CATCH 22 COMMENCEMENTS

by Bregs Blog admin team

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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Local Authorities were not aware that there was a new short form and they continued to provide building owners with an out of date version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

 

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