A warning from a concerned Building Control Officer

by Bregs Blog admin team


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