Builder’s Liability under S.I.9- part 3
by Bregs Blog admin team
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.