect of Mayo) and 1999 to 2006 (in respect of Donegal).  It is important to note that while pyrite has been reported as the cause of the problem in Mayo and muscovite mica in Donegal, no firm evidence has been made available to this Department to confirm the precise nature and scale of the problem in either county. Nevertheless, the Minister fully appreciates and acknowledges the extremely difficult and distressing situations that these householders have to deal with and urges the responsible parties to face up to their obligations and take appropriate actions to provide remedies for the affected homeowners.

The Building Regulations 1997 set out the legal requirements for the construction of new buildings (including houses), extensions to existing buildings as well as for material alterations and certain material changes of use to existing buildings and are divided in 12 parts (classified as Parts A to M). Technical Guidance Documents (TGDs) are published to accompany each of the parts and provide guidance indicating how the requirements of that part can be achieved in practice.  Where works are carried out in accordance with the relevant technical guidance such works are considered to be, prima facie, in compliance with the relevant regulation(s).  Primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations rests with the designers, builders and owners of buildings.

 

Part A of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations sets out the legal requirements in relation to Structure.  The accompanying Technical Guidance Document A provides guidance on how compliance can be achieved and in the context of block work in houses reference is given to the appropriate masonry design and construction standards.  The materials to be used, e.g. concrete blocks, wall ties etc. are required to meet the specified minimum designations, strengths and other qualities, as set out in the technical guidance and the referenced standards. Part D sets out the legal requirements for Materials and Workmanship.  It requires that all works must be carried out using “proper materials…which are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions in which they are to be used” and in a workmanlike manner to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations.

Ireland’s national standard I.S. 20:1987 Concrete Building Blocks – Part 1 Normal Density Blocks was the relevant standard for concrete blocks in place from 1987 until 2003 when it was replaced by a harmonised European product standard for concrete blocks – EN 771-3 aggregate concrete masonry units (dense and light weight aggregates).  EN 771-3 was published by the National Standards Authority of Ireland on 17 March 2003 and came into effect on 15 October 2003. However, as is normal in such circumstances, the provisions in I.S. 20:1987 continued to apply for a period of time (known as the co-existence period) to allow for transition from national standards to harmonised European standards.

Harmonised European product standards provide the methods and the criteria for assessing the performance of construction products in relation to their essential characteristics, the harmonised standard includes the technical data necessary for the implementation of a system of assessment and verification of constancy of performance including third party oversight (determined as proportionate to the level of risk involved) which the manufacturer is required to comply with.  The National Standards Authority of Ireland has also produced additional guidance to some harmonised European product standards in the form of National Annexes or Standard Recommendations (SRs) which set out appropriate minimum performance levels for specific intended uses of certain products in Ireland.

In this context, a National Annex to I.S. EN 771-3 was produced by the National Standards Authority of Ireland in November 2010 to provide additional guidance on the minimum acceptable performances for concrete blocks for use in Ireland to supplement the harmonised European standard.  Guidance was provided on the strength, moisture movement, reaction to fire etc. but crucially requiring that the aggregates for use in dense concrete blocks comply with I.S. EN

12620:2002 Aggregates for concrete.  This is important given the National Standards Authority of Ireland have also produced S.R. 16 Guidance on the use of I.S. EN 12620 Aggregates for concrete which includes an example specification in Annex A applicable to most general uses of aggregates in concrete covering grading, strength, durability, chemical composition etc.  With these national provisions in place and continuity of quality secured, I.S. 20:1987 Concrete Building Blocks – Part 1 Normal Density Blocks was subsequently withdrawn by the National Standards Authority of Ireland in 2011.

Under Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC (known as the Construction Products Regulation), manufacturers are required to provide robust and reliable information in a consistent way for construction products which are covered by a harmonised European standard or a European Technical Assessment.  From 1 July 2013, manufacturers of construction products which are covered by harmonised European product standards are required, when placing a product on the market, to make a Declaration of Performance for the product, and affix the CE mark.

In broad terms, the Declaration of Performance is central to the understanding of the Construction Products Regulation.  A manufacturer is required to draw up a Declaration of Performance when a product, covered by a harmonised European product standard or a European Technical Assessment, is to be placed on the market.  Ultimately, the Declaration of Performance gives a manufacturer the opportunity to deliver key information with regard to the essential characteristics of the construction product that he/she wishes to deliver to the internal market.  The manufacturer, by drawing up a Declaration of Performance, assumes responsibility for the conformity of the construction product with its declared performance(s).  Where a manufacturer makes a Declaration of Performance there is a presumption that the information declared is accurate and reliable, unless there are objective indications to the contrary.

Accordingly, in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations, building professionals (i.e. specifiers, designers and builders) and their clients should: –

  • when drawing up specifications, refer to the harmonised technical

specifications and

specifically to the requirements of individual characteristics when necessary,

  • when choosing the products most suitable for their intended use in

construction works, review

the manufacturer’s Declaration of Performance to ensure that the products are “proper materials… which are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions in which they are to be used”, and

  • check National Annexes or Standard Recommendations (where

applicable) which give

guidance on appropriate minimum performance levels for specific intended uses of the product in Ireland.

Ultimately, the purchasers/users of construction products should check the information accompanying the CE marking to ascertain whether the products are appropriate for their needs.

The recent Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 9 of 2014), which came into operation on 1 March last, aim to strengthen the arrangements in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and the validation and registration of certificates of compliance.  Under the regulations, the owner of the building/works will be required to engage competent registered professionals to undertake the design of the building/works and to perform the role of the assigned certifier whose function is to prepare and implement an inspection plan which will, inter alia, identify the inspections and tests needed during the construction works as well as the persons (in addition to the assigned certifier) who will undertake such inspections and tests.  In this context, the role of the assigned certifier will include co-ordinating the ancillary certification that may be required by members of the design team and other relevant bodies in support of completing the statutory Certificate of Compliance on Completion.

While the new regulations do not make explicit reference to Declarations of Performance for construction products, given the regulations require both the design professional and the assigned certifier to sign statutory declarations (the latter in conjunction with the builder) certifying that the building/works has been designed and constructed in compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations, Declarations of Performance may be relevant as a means of demonstrating that “proper materials” have been used in accordance with Part D of the Building Regulations.

I trust the foregoing will be of assistance.

Yours sincerely,

________________

Larry Kelly,

Private Secretary

 

Architects are Revolting – Revoke BC(A)R S.I.9!

by Bregs Blog admin team

RIAI EGM

 

In a fortnight’s time, on the 12th August 2014, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) will host an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to debate a resolution calling for the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations introduced in March of this year to be scrapped and replaced with a system which better protects the consumer.

The call for this EGM seems to stem from RIAI members’ frustration with trying to implement the new legislation which to most construction industry observers is not fit for purpose (see detailed list of problems in the resolution below). As one of those calling for the EGM stated, “Architects are not afraid to take responsibility for their own work but how the hell can we be expected to take responsibility for pyrite in hardcore from a dodgy quarry or a faulty factory-manufactured component in a central heating boiler?”

The case for supporting the regulations has not been helped by a recent radio interview with Tom Parlon of the Construction Industry Federation who claimed that Engineers, Building Surveyors and Architects, who act in the new role of Assigned Certifiers, would have to take responsibility and “stand over” any bad workmanship by incompetent builders!

Over 500 architects at a previous RIAI EGM in October 2013  voted almost unanimously that official policy should be that S.I.80 (now S.I.9) was not in the interests of the consumer. These regulations were introduced so that home-buyers would have protection from cowboy developers and that tax payers would not be left to pick up the tab for another Priory Hall or pyrite failure. Neither has been achieved. Dissatisfaction remains high among architects that these concerns were not heeded and pursued more vigorously by the RIAI with the Government before the legislation was enacted. There is also anger that the Department of the Environment introduced exemptions from the legislation for Education and Health projects when faced with the same objections from these government departments.

Should the resolution be adopted, it remains to be seen if  the RIAI can achieve a better outcome with the newly installed Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D. Perhaps the fall off in commencements and the threat to jobs programme will now focus minds on finding a solution.

The EGM motion is as follows:

RESOLUTION

The undersigned Registered Members have requisitioned an Extraordinary General Meeting in accordance with Article 40 of the RIAI Articles of Association.

The EGM was requisitioned to address the following concerns in relation to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (S.I.9 of 2014) hereinafter called “the legislation”.

  • Inadequate protection for consumer and building owners in the legislation.
  • Inadequate resources for Building Control Authorities to monitor the legislation.
  • The Building Control Management System is not fully functioning, is not password protected and cannot guarantee security of data (copyright).
  • There is no Building Control Authority (BCA) Code of Practice resulting in individual BCA interpretations of the legislation.
  • The legislation places intolerable and potentially uninsurable levels of liability on the approved certifiers.
  • The majority of legal opinions advise against approved professionals taking on the roles of certifiers as defined by the legislation.
  • There is no Building Contract available that addresses the legislation.
  • The legislation is ambiguous in terms of the status of self-builders, a major component of work for rural-based members. There is no Inspection Schedule or Appointment Agreement available that addresses the role of certifiers under the legislation.
  • Restrictive aspects of public service appointments favour architects for lead certifier roles and may be subject to reversal.
  • No provision for retrospective compliance.
  • No provision for transition arrangements in regulations of conflicts in same
  • The regulations suggest additional exposure and /or delays to costs for owners and reduced protections for clients at completion stages
  • An adequate Regulatory Impact Assessment was not conducted prior to the legislation being introduced.
  • The legislation is proving almost impossible to implement in practice.

The purpose of the EGM is that the Registered Members debate and vote on the following Special Resolution to be adopted or rejected:

Resolution 1: 

For the reasons outlined above and in the interests of the registered members, the consumer and the wider construction industry, we the Registered Members, call for the RIAI Council to adopt as their first priority a policy to seek publicly the revocation of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations: S.I. 9 of 2014 and its replacement by a system which better protects the consumer and to actively reach out to other groups to seek support for that policy.

Link to petition to Minister for the Environment by 500 architects: 

Link to previous EGM report:

Link to Tom Parlon interview:

Will SI.9 create “Defensive specifications”?

by Bregs Blog admin team

Terrex_wheeled_armoured_personnel_carrier_Singapore_army_defence_industry_military_technology_640

In our previous post “A warning from a concerned Building Control Officer” we noted the procedure for design certifier.

All revisions to design or specification, such as changes to branded materials, must be uploaded in advance of commencement of that phase of work on-site. Such E-lodgments of any new or changed specification must be made to BCMS by the person certifying the design i.e. the Design Certifier. We also noted that many specifiers and architects may be unaware that the role of design certifier also has site exposure, requiring monitoring and input for the duration of a contract.

This has implications when it comes to partial service appointments, traditionally on speculative projects where the architect/ design certifier is not retained for construction phase. The design certifier will have exposure to any and all revisions to specifications made by owner-developers in this arrangement, and should apply caution to all specification changes. The Law Society recently suggested these type of part-service appointments would be a thing of the past.

Many commentators felt that the real hidden costs of SI.9 would be in “defensive specifications”. These are increased specification costs where designers would invariably become more conservative by using branded materials and products only. Some suggest the additional cost of this more conservative approach to building specification could be in the region of 5% of the construction cost of a project.

Other posts of interest:

A warning from a concerned Building Control Officer – click link here

RIAI CPD July 2014: Design Certifier in the Design Process- SI.9 – click link here

SI9- where do I start? – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.  – click link here

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

Specialist Certifier 4- COMPANY: Questions and Answers – click link here

4 tips for Design Certifiers… – click link here

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) – click link here

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

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

A warning from a concerned Building Control Officer

by Bregs Blog admin team

Warning-tape

Here is a thought-provoking article from Kingspan UK regarding the performance of a non-branded product.

Frequently contractors carry out “value engineer exercises” on projects wherein contractors request substitution of more cost-effective alternatives to those specified by designers- “or equal and approved”, e.g. using generic rather than branded products etc. In most cases the performance should be similar.

However, under SI.9 this process is set to change. All revisions to design or specification, such as changes to branded materials, must be uploaded in advance of commencement of that phase of work on-site. Such E-lodgments of any new or changed specification must be made to BCMS by the person certifying the design i.e. the Design Certifier.

This is a glitch in the BCMS as currently the only person with access to the Local Authority online system during the construction phase of a project (post commencement) is the Assigned Certifier.

Many specifiers and architects may be unaware that the role of design certifier also has site exposure, requiring monitoring and input for the duration of a contract.

The formal procedure involved now in value-engineering suggests specifiers will be reluctant to entertain specification changes post-commencement.

“A warning from a concerned Building Control Officer”- Kingspan Insulation BlogKingspan Insulation Blog link here

Extract off article:

__________

A warning from a concerned Building Control Officer

One of our technical team had a call from a concerned Building Control Officer who had just returned from a site inspection. Here’s the story…

During the site visit the Officer inspected a brick and block cavity wall. On plan the target U-value was 0.27 W/m2K – achieved using 50mm Kingspan Kooltherm K8 Cavity Board in a 100mm cavity with dense block inner, brick and plasterboard on dabs. What was actually constructed used a different insulation board with an inferior thermal performance (a worse lambda value) which achieved a U-value of just 0.29 W/m2K.

Clearly the client had been short-changed on the thermal performance, and it left the Building Control Officer with no option but to state that the wall had not been built to the designed specification.

What was most worrying is that the builder insisted that the insulation installed was the same as that specified. It clearly wasn’t as it didn’t carry the correct branding, but this can be a problem when a brand name like ‘Kingspan’ is used generically to cover or describe any rigid insulation board – a bit like ‘Hoover’ or ‘Sellotape’ is used to describe vacuum cleaners and, in the words of Blue Peter, ‘sticky-backed plastic’.

The advice given was that confirmed U-value calculations need to be gained for whatever was constructed and installed – either from the product brochures or from a bespoke calculation carried out according to the BBA/TIMSA Scheme for Calculation Competency Part 1 — U value and condensation Risk.

The moral of the story is that not all insulation is the same – it may look similar, but the performance can be very different.

Other posts of interest:

RIAI CPD July 2014: Design Certifier in the Design Process- SI.9 – click link here

SI9- where do I start? – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.  – click link here

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

Specialist Certifier 4- COMPANY: Questions and Answers – click link here

4 tips for Design Certifiers… – click link here

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) – click link here

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

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

125,000 Thanks to our Readers

by Bregs Blog admin team

thankyou_ArizonaThis past weekend the BRegs Blog reached 125,000 unique views, has published its 465th post, and has been nominated in the ‘Best Newcomer’ category of the Blog Awards Ireland 2014.

This post is a big thank you to those 125,000 viewers and to our email, Twitter and Facebook followers. Most of all it is a huge thank you to our many writers and contributors that have helped to make this Blog what it is. These contributions come from a unique collaboration of economists, politicians, solicitors, journalists, civil servants, building control officers, builders, building owners, surveyors, engineers, architectural technologists and architects.

The BRegs Blog has become the ‘must-go-to’ open source for information in relation to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations for anyone involved in the construction industry. It has stepped up to fill the gap.

Our favourite social media comment over the weekend was from a solicitor:

“That is great news [125,000 views] particularly for a Blog about (let’s face it) building control!”

While we continue to enjoy your support we will continue to blog and to welcome your comments and contributions.

Regards,

BRegs Blog Admin Team

blog_buttons_NOMINATED

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble!

by Bregs Blog admin team

bubble

 Are house prices susceptible to large jumps until the supply is fixed?

Ireland’s fascination with house ownership and prices seems to be continuing unabated if this week’s newspapers are anything to go by. Both the Sunday Independent and Sunday Business Post feature articles on how to solve the perceived housing crisis and property price bubble that has appeared in some urban areas most noticeably in Dublin.

Both articles identify a possible problem with a shortage of credit for insolvent developers who cannot get the funds to begin building. However the articles differ in the availability of “shovel-ready” house projects with the Independent claiming that Dublin has three year’s supply of sites with planning permission and the Sunday Business Post stating that permission for 46,000 units may be due within a year.

Earlier in the week both the Irish Times and Irish Examiner had pieces on “the bubble”.  Conor Pope in Thursday’s Irish Times wondered if it is “a sustainable recovery or another bubble waiting to pop?” Earlier this month we posted Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev’s take on this issue. He wrote about the possible factors behind Ireland’s recent robust growth in residential property prices and that the current upsurge may be a levelling-off of a previous over-correction in the market. In direct contrast to his theory, Tom Parlon of the Construction Industry Federation has been claiming since May this year that the housing market in Dublin will be susceptible to large house price jumps until the supply issue is resolved.

With the newspaper articles’ focus on finance there is no mention of the impact of the new Building Regulations on construction costs or on the programme for the delivery of new housing units. There is certainly no suggestion of a change in the way the Government should think about providing housing as proposed by Housing Agency Chief, John O’ Connor during the week. Mr. O’ Connor said that while supplying stock for families must be an immediate priority, there will be smaller households and a greater need for apartment dwellings in the future. He said: “55% of our new housing stock will be needed for single-person households, or two-person households.”

We will leave the last word to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny who is quoted in Friday’s Irish Examiner:

“I don’t accept there’s a bubble, but I do accept that prices are rising because of the law of supply and demand……..”

 

Link to Sunday Independent article:

Link to Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev’s Blog:

Link to RTE interview with  Housing Agency Chief, John O’ Connor:

Link to Construction Industry Federation statement:

Link to Irish Examiner article:

Link to Irish Times article: 

Note: we are unable to provide a link to the Sunday Business Post

BRegs Blog Admin Team

 

Other posts of interest:

Commencement figures- June 25th 2014 – click link here

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations – click link here

CIF: “extend inspections to stamp out shadow economy” – click link here

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey  – click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?  – click link here

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

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? – click link here

Self-Builders escalate to Europe: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

SI.9- Everything you wanted to know Part 3: ACRONYMS

by Bregs Blog admin team

acronyms-300

What is the terminology used in Building Control?

Your essential Building Control ( Amendment) Regulation what’s what. Don’t take our word for it go to source- here is a list of all acronyms frequently referred to in any discussion about the regulations. Where to find Part 1 lists off all frequently noted source documents also. Who’s who Part 2 also is listed at the bottom of the post also.

BUILDING CONTROL ACRONYMS

AC (or AsC) – Assigned Certifier

AC (or AnC) – Ancillary Certifier

ACEI – Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland

AsubC AsubsubC – Ancillary subCertifier and Ancillary subsubCertifier

BCA- Building Control Authority or Building Control Act

BCARs- Building Control (Amendment) Regulations

BCO – Building Control Officer

BCMS – Building Control Management System

BO- Building Owner

CIF- Construction Industry Federation

CIRI- Construction Industry Register Ireland

CN- Commencement Notice

CoP- Code of Practice

DAC- Disability Access Certificate

DC- Design Certificate or Design Certifier

DoE- Department of the Environment

EI- Engineers Ireland

FSC- Fire Safety Certificate

7DN- 7 Day Notice

INF- Inspection Notification Framework

LGMA – Local Government Management Agency

PIP- Preliminary Inspection Plan

RIAI- Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland

RIA- Regulatory Impact Assessment

SCSI- Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

TGD- Technical Guidance Document (TGD A-TGD M)

UBB- Undertaking by Builder

 

Other posts of interest:

SI.9- Everything you wanted to know Part 2: who’s who. – click link here

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

SI.9- where do I start? – click link here

Summary of Legal Posts- BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

For Practical Post Series 1-20 | BRegs Blog click here

BREG Blog Archive 1- November 2013 – click link her

BREG Blog Archive 2- December 2013  – click link here

10 steps to repairing your defective home under SI.9  – click link here

Hot topic: Architectural Technologists and SI.9  – click link here

3 must-read posts for employees  – click link here

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations – click link here

5 Posts every builder must read- BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now?  – click link here

 

 

Specialist Ancillary Certifiers, Template Inspection plan & form, 7 day notice

by Bregs Blog admin team

Heres a good informative post on specialist certifiers in case you missed it. Recent posters have suggested sub-contracting out the roles of design and assigned certifiers: this is a good place to start. Enjoy!

 

Help-by-LiminalMike

Specialist Ancillary Certifiers

For anyone who missed them we did a series of 4 question and answer posts with persons and a firm who are providing ancillary Certifier services to the industry. As with previous posts these standard questions are the ones a client or design team would ask of any potential specialist Certifier. We invited submissions from surveyors, engineers and architects who intend to provide separate specialist services for SI.9 to the construction industry. Many registered professionals are not happy to undertake the roles of Assigned or Design Certifier.

If you do not intend to undertake the roles of Design or Assigned Certifier these posts are very useful to assess fee proposals you will be getting in from other specialist sub-consultants.

We think these four posts are very practical information for practitioners and consumers alike regarding  anticipated duties and timescales, and consequent costs to design teams and clients of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). Click on the title for to read the post:

Templates: Inspection Form and Inspection Plan. The Bregs Blog also received correspondence along with a sample pdf inspection plan kindly prepared by a Chartered Surveyor for Blog readers- This is part 1 of a two part post. The second part has a sample Draft Inspection Form. Standardised templates and duties are pretty thin on the ground from the representative bodies so these are a useful base for practitioners to get their minds around what the roles involve, then what to base fee proposals on.

Seven Day Notice issues In a previous opinion piece a registered architect noted the pitfalls of using a 7 day notice: S.I. 9 and the 7-day notice – click link here Other posts on this topic: SI9- where do I start? – click link here Design Certifier – Can we leave it to the builder to sort out? – click link here Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.  – click link here 4 tips for assigned certifiers… – click link here Certifiers call for help! – click here 3 must-read posts for employees – click link here

BRegs Blog

Help-by-LiminalMikeSpecialist Ancillary Certifiers

For anyone who missed them we did a series of 4 question and answer posts with persons and a firm who are providing ancillary Certifier services to the industry. As with previous posts these standard questions are the ones a client or design team would ask of any potential specialist Certifier. We invited submissions from surveyors, engineers and architects who intend to provide separate specialist services for SI.9 to the construction industry.

Many registered professionals are not happy to undertake the roles of Assigned or Design Certifier. If you do not intend to undertake the roles of Design or Assigned Certifier these posts are very useful to assess fee proposals you will be getting in from other specialist sub-consultants.

We think these four posts are very practical information for practitioners and consumers alike regarding  anticipated duties and timescales, and consequent costs to design teams and clients of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). Click on the title for to…

View original post 216 more words

“The insurance will sort it out…”

by Bregs Blog admin team

commercial-umbrella-insurance-wide.v1287082464

“The insurance will sort it out”

Six words that you never want to hear. Something has gone wrong and it’s going to be expensive to fix. Everyone looks to the insurance companies.

What could go wrong?

On any job there will be a range of insurance policies to cover loss. The contractor has insurance to protect himself,  the supplier may have his own, the professional may have PII ( professional indemnity insurance).

The problem is that each party has insurance to protect HIMSELF. The owner/ client does not generally have a policy on the project.

So any loss, be it pyrite, an act of God, bad design or poor workmanship, can be very slow to resolve. Where there are multiple insurance companies a complex issues can take years and legal action to pay out.

Read the small print. The professional is there to advise that the right insurances are in place so that the owner is not left to bear the loss.

Here are a links to older press pieces from two years ago noting the reaction by some parts of the insurance industry to pyrite claims as they happened:

___________

Pyrite: There are ‘legal and moral responsibilities’

What is the cost of repairing pyrite-damaged homes?

Over 10,000 homes could harbour unidentified pyrite problems

http://www.thejournal.ie/pyrite-house-ireland-claim-524922-Jul2012/

Read: Pyrite bill to be introduced next week 

Column: ‘We’re watching our first house crumble before our eyes’

HomeBond ‘snub’ over pyrite ‘a matter of serious public concern’ – Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Parlon – The Last Word

by Bregs Blog admin team

Parlon

 

 

Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 6: The Final Word

This week as part of the Construction Annual Holidays 2014 (aka the Builders’ Holidays) we published a series of five posts on the liability of builders under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations S.I. 9. For this the final and sixth post we thought we would leave the last word to the Director General of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Tom Parlon. Parlon is a former Minister of State at the Department of Finance who had a special responsibility for the Office of Public Works.

On Wednesday 16th July 2014 Parlon was interviewed by Michael Reade on the Louth/Meath local radio station in relation to the CIF’s new Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI). The LMfm interview podcast may be accessed here (Link) and runs from the 34 to 45 minute points.

At the 40 minute point the presenter asked,

“What about the issue of somebody who joins the Register [CIRI], builds a house, maybe it’s full of pyrite or the ceiling falls in, and basically it turns out that even though the builder is on the Register he, she or they do a bad job – are there penalties for that individual that they must pay or that they must suffer for effectively, incompetence?

Tom Parlon replied,

“There are penalties already under the new building regulations, everything must be signed off by a competent Assignee, who can only be an architect, a building surveyor or an engineer, and in signing off ON BEHALF OF THE BUILDER (our emphasis), there are obligations there and they have to stand over those”

It must be reassuring for all those builders enjoying their annual holidays in the comfort that Parlon has looked after their interests so well by placing the blame and liability for any construction fault away from the builder and firmly onto the Assigned Certifiers.

 

The first post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 1

The second post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 2

The third post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 3

The fourth post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 4

The fifth post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 5

Builder’s Liability under S.I.9- part 5

by Bregs Blog admin team

5 building-blocks

The following opinion piece was submitted by a construction professional on June 10th 2014.

Builder’s Liability under S.I.9- part 5

Builders are reasonably well protected as regards their potential liability under the 2014 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. As the claims manager for a medium sized contracting company, I would find the situation generally satisfactory. However, contractors should be very careful at certain stages, as follows.

5. Main contractor acting as Assigned Certifier

Some architects are inserting clauses in the Preliminaries Bill of Quantities to require the contractor to act as Assigned Certifier. From the architect’s point of view, this has a lot to recommend it:-

  • Contractor must assemble necessary ancillary and commissioning certificates etc.
  • Timely submission of valid Completion Certificate becomes the contractor’s responsibility (and problem!)
  • Reduces, if not removes, architect’s liability around Practical Completion
  • Contractor (as Assigned Certifier) certifies entire construction.

It is difficult to see how to avoid this responsibility at tender stage without tendering contractors acting in a concerted manner and thus breaching Competition Law. The contractor needs to:

(a) price this workload and responsibility adequately. Given what we hear of RIAI members charging up to 5% of the build cost to act as AC, this gives an indication of the probable cost.

(b) Factor in a get-out clause. Do not submit a fixed price for acting as AC, and be able to charge more if the design and works scope changes.

The first post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 1

The second post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 2

The third post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 3

The fourth post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 4

 

Other posts of interest:

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) – click link here

Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts – click link here

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) – click link here

Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect) – click link here

We hope this information may be useful to professionals implementing the new building regulations. If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing these issues also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. We suggest professionals or contractors  contact their respective professional or representative bodies with concerns or queries.

 

Builder’s Liability under S.I.9- part 4

by Bregs Blog admin team

Builder 3

The following opinion piece was submitted by a construction professional on June 10th 2014.

BUILDER LIABILITY UNDER S.I.9- part 4

Builders are reasonably well protected as regards their potential liability under the 2014 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. As the claims manager for a medium sized contracting company, I would find the situation generally satisfactory. However, contractors should be very careful at certain stages, as follows.

4. Definition of “Practical Completion”

Under clause 31 of the RIAI contract the architect must certify when, in his opinion, the building is “Practically Complete”. This point of the architect’s “opinion” is being considered by some architects as a device to avoid certifying PC until the BCA have validated the Certificate of Completion. This is wrong. The contractor can rely on the definition of “Practical Completion” in clause 31. PC is defined as “the works having been carried to such a stage that they can be taken over and used by the Employer for their intended purpose”.

This definition says nothing at all about the BCA deciding on whether the certificate is valid! The definition is about the works, not about the papers. To minimise his exposure at this stage, the contractor must firmly point out to the architect that he is entitled to a PC certificate, and that if the architect fails to provide this, the architect will be exposed to claims. If the Assigned Certifier makes a mess of the documents to be lodged with the Completion Certificate, the contractor will be well advised to make sure this is the Assigned Certifier’s problem.

 

The first post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 1

The second post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 2

The third post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 3

 

Other posts of interest:

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) – click link here

Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts – click link here

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) – click link here

Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect) – click link here

We hope this information may be useful to professionals implementing the new building regulations. If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing these issues also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. We suggest professionals or contractors  contact their respective professional or representative bodies with concerns or queries.

 

Builder’s Liability under S.I.9- part 3

by Bregs Blog admin team

Builder 2

The following opinion piece was submitted by a construction professional on June 10th 2014.

BUILDER LIABILITY UNDER S.I.9- part 3

Builders are reasonably well protected as regards their potential liability under the 2014 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. As the claims manager for a medium sized contracting company, I would find the situation generally satisfactory. However, contractors should be very careful at certain stages, as follows.

3. Dangers around the Completion Certificate / Practical Completion stage of the contract

The contractor has potentially a huge problem at Practical Completion stage. Under S.I. 9, the Assigned Certifier must lodge his signed “Certificate of Completion” with the Building Control Authority (BCA) along with revised plans etc., before the building can be occupied or used. At this stage, the Assigned Certifier will probably require testing and commissioning certificates for FDA, lifts, emergency lighting, and performance certificates for doorsets, panic ironmongery and the like. This material is usually not available until Practical Completion under the building contract.

The BCA have several weeks to validate this material. The BCA may reject the material as invalid and require amended or additional material. Given the problems emerging with pyrite in Co. Louth, it is very likely that the BCA will want as much paper as they can get in order to minimise their own exposure “down the line”.

So (a) the building must be more or less Practically Complete; (b) the BCA have some weeks to accept the Completion Certificate or to reject it as invalid; (c) if they reject it, the project cannot be opened until the necessary additional or changed certificates are provided. This is likely to take weeks.

The contractor is then in a position of having finished the contract but may still be exposed to additional costs. If the architect refuses a Practical Completion certificate under clause 31, the contractor will be left in an open-ended situation of not being paid, of having to keep insurances in place and probably of maintaining a site presence.

The first post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 1

The second post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 2

 

Other posts of interest:

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) – click link here

Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts – click link here

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) – click link here

Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect) – click link here

We hope this information may be useful to professionals implementing the new building regulations. If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing these issues also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. 

We suggest professionals or contractors  contact their respective professional or representative bodies with concerns or queries.

 

Vivian Cummins MRIAI: Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

by Bregs Blog admin team

VC jpeg blog edit

The following opinion piece was submitted on July 16th 2014 by Vivian Cummins, architect in private practice and Eastern Region Member of the Council of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

There are three people employed at my architectural firm on the Kildare/Laois/Carlow county borders. At the moment the work load is made up almost entirely of private residential work. This is not a complaint as this work seems to be more profitable for us than most public sector projects and much more interesting from a design perspective than, for example, speculative commercial work. Over the years I have been fortunate to be able to negotiate reasonable lump sum fees (country clients hate percentages) that enable me to provide a high level of service to my clients. However professional fees for residential work undertaken by rural/registered/RIAI architects have a ceiling that is directly proportional to what the local draughtsman or woodwork teacher is charging for “doing up plans”. Someone who approached us recently to inquire if we would take on the role of Assigned Certifier for a self-build advised us that the drawings and documents for his grant of planning permission for a 4-bed detached house had been obtained for €500 (five hundred) “all in”. Unfortunately that amount would not even cover our VAT charges!

Accordingly there is very little wriggle room to manoeuvre our fees in any upward direction. Our overheads for PI insurance, CPD, Public and Employers Liability, Light and Heat, Practice membership, and printing cartridges…………. remain constant. Any additional legislation that we are obliged to comply with means we have to do more work for more or less the same money. This is becoming a real threat to our ability to sustain the level of service that I believe our clients need compared with what they can afford to pay us for the required labour.  In a recent overview of the regulations involved in the design and construction for an average dwelling prepared by Wexford-based RIAI architect, Zeno Winkens, 29 different stages of work were identified that must be completed:  (Link:)  Absorbing the additional labour costs of Health + Safety legislation and Part ‘L’ compliance to date was just about manageable. However the, as yet, unidentified cost implications of the additional administrative workload brought on by BC(A)R S.I. 9 may be the tipping point for many small rural practices (and urban) towards being unable to earn a basic livelihood.

It would have greatly assisted my job if the Government  had undertaken  to inform building owners of the rationale behind the new laws, their obligations under same and why they should be willing to pay more for the statutory professional services. As it is I am left to explain the whole thing (with great difficulty I might add). It is an instant turn-off for most clients who want to discuss exciting designs not design certifier expense. Inevitably the € 500 chap “doing up plans” looks like a more attractive option.

I have yet to turn a pre-BC(A)R fee proposal into a post BC(A)R one that will pay extra for the extra work. It is very upsetting to lose clients at a post-planning stage but I cannot afford to take on work at below cost or indeed at the minimum wage. For fee proposals after 1st March I have not automatically assumed the role of either the Design or Assigned Certifier. I have allowed for the possibility that these roles could be undertaken separately by being sub-contracted to  third parties at a considerably reduced rate than what I feel I could undertake the work for and by those who may have the necessary skills.  However this is not an ideal situation for every project and it is certainly not what was envisaged by those who supported the introduction of this legislation. I also wonder if there is any one individual in the entire country who has the required skills, competence, training, qualifications and experience to ‘design, specify and certify’ compliance with each of the Building Regulations from ‘A’ to ‘M’. Call me if you are out there!

I have had the huge privilege of sitting on the RIAI Council for the past six months and thereby having access to a lot of relevant S.I.9 information. This has amounted to a Masterclass in the new legislation even if opinions on Council vary widely. The recent RIAI ‘Peer’ review of BC(A)R documents is one such example. The concerns being raised in the industry about alternative interpretations of the legislation and documents is extremely confusing and worrying. I also know that the largest architectural practices in the country are struggling with the legal and insurance implications of the new legislation. For a small country practice to try and address these issues on its own has, I fear, become a bit of a shot in the dark and a form of ‘Rural Roulette’.

“Let’s hope we don’t all shoot ourselves in the foot!”

Vivian Cummins | Vivian Cummins + Associates | Levitstown Lock, Co. Kildare

Builder’s Liability under S.I.9- part 2

by Bregs Blog admin team

Builder 1

The following opinion piece was submitted by a construction professional on June 10th 2014.

BUILDER LIABILITY UNDER S.I.9- part 2

Builders are reasonably well protected as regards their potential liability under the 2014 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. As the claims manager for a medium sized contracting company, I would find the situation generally satisfactory. However, contractors should be very careful at certain stages, as follows.

2. How the builder should further reduce his legal exposure under S.I. 9?

The builder should take care that all design work is done and certified by the Design Certifier. Under the standard forms of private sector contract, the contractor has no contractual liability for design. The builder should avoid assuming any responsibility by getting the engineer and the architect to design everything. Then, the architect and engineer have to certify the design and the builder’s responsibility under S.I. 9 is reduced.

All contractors know that the engineer/architect can delay the contract if their design is slow to emerge. The contractor should ensure at the outset to claim under Clause 30 (g) for any delay due to failure of the architect to provide design information.

The first post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I.9 – Part 1

Other posts of interest:

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) – click link here

Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts – click link here

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) – click link here

Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect) – click link here

We hope this information may be useful to professionals implementing the new building regulations. If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing these issues also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. 

 

We suggest professionals or contractors  contact their respective professional or representative bodies with concerns or queries.

 

 

Practical post 22: Change of Owner

by Bregs Blog admin team

22

Practical Post 22: Change of Owner

If the ownership of a building changes during construction and prior to completion the regulations say that the NEW building owner must notify the Building Control Authority within 14 days.

What happens if they fail to do so? The previous owner will be recorded in the BCMS system, but the  Building Control Authority will not be able to prosecute him.

There is nothing to stop a cowboy developer ‘selling’ the site to a new owner (another company) before completion. The law does not require the ‘owner’ to sign the Completion Certificate so it will go unnoticed.

In a ‘Priory Hall’ scenario, there is no record of the new owner on the Building Control Register, so prosecution would be difficult.

Conveyancing solicitors will need to be very vigilant in the new system.

____________

Other Posts in this series:

Practical post 21: Variations – click link here

For Practical Post Series 1-20 – click 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 them 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. 

 

Builder’s Liability under S.I.9- part 1

by Bregs Blog admin team

858871-builder

The following opinion piece was submitted by a construction professional on June 10th 2014.

BUILDER LIABILITY UNDER S.I.9- part 1 

Builders are reasonably well protected as regards their potential liability under the 2014 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. As the claims manager for a medium sized contracting company, I would find the situation generally satisfactory. However, contractors should be very careful at certain stages, as follows.

1. How has the builder’s/contractor’s liability been limited under S.I 9?

Under the article 9 of the Building Regulations:- “Every works or building to which these Regulations apply shall be designed and constructed— (a) in accordance with the appropriate requirements set out in the Second Schedule, and (b) in such a manner as to avoid the breaching of any other requirement of that Schedule.

The builder has a statutory duty to build per the building regulations, no matter what instructions the engineer or architect may issue. Under S.I. 9 however, the builder does not need to certify that he has built in accordance with the building regulations. The actual text of the “Certificate on Completion” reads:-

I certify, having exercised reasonable skill, care and diligence, that the building or works as completed has been constructed in accordance with the plans, calculations, specifications, ancillary certificates and particulars as certified under the Form of Certificate of Compliance (Design) and listed in the schedule to the Commencement/7-Day Notice relevant to the above building or works…..

Reliant on the foregoing, I certify that the works are in compliance with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations insofar as they apply to the building or works concerned.

So the builder certifies that he is relying on the documents which the Design Certifier has lodged. The Design Certifier “carries the can”. The CIF negotiators have done a good job in depositing the liability for compliance with the Building Regulations firmly onto the architects and engineers.

Other posts of interest:

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) –  click link here

Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here

Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here

Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) – click link here

Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts – click link here

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) – click link here

Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect) – click link here

We hope this information may be useful to professionals implementing the new building regulations. If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing these issues also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. We suggest professionals or contractors  contact their respective professional or representative bodies with concerns or queries.

 

Architectural Technologists: Are you on the right bus?

by Bregs Blog admin team

                                                                       CIAT Bus

 It appears as if the prospect of a Register for Architectural Technologists may be a bit like Dublin Bus. You wait ages for one and then two come along together!

On Thursday 17th July 2014 a meeting was held at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) to discuss the registration of Architectural Technologists in Ireland. The issue appears to have gained a certain momentum lately in view of the omission of Architectural Technologists from the list of approved professionals who may act as assigned Certifiers under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations and the fact that there is now a degree of competition between the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) as to who will operate any future register(s).

At the meeting the DECLG was represented by Martin Vaughan and Aidan O’ Connor of its Architecture and Building Standards section. The CIAT was represented by Francesca Berriman (CEO), Colin Orr, Martin Meehan, Diane Dale, James Banks and Tara Page. The RIAI was represented by John Graby (CEO), Margaret Hynds O’Flanagan, Darren Bergin and Joe Byrne.

We have been advised that on Friday 18th July 2014 the CIAT issued the following advice note of the above meeting to its members:

Dear Member

Architectural Technologists’ Register meeting update

Following a meeting with Aidan O’Connor and Martin Vaughan at the DECLG, which was also attended by representatives of the RIAI, I would confirm the following:

  • Minister Kelly has not yet been briefed (he had been in post less than one-week)
  • The commitment to develop Architectural Technologists’ Registers is supported by the Minister (this would be ongoing with the new Minister) and Department
  • There could be two Registers (CIAT’s and RIAI’s)
  • CIAT made clear our position that our Register would hold competent Architectural Technologists in relation to the intention of acting as an Assigned Certify (sic) and Design Certifier
  • John Graby, RIAI Director General said that he could make no such statement
  • CIAT would be working with the various stakeholders across Ireland to gain support for a Statutory Register
  • Any potential Statutory Register would need to be supported by primary legislation
  • This is separate to the inclusion in the S.I.09 of 2014 the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations in relation to certification; the Minister can include the Register without the need for additional primary legislation.

CIAT is to launch its Voluntary Register before the end of July.CIAT is to start liaising with the necessary stakeholders in preparation of a Statutory Register for Architectural Technologists. Those on the Statutory Register for Architectural Technologists established by CIAT will be competent to lead projects of all sizes from conception through to completion AND act as the Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier – we will continue to work with the Minister, Department and stakeholders in this regard.

At the time of writing we are not aware of any statement being issued by the DECLG or by the RIAI to its Architectural Technologist members in relation to the above meeting. We asked the RIAI to provide a statement prior to publication but this has not been forthcoming at this time.

What is the difference between BC(A)R compliance and BRegs compliance?

by Bregs Blog admin team

FRsi screengrab for BregsForum

 

The following opinion piece was received by the BRegs Blog on 17th July 2014. Simon McGuinness is an architect in private practice in Dublin, a certified passive house designer and a part-time lecturer in DIT. Follow him on twitter @PassiveLogical.

What is the difference between BC(A)R compliance and BRegs compliance?

Building Control Regulations compliance is the public process by which liability for non-compliance with Building Regulations is recorded; Building Regulations compliance is the professional process by which designers of buildings avoid that liability by proving that they have complied.

Why is the focus of professional bodies solely on the former when it is inevitably the latter that will end their members up in court?

The Building Control Act 1990 lays down the penalties for a breech of each subsequent regulation issued, including both BCAR and BRegs. The tariff following conviction on indictment for a serious breech of the Building Regulations could extend to a fine of €12,600, 2 years imprisonment and/or being banned from signing certificates of compliance for 10 years.  Compare this to the penalty for a breech of the BC(A)R procedure, which might, on summary conviction, warrant a fine not exceeding £800.

Where would a risk assessor advise you to focus your attention: BC(A)R or BRegs?

Architects, Surveyors and Engineers are wrongly focused on the mechanics of compliance with BCAR (S.I. 9 of 2014): when documents need to be lodged, how to upload them, who should sign what piece of paper, etc.  Professional bodies are spending endless hours in continuing professional development (CPD) to up-skill members in the clerical document management processes of BCAR, and, in some cases, misleadingly describing it as Building Regulations Compliance training. Private educational providers are also alert to the opportunities for selling similar CPD. But none of it is actually BRegs compliance training, it is simply explaining the procedural process by which BCAR establishes liability for non-compliance with Building Regulations.  Those most skilled in BC(A)R, under the current CPD offerings, will be able to flawlessly establish their own liability for design failures by following the BC(A)R process correctly.  Through this, they could facilitate their being ‘hoist on their own petard’ at some future date.

Professionals in the  Architectural, Engineering and Design (AEC) industry need to focus more on how to prove their designs comply with Building Regulations, and less on how they negotiate the BC(A)R system of establishing liability for design failures.  The former will keep them out of court, the latter merely assists those who are most likely to want to prosecute them, should anything go wrong.

AEC professionals are unlikely to find them selves defending failures of process in the circuit court – the BCMS system will spit back the documents until they are correctly lodged – but they are very likely to find themselves justifying their designs to a court as a result of a design failure resulting from, for example, mould growth within a dwelling.

In the case of mould growth, there is only one way to show compliance with Part L, 2011: prove, by numerical calculation, that an fRsi of 0.75 (or 0.70 for ground floor junctions) has been achieved.  If this calculation cannot be produced for the court, your design is non-compliant.  Period.  If the constructed building varies from the design assessed by the numerical calculation, then the construction is non-compliant.  Period.

The only possible ‘deemed to satisfy’ provision for surface temperature applies to a series of standard details (ACDs) which have been produced by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.  If any detail in your house or apartment falls outside of the very tight parameters for use of the ACDs, you must produce a numeric calculation undertaken by a member of the NSAI scheme proscribed.

It is instructive to examine the limitations on the use of ACDs.  If your roof u-value is better than 0.11 W/m2K, you cannot use any of the ACDs to prove fRsi compliance.  If your wall u-value is better than 0.12 W/m2K, you can’t use any of the wall details.  If your floor u-value is worse than 0.18 W/m2K, you can’t use the ACDs. If your design contains a bay window, an uncertified window, a cantilevered balcony, a rooflight or a threshold you are outside of the ‘deemed to satisfy’ environment.  In the event of mould appearing in that part of the building, you will be required to produce a numeric calculation for the court or your design will be deemed to have failed to comply with Part L of the Building Regulations, 2011.

The TGDs stipulate that that numerical calculation can only be produced by an NSAI approved Thermal Modeller using NSAI approved 3D thermal bridge modelling software.  Few AEC professionals have ever heard of a Thermal Modeller, let alone know what they do.  This ignorance is a measure of their legal exposure when certifying design compliance, even for buildings as simple as house extensions.

As an AEC professional, you must decide where to spend your compliance training budget: on BC(A)R or on BRegs, on following procedural rules (FETAC level 5) or on mitigating professional design risk (FETAC level 9).  Only one of these is likely to effect your insurance premium and, with it, your ability to practice your chosen profession.  Level 5 CPD is easy to deliver, level 9 CPD is an entirely different proposition.

Caveat emptor.

Simon McGuinness, MRIAI.

 

 

Opinion piece: new building regulations and materials risk analysis

by Bregs Blog admin team

ScreenshotOberfläche_WUFIPLus_Passive-GROSS-1

In the following blog post by Joseph Little Architects on 20th june 2014, the impact of the new building regulations and risk analysis on certain forms of construction are explored.

Click original link here

What forms of construction are of sufficient risk that assessment using WUFI is needed

The recently strengthened Building Control Regulations – under S.I. 9 (2014) & ancillary instruments – have highlighted the fact that the Architect and Design Certifier (DC) need to take greater responsibility for the specification of all apects of the construction works (be they new build or retrofit). Clearly some proposed wall, roof and floor buildups have greater hygrothermal risks than others, as do some climates and exposure levels, etc. Those risks need to be evaluated and sober careful judgments formed by experts who are competent, trained users of the relevant type of evaluation tools (underpinned by a good knowledge of building physics) and experience of construction systems and practice. That may be the architect him or herself or an external provider. The architect can then use such reports to influence and support their overall specification and the DC can use it to underpin the relecant aspects of the design certification.  The following are constructions that we understand should only be given desktop hygrothermal risk evaluation using WUFI or Delphin numerical software (under IS EN 15026) not Glaser Method software (under IS EN ISO 13788). The list is not exhaustive:

SOLID WALL & INTERNAL WALL INSULATION

Any buildups where capillary action can deliver liquid water from driving rain deep into a construction such as a solid masonry wall, even more so internally insulated solid walls, and even more again for internally insulated solid walls that have an outer surface that is highly absorptive, such as brick.

Note 1: where the vapour pressure at the centre of the wall is greater than that within the room the presence of a vapour barrier can result in greater mould and freeze-heave risk, as it will reduce the solid wall’s ability to dry to the room (as it did before the retrofit).

Note 2: the water absorption characteristics of the outer surface (known as the a-value) of one wall compared to another can vary by as much as 500 times, a range of 30 between common renders and bricks is usual. That is an extraordinary range for a key characteristic that is seldom discussed or measured in the UK.

GAPS AND CRACKS

Any buildups where vapour convection (through gaps and cracks) can be significant (such as a ceiling where insulation is laid on flat as described in IP 5/06), and systems where airtightness and thermal bypass is not clearly addressed (such as insulation on dabs on masonry, or light gauge steel frame constructions) – regardless of whether the insulation and other layers are considered to be of low hygrothermal vulnerability or not.

Note 1: This is because vapour convection can deliver as much as a hundred times more moisture than will occur through diffusion: in buildings where extract ventilation may be compromised and moisture loads high there is particular vulnerability. While WUFI Pro is not a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software it can model the moisture impacts of different levels of airtightness.

Note 2: An example of a buildup that would appear to have low hygrothermal vulnerability is a rendered cavity wall with unfilled cavity and wet plastered internal finish).

EXPOSURE DUE TO LOCATION OR HEIGHT

Most constructions in areas of greater driving rain (shown as Zones 3 and 4 in in BR 262).

Note: Table 1 of BR 262 gives a very good sense of how hygrothermal risks increase for cavity walls depending on the outer surface, the width of cavity, the location and type of insulation and the width of cavity. The study pre-dates computer simulation and is based on the experience of building control officers over many years. It corresponds closely to results using hygrothermal numerical simulation under BS EN 15026. The Table should be reviewed in assessing which constructions may be considered ‘at risk’.

Most constructions experiencing locally exposed conditions such as the upper floors of tower blocks. WUFI Pro can model the impact of increased wind speeds at height.

POTENTIAL IMPACT OF DRIVING RAIN PENETRATION BEHIND A LAYER OF COMPONENT

Where there is a clear potential that gaps could be present or open up in the outer layer of a component allowing driving rain to penetrate behind. A resilient buildup is one that can successfully withstand likely levels of imperfect construction and water penetration and dry out after. Some constructions will prove to be sufficiently resilient when assessed, others could show failure.

Note 1: There is a large body of case studies from the US, Canada and Sweden of failure of EPS EWI on timber frame: these failures occurred only after water penetration: the buildup may have been hygrothermally acceptable up to the point that water penetrated behind the EWI depositing water on the hygroscopic racking board, timber studs or base plates, then everything changed. It is the worst case that should be evaluated, not the best.

Note 2: WUFI Pro can model the impacts of different levels of water penetration: ASHRAE 160 states that simulating the impact of 1% driving rain penetration behind the outer layer of ther assembly is enough.

SPRAY FOAMS

The retrofit of open- or closed-cell spray foam onto a pitched roof of what had been a ‘cold attic’ (i.e. a ventilated attic where some level of insulation is still present on its floor). Based on simulation and site testing we have carried out we are aware that the timbers of north facing roofs can be quite vulnerable.

Note 1: As a general principle insulation should only every be located on one plane, it should be continuous, air should not be allowed pass between insulation layers and the air and vapour control layer (AVCL) should be on or near to the warm side of the insulation.

Note 2: It has become common practice for spray foam to be sprayed on the pitch between rafters, sometimes onto 50mm deep vent spacers isolating it from the original sarking felt, sometimes not (there are BBA certs showing both conditions). An AVCL is generally not used on the attic side of the spray foam despite the fact that it is exceptionallyvapour open. The continuity of an AVCL at ceiling level is depended upon despite their widespread absence in reality and the guidance of IP 5/06.

Note 3: The resulting condition is actually exceptionally complex hygrothermally because a third climate is created between the internal and external climates. Due to the difference in area of the surface that gains heat and moisture from below (i.e. the ceiling) compared to the surfaces that loses heat to the external climate above (i.e. the two sides of the pitched roof)) WUFI Pro, 2D and Plus must all be used together to estimate the impact and acceptability of such a fast and cheaply installed buildup.

GREEN ROOFS

Flat roofs with ‘cold deck’ buildups are quite reliant on reverse diffusion to evaporate any inter-stitial condensation that has formed and drive it away from the vulnerable roof deck. (Reverse diffusion generally occurs when external surface temperatures are higher than internal ambient temperatures.) This allows decks to last many years longer than they might otherwise. The soil/medium and planting of green roofs isolate the roof structure from the sun’s radiant heat thereby weakening the valuable impact of reverse diffusion. As Ireland also has higher levels of ambient relative humidity and lower standards of construction than Germany (the country where many green roof systems come from) Irish architects and DC should act with care when specifying  or certifying green roofs: risks are elevated.

Information about WUFI

Visit http://www.wufi.ie/architecture/wufi for more information on hygrothermal risk evaluation, on training or purchasing the software, and on the risk evaluation service that Building Life Consultancy offers. You can also call Joseph Little at 01-8746573.

Date

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ireland v Spain: Property Markets Signal Fundamentals-Linked Growth Potential

by Bregs Blog admin team

shopping-channels

 

Here on the BRegs Blog we are big fans Dr Constantin Gurdgiev’s blog “True Economics”- click blog here. In the following post he examines possible factors behind Ireland’s recent robust growth in residential property prices. Two factors indicate that recent growth is not a result of either current government policy to stimulate the construction sector or potential “bubble” dynamics. Although not directly related to BC(A)R S.I.9, upsurges in values can incorrectly be quoted as proof of successful government stimulus policies.

Rather the current upsurge may be a leveling-off of a previous over-correction in the market. To illustrate the point he compares Ireland’s property market to that of Spain.

Link to blog here:  http://trueeconomics.blogspot.ie/2014/07/1372014-ireland-v-spain-property.html

___________

Extract:

13/7/2014: Ireland v Spain: Property Markets Signal Fundamentals-Linked Growth Potential

Two charts showing why Ireland can expect more robust correction in the property prices post-crisis trough:

First, investment in new construction:

investment in construction

The above shows that Irish construction investment dropped more significantly than in the case of (relatively comparable) Spain. This implies that we have been facing longer and deeper reductions in new stock additions than Spain, implying greater pressures on new supply.

Second, House Price to Income ratios (ignore caption):

house price income

Irish property prices have fallen more relative to income than Spanish prices. Which implies that penned up demand is greater in Ireland.

So there you have it, two (not all, of course) fundamentals driving prices recovery up in Ireland and both have little to do with the potential bubble dynamics.

Note: above charts are from IMF’s Article IV Consultation Paper for Spain.

Other posts of interest:

Commencement figures- June 25th 2014 – click link here

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis – click link here

Commencement notices- Building Register @ 17th June 2014 – click link here

Press: Construction and property bouncing back as jobs surge – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – click link here

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

 

SI.9- Everything you wanted to know Part 2: WHO’S WHO.

by Bregs Blog admin team

who_s_on_first

Who are the stakeholders in Building Control?

Your essential ‘who’s who?’ of the Building Control ( Amendment) Regulations. Do not take our word for it go to source. Here is a list of all relevant bodies and organisations frequently referred to in any discussion about the regulations. There is a link below to the Part 1 of this ‘Who’s Who?’ series.

Click on the link after each title to get to the relevant site:

The Government:

Minister of the Environment, Community & Local Government (DECLG), Alan Kelly T.D. – click link here.

Building Control Authorities:

There are 34 City and County Councils. For list click here.

The construction professionals:

There are three registered professionals allowed to certify-

  • Engineers Ireland chartered engineers, click link here.
  • SCSI registered building surveyors, click link here (not quantity surveyors).
  • RIAI architects, click link here.

Other professionals involved in construction include architectural technologists, project managers, quantity surveyors, fire safety engineers, access consultants etc.

The Contractors:

The builders, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. The representative body is the CIF http://cif.ie/

The suppliers, manufacturers and importers of building materials.

The Building Owners:

The ‘consumer’ is represented by the Consumer Agency, click link here.

The Insurance Industry who provide insurance to builders, professionals and building owners.

The Legal Professionals, represented by the Law Society, click link here.

Other posts of interest:

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

SI.9- where do I start? – click link here

Summary of Legal Posts- BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

For Practical Post Series 1-20 | BRegs Blog click here

BREG Blog Archive 1- November 2013 – click link her

BREG Blog Archive 2- December 2013  – click link here

10 steps to repairing your defective home under SI.9  – click link here

Hot topic: Architectural Technologists and SI.9  – click link here

3 must-read posts for employees  – click link here

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations – click link here

5 Posts every builder must read- BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now?  – click link here

 

Dáil: CIAT & RIAI- 2 Architectural Technologist Registers

by Bregs Blog admin team

We believe the department met with organisations representing ARchitectural Technologists yesterday (CIAT and RIAI) to progress the establishment of an independent register for ARchitectural Technologists. We will post details of this meeting shortly.

BRegs Blog

20110520-2-pillars-bucksome-boomer

In the Dáil this week the Minister stated he may be placing two new Architectural Technologist registers on a statutory footing following receipt of proposals recently.

In response to questions from Claire Daly TD and Jim Daly TD on the status of Architectural Technologists under SI.9, Minister Phil Hogan confirmed he would be meeting with both CIAT and the representative body for architects (RIAI) in July 2014 concerning separate registers for Architectural Technologists for the new building regulations. Link to Dáil exchange here.

Extract as follows:

_______

Written answers, Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government- Architectural Qualifications

Clare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)

301. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he will respond positively and promptly to the proposal to operate a voluntary register for architectural technologists in Ireland with a view to it becoming statutory subject to ministerial…

View original post 344 more words

Press: Shocking CSO figures detail startling slump in building sector

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following article in the Westmeath Examiner on 14th July 2014 illustrates the two-tier construction sector recovery previously commented on in Breg Blog. In “Shocking CSO figures detail startling slump in building sector” – Westmeath Examiner, recent figures from the Central Statistics Office for Westmeath are discussed. See full article here.

Extract to follow:

______

Shocking CSO figures detail startling slump in building sector

by John Madden, engineer (pictured), Monday, 14th July

The way the startling slump in Ireland’s building trade has manifested itself in Westmeath is displayed clearly in figures released recently by the Central Statistics Office.

The figures show that in the first quarter of 2014, planning permission for just 20 houses was granted in Westmeath – all of them one-off dwellings.

Even more strikingly, just 66 housing estate houses have been granted permission in the six and a half years since the end of 2006.

By contrast, when the Celtic Tiger was at its peak, the number of permits granted for houses in Westmeath reached four-digit levels.

The fall is dramatic when set against the peak figures. For example, in the final quarter of 2005, permission for some 739 houses was granted; in the final quarter of 2005, permission for 7111 houses was granted.

In fact, in the whole of 2005, the number of houses granted permission amounted to 1,497 – and permission was also granted for the construction of 871 flats or apartments.

Over the 12 months of 2004, permission for 1,449 houses was granted, together with permission for 569 flats/apartments.

However, the figures show that in the final quarter of 2013, just seven houses were approved for construction by the council – and in the entire 12 months of 2013, permission was granted for just 73 houses in Westmeath, together with seven flats/apartments.

Engineer John Madden, of John Madden and Associates, confirms that firms such as his, in the business of preparing house plans and submitting applications for clients, have seen a massive slump since the peak.

However, the introduction earlier this year of new planning regulations means that there is something of a mini-boom going on in the construction sector.

“A lot of people put in their commencement notices before the end of March, so that kicked off a bit of a building boom,” he says.

In the last few weeks, he has had a number of clients approach him with a view to having him draw up plans for one-off houses.

“But not one of them has been sitting opposite me,” he declares, explaining that the clients are in good jobs in Australia or Canada or elsewhere, and sending family members in to start the ball rolling for them.
Another trend he has noticed is that a lot of foreign-born workers are buying houses in estates here.

“They’re from all over the world,” says John, explaining that mostly, they are in the market for family homes to live in.
That said, eh recently had an enquiry from an investor in Australia – not Irish – interested in having two houses here surveyed, as he saw potential in the Irish rental market.

Floor size

The CSO figures also show that while the house numbers are well down, the average floor area per house has shot upwards – due, most likely, to the fact that practically all the houses granted permission going right back as far as 2008 have been one-off houses.

Back in 2001, the typical one-off house squared up at between 182 and 188 square metres. That began creeping up gradually from 2002, and increasing on a more or less consistent basis right through the mid 2000s until, by 2008, one-off houses ranged, on average, from 275 to about 288 square metres in size.

In 2013, those one-off sizes were back somewhat, ranging from an average of 217 square metres to 291 ssquare metres.

An increased taste for innovation in design, and for something other than the old style “bungalow bliss” type houses, fuelled a lot of the growth in house sizes, says John, adding that increased energy efficiency construction made it feasible to build larger house.

Other posts of interest:

Construction Recovery- watch this space. – click link here

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop – click link here

Taoiseach: get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’- click link here

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

Eoin O’Cofaigh: missed opportunity? BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

Opportunity-is-missed-by-most

Having identified that these new building regulations will bring “peace of mind” to nobody, your correspondent Mr. Michael Finan writes (Irish Times letters to Editor on 7th March) that “It is surprising that any professional institute would be prepared to back this regulation”.

Indeed.

The RIAI Council agreed unanimously last January that “self-certification (such as the regulations provide for) will not adequately protect the consumer” for whom the Government introduced these regulations in the first place. No backing there! This position is close to that of the National Consumer Association, who in their submission on the draft regulations said that independent inspections were needed; as, indeed, did the report of the Government’s own Pyrites Panel, who wrote the same thing.

The building regulations which came into law last week create a huge structure under which the construction industry regulates itself, by getting the architect to certify that everybody else has done their work properly. Now who, with the most rudimentary understanding of human nature, could imagine that a system which allows X to dump responsibility for what they do onto some other private person, will result in that same X carrying out their work better?

The new regulations do bring winners and losers.

The winners? Contractors and subcontractors, who are distanced from liability for their own work, this being covered by the “Assigned Certifier”; lawyers, who are circling the regulations in happy anticipation of future growth in litigation; and the Government, who gain plaudits for, as they tell us, “sorting out the Priory Hall mess” and for some tough talking about construction sector cowboys.

The losers are a rather wider category. They include the self-builders who, notwithstanding Ministerial promises, will be compelled to employ registered builders if they want to borrow to build or to sell their houses. They also include businesses saddled unnecessarily with increased compliance costs in what international surveys identify as already one of the least competitive construction regulation systems in the developed world; architectural technologists, whose livelihood has been largely closed down; and large numbers of architects, lumbered with liability for certifying other peoples’ work, for an hourly recompense in the region of the national minimum wage. But the biggest loser by far is the Irish people, who have once again been sold a building regulations pup.

A proper system of independent inspectors of construction design and execution was and remains possible. Analogous to company auditors, such a system would be at no cost to the public purse. It would “tick all the boxes” for people taking responsibility for their own work, leading to better building.

Such a system can be seen in operation on the adjoining island, anywhere east of Holyhead. No Priory Hall or pyrites problems there.

The new building regulations spawn mounds of paper and digital information. They distance the local authorities from any duty of inspection. They continue with self-certification in a sector of industry which, of all sectors, needs the most stringent public inspection.

The regulations do nothing to prevent another Priory Hall or pyrites disaster. They will not prevent a future Minister having to again dig into the public pocket to underwrite the next round of repairs to distressed homeowners’ dwellings. They are a huge missed opportunity, from a Government who knew the proper solution and who ignored it.

The above letter to the editor (Irish Times) was submitted on 16th March 2014 by Eoin O’Cofaigh RIAI President, 1998-1999


 

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations

by Bregs Blog admin team

In case you missed it here’s a very popular post from earlier on in July. Enjoy!

BRegs Blog

property-development

The following opinion piece was written by Breg Blog Team and is based on submissions on 1st July 2014 by an architect and others who are involved in the speculative build-for-sale sector.

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations

  • Assigned Certifier employees: Under SI.9 an Assigned Certifier can be employed directly by the developer as an employee. This can be an engineer/ surveyor/ architect from anywhere who registers in Ireland for the duration of the project. In one case a registered professional engineer is being indemnified by his employer, a development company, against future claims. A developer can indemnify the Assigned Certifier under his own current Professional Indemnity Insurance policy (which can be stopped at the end of the project). Effectively, the Certifier is a ‘man of straw’ against whom there is no redress. In the event of a claim post-completion by a homebuyer if the Assigned Certifier has no Professional Indemnity Insurance there…

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Specialist Ancillary Certifiers, Template Inspection plan & form, 7 day notice

by Bregs Blog admin team

Help-by-LiminalMike

Posted by Bregs Blog on 17th July 2014

Templates: Inspection Form and Inspection Plan.

The Bregs Blog received correspondence along with a sample pdf inspection plan kindly prepared by a Chartered Surveyor for Blog readers- This is part 1 of a two part post. The second part has a sample Draft Inspection Form. Standardised templates and duties are pretty thin on the ground from the representative bodies so these are a useful base for practitioners to get their minds around what the roles involve, then what to base fee proposals on. For reader’s convenience both are listed here:

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Plan

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Form

Seven Day Notice issues

In a previous opinion piece a registered architect noted the pitfalls of using a 7 day notice:

S.I. 9 and the 7-day notice 

Specialist Ancillary Certifiers

For anyone who missed them we did a series of 4 question and answer posts with persons and a firm who are providing ancillary Certifier services to the industry. As with previous posts these standard questions are the ones a client or design team would ask of any potential specialist Certifier. We invited submissions from surveyors, engineers and architects who intend to provide separate specialist services for SI.9 to the construction industry.

Many registered professionals are not happy to undertake the roles of Assigned or Design Certifier. If you do not intend to undertake the roles of Design or Assigned Certifier these posts are very useful to assess fee proposals you will be getting in from other specialist sub-consultants.

We think these four posts are very practical information for practitioners and consumers alike regarding  anticipated duties and timescales, and consequent costs to design teams and clients of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014). Click on the title for to read the post:

Other posts on this topic:

SI9- where do I start?

Design Certifier – Can we leave it to the builder to sort out?

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9?

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier?

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.9  

4 tips for assigned certifiers…

Certifiers call for help!

3 must-read posts for employees

Priory Hall: There is some light at the end of the tunnel

by Bregs Blog admin team

StephanieMeehan_large

In the following article “Priory Hall: There is some light at the end of the tunnel” By Caroline O’Doherty in the Irish Examiner on July 15th, Stephanie Meehan looks forward to moving this month into a new home after the personal devastation wreaked by her experience as  Priory Hall resident. Quote:

“It will be difficult but Stephanie is determined to look forward. “Fiachra wasn’t given a chance but I’ve been given another chance,” she says of the house that will become her long-awaited permanent home…

That it took one family’s tragedy to get action remains a painful issue for the residents. “Unfortunately it was a turning point and the catalyst was Stephanie,” says residents’ spokesman throughout the crisis, Graham Usher…”

For full article click here

Extract:

______

Priory Hall: There is some light at the end of the tunnel By Caroline O’Doherty, Irish Examiner,  July 15th

Stephanie Meehan is moving into a new home following the Priory Hall debacle, but not all former residents have made a fresh start, Caroline O’Doherty reports

THIS could be the hardest time of the year for Stephanie Meehan but somehow she’s managing to see it as a fresh start.

On July 31 she and her two young children move into their new home and she can’t wait to put the key in the door.

But before she gets there, the woman whose heartbreak came to epitomise the personal devastation wreaked by Priory Hall must first face the anniversary of the death of her partner, Fiachra Daly, who took his own life on July 15 last year, and deal with the knowledge that he never got to see his family’s plight resolved.

It will be difficult but Stephanie is determined to look forward. “Fiachra wasn’t given a chance but I’ve been given another chance,” she says of the house that will become her long-awaited permanent home,.

“It’s local. It’s only about five minutes away from where we are now, it’s five minutes from Priory Hall and it’s 10 minutes from my parents, so it’s absolutely perfect and I can’t wait.

“That’s our good news and with Fiachra’s anniversary on the 15th, it feels it’s kind of the start of a new year. I kind of feel that there is some light at the end of the tunnel and we can close the door and just live quietly and happily.”

Eighty-nine other Priory Hall apartment owners are working towards that same modest, but to them precious, goal. After their evacuation from the firetrap complex in north Dublin in October 2011, they lived with constant uncertainty, battling banks demanding mortgage payments for homes they could not live in, fighting Dublin City Council for the provision of temporary accommodation and pleading for help from a government that displayed cold indifference.

The breakthrough came when Stephanie, still raw with grief, put pen to paper last August and told Taoiseach Enda Kenny of the stress that finally proved too much for Fiachra to bear.

Within weeks meetings had been convened between the residents, the banks and the council and a plan was being drawn up that would see the council take over the complex, the 90 owner-occupiers have their mortgages written off and 27 buy-to-let owners have their repayments frozen for two years to allow the apartments be extensively refurbished.

That it took one family’s tragedy to get action remains a painful issue for the residents. “Unfortunately it was a turning point and the catalyst was Stephanie,” says residents’ spokesman throughout the crisis, Graham Usher.

“There’s no point in saying otherwise. That is what seemed to focus attention on it and got things moving. I think it’s an absolute tragedy and it shouldn’t have to come to that.”

The plan is still being worked through and there are legalities to be finalised, but around 15 former residents have bought new homes since the deal was struck and others are in the process of buying.

Not everyone has been able to avail of the new mortgage on offer as the Priory Hall scandal broke just as the economy plummeted but part of the deal was that social or affordable housing options would also be provided.

But new obstacles arose in the form of soaring demand for property and rocketing house prices.

“Myself and my wife are looking for a house and at times there’s a sense of deja vu,” says Graham. “It’s like it was when we were looking before we bought Priory Hall in 2006 — you can go out to view a house and there may be 30 or 40 other people viewing the place as well.”

As he speaks, he’s standing on the balcony of the “temporary” accommodation where he has lived for more than two years, with the view taking in Priory Hall, now surrounded by hoarding in preparation for refurbishment.

“I know people who would drive a different route to avoid it. They wouldn’t go up the road because they didn’t want to drive past it,” he says of the emotional impact the ordeal has had.

It has made Graham wary of buying again and he won’t buy a home less than 20 years old so he can be sure any glitches will have come to light. It has also made him sceptical about the State’s ability to deal with other potential Priory Halls and developers like now bankrupt Tom McFeely whose corner-cutting left the development a potential death-trap.

“It’s a sad indictment of how things work that he and his company, and the other people who were responsible for hundreds of people losing their homes, walked away scot free.

“It just shows how the building legislation and the inspection regime here were stacked in favour of the developers and very much against the homeowner.

“The next few years will be interesting because it seems as if we’re going to have another spate of new builds.

“My own view is the only way of preventing something like Priory Hall is for independent inspections to be carried out and I’m not convinced that that’s going to happen. I’m not sure the local authorities have the resources.”

Stephanie Meehan shares those concerns, which is why she wants to keep the issues raised by Priory Hall in the spotlight.

“If it pricks a builder’s conscience, even only slightly, to not skimp on materials and to do things properly then that’s a good thing.”

The good things are what Stephanie concentrates on. “We’ve been absolutely through the mill but I’ve had a huge amount of support.

“There are a lot of people far less fortunate than me who don’t have a good support network when they’re going through a really rough time, so for that I’m really grateful.”

For the moment, she’s focused on the children, Oisin, 8, and Carys, 3, but she’s also gone back to her work in restaurant management one night a week and says she’ll start thinking seriously in September about her own future.

Without Fiachra to share care of the children, the anti-social hours of the restaurant business may not suit her, but she’s hopeful of finding something family-friendly.

In the meantime she’s looking forward to the simple things like having post delivered to her own front door.

“I haven’t had a postal address in six years because in Priory Hall my post was never delivered because it was an unfinished site, and then we were in two hotels and two other temporary homes so I had everything re-routed to my parents.

“Oisin is going into third class in school and his address has always been my parents’ house so it’s going to be really nice for him to have an address of his own.”

The one thing that’s not on her agenda is bitterness. “What happened was at a huge loss to myself and the kids and to Fiachra’s family, but life goes on.

“My mam always said to me life is for the living and that’s my motto at the moment. Some days I’d love to close my curtains and just not get up, but I’ve got two little kids who need me more than ever so that’s my job now and that’s what keeps me going.”

Other posts of interest:

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Self builders appeal to Priory Hall residents: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

How to complete ghost estates + Priory Hall?:BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Chartered Surveyors: “More Priory Hall scenarios could happen if the laws are not enforced”  – click link here

Home-owners will be no better off at the next “Priory Hall” – click link here

Radio Clip- O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer – click link here

“Building Control and the Common Good”: Architecture Ireland – click link here

 

BREGS Blog Archive 3- JANUARY 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

In case you missed this last weekend heres an opportunity to look back ad some posts from January. Enjoy!

BRegs Blog

archive

Don’t forget our archives!

At time of writing (on 12th July 2014) we have over 116,000 views of 430 posts on the Bregs Blog.

The BRegs Blog would like to congratulate our new Minister for the Environment, and we invite him to subscribe, log on and scroll down through our archive posts to brief himself as to the issues many see as still relevant to the new regulations.

Many recent readers will not be familiar with our January 2013 posts. Click on the following link and scroll through the second month’s posts we published- subjects are very relevant to many issues we are currently experiencing.

Click title: BREGS Blog Archive 3- JANUARY 2014

In this month we posted:

  • Hubert Fitzpartick of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF Director of Housing)  Director of Housing stated that on 1st March self-build will no longer be possible in Ireland. Listen to radio interview here.
  • Along with the CIF the representative body for architects (RIAI- another key stakeholder) had a crucial role…

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Practical post 21: Variations

by Bregs Blog admin team

number-21-ai

Practical post Variations

The Undertaking by Builder says that “I undertake to construct … in accordance with (Design Certificate).. or as subsequently issued to me AND certified AND submitted to the Building Control Authority”

Does this mean that variations have to be submitted to BCMS with new Design Cert BEFORE they can legally be constructed?

On large projects this could require BCMS submissions on a weekly basis, where for example, structural changes are required because of ground conditions or a boiler isn’t available and an alternative supplier is used.

There is a risk that contractors (when a programme is already late) will use this to delay variations while they wait for the Assigned Certifier to get revised Design Certs and confirmation from the BCMS.

Registered professionals need to make sure that the contract covers this and that they have an Assigned Certifier who can respond quickly to changes.

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For Practical Post Series 1-20 | BRegs Blog click 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. 

CATCH 22 COMMENCEMENTS

by Bregs Blog admin team

catch_22_cover_by_mattcantdraw-d55fli2

The following post was submitted by a registered architect on 15th July 2014.

CATCH 22 COMMENCEMENTS 

In May 2014, two months after the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations came into effect the RIAI issued an alert to practices about ‘short form’ Commencement Notices (see post Caution RIAI warn short form commencement notices invalid).

Effectively, this meant that:

  • the new short form was not available in March & April
  • the new BCMS (Building Control a Management System) was not ready
  • Local Authorities were not aware that there was a new short form and they continued to provide building owners with an out of date version
  • the professional bodies and builders were also not aware of this change
  • no public information was issued

As a result, many illegal notices were lodged and validated (it is estimated that approx 174 Short firm notices were lodged in March & April 2014- see post here).

It gets worse. Local Authorities then began spot checking building sites and sending letters to owners about illegal works. Some of these letters were not issued for weeks or even months. In the meantime building works proceeded on sites in the genuine belief that all was in order.

We are now receiving reports from many parts of the country of these CATCH 22 COMMENCEMENTS- once you start building you cannot turn back the clock and start again so these illegal works can never be rectified. There is no provision for retrospective compliance under SI.9 (see post here).

This has very serious implications for all of the owners involved as they may have difficulty selling or financing these buildings in the future. More worryingly some owners have now been told to stop illegal building work by the local authority and they are currently caught in an impossible Catch 22 situation.

Under the law, the only remedy is to demolish the part-completed building, lodge a new Commencement Notice and ‘start’ again.

This is patently unworkable and an amendment to the law to regularise these projects is urgently needed.

Other Posts of interest:

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance – BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Invalid “short form” commencement notices: BC(A)R SI.9 | BRegs Blog – click link here

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

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started – Click linkhere

Building Control Officer issues: Conference April 2014 – Click link here

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE- Local Authority advice – Click link here

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

Building Control Officers Survey – click link here

 

SI9- where do I start?

by Bregs Blog admin team

If you are new to te blog this is a great starting point. If you are a current reader bookmark this for ease of access to topics- enjoy!

BRegs Blog

 trade-show-planning

SI9- where do I start?

New to SI.9- Confused? Following on from an influx of new readers to Bregs Blog we received a number of comments like “help- where do I start?“. We have compiled a list of the most read posts of the past 3 months with headings to guide readers. You can delve into each topic in depth as most posts have “other posts of interests” at the bottom. With well over 420 posts in 6 months along with industry alerts, getting the specific information you need on one topic can be difficult at the best of times.

You can type in a key-word search and relevant posts will pop up in reverse chronological order. We also have two “archive” posts that allow you to scroll down through the first two months of posts here on Bregs blog for November and December 2013 (click November and December). Don’t forget you can configure…

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Press: Will CIRI be a platform for progress?

by Bregs Blog admin team

skyscraper

In the following article in the Independent on 10th July 2014, the author wonders whether the new private register of contractors CIRI will be effective.

Quote: “The primary goals here are to secure more tax revenue and to protect the construction establishment via the CIRI’s unstated mission to wipe out the black market builder once and for all…The body which administers the CIRI is voluntary, organised under the CIF and it meets in the CIF’s premises. So far not very promising….There must however be serious doubts about whether this process has any real teeth at all…will bad builders really be knocked off the list, or simply asked politely to pull their socks up?...”

New building register provides platform for progress, by Mark Keenan, Published 11/07/2014|02:30 – click link here

Extract to follow:

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IF the lawnmower you’ve just bought goes jabberwocky then you can take it back to the shop and they’ll sort you out with a working replacement at the counter.

If the retailer refuses to change it then you have enforceable rights to fall back on – as underlined by Irish consumer law.

There are higher authorities to take your case to – the consumer Ombudsman being an obvious one.

The same pretty much applies to anything or any service that you pay for which doesn’t work or do what it says on the tin.

From baked beans, to cars to holidays to restaurant meals you have rights. For financial packages and insurances there is the financial ombudsman to turn to for recourse.

Until this week, however, the same has not been true for a new home purchaser or the homeowner who commissions renovation or extension work. As a result, the Irish new home buyer has arguably been the most exposed consumer of all.

And there have been plenty of wonky homes and shoddy building work throughout Ireland these last few decades – particularly during the property bubble.

Through the boom when 60,000 plus homes per annum were being sold, buyers had to contend with lengthy snag lists that were often never put right.

Neither did they have any means of enforcing proper home completion and the making good of unfinished and shoddy workmanship.

Neither, as we have discovered, did they have any comeback when it all went wrong.

From recent years, when any numpty who could wave a hammer classed himself as a “builder”, buyers in new schemes had to tolerate tradesmen who deliberately messed up their work just so they could come back in the evenings to earn big nixers from their victims – paid twice to put their own mistakes right.

We came to accept shoddy new home standards when we’d never have accepted a dodgy toaster.

At its worst, Irish consumers were left with real structural disasters of unsaleable, unsafe and unsound properties (the 1,000 plus pyrite cases), homelessness and, in at least one poignant case (Priory Hall), suicide.

There have been past pretences at covering the consumer’s corner, not least local authorities who took big levies to pay fat-cat wages but failed to inspect buildings as was their responsibility.

There was the industry’s one-time guarantee scheme. Homebond promised to protect homeowners for a 10-year period against problems which might arise.

The reality was that the guarantee wouldn’t cover faults unless they were wholly “structural” – it didn’t count if your driveway sank, if your electrics were cross-wired or your plumbing leaked.

And when faults which were indisputably structural arose in the form of pyrite damaged properties, Homebond ran for the hills and refused to cover the 1,000 plus homeowners affected.

So now, finally, there appears to be some hope for real consumer rights for the Irish public when dealing with building contractors, sub-contractors and tradesmen. Because this week “Big Phil” Hogan finally launched his long-promised register of approved construction professionals.

Under the new Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI), developers, builders, sub-contractors and tradesmen who achieve a set of predetermined standards will appear on a list of recommended tradesmen.

The register, which is available to members of the public online, will show construction companies, sole traders and builders operating in your region.

The primary goals here are to secure more tax revenue and to protect the construction establishment via the CIRI’s unstated mission to wipe out the black market builder once and for all.

The body which administers the CIRI is voluntary, organised under the CIF and it meets in the CIF’s premises. So far not very promising.

But Minister Hogan insisted on a public complaints process being built in and therefore, for the first time ever, the Irish public finally has some comeback.

For the consumer of construction, the new CIRI system is important for three reasons.

First: real standards are required for contractors and sub-contractors to join the list. These cover tax compliance, insurance, education and a committal to regulation compliance and ongoing training.

Second: As we mentioned, there is a complaints procedure and members of the public can make submissions in an attempt to have parties removed from the register.

Third: we are promised that the register’s 10-member panel of appeal will only be half-filled with construction industry heads. The promise is that the other five are government appointed.

There must however be serious doubts about whether this process has any real teeth at all: for example, no one in the sector can seriously imagine non-paid appeals committee members plodding out to a West Dublin estate to inspect Mrs Murphy’s badly plastered ceiling. And will bad builders really be knocked off the list, or simply asked politely to pull their socks up?

But it’s a start.

And on its foundations perhaps some truly decent measures can at last be built to ensure a safe house for the small consumer of Irish construction.

For a start, I see that my old builder isn’t on the list.

Indo Property

Other posts of interest:

Minister Hogan launches new construction register – click link here

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland – click link here

Is CIRI the only register of contractors? BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey  – click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?  – click link here

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)  – click link here

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

Self-Builders escalate to Europe: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Construction Recovery- watch this space.

by Bregs Blog admin team

tight_rope_walker_530w13

Construction Recovery- watch this space. 

It has been widely reported that Commencement Notices spiked in January and February of this year as building owners tried to avoid the new building control regulations. The number of commencement notices submitted during the first two months of 2014 was equivalent to 70% of the entire number of construction starts for 2013 were notified in just the first two months of 2014. (see post here)

One would expect that if Commencements were up, that this would be reflected in construction spending. (After all before you start on site you need to tender the job and contract a builder). It is widely believed, however, that a significant number of the early Commencement Notices are not live construction projects.

The Ulster Bank PMI [Purchasing Managers Index] shows very confident growth in construction spending in the nine months to May 2014.

Link to Ulster Bank PMI here.

The June figures are out and the figures for residential and commercial construction remain strong at 59.9 and 61.3 respectively- see pdf to follow. Although only slightly lower than in May there is nothing yet to suggest the spike in commencement notices has worked its way through the industry. Civil Engineering activity is down however to 45.1 from 47,9- possibly a reflection of continued depressed infrastructure spending.

All eyes will be on the July and August figures to see if this trend continues or if the sharp fall off in commencements since 1st March starts to bite.

In a recent Irish Building Magazine article “Construction output up strongly in Q1” (view article here), the current rise in construction sector activity in the non-residential sector was noted from Central Statistics office figures.

Quote: “…the latest release indicated sharp falls in residential (-4.2% qoq, -4% yoy) and civil engineering work (-3.7% qoq, -2.6% yoy) in Q1. The sharp fall in residential work is a little surprising given the strength of the PMI surveys in Q1. The PMIs had been indicating strong gains in both commercial and residential work throughout the quarter. Moreover, early year housebuilding statistics showed completions up 1.6% in the year to February.

However, the CSO has cautioned on the interpretation of the construction data given a recent re-weighting and the unprecedented low base from which the series is starting. We therefore cannot read too much into the sectoral split of the headline data.

PDF of Ulster Bank Construction PMI Report (June 2014):

UlsterBank_RIEconomics_UB Construction PMI_20140714

Other posts of interest:

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop – click link here

Taoiseach: get building back to ‘sensible, sustainable levels’- click link here

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

 

 

Minister Hogan’s departure- Does this mean somebody can now shout STOP?

by Bregs Blog admin team

In case you missed this earlier post here’s an opportunity to catch-up!

BRegs Blog

PhilHoganAtLaunchOfLocalEnterpriseOfficesMay2014_large

The following piece was prepared as a letter to the editor by a contributor on 6th July 2014.

Does this mean somebody can now shout STOP?

On Friday 4th July 2014 the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) published a 54-page list of Minister Phil Hogan’s achievements itemising the “sheer amount of issues which the Minister has presided over”. This report was accompanied by speculation from a DECLG spokesperson about Hogan’s future place of employment claiming that he “was unlikely to be returning to the Department either way”. It sounded like an ambiguous reference from an employer who is happy to see an employee leave.

Minister Hogan could prove to be a very handy scapegoat to the officials in the DECLG as the debacle of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, introduced on 1st March 2014, becomes more apparent with each passing day. “It was all Minister Hogan’s…

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“Building Control and the Common Good”: Architecture Ireland

by Bregs Blog admin team

the-common-good

Here is an article from the representative body for architects (RIAI)  publication ‘Architecture Ireland’ from February 2014 (Issue 272) on building control by Orla Hegarty, Course Director for the Professional Diploma (Architecture) at UCD.

It examines the new regulations in the context of the “Duty of Care” that professionals are supposed to have, their responsibility to the community. A “Social Contract” exists between professionals and citizens; architects, engineers and surveyors are supposed to protect their clients’ interests, and the well-being of the community. In principal, this responsibility should underpin the professional’s role and override all other concerns- professional liability, fees and career opportunities.

For any professionals that have struggled with answers to a client’s question “what is SI.9 all about, what benefit will I get from it?”, that in itself should indicate that the rights of the consumer, home-owner, ordinary citizen, are not being adequately addressed in the new building regulations.

There are winners and loosers under SI.9. Unfortunately there is no win for the consumer.

Link to PDF: BCAR_Arch Ireland

Extract as follows:

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BC(A)R- OPINION

‘Building Control and the Common Good’

By Orla Hegarty

There is still much work to be done to overcome the challenges of implementing an effective Building Control system in Ireland; the details may be worked out in the coming months and although this seems technical and complex, we should not lose sight of why this is so important.

The experience of the Stardust families, recounted again on RTE Radio (20 January 2014), are a very timely wake-up call. In 1981, 48 young people died and over 200 were injured in a fire at a disco on the north side of Dublin. The Tribunal Report[1] found that ‘the conversion of the Stardust complex failed to comply with twelve public resort bye-laws, twelve fire protection standards and six draft building regulations’. The aftermath of this tragedy lead to the introduction, nine years later, of the Building Control Act and a robust third party inspection of fire safety design.

This month, some of the families in pyrite homes (400 of an estimated 12,000 affected) are starting court proceedings for redress, seven years after the problems in their homes were first identified.  The reasons for this catastrophic material failure have been identified by the Pyrite Panel[2] who point out that ‘even if the remediation work is successfully undertaken, an indelible mark has been left on the lives of homeowners and families – and the past few years have been a nightmare for them’. As Graham Usher, Priory Hall resident, has reiterated: ‘It is a lesson that doesn’t seem to have been learned on this. You can have the best regulations in the world, you can have the best laws, but there’s no enforcement. Even under Minister Hogan’s new legislation, which strikes me as a bit of a half measure, there is no onus on local authorities to carry out any inspections whatsoever. The state is still abdicating their responsibility’.

In Priory Hall, Thornfield Square, Gleann Riada, Foxford Court, Balmayne, Kentswood Court and many other developments throughout the country families are living with the consequences of the boom. In many cases homes were built and sold quickly, with little or no oversight in an ad-hoc system that did not have safeguards to catch sub-standard practice. These families have suffered not only the impact of poor regulation and a lack of enforcement but in many cases they have no comeback.

The safety and wellbeing of all of us, as citizens, is the responsibility of architects, not in the narrow sense that we will accept liability, but in the very fundamental sense that we understand how buildings are designed, we understand how procurement operates and, most importantly, we understand what really happens on building sites and in occupied buildings.

Architects know the fault-lines in existing design, procurement and construction practices. As construction professionals, we must now advocate better solutions that are effective and then stress-test them so that they are legally, contractually and practically robust. Anything less is an abrogation of our professional duties as members of an Institute whose main object is to ‘undertake and encourage the general advancement of architecture for the benefit of the community[3]

An effective building control system cannot function without the essential supports of latent defects insurance, a statutory register of builders and it must be underpinned by workable enforcement mechanisms. Partial solutions may formalize the existing inadequate ad-hoc systems but as noted by the World Bank[4]the strongest reforms will be those that promote transparency and effectively increase the accountability of construction regulators, enforcement agencies, and building practitioners’.

Building Control is not an abstract or technical problem; its core principle is safe, accessible and sustainable buildings. It is at the heart of consumer confidence in us as professionals.

We have an opportunity now to learn from international best practice, to reassess where we are and to get this right. It may be another 20 years before building control legislation is re-visited. The Stardust families have been looking for closure for 33.

[1] Report of the Independent Examination- Stardust Fire, 2008 justice.ie REPORT.doc

[2] Pyrite Panel Report, 2012 PyriteReport.pdf

[3] RIAI Memorandum and Articles of Association, 2012 RIAI_MemorandumArticlesofAssociation.pdf

[4] Good Practices for Construction Regulation and Enforcement Reform, 2013 bginvestmentclimate.org/publications

OH ai article feb 5 2014

Other posts of interest:

Newstalk: 3rd March 2014- BC(A)R SI.9 “is not a consumer protection measure” – click link here

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations – click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR? – click link here

Press Piece- A “perfect storm” for certifiers: BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders? – click link here

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

How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

RTÉ Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

The RIAI recommends separate appointment of Assigned Certifier under BCAR SI.9- click link here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BREGS Blog Archive 3- JANUARY 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

archive

Don’t forget our archives!

At time of writing (on 12th July 2014) we have over 116,000 views of 430 posts on the Bregs Blog.

The BRegs Blog would like to congratulate our new Minister for the Environment, and we invite him to subscribe, log on and scroll down through our archive posts to brief himself as to the issues many see as still relevant to the new regulations.

Many recent readers will not be familiar with our January 2013 posts. Click on the following link and scroll through the second month’s posts we published- subjects are very relevant to many issues we are currently experiencing.

Click title: BREGS Blog Archive 3- JANUARY 2014

In this month we posted:

  • Hubert Fitzpartick of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF Director of Housing)  Director of Housing stated that on 1st March self-build will no longer be possible in Ireland. Listen to radio interview here.
  • Along with the CIF the representative body for architects (RIAI- another key stakeholder) had a crucial role in the implementation of this legislation. The  President of the RIAI Mr Robin Mandal wrote to  Minister Hogan requesting a deferral of SI9 on 15th January 2014 (See letter here).
  • The RIAI advised members this month: …members should be cautious …prior to accepting appointments as ‘Design Certifier’ or ‘Assigned Certifier’ …Note that the ‘Assigned Certifier’ role is a separate appointment to that of ‘Architect’ …
  • This month there were numerous Dáil questions regarding SI.9: Claire Daly and other TD’s asked should SI.9 be revoked? (see here); Pearse Doherty TD asked what was the financial burden of SI.9? (see here); Olivia Mitchell TD & Tommy Broughan TD asked about the status of self-builders? (see here)
  • More senior council advice warned of the onerous legal implications of the regulations and what was seen as “extraordinarily loose and vague” language- see post here.
  • The ban on self-building under the new regulations was explored. It was noted that the increased costs for a typical house could be upwards of €23,000 to employ a main contractor. This, in combination with additional professional fees, may put many projects out of reach of self-builders looking to enter the housing market. (see here)
  • We looked at the various sectors that were set to loose and gain under the new regulations. See post here.
  • A different way” is a professionals’ critique of the current system of building control by Michael Collins and Eoin O Cofaigh, both past-Presidents of the RIAI- see post here. Written with the benefit of extensive experience in the sector, it makes the compelling case for an alternative system of building control from the point of view of consumer protection.
  • The costs to the consumer of the new system and the cost of an alternative UK system was explored in two posts (see here and here). Based on the UK model it was suggested we needed only 270 experienced inspectors to provide 100% local authority inspections nationwide.
  • RIAI Council Policy with regard to the BC(A)R SI9 was adopted on 17th January 2014 (see here). Quote: “ We have asked (and we ask again) that the implementation date of the 1st March be postponed because systems and documents are not ready for implementation. Self certification as set out in the SI, especially in the speculative residential sector, cannot be relied on to protect householders. An appropriate system of LDI must exist alongside the Regulations, initially for the Residential sector. A statutory Register of Builders must exist alongside the Regulations. Legislation facilitating the putting in place of adequate enforcement mechanisms (including ADR) must be prioritised. The documentation relevant to the consumers’ (legitimate) interest in a building or property should be readily available.”
  • In “World Bank rankings & BC(A)R SI.9″ we wondered where Ireland’s rankings would end-up given the delays and lack of industry preparedness with the inttroduction of the `”blizzard of red-tape” and added delays associated with SI9. See post here.

Recent revisions to GCCC form of contract.

by Bregs Blog admin team

change-roadsign

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issued revisions to GCCC form of contract on 27 June 2014. Introduction by SIAC Construction to the GCCC here. Quote from SIAC introduction:

“Back in the 70’s Max Abrahamson in his famous Construction Law textbook “Engineering Law and the ICE Contracts” used the phrase “in construction the rewards should go to the efficient not the lucky or the litigious”. It looks like there will be interesting times ahead for both the efficient and the two other contracting types.”

Breg Blog understand that over 70% of all public projects operating under the GCC form of contract since introduction in 2007 ended up in dispute post-completion.

For Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – Changes to Capital Works Management Framework template documents (Construction Procurement Reform)- click link here

We are not aware of any review or recommendations published by any of the representative bodies for engineers, surveyors or architects (ACEI, SCSI or RIAI) to date on these most recent changes.

The big change would appear to be Substantial Completion. Claims are usually about two things-time and money. As the ‘time’ is now under the control of the Building Control Authority, any delay will be ‘money’ for the builder.

Extract:

________

27 June 2014: Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – Changes to Capital Works Management Framework template documents

Further to the News Item of 6 March 2014: Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – Procurement Implications for Contracting Authorities and the publication of GN 1.1.1 v1.0 06/03/2014, the template documents published under the Capital Works Management Framework have now been amended to reflect the changes.

The Particulars to the Instructions to Tenders – Works, indicate that the form of contract applicable to the tender is the one published on the Construction Procurement Reform website 10 days before the latest date for the receipt of tenders.  Contracting authorities should take note of this requirement should they choose to apply the new form of contract in any current tender competition.

The revised Form of Tender and Schedule (FTS9) should be used for all Construction Service Provider tenders.

The changes made to the standard template works contractors and service providers’ documents are set out in detail below.

Pillar 1 – Public Works Contracts – Amendments to PW-CF1, PW-CF3, PW-CF5, and Schedules

CLAUSE 1 – THE CONTRACT

Sub-clause 1.1 Definitions

The following new definitions have been included:

▪Ancillary Certificate

▪Assigned Certifier

▪Building Control Regulations – note there is a slightly different wording for PW-CF3 and PW-CF5 in recognition that the Building Control Regulations will not apply to all aspects of civil engineering projects.

▪Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works

▪Inspection Plan

▪Inspection Notification Framework

The following existing definitions have been amended:

▪Consent – ‘Ancillary Certificate’ added to the first sentence.

▪Contractor’s Documents – ‘Consents’ added to the first sentence.

▪Employer’s Personnel – ‘Assigned Certifier’ included as the last item in the list of bullet points

▪Substantial Completion of the Works or a part of the Works [including a Section] –  ‘the details in the Certificate of Compliance on Completion of the Works or a part thereof have been included on the Register maintained under Part IV of the Building Control Regulations.’ has been added as a new point (5).

CLAUSE 4 – MANAGEMENT

SUB-CLAUSE 4.8.2 – ‘[INCLUDING OTHER CONSENTS]’ HAS BEEN ADDED AT THE END OF POINT (2) –CLAUSE 4.8 NOT USED IN PW-CF5

Sub-clause 4.8.4 – ‘and any other Consents’ has been added to the end of the last line – Clause 4.8 not used in PW-CF5

Sub-clause 4.9 – ‘having regard to the requirements of the Inspection Plan and Inspection Notification Framework’ has been added to the end of the first sentence. ‘and any Inspection Plan requirements’ has been added into the square brackets at the end of the second sentence.

Sub-clause 4.11.1 – ‘including any requirements arising from the Inspection Plan and Inspection Notification Framework’ has been added to the end of the sub-clause.

new sub-clause 4.12.2 has been added to sub-clause 4.12 Documents.

CLAUSE 5 – CONTRACTOR’S PERSONNEL

Sub-clause 5.5 – ‘(i)’ has been included after both references to the Schedule, part 1F to accommodate a second matrix in the Schedule, part 1F.

new sub-clause 5.8 Ancillary Certificates has been added.

CLAUSE 8 – QUALITY, TESTING AND DEFECTS

Sub-clause 8.3.1 – ‘Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the first sentence.

Sub-clause 8.3.2 – ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after both references to Employer’s Representative.

Sub-clause 8.3.3 –  ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after the first reference to Employer’s Representative.

Sub-clause 8.4.1 – ‘[including the Inspection Plan]’ has been added into the first sentence. ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the second sentence.

CLAUSE 11 PAYMENT

Sub-clause 11.4.1 – ‘(i)’ has been included after both references to the Schedule, part 1F to accommodate a second matrix in the Schedule, part 1F.

Schedule

Part 1 F has been split into part 1 F (i) Collateral Warranties and a new section – F (ii) Ancillary Certificates.

Pillar 1 – Public Works Contracts – Amendments to PW-CF2, PW-CF4, and Schedules

CLAUSE 1 – THE CONTRACT

Sub-clause 1.1 Definitions

The following new definitions have been included:

▪Ancillary Certificate

▪Assigned Certifier

▪Building Control Regulations – note there is a slightly different wording for PW-CF4 in recognition that the Building Control Regulations will not apply to all aspects of civil engineering projects.

▪Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works

▪Design Certificate

▪Inspection Plan

▪Inspection Notification Framework

The following existing definitions have been amended:

▪Consent – ‘Ancillary Certificate’ and ‘Design Certificate’ added to the first sentence.

▪Contractor’s Documents – ‘Consents’ added to the first sentence.

▪Contractor’s Personnel – ‘Design Certifier’ added to the first sentence.

▪Employer’s Personnel – ‘Assigned Certifier’ included as the last item in the list of bullet points

▪Substantial Completion of the Works or a part of the Works [including a Section] –  ‘the details in the Certificate of Compliance on Completion of the Works or a part thereof have been included on the Register maintained under Part IV of the Building Control Regulations.’ has been added as a new point (5).

Clause 4 – Management

Sub-clause 4.8.2 – ‘[including other Consents]’ has been added at the end of point (2)

Sub-clause 4.9 – ‘having regard to the requirements of the Inspection Plan and Inspection Notification Framework’ has been added to the end of the first sentence. ‘and any Inspection Plan requirements’ has been added into the square brackets at the end of the second sentence.

Sub-clause 4.11.1 – ‘including any requirements arising from the Inspection Plan and Inspection Notification Framework’ has been added to the end of the sub-clause.

new sub-clause 4.12.2 has been added to sub-clause 4.12 Documents.

Clause 5 – Contractor’s Personnel

Sub-clause 5.5 – ‘(i)’ has been included after both references to the Schedule, part 1F to accommodate a second matrix in the Schedule, part 1F.

new sub-clause 5.8 Ancillary Certificates has been added.

Clause 8 – Quality, Testing and Defects

Sub-clause 8.3.1 – ‘Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the first sentence.

Sub-clause 8.3.2 – ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after both references to Employer’s Representative.

Sub-clause 8.3.3 – ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after the first reference to Employer’s Representative.

Sub-clause 8.4.1 – ‘[including the Inspection Plan]’ has been added into the first sentence. ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the second sentence.

Clause 9 – Time and Completion

Sub-clause 9.1.1 – ‘The Contractor shall give the Employer at least 20 working days’ notice prior to the date that the Contractor intends to commence constructing the Works.’ has been added as the last line of the sub-clause.

Clause 11 Payment

Sub-clause 11.4.1 – ‘(i)’ has been included after both references to the Schedule, part 1F to accommodate a second matrix in the Schedule, part 1F.

Schedule

Part 1 F has been split into part 1 F (i) Collateral Warranties and a new section – F (ii) Ancillary Certificates.

Pillar 1 – Public Works Contracts – Amendments to PW-CF6

Clause 1 – The Contract

Sub-clause 1.1

The following new definitions have been included:

▪Assigned Certifier

▪Building Control Regulations – the same definition as used in PW-CF3, PW-CF4 and PW-CF5 is used here.

Sub-clause 1.2

▪The following new condition has been included under ‘substantially complete and substantial completion’ :

‘the details in the Certificate of Compliance on Completion of the Works or a part thereof have been included on the Register maintained under Part IV of the Building Control Regulations.’

Clause 2 – The Site, starting and completing the Works

Sub-clause 2.9 – ‘and shall provide any document necessary to demonstrate compliance with the Building Control Regulations’ has been added to the end of the sub-clause.

Clause 3 – The Works

Sub-clause 3.7 – ‘Assigned Certifier’ has been added into the first sentence.

Sub-clause 3.8 – ‘and the Assigned Certifier’ has been added after both references to Employer’s Representative.

Pillar 1 – Public Works Contracts – Amendments to PW-CF11 Term Maintenance and Refurbishment Works

Clause 1

Sub-clause 1.2 – a definition of Building Control Regulations has been added

Sub-clause 7.3 – ‘(including Contractor’s Personnel)’ has been added after the first reference to the Contractor.  ‘in conformance with the Building Regulations’ has been added after ‘good practice’, and ‘Where requested by the Employer’s Representative, the Contractor shall provide the certification necessary to comply with the Building Control Regulations.’ has been added as a new last sentence.

Pillar 1 – Forms of Tender and Schedules FTS1 to FTS5

Part 1 F has been split into part 1 F (i) Collateral Warranties and a new section – F (ii) Ancillary Certificates.

Pillar 2 – Standard Conditions of Engagement – Amendments to Instructions to Tenderers

 ITTS1(a); ITTS1(b); ITTS2(a); and ITTS2(b)

▪New Section 5.12 Assigned Certifier.

▪New Section 5.13 Design Certificate.

▪Additions to Particulars to indicate whether the service provider will be required to provide the Assigned Certifier role (Instructions Section 5.12) or to sign the Design Certificate (Instructions section 5.13).

▪Additional rows added for quality criteria and sub-criteria.

Pillar 2 – Standard Conditions of Engagement – Amendments to Form of Tender and Schedule (Service Providers)

FTS9 and COE1 Schedule

Schedule B

▪Two new sections added on first page to indicate whether the service provider will be appointed as Assigned Certifier or whether they will be required to sign the Design Certificate.

▪Consultants Stage Services has been updated to include all Whole Stages/Sub-stages.

▪Project Supervisor for the Design Process Service section updated to reference Safety Health and Welfare (Construction) Regulations 2013.

The proposed review of the CWMF Guidance Notes will reflect the changes above.

___

Other posts of interest:

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here

For Practical Post Series 1-20 – click here

3 must-read posts for employees – click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 – 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

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

Difficult Senior Council Opinions: BC(A)R SI.9 –  click link here

BREG Blog Archive 1- November 2013 – click link here

Dáil: Data Protection Issues and the new regulations

by Bregs Blog admin team

dataprotection

Dáil: Data Protection Issues and the new regulations

In response to questions from Catherine Murphy TD, outgoing Minister Phil Hogan confirmed that data protection issues and online access to sensitive information on the new public building control register (BCMS ) was not his responsibility. This was the remit of the data protection commissioner, not an issue for his department. Link here.

Building Regulations Application: 1 Jul 2014: Written answers (KildareStreet.com) – Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Building Regulations Application

Catherine Murphy (Kildare North, Independent)

303. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the commencement notices are no longer being published at local authorities for viewing by members of the public; his plans to rectify same by making the centralised database of commencement notices available for inspection online; if he is further planning to include a mechanism to allow an opt-out for those not wishing to have their information used by suppliers and marketing companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27832/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

The Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2014 specify that a local authority acting as a building control authority shall keep a public register of building control activity which will include, among other things, brief particulars of the building works being undertaken, the name and address of the owner, and details of various persons assigned to build, design and certify the works.  Prior to 1 March 2014 each authority was responsible for maintaining its own register relating to building activity in its own functional area.  The introduction of the new online Building Control Management System (BCMS) on that date facilitates the administration of the public register requirement by electronic means and dispenses with the need for local authorities to maintain a physical register for inspection at their offices during office hours .   It is expected that each local authority will now fulfil its statutory obligation by extracting the relevant information from the BCMS database and publishing on its website a register of building control activity relevant to its functional area.

It is understood that the provisions of the Data Protection Acts, which are outside the scope of my remit as nister, place clear limits on the use of publicly available data for marketing or other purposes.  It is further understood that third parties who propose to use such information in this way are themselves considered to be data controllers for the purposes of the Data Protection Acts.  Section 2(8) of the Data Protection Acts provides that where a data controller anticipates that personal data will be processed or used for the purposes of direct marketing, including personal data that is required by law to be made available to the public, the data controller shall inform the persons to whom the data relates so that they may object, by means of a request in writing to the data controller and free of charge, to such use.

Breaches of Data Protection legislation are a matter for the Data Protection Commissioner who has the power to investigate such matters and, where appropriate, prosecute offences under the Acts.

Other posts of interest:

BReg Blog ALERT: Data Protection & BCMS – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better”  – click link here

SI9- where do I start? – click link here

Senator Paschal Mooney, Minister Hogan and Seanad debate – click link here

O’Cofaigh: Competitiveness issues & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

Pyrite in Dublin Zoo?

by Bregs Blog admin team

lk

In the following article in the Herald.ie, fears that Dublin Zoo, an award-winning state project from 2005 by the OPW, may be affected by pyrite are discussed. We wonder will the public restaurant be closed due to health and safety concerns in light of possible structural issues mentioned?

Inadequate market policing by Local Authorities and lack of additional resources allocated for quarry regulation by Minister Hogan and the Department of the Environment have sparked fears that recent incidences of pyrite re-occurring are widespread in the industry. Professional Certifiers are concerned that they may become liable for defective materials. Due to the State’s lack of action on pyrite many professionals fear they have been made the single-point of responsibility under the new building regulations for an area they see as being the remit of the Department and Government.

Many consumers and home-owners see no change to the regulatory system since the first examples of pyrite affected homes appeared over 6 years ago.

Dublin Zoo’s cracks spark pyrite fears, by Conor Feehan – 10 JULY 2014 12:00 AM– see link here

Extract:

DUBLIN Zoo has engaged engineers to determine if worrying cracks in buildings at the site have been caused by pyrite.

The cracks were noticed in recent months in the zoo’s offices and Meerkat Restaurant area, and a decision was taken to call in experts to establish if they present any sort of indication of structural damage.

Specialist measuring equipment has been placed across a series of the cracks to see if they are widening over time or if they have stabilised.

A spokesperson for Dublin Zoo confirmed the tests are taking place, but added that the process would take time and results were not yet available to identify the cause of the defects.

“A routine check is being carried out in the office building and restaurant area of Dublin Zoo at the moment,” said the spokesperson.

“There are small cracks in the main office building and restaurant area which we are monitoring. “We are checking for all possible issues, including pyrite,” they added.

There are no reported cracks in the areas where animals are enclosed, and no threat of any escapes by potentially dangerous species. Neither is there any threat to the safety of people using the buildings being examined.

Pyrite has caused havoc to many buildings in recent years, at a huge financial cost.

foundations

The mineral, which has been found in some of the stones that are used in the foundations of buildings, expands slowly when it is exposed to the air, causing walls to shift and crack.

If it is found pyrite is the problem it could lead to expensive works to put things right.

Problems with pyrite first came to prominence in recent times in 2007 after the massive celtic tiger building boom.

Residents in some houses in estates in Drynham in Kinsealy, Myrtle in Balgriffin and Beaupark in Baldoyle were among the first to notice cracks in their newly-built homes.

Investigations led to the discovery of the mineral in the infill in their foundations which expands as it oxidises, and pushed up floors as well as moving walls.

It has been estimated that the ongoing cost of repair could be €70,000 for each house affected.

In 2012, pyrite was discovered in three national schools in Dublin, St Patrick’s in Diswellstown, Castleknock, St Canice’s Boys school in Finglas, and St Peter’s in Phibsboro, which was extensively refurbished in 2007.

cfeehan@herald.ie

Other posts of interest:

SI9- where do I start? click link here

Was pyrite discovered in concrete blocks in 2013?  – click link here

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now? – click link here

Dáil Questions: Minister Hogan and Pyrite – click link here

Radio: Drogheda houses affected by pyrite – click link here

PYRITE & THE ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – click link here

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite – click linkhere

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert – click link here

 

 

 

SI9- where do I start?

by Bregs Blog admin team

 IngoMaurer_Zettelz6_01

Updated by Bregs Blog on 12th November 2014

SI9- where do I start?

New to SI.9- Confused? Following on from an influx of new readers to Bregs Blog we received a number of comments like “help- where do I start?“. We have compiled a list of our most read posts with headings to guide readers. You can delve into each topic in depth as most posts have “other posts of interests” at the bottom. With over 680 posts since we started in November 2013 along with industry alerts, getting the specific information you need on one topic can be difficult at the best of times. Our “posts” page shown only the most recent 100 posts.

Type in a key-word search and relevant posts will pop up in reverse chronological order. We also have our “archive” posts that allow readers to scroll down through the each month of posts on Bregs blog from November onwards  (see end of list).

Don’t forget if you feel flooded by information you can configure bulletins to come to you daly or weekly, see post: Note to readers Bregs Blog on Post format. Sign-up to received daily or weekly updates, news and opinion pieces on the new regulations as events unfold. To follow us via twitter and facebook click here: Social Media | BRegs Blog Help + Advice

To sign up just click this link here.

Take your phone (or iPad air) down to the couch and browse through these at your leisure. Remember to log all reading as “STRUCTURED” CPD- nearly as informative as the RTE programme “Room to Improve”!

Enjoy!

Where are all the source documents?

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 

SI.9- Everything you wanted to know Part 2: WHO’S WHO

SI.9- Everything you wanted to know Part 3: ACRONYMS

How does Irish Building Control compare with other countries?

World Bank Report 2015 | UK v Ireland the real cost of “Dealing with construction permits”

World Bank Report 2015 | Ireland’s poor construction regulations are the biggest drag on our ranking

World Bank Rankings [2014], Ireland & SI.9 – Look Back 1

Are there one post I can look at to show all building regulation changes?

Summary of building regulations changes posts 

Is there anything to help me show clients how complex house permissions are now?

Architect’s Overview of Regulations for a Dwelling

Collins & O’Cofaigh | “the 38 steps” and the complexity of our regulations

I am a home buyer-what new protections will si9 afford me?

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9

Newstalk: BC(A)R SI.9 “is not a consumer protection measure”

10 steps to repairing your defective home under SI.9

What will SI.9 cost commercial and public projects?

SI.9 to Cost €168m in 2014 | Non-Residential Sector

Is SI.9 affecting public projects like schools and hospitals?

60 new schools delayed due to SI.9 | Independent.ie

I am a home buyer-what will SI9 cost me?

SI.9 costs for a typical house

How much is SI9 costing the consumer and industry?

If one of my projects has pyrite what happens now?

Pyrite: the spiraling cost of no Local Authority Inspections

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now?

Are Design and Assigned Certifiers risking professional suicide with Pyrite and S.I.9?

Do you have any helpful documents?- A Surveyor’s view of BCAR SI.9

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Plan (post 1 of 2)

Registered Building Surveyor’s Inspection Form (post 2 of 2)

Registered surveyor letter to TD’s: BC(A)R SI.9

What do we charge when we don’t know what services we will be providing?

4 things I am putting in my fee agreements

Is my project exempt? It’s only small…

RIAI PRACTICE NEWS : 40SqM BC(A)R SI.9 Exemption

Commencement notice problems | Does size matter?

HOUSES + 40Sqm #BCAR

ALERT | Owners may need Certifiers on porch extensions?

Practical Post 1: BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions & Refurbishments

Industry documentation- what’s involved and what are drafts like?

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates 

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read

BC(A)R SI.9 + Construction Product Regulations 2013

OK I don’t want to be a certifier- Are there any specialist certifiers who will do these duties separately?

Specialist Certifier 1- ENGINEER: Questions and Answers

Specialist Certifier 2- ARCHITECT: Questions and Answers

Specialist Certifier 3- SURVEYOR: Questions and Answers

Any tips? I’m a designer, specifier, contractor….

10 ‘must-read’ posts for Certifiers | S.I.9

4 tips for Assigned Certifiers…

4 tips for design certifiers

4 tips for sub-contractor ancillary certifiers

5 posts every builder should read

I am employee are there any implications for me?

3 must-read posts for employees

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

What’s the best guide for BCMS issued by Local Authorities for the new regs?

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE- Local Authority advice

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS “must do better”

Is there a Q+A section for quick answers to practical questions?

Practical Post Series 1-20

BCMS Q+A: Part 3 | Process Issues 

Why are clients quoting me very low budgets for BC(A)R SI.9 duties?

Why did Phil Hogan think SI.9 would cost less than €3000 ?

Complaint to Minister: Fee fixing & BC(A)R SI.9

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections? BC(A)R SI.9

Press piece: professionals “engaging in financial extortion” says Hogan

What are the legal implications of BC(A)R for all of us?

“The Assigned Certifier is the one in the lion’s den” Rory O’Donnell, solicitor

Summary of Legal Posts – BC(A)R SI.9

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

S.I. 9 and Insurance Claims: Deirdre Lennon MRIAI 

What are spec builders and developers going to do now? 

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations

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

Homebond | Assigned Certifier + defects liability policy for €2,000?

Tell me about CIRI the new register of builders?

Minister Hogan launches new construction register

What is the latest CPD advice on the new roles under BC(A)R SI.9?

Design Certifier | RIAI advise separate appointment

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June

RIAI CPD July 2014: Design Certifier in the Design Process- SI.9

The Engineers Journal: how BC(A)R SI.9 works in practice

What do stakeholders think of the new regulations?

Engineers Ireland Journal | Jack Kavanagh- is SI.9 unjust to both engineer and society?

SCSI | “Highly unlikely Priory Hall would happen in Britain”- Look Back 4

SCSI: SI9 is “positive change”

RTÉ Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus

Is BCAR affecting jobs? Are clients delaying projects?

Commencement Notices – Update | 22 October 2014

Residential construction down in 2014 Q1+ Q2: (CSO statistics)

A ‘perfect storm’ for housing? 

Commencement Notices | 6 months after S.I. 9

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

I’m a self-builder why won’t anyone certify my build? Do I need to employ a main contractor?

IAOSB submission to DECLG

Building a house in Ireland- Irish Association of Self-Builders

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents Collins + O’Cofaigh

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9 

Law Society response to self-builders

Senator Paschal Mooney, Minister Hogan and Seanad debate

Clampdown on self-building is stymying construction industry | Irish Examiner

I’m an architectural technologist what is going on? 

Dáil: CIAT & RIAI- 2 Architectural Technologist Registers

Have there been any industry surveys completed on BCAR SI.9?

Results | S.I. 9 Assigned Certifier Survey

Building Control Officers: Survey 

BRegs Blog 100 Days | Assigned Certifier Survey

CIF Construction Confidence Survey 

BC(A)R FIRST 100 DAYS SURVEY

What are large forms doing?

S.I.9 | What large firms are doing 

Do TD’s, politicians or local representatives know about SI9?

3 County Councils ask Minister to Revoke SI.9 

Senators ask Minister to Revoke SI.9 (2 of 4)

Revoke S.I.9 – Fine Gael internal report to Phil Hogan in 2013 (3 of 4)

Dáil TD’s want to Revoke SI.9 (4 of 4)

Alert to TD about new regulations

How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9? 

How do we fix BC(A)R SI.9? 

How much would 100% independent inspections by Local Authorities cost?

Would like to read more- look at our archives…

BREGS Blog Archive 5- MARCH 2014 

BRegs Blog Archive 4 – FEBRUARY 2014

BREGS Blog Archive 3- JANUARY 2014

BREGS Blog Archive 2- DECEMBER 2013

BREGS Blog Archive 1- NOVEMBER 2013

Practical Post 21: What happens if your PI insurers won’t cover a claim?

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Practical post 21: What happens if your PI insurers won’t cover a claim?

There has been a lot of discussion in the past year about professional indemnity (PI) insurance. The ‘comeback’ for homebuyers is that they can sue the builder and the Assigned Certifier who signs off on their work. The Certifier will be signing off that the drawings comply with technical standards in the regulations and that the finished building complies.

So the intention of the new regulations is that a homebuyer who finds a problem (say a defective heating installation) has the name of the builder and certifier and can sue them in court. At that point several things will happen:

  • A claim will be made against everyone involved- the builder, subcontractor, boiler manufacturer, mechanical and electrical engineer, architect, the certifiers. All of them will have to get legal advice and notify their insurers immediately.
  • Perhaps the builder has liquidated the development company set up for this project. So he’s off the hook.
  • Perhaps the manufacturer is in another country, so there is no point trying to pursue him through a foreign court. He’s off the hook.
  • Perhaps the sub-contractor only provided a badly worded Ancillary Certificate.  The legal advice is that he is not a good mark.  He’s off the hook too.

So the full claim is against the Assigned Certifier. He signed off and ‘certified’ that everything was in compliance. It’s not.

At that point the Ancillary Certifiers insurers are in control. Perhaps they settle  the claim (on behalf of the Assigned Certifier) and the Certifier is obliged to pay the €10,000 excess that is in the PI policy.

Perhaps there is a clause in the PI policy that let’s them out of paying (for example a specific exclusion like pyrites).

It doesn’t stop there: PI is a protection for professionals but if the PI policy stops short the claim DOES NOT GO AWAY.

The Assigned Certifier, if found negligent by even 1% could be forced to pay the entire claim and legal costs (under the Civil Liability Act). Liability is not necessarily in proportion to responsibility under irish Law. The PI may not cover the claim.

Professionals have lost their practices, their livelihoods and even their homes over negligence claims where they are the LAST MAN STANDING.

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For Practical Post Series 1-20 | BRegs Blog click 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. 

Alert to TD about new regulations

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following email was sent recently to a member of the Oireachtas by a registered professional. Names of sender and recipient have been removed by request. The blog received this on 23rd June 2014.

Dear (omitted),

I just thought I’d update you on the effect of the Building Regulations which you kindly discussed with me back in February, prior to their implementation

Rather than a rigamarole, I’d just like to point you to the effect so far of the Building Regulations as revised and delivered – it’s not by any means all good, in fact to the contrary:

  • After a burst of commencement notices being lodged prior to the start of the new regulations, commencements have fallen off a cliff. The data from the Building Control Management System is suggesting that since 1st March, only 780 projects have started (52 per week, as opposed to 143 per week last year!), of which a large proportion are less than 40 sqm.– the general trend suggesting that recovery in construction, outside of large commercial projects, is stalling : see commencement notices building register 17th june 2014
  • More worryingly, planning applications in the first quarter of 2014, are down 30% on applications in the first quarter of 2013 – this is most likely to be related to the new regulations – cso q1 2014-planning for dwellings-30
  • The introduction of the Regulations has been shambolic, and confused – leading to uncertainty

For example :

  • No guidance (or extra resources) given to local authorities – leading to 34 different interpretations of the requirements to comply :
  • The computer portal has already failed to deliver on its promise – commencement notices for smaller projects have to printed off from it, but submitted in hand to the local authority, it doesn’t check qualifications of those using it, nor does it seem to verify identities ! bcar-must-do-better
  • The computer portal is not even set up to deal with the submissions required for completing a building – how could this be allowed into the wild beggars belief ? build in 8 hours wait 3 weeks for a completion cert

This just refers to the basic defiencies in the scheme,without going into how unreasonable the proposal itself is on those tasked to use it.  The contradictions within the drafting of the regs are being unravelled on an almost daily basis : si9 and the 7-day noticecaution riai warn short-form commencement notices invalid

The construction industry is too important for this not to reviewed urgently. Please do.

PS  – at a recent presentation on the BCAR, reservations were noted to the speakers, including the lady charged with delivering the BCMS computer portal. She noted that some of the difficulty was associated with the fact that neither English (nor Irish!) was the first language of the people charged with doing the programming !!! Nice to know that there wasn’t even a few bob for an Irish SME out of this shambles. (breg blog note : for this post- see here)

Posts referred to in this email:

Commencement notices- Building Register @ 17th June 2014 – click link here

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Build in 8 hours, wait 3 weeks for a Completion Cert! – click link here

S.I. 9 and the 7-day notice  – click link here

Caution: RIAI warn “short form” commencement notices invalid?  – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

 

Top 20 Breg Blog posts for June 2014.

by Bregs Blog admin team

In case anyone missed this one its a the top 20 blog posts for June- ENJOY!

BRegs Blog

top34 June 2014 had the second highest ever number of Breg Blog views per month at 20,686.

The issue of the continued exclusion of Architectural Technologists from the register of professionals under the new regulations occupies half of our list, including the three most popular posts. Current interpretation of BC(A)R issued by Cork County Council was high up on the list as was Constantin Gurdgiev’s critique on planning permission decreases this year, contrary to recent media hype. Again very popular was this month’s update on the continuing low level of commencement notice lodgment under the new regulations.

We also completed our second survey of readers- the Breg Blog 100 days- Assigned Certifier Survey– see post here. In our survey:

  • 83% of respondents were unwilling to be an Assigned Certifier on a self-build project
  • 60% of respondents “did not feel more confident” or “remained unsure” (20%) about their ability to implement the Building Regulations
  • 86% of respondents supported…

View original post 175 more words

Minister Hogan launches new construction register

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Pictured at the launch of the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) were (left to right): Tom Parlon, CIF Director General; Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD; Philip Crampton, CIF President and Hank Fogarty, Chairman of the Construction Industry Registration Board.  

Click link here for full article “Minister Hogan launches new construction register”.

In what may have been one of his last official acts as Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan T.D. launched CIRI on Monday 7th July 2014. This is the privately run and operated register of contractors owned by the Construction Industry Federation. To date there has been a slow uptake on this- only 201 registered to date. We posted on possible reasons for this in a previous post here.

There are other well-established registers such as the National Guild of Master Craftsmen  with over 7,500 members (see link here). Homebond also have launched a competing register of contractors but neither of these are endorsed by the Government or written into the new regulations (see link here).

The CIF along with representatives from engineers, surveyors and architects were key stakeholders in the formation of the new building regulations. CIRI is the only register written into the new regulations.

We note the CIF expect 2,000 members by 2015 once the register is put on a statutory footing in March 2015- that’s €1.2M in membership fees per year (current membership rate  €600 ec vat per annum).

One of the unintended consequences of this register being put on a statutory footing, is the consequent requirement for owners to use a CIRI registered or competent (established) contractor. This will end the tradition of self-building in Ireland where owners, frequently experienced trades-persons, occupy the role of co-ordinating or management contractor on their own dwellings. Confusing legal wording in the current building regulations essentially precludes self-building, currently in advance of the register being placed on a statutory footing, and has been the subject of much discourse. The representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) have requested official clarification from the Attorney General on the matter (see post here).

CIRI is currently the subject of a complaint by the IAOSB to the european ombudsman (see previous post here), and is also the subject of an individual complaint by self-builder Amanda Gallagher to the Competition Authority (See post here). The IAOSB have complained that the register is a restrictive practice endorsed by Government.

Extract off article to follow:

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MINISTER HOGAN LAUNCHES NEW REGISTER FOR IRISH CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD has launched a new facility which will enable the public, public procurement authorities and construction professionals to search for competent construction companies operating in Ireland.  The Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) has been set up by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) following discussions with the Minister and his Department and aims to separate experienced, competent construction companies from those that have given the industry a bad name.

Members of the public can now go online to the free site and search for construction companies, sole traders and builders operating in their region and who specialise in particular aspects of construction work.  CIRI covers 39 distinct categories of activity, including everything from house building to extensions, plastering to carpentry and plumbing to electrical contracting.

CIRI will be placed on a statutory footing in 2015 and the Government has committed to bringing forward the Heads of the Bill to achieve this goal by the end of 2014.

201 construction companies, sole traders and builders are already listed on the CIRI register and another 565 companies and sole traders are at various stages of the application process.  It is expected that there will be more than 2,000 entries listed on CIRI by the end of 2015.

The objective of CIRI is to help foster improved standards throughout the Irish construction industry….All those who wish to remain on the register are required to reapply on an annual basis to ensure they continue to meet these criteria.

Speaking about the launch of CIRI, Minister Hogan said, “I have long been of the belief that we need to bring regulation to the Irish construction industry.  For too long we have had a situation in this country whereby anyone can pass themselves off as a builder or construction operative, regardless of their experience and regardless of whether they were following the industry regulations.  That is why I asked the CIF to work with my Department in establishing CIRI.  Now we have a resource the public can use for free and which aims to separate those construction companies and builders who can meet the standards from those who don’t,” Minister Hogan said.

His comments were echoed by CIF Director General, Tom Parlon, “We want to help promote the work of competent, experienced construction companies and sole traders. Up until now the names of everyone in the industry has been tarnished by those who do not follow the regulations and who do not carry out their work in the proper fashion.  That is why CIRI is being set up.  CIRI will provide a vetted means of seeing which companies and sole traders are competent and experienced.  For the first time there will be a means of separating out legitimate, experienced operators from the rest,” Mr. Parlon said.

“Leaders throughout the industry have wanted to see a registration scheme like this set up for several years now,” said CIF President Philip Crampton.  “There has been a concern that those who carry out good work were being banded together with those who have cut corners and whose work is poor in quality.  Those in the construction industry who take pride in their projects do not like seeing the reputation of the entire industry tarred.  We have to recognise that there many excellent companies and sole traders in our industry.  CIRI will provide a means for separating them from the rest.  For this and many other reasons there is already serious interest in the register throughout the industry and we expect that interest to grow further as awareness spreads,” Mr. Crampton added.

The Chairman of the Construction Industry Registration Board (CIRB), Hank Fogarty also believes that CIRI will make a positive contribution to the industry, “By setting up the CIRI register we aim to increase and enhance the competence and competitiveness of the construction industry in this country.  We want to have companies and sole traders who the public, architects, chartered surveyors and engineers can rely upon.  We also want to increase the expertise within the industry and that is why continuing professional development is one of the key criteria for ongoing membership of the register.  We hope this will improve the skills and knowledge in the construction sector which will boost the industry and benefit Irish society on a wider level over time,” Mr. Fogarty concluded.

The register is available on www.ciri.ie

Other posts of interest:

UPDATE: Construction Industry Register of Ireland – click link here

Is CIRI the only register of contractors? BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey  – click link here

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?  – click link here

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)  – click link here

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

Self-Builders escalate to Europe: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Competition Authority complaint: CIF & BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9  – click link here

 

 

Design Certifier – Can we leave it to the builder to sort out?

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following piece was submitted by a Director of a large Architectural practice on 8th July 2014. 

Design Certifier – Can we leave it to the builder to sort out?

The Design Certifier faces increasingly more complex challenges in addressing the issue of Contractor Works Proposals which the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R) have not addressed.

Guidance Note 1.1.1 of the BC(A)R Procurement Implications for Contracting Authorities provides detailed guidance to Contracting Authorities on the steps they should take to implement this legislation in the context of procuring public building and infrastructure. The guidance is that the Design Certifier should be the design team leader or the team member, designated to provide the greatest technical input, and that the fee for the completed Design Certificate is included in the overall service.

It appears that Contracting Authorities have now decided that, for building projects, this role shall be annexed to architectural services. Invitations to tender for public projects now reflect this thinking. Those concerned with the additional liability and who intend to increase their fees accordingly, in all likelihood may have to retire from the increasingly fee-competitive public work! On the other hand EU designers bidding for Irish public work market may view this guidance as a procurement barrier and challenge it.

The above guidance document specifically notes that while the Design Certificate is required at Commencement Notice stage the Design Certifier’s role does not end there. The Design Certifier is also responsible for completing the submission of ancillary certification at the Completion Certificate stage for elements not designed at Commencement Notice stage. The Design Certifier is also required to liaise with the Assigned Certifier during the course of the building works and prepare any documentation required to record any changes to the works.

Thanks to Article 23 (8) of the EU Procurement Directive those engaged in the design and management of Public Works Contracts, where designed by the Employer, will know that this means that this is the requirement to avoid specifying product names. Major and minor changes to construction technical specification are submitted as Contractor Works Proposals and purport to be equivalent to that specified. Proposals are commercially driven, and promoted as shared savings to the Contracting Authority who is frequently mindful about funding the ubiquitous unforeseen/s. These Contractor proposals create an obvious threat to building quality, material design life and robustness. Each and every material and component specified by all design disciplines is open to such change.

Client approved changes post-commencement can extend to major elements such as roofing, curtain walling systems and ceiling and flooring selections. These may all be different to that benchmarked in the specification through performance criteria. Current practice is that the Architect will appraise the Contractor’s submission for variations to architectural elements and advise the Client of compliance with Works requirements. The Design Team is no longer the specifier, rather they “accept” or “approve” or “no comment”  the Contractor’s proposals. Liability then moves logically to the Contractor as both specifier and designer purportedly in line with Work Requirements. The reality is that this does not happen in current practice and inevitably Contractors and Clients look for Design Team approval.

What will happen now to the Design Certifier’s carefully prepared Commencement Notice submission, outlining how the plans, calculations, specifications and particulars comply with the Building Regulations, if changes occur following Client approval of Contractor Works Proposals? Will the Design Certificate submitted at Commencement become null and void? The practical reality of most Public Works Contracts has not been addressed in the legislation.

Logically, the Contractor could assume the Design Certifier role when changes are proposed and be responsible for the Design Certificate and ancillary design certificates for all changes and omissions to the commencement stage design submitted by the Architect as Design Certifier. The Contractor could then lodge the drawings and documents duly certified by the new ‘Contractor/ Design Certifier’ relying on ancillary certificates and submitted in accordance with the Code of Practice before the relevant element of the work commences and without risk to the Contractor’s programme.

There is a clear gap in the chain of responsibility without a clear definition of the changed responsibility of the original Design Certifier and any subsequent ‘Contractor/ Design Certifier’. In addition building programmes will need to be extended and claims for delay will be inevitable to allow for the preparation of the changed design documentation by any ‘Contractor/ Design Certifier’.

At this point there are no clear solutions to the above situation in the BC(A)R legislation. This is an extremely serious omission requiring urgent rectification.

Other posts of interest:

RIAI CPD July 2014: Design Certifier in the Design Process- SI.9 – click link here

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June – click link here

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9? – click link here

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.  – click link here

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

Specialist Certifier 4- COMPANY: Questions and Answers – click link here

4 tips for Design Certifiers… – click link here

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility – click link here

Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) – click link here

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

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here